HBR on KM: Ch. 4-6 Discussion Osama Solieman 2

HBR on KM: Ch. 4-6
Osama Solieman
2nd Year MIS Masters
HBR 4-6: Discussion
Discussion Topics
• Chris Argyris:
Teaching Smart People How to Learn, 1991
Single Loop vs. Double Loop
Maturity / Immaturity Theory
How does this relate to Knowledge
HBR 4-6: Discussion
Teaching Smart People How to Learn
• “…most people don’t know how to learn”
• Learning is not problem-solving
• Defensive reasoning is a sign of not
knowing how to learn
• People can be taught to reason in a new
• If leadership is trained to “learn”, they can
impact the entire organization
HBR 4-6: Discussion
Single Loop vs. Double Loop
• Single-loop learning ignores governing variables
such as goals, values, frameworks and strategies.
• Double-loop learning involves consideration of the
underlying assumptions behind the action strategy.
HBR 4-6: Discussion
Maturity / Immaturity Model
• Most individuals do not fully reach “maturity”
• The traditional organizational pyramid is designed to keep
employees “immature”
• Employees at bottom are tools controlled by top people
HBR 4-6: Discussion
ODJ Interview: 2003
• “…emotions are produced in the heads of human beings…No
emotion is irrational. I think that I am focused on emotions
but on discovering why a person feels that way and what can
be done about it. Emotions can’t be disconnected from
• “We get good at defensive reasoning, and then we get good
at denying that we are good at defensive reasoning.“
• “The job of an effective leader is still to advocate, evaluate
and make attributions, but to do so in a way that corresponds
to reality, that can be tested. You do this by inviting others to
confront your views and conclusions. “
HBR 4-6: Discussion
Relation to Knowledge Management
• Workers do not know how to learn
• Defensive reasoning is an obstacle to
organizational learning
• Work is designed to promote single-loop learning
• Pyramid structure
• Teaching employees how to learn
• Removal of pyramid structure
• Work needs to be restructured so that employees
can develop
HBR 4-6: Discussion
• Harvard Business Review on Knowledge
• http://www.infed.org/thinkers/argyris.htm
• http://www.apa.org/divisions/div13/Update/2003F
• http://www.accelteam.com/motivation/chris_argyris_00.html
HBR 4-6: Discussion
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