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This week’s reading Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2 really made me think about MikesBikes and how to go about it. It talked about reflection versus critical reflection/ reflexivity (CRR) and how CRR was crucial to double-loop learning.

Single-loop learning was described as not challenging the underlying assumptions that are made in certain situations. The single-loop learning that I have been experiencing in MikeBikes and my team so far has been surrounding the goal - for our team to get the highest SHV as possible. The reading made me realise that this has actually been restricting our learning process rather than helping us. It made our team self-centred and competitive towards the other teams in our own country, when in reality groups could be working collaboratively in order to increase the wealth of our overall country, benefiting everyone. We have been working exclusively as a group, with tunnel-vision towards our assumed goal to try and ‘win’.  In order achieve double-loop learning, we have to look at, and challenge the underlying assumption of getting the highest SHV as our goal into a more holistic view such as increasing the wealth for our country which in turn (if executed correctly) will help to increase our SHV.

This is something that is difficult to do, as described in the Teaching smart people how to learn reading. It illustrated that people who are stuck in single-loop learning become defensive when they fail and shift the blame to others, largely because they are not used to failure as they have been entrenched in single-loop learning. Although our team recognised our own errors in our failure (we are not doing so well in MikesBikes), I felt resentful towards the groups who were able to gain a huge market share in the first rollover and consequently, leaving us with a little to nothing. I also felt that their expertise in business were greater than that of ours which I believed is what lead to our failure. However, this is not the case, as there are always opportunities that are there to be taken advantage of. As the supporters of AGAHST shifted their view from being self-centred (only being concerned with changes that directly affected them) to more holistic view (taking account of the environmental, economical, and societal effects), this is what we should be doing – looking at our country as a whole rather than on our individual groups.

As the proposed CEO summit for China is underway, I wonder if the groups in our country who are on top would be open to this idea, as I feel that as a group that isn’t doing so well, it would be suspicious to suggest this. Synnott (2013) suggests that double-looped learning can be blocked by groups looking only at their successes and gains. However, it should be known from this week’s reading that by looking at the smaller picture and personal gains, you are missing out on greater opportunities and learning that are present, which could lead to greater successes. We need more of a “balcony view” rather than tunnel vision. We need to have a Mexican wave where people collectively and consciously move rather than a domino run where the power resides with the pusher and everyone follows suit. I hope that the next week will bring more collaboration between groups within our countries in order to benefit everyone.

References

Synnott, M. (2013). Reflection and double loop learning: The case of HS2. Teaching Public Administration, 31(1), 124--134. doi:10.1177/0144739413479950

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

2 Comments

  1. Hi Sureena. You did a good job articulating the challenge that our country (Brazil) faces going forward in terms of incorporating a more holistic approach for how we do business. You were able to identify this challenge through the learning that you achieved via the readings and also the news that China will be holding a CEO Summit. You also acknowledge that our weakness in our country means that we have little means to influence those who are doing well (since they have little incentive to help as they're already very successful). I think that this is a great start for shaping a broad lesson that you will take away from this class as a whole in terms of how organizations behave within their environment. Your writing style is very easy to understand and a pleasure to read. I am sure you will do well with your summative journal.

  2. Let me just start by saying you did a really great job of incorporating the readings and two very appropriate readings to your topic too. I really enjoyed reading your journal. You bring up some really interesting issues and obviously they are ones I definitely can relate to. The only critique I would give is that you talk about what you hope happens, but you do not make any sort of plan towards making it happen. Even if you do not have any clear ideas I think it might be worth taking the time to write about the potential options you have to make the coming week more successful. Honestly though you wrote so much with such great detail that I would say this is a really great journal anyways.