The success of any organization depends on the attitude of organizational members toward the process of learning and how they operationally define it. Mostly top management of any organization argues that, they know how to learn but actually they don’t know at all. They believe that learning is the process of correction of errors but ignores the problem inwardly. They think learning is a one way process and spend their lives in this dilemma. According to the experts, learning occurs in two ways. One is single loop learning (e.g. Air conditioner tripped on specific room temperature) and the second is double loop learning (if air conditioner asked why I am fixed at specific temperature and explore about other options).
Professionals are good at single loop learning but not at double loop learning. Because they rarely face unfavorable situations in their lives and when they face undesired situations, they become defensive instead of being realistic. They start blaming on others as the reason of problem. Blaming on others blocks their own learning process. Companies should learn how to break the barriers among their members and make them double loop learners. They should make them able to do reasoning of their own behaviors. There was a famous consulting organization which provided services to different companies. According to the feedback from the clients, they were very much satisfied with the performance of consulting services but the CEO of that consulting organization was not satisfied with the performance of his own staff. He was worried about the performance of the employees and think that the employees are not meeting with standards. He decided to get help from the external consultant to uncover the problems facing by the employees.
During the initial meetings, members were not comfortable to share the problems but after the series of meetings with external consultant they opened up and raised some points. They said that the clients were non-serious and CEO was distant during the process. We were under pressure by our CEO to end the project on time which affected their performance. At time the members were asked to give the evidence of problems they have been discussed, their responses being changed. Instead of being realistic, they presented the problem in such way which stopped learning. Finally, they ended-up unclear conversation. According to the theory of actions; espoused theory will be different from the theory-in-use because people want to maximize the winning and avoid embarrassment.
I am agreeing with the idea of single loop and double loop learning. Most of the times people are committed to change and they want too but they locked-up their selves in defensive reasoning and even they are unaware of the defensive boundary they made around them. Companies can help employees to break their membrane of defensive reasoning by showing the gap between actual and espoused theory of actions and encourage open conversations among the members to make the place of continue improvement. It will help them to understand the deeper aspects of employee-client relationship and also they will learn the process of learning by real discussions. Acceptance should be encouraged instead of blaming each other for any problem. Proper training of the employees can transform organizations into a better place for work.