Where Argyris and Schön were the first to propose models that facilitate organizational learning, the following literatures have followed in the tradition of their work: Argyris and Schön (1978) distinguish between single-loop and double-loop learning, related to Gregory Bateson's concepts of first and second order learning. In single-loop learning, individuals, groups, or organizations modify their actions according to the difference between expected and obtained outcomes. In double-loop learning, the entities (individuals, groups or organization) question the values, assumptions and policies that led to the actions in the first place; if they are able to view and modify those, then second-order or double-loop learning has taken place. Double loop learning is the learning about single-loop learning.
March and Olsen (1975) attempt to link up individual and organizational learning. In their model, individual beliefs lead to individual action, which in turn may lead to an organizational action and a response from the environment which may induce improved individual beliefs and the cycle then repeats over and over. Learning occurs as better beliefs produce better actions.
Kim (1993), as well, in an article titled "The link between individual and organizational learning", integrates Argyris, March and Olsen and another model by Kofman into a single comprehensive model; further, he analyzes all the possible breakdowns in the information flows in the model, leading to failures in organizational learning; for instance, what happens if an individual action is rejected by the organization for political or other reasons and therefore no organizational action takes place?
Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) developed a four stage spiral model of organizational learning. They started by differentiating Polanyi's concept of "tacit knowledge" from "explicit knowledge" and describe a process of alternating between the two. Tacit knowledge is personal, context specific, subjective knowledge, whereas explicit knowledge is codified, systematic, formal, and easy to communicate. The tacit knowledge of key personnel within the organization can be made explicit, codified in manuals, and incorporated into new products and processes. This process they called "externalization". The reverse process (from explicit to implicit) they call "internalization" because it involves employees internalizing an organization's formal rules, procedures, and other forms of explicit knowledge. They also use the term "socialization" to denote the sharing of tacit knowledge, and the term "combination" to denote the dissemination of codified knowledge. According to this model, knowledge creation and organizational learning take a path of socialization, externalization, combination, internalization, socialization, externalization, combination . . . etc. in an infinite spiral.
Nick Bontis et al. (2002) empirically tested a model of organizational learning that encompassed both stocks and flows of knowledge across three levels of analysis: individual, team and organization. Results showed a negative and statistically significant relationship between the misalignment of stocks and flows and organizational performance.
Flood (1999) discusses the concept of organizational learning from Peter Senge and the origins of the theory from Argyris and Schon. The author aims to "re-think" Senge's The Fifth Discipline through systems theory. The author develops the concepts by integrating them with key theorists such as Bertalanffy, Churchman, Beer, Checkland and Ackoff. Conceptualizing organizational learning in terms of structure, process, meaning, ideology and knowledge, the author provides insights into Senge within the context of the philosophy of science and the way in which systems theorists were influenced by twentieth-century advances from the classical assumptions of science.
Imants (2003) provides theory development for organizational learning in schools within the...
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