unit 5 assignment essay


Chapter 6

Critically Generated Knowledge – the Triple Loop Learning Result UDC: 005.94:005.22
Slavica P. Petrovic
University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Economics
pslavica¿kg.ac.rs
In contemporary circumstances, one of the key features of managing the organizations is the increasing com- plexity and heterogeneity of problems which are relevant for the organizations’ survival and development. At the same time, there is an increasing diversity and variety of theories, methodologies, methods, techniques, and models that are available for dealing with the management problem situations. Diversity Management, as a complementarist meta-theoretical development within critical systems thinking, seeks to provide an appropri- ate base of guidelines for making theoretically and methodologically informed and responsible choices. Triple Loop Learning, as a methodological development of Diversity Management, is focused on simultaneous and creative management of three main organizational issues: design, debate, and power and legitimacy. Relevant insights into the management problem situation under consideration, in which one wants to intervene, can be critically generated through the triple loop learning process. An appropriate improvement in the problem sit- uation can be achieved through the theoretically and methodologically underpinned management of design, de- bate, and power-knowledge dynamics, i.e. through the implementation of the critically generated knowledge. Keywords: management problem situations in organizations, critical systems thinking, Diversity anagment, Triple Loop Learning, knowledge for meaningful and responsible choices
1. Introduction
The increasing diversity of issues, problems, and prob- lem situations – that are characterized by great com- plexity, dynamics, interactivity, and ambiguity – repre- sents a relevant feature of managing the organizations in contemporary circumstances. At the same time, the existence of the increasing diversity and variety of models, techniques, methods, methodologies, and the- ories – available for scientifically grounded and practi- cally useful dealing with these issues, problems, prob- lem situations, and dilemmas related to them – is of paramount importance.
As a complementarist meta-theoretical development of the contemporary critical systems thinking, Diversity Management seeks to provide a suitable base of guidelines for making the conceived and responsible choices in or- ganizations. Triple Loop Learning is a methodological de- velopment of Diversity Management. The triple loop learning process is focused on simultaneous and creative research into the three important issues concerning: a) a design of the organization’s management problem do- main – How?, b) a debate between the participants in the problem situation about the ends and means of their achieving – What?, and c) a power relationship within the organization’s problem situation, and a legitimacy of the proposed solutions for the problems – Why?
Triple loop learning is preliminarily seen as an appro- priate development of single loop learning and double loop learning. Single loop learning can be developed in- to three relevant types of learning; each of them is un- derpinned by the suitable theoretical-methodological,
and applicative approaches. Scientifically based and practically valid knowledge, as a foundation for making purposeful and accountable choices in organizations, should be critically generated in the triple loop learning processes. A corresponding improvement of the orga- nization’s problem area can be achieved through imple- mentation of the broadened and deepened knowledge about the management problem situation, acquired in the learning process.
2. The complementarist meta-theoretical foundations of triple loop learning
Diversity Management (DM) represents a complemen- tarist meta-theoretical development of the contempo- rary critical systems thinking Ê3; 4, pp. 308-312; 9, p. 145Ë. DM has been preliminarily focused on managing the increasing diversity of issues, problems, and prob- lem situations, with which managers are confronted, by means of the increasing diversity of types of models, techniques, methods, methodologies, and theories. However, the diversity per se generates a new key issue that has to be managed: How to choose between the available models, techniques, methods, methodologies, and theories? Therefore, in DM, the emphasis is on the management of the increasing diversity of theories, methodologies, methods, techniques, and models, thereby it can contribute to the enhancement of man- agement of the increasing complexity and diversity of issues, problems, and problem situations in organiza- tions. That is, in DM, the two crucial concepts – diversi- ty and management – possess the precisely determined meanings: diversity – creative managing of organiza- tional issues, problems, and problem situations requires

