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Week 7


Learning learning.


We took a bit of a hit with this rollover. We did not expect to loose ground but we did. All of us, individually over the break, and collectively this week have been trying to analyse what happened. We all sat in a huddle and thought about actions that we could take that could put us back where we think we belong. There were no personal recriminations but everyone had the feeling that they had played their part to perfection and perhaps it might have been some outside force that landed us in our current situation. Those outside forces include the administrators, the other teams and the ‘Mikes Bikes’ programme itself. Smart Simms must have written an algorithm just for our team. We have yet to work out why, but we do know that none of us are to blame.


If this scenario sounds familiar, it should ring very loud bells after reading Chris Argyris’ (1991) piece on double loop learning and for me it certainly did. So much so that I immediately went back and read it again. This time with a different mind-set and a new pair of eyes. If I can use a metaphor, trying to understand what is happening in the business world seems to be akin to reading a poem. On a superficial level the poem has a story to tell. But underneath that thee may be another quite different story that only some of the readers will engage with. The poem itself is a metaphor for something else.


So, the challenge was for us to examine what we had done and the effect that had had on the bike business that we were running. This time some of us admitted that we may have made errors of judgement in our expectations before the last rollover. So now we needed to reassess what we had planned and what might be the outcomes. We wanted to get the balcony view, an overview of the whole operation from another vantage point. Stand outside the business and look down from the balcony. We needed to think deeper and to challenge the underlying assumptions so that we could make informed decisions (Synnott, 2013). We tried to do that. The next rollover will tell whether or not we have got it right!



Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Harvard Business Review, 4(2), 4-15.

Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124-134.


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  1. Hi Steve, I really enjoyed reading your journal from a teammates perspective! I think you've accurately recognised a weakness in the team, that of our inability to analyse what went wrong and make effective decisions to get it right next time. To make the journal a bit better you could have generated some more depth (in saying that I know you are often pressed for time in the evenings) on what underlying assumptions are being ignored and how you may propose to both recognise and fix them in the future. In doing so you can reach the higher levels of Blooms taxonomy of analysis and evaluation. You could then synthesis this by applying your findings to yourself outside of the Mikesbikes situation to help you recognise your learning for the week not just for the course but for yourself long term. Your metaphors involving both the balcony view and poem were really interesting in helping you describe the different perspectives the team needs to take to be effective. Perhaps if you talked about how this recognition can help the team and in what ways, this new found perspective would have been even more beneficial. Cheers

  2. Your journal was set out in a logical manner and it was very easy and enjoyable to read. I agree with you in that as a team, we have all tried to do our best but have yet to find where the failure lies and how to rectify. You have used Daudelin's reflective learning model in a constructive way and exemplified it through our groups experience with MikesBikes so far. I agree with Angus in that you could delve a bit deeper into the readings and to critically analyse them further. You have mentioned the double-looped learning, but you have not applied it in a context as something you have experienced or learned yourself. Your last paragraph does not seem to exemplify this, and you could improve this by perhaps stating what underlying assumptions that are entailed in double-looped learning that we must counter as a group in MikesBikes (or perhaps another example). Good luck!