MGMT 1000 Notes
Learning to learn:
"Single-loop" learning occurs when there is a focus on the detection and
correction of error so that a system can maintain a steady state
"Double-loop" learning occurs when attention is also directed at the norms and
standards shaping the steady state, so that the state itself can be challenged and
changed when necessary. It is important to understand the context of our
Triple-loop learning answers these questions: "What is leading me and others to
have a predisposition to learn in this way at all? Why these goals?"
"Single-loop" A feedback system that • Behavioral modification
detects and corrects through rewards and
errors to sustain a punishments
desired state. • House thermostat that
maintains the temperature
of a room
• Budgetary and other
performance controls used
to meet targets
"Double-loop" A feedback system that • An organization that
"single-loops" and has challenges and changes its
the ability to change vision
operating norms. • An organization that detects
The "double-looping" can and changes dysfunctional
be (a) fairly superficial rules
adjustments, or (b) • Scientific methods where
challenge deep experiments are used to
refine and develop new
assumptions to create theory
Triple-loop A feedback system that An individual or organization that
learning "single" and "double-loop" masters the art of creating
learns about the context contexts will promote deep
in which learning occurs. learning and change - perhaps
This allows it to learn about issues like the meaning of
about learning, and to life, the fundamental philosophy of
build learning into business, or nature of
everything it does. interpersonal relations Single-Loop Learning Can Keep You On The Wrong Track
Whenever circumstances are changing or unpredictable, individuals, teams and
organizations always need systems that are capable of "double-looping." But
they have to be careful that they don't end up creating an endless form of
"double-looping" where everything is questioned and challenged all the time. If
they do, nothing gets done. Effective systems find a good balance between
single and double-loop learning.
Case Study: A large manufacturing firm operating in ten different countries creates a vision
where customer service becomes the new priority.
The executive team agrees to put appropriate standards and controls in place. The Quality
Measurement group takes up the challenge. They complete extensive internal and external
interviews and comprehensive data analysis to develop the standards for a system that will
become the reference point for measuring exceptional customer service.
=> The SMP Report Card was developed internally. It relied heavily on service delivery statistics
rather than actual customer satisfaction scores. It encouraged managers to keep doing what had
worked in the past. Though updated on a regular basis, the updating did not capture significant
changes occurring in the broader environment - especially with regard to growing customer
resentment about monopoly power, particularly in the international context.
In effect, the SMP ended up measuring the wrong things. It was not taking a "double-loop" look at
service standards and whether they should be changed.
Making a Difference
The challenge in most management situations is to combine effective "single"
and "double-loop" learning. Use a single-loop approach where it works. In other
situations, recognize the need for a more open approach.
Recognize that there may be ways to control and integrate a situation without the
tight systems that single-loop controls usually demand.
But, be careful to avoid the endless discussion, vagueness, introspection and
wrangling that too much "double-looping" can produce.
1. Questions number 1: What is the difference between single-loop and
double-loop learning? In your opinion, what kind of learning have we been
doing in this course? What role do you think technologies have played in
the way we have been learning together this term?
Answer: "Single-loop" is a “flat form” of a problem and our solution, while
"Double-loop" gives us an opportunity to detect and overcome obstacles in
a 3D format. We can see the whole picture of the system and apply
solutions to the whole system to overcome problems when using "Double-
loop" learning. In fact,"Single-loop" learning occurs when there is a focus
on the detection and correction of error so that a system can maintain a
steady state. "Double-loop" learning occurs when attention is also directed at the norms and standards shaping the steady state, so that the state
itself can be challenged and changed when necessary.
2. Question number 2: Why is learning to learn is important? In what ways
has this cource helped?
Answer: A commitment to quality and continuous improvement can
reduce costs, increase profits and help to create corporate cultures where
continuous learning is a way of life. To earn these bene