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to make more choices being available; management – the choices have to be carefully thought-out and re- sponsibly made.
According to the basic idea of Diversity Management, there is no argument released from the dilemmas. The existence of the dilemmas in solutions of any theoretical- methodological argumentation is also true for the com- plementarist1 assertions. However, the complementarist argumentation strength is in the increasing awareness of the existence of dilemmas, so these dilemmas can be carefully explored, not ignored, or avoided.
A mentality of tolerance, i.e. a way of thinking in which the permissibility, scrupulosity, and tolerance have a cru- cial role, is, first of all, relevant to the Diversity manage- ment of the theoretical approaches. Besides, tolerance has to be complemented with an appropriate meta-theory that is responsible for making choices on the level of method- ological practice. In this context, tolerance means a com- parison between the theories through some form of argu- mentation. When a methodological choice has been made by the researchers, it is vitally important that they adhere the theoretical notion that embodies directly a certain ac- tion. A theoretical sensitivity – that implies a meaningful re-evaluation of the favoured notions, and an interpreta- tion of the gathered information from the different per- spectives – is built into the researchers through a recogni- tion of the constructed character of the theoretical state- ments. Since the acquired insights do not imply a direct translatability of the available information between the considered theories’ languages, the researchers have to circle between the alternative visions in order to gather the new information, and recognize it as different. The de- tails of any theoretical vision selected for a particular pur- pose of intervention have been made explicit through the required knowledge. The practitioners are therefore able to make choices, and to accept responsibly the conse- quences of the selected actions. For giving the answer to the question: How can a theory lead to an intelligent and accountable choice, it is significant that the decisions on the requirements for the different knowledge should be made from the viewpoints of the theories’ implications for practice. Both theory and practice can be strengthened through maintaining the dialectical link between theory and practice Ê11, p. S13Ë; in the given context, it means that judging about a theoretical vision is connected with judg- ing about the actions that are defensible.
The following dilemma is particularly significant for the framework of this consideration: How can the re- searchers’ choices be justified, when it is recognized that
1 Complementarism can be determined as an endeavour to pre- serve diversity in different spheres of thinking and acting. The stakeholders’ opportunities for reasonable and responsible manag- ing the most demanding problem situations in organizations are im- proved by the diversity preservation.
the standards for making the choices differ? For exam- ple, in Organizational Cybernetics, the standards are connected with a purposeful design and organization, in the Systemic Interpretivism methodologies, the stan- dards are related to enabling the participants’ adapta- tion in the problem situation through the debate process, and for the Critical Systems Modernism methodologies, the normative standards for measuring the extent to which the dominant forces shape the stake- holders’ debate are required. The necessity of determin- ing a basis for judgement results from the evident fluid- ity of the criteria for judging. DM has to provide a basis of guidelines for creative choice making.
According to DM, it is argued that a critique and self- critique Ê6, pp. 868-878; 7, pp. 208-210; 8, p. 77Ë can lead to a certain quality of making choices, avoiding rela- tivism and absolutism. In DM, a theoretical, i.e. methodological choice represents a post-critical turning point, when the decisions can be made taking into ac- count the critique’s results. The aims – which are judged as valuable to be pursued – are selected. The incom- pleteness of assessment suggests that all judgements are fragile, and arguments used to defend the judge- ments are never simple. The influences of power, that is built into knowledge and decisions focused on action, are relevant for making the choices.
An awareness of theoretical and methodological work, if it is treated with a sensitivity to the dilemmas, represents the first step towards the guidelines for a better making choices, and, therefore, for diversity management. As a result, a conceptual framework, in which the system’s aims – classified according to a particular theory, method- ology, or model – can be valued, is provided. This helps the stakeholders to consider the relevance of the differ- ent aims and the way in which the aims can be aligned. The choices will be a matter of judgement, but their de- fence relies on a broader conceptual framework that arranges the aims – one in relation to another.
3. Triple loop learning
Diversity management, as a complementarist meta-theo- ry of critical systems thinking, is methodologically devel- oped within Triple Loop Learning (TLL) Ê3; 4, pp. 312- 317; 9, p. 145Ë. A key purpose of Triple loop learning is to acquire the relevant knowledge about diverse, complex, and ambiguous management problem situations in or- ganizations. These insights and findings – critically gener- ated through the Triple loop learning process – should support the process of creative management of the in- creasing diversity of issues, problems, problem situations, (and dilemmas related to them), important to the organ- izations’ development. Therefore, TLL is committed to uncover the theoretically and methodologically ground- ed, and valuable ways of a conceived and responsible

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managing the diverse problems of the organizations’ functioning in contemporary circumstances. Triple loop learning should be seen as an appropriate development of single loop learning, and double loop learning.
Single loop learning
Single loop learning can be determined as end-means thinking. Since the ends have been set, it is the search for the best means of their achieving. A general question in the single loop learning process can be posed in the fol- lowing way: How should we act in order to best accom- plish the set ends? There are no other definitions of the ends, or they are unknown. Those who learn through sin- gle loop are focused on finding the best means of achiev- ing the defined objectives and goals. In other words, those who learn through single loop are oriented to the task, i.e. they are exclusively concentrated on identifying the best tools, ways, resources for accomplishing the ends. An identification of the ends and means of achieving these ends is not regarded as problematic.
The three relevant types can be identified within single loop learning; each of them represents a particular, ex- clusive use of one of the three possible loops – Figure 1. The three main types of single loop learning.
Figure 1. The three main types of single loop learning
The first type of single loop learning is a most widely comprehended learning about the process’s design and the organizational design – Figure 1.(a). In case of the process’s design, the subject of consideration includes the approaches focused on processes, such as Business Process Reengineering. The next question is in the cen- ter of learning: Are we doing the things in the right way? That is, the key question is: How should we do these things? In such circumstances, the means imply a search for some radically improved set of processes of achieving the defined aim, measured in terms of effi- ciency. On the other hand, in a case of the organization- al design, the ends are included in the models; these models have to offer the most effective rules of organi- zational design, and the means imply a search for the implementation principles in order to generate a suit- able way of accomplishing the set ends.
Within the structuralist paradigm, an organization can be holistically diagnosed and (re)designed by the use of the appropriate Viable Systems Model (VSM)2 – Figure
2. The Conceptual framework of Viable Systems Model; this is of significance for learning about organizational design, and creative managing the design.
In VSM, as a methodological tool of Organizational Cybernetics, organizations are understood as complex, dy- namic, and open systems. Organizations are capable of re- sponding adequately to the stimuli that were not anticipat- ed during the process of their designing; thus, they can op- pose to the internal interruptions and errors, and can adapt continually to the changeable environment’s actions. Relying on experience, organizations, as viable systems, can learn what their sustainable response to the relevant influences from the system and its environment is. At the same time, organizations can sustain themselves over the long term only by means of the appropriate two-way rela- tionships with their environments, from which they obtain and to whom they give the information relevant for their survival. Besides, organizations are characterized by the existence of purposeful, relatively independent, and dy- namic segments