Teaching Intelligent People How you can Learn Composition

Instructing Smart Persons How to Study

by Bob Argyris. Initially published in the Harvard Organization Review, May-June 1991, pp 99-109


Our businesses must turn into learning companies, says Frank Argyris, but first they must resolve a learning dilemma: pros who occupy key command roles inside the company often are the least able to master. They are at risk of the behavior habits and protecting routines that block learning.

That elderly managers are generally not good at learning may seem counter-intuitive, but that is one of Argyris' points: highly trained professionals will be adept at what he calls " single-loop learning. ” (Argyris' sort of single-loop learning is the thermal that immediately turns on the warmth whenever the temperature in the room drops under 68. ) These professionals include spent a great part of their very own lives obtaining credentials, mastering one of several disciplines, and applying these types of disciplines to fix real-word complications -- all of these approaches display single-loop learning.

To return to Argyris' thermostat example, " double-loop learning” is when a thermal could rise above its developed function and have itself " why am I set by 68? ” and then explore whether or not various other temperature might more monetarily achieve the goal of heating the space. It could, put simply, examine the effect it is having and could have on the room's temperature.

Most senior managers, Argyris says, are almost always good at them and thus seldom experience failing... which means in many cases they anticipate perfection from themselves and lack encounter in learning via failure. And so whenever their very own single-loop learning strategies fail, they become shielding, screen out criticism, make the " blame” upon anyone and everything yet themselves. They are unable to begin to see the impact they are often having upon whatever scenario they are aiming to analyze, modify, or deal with. In short, their ability to master shuts down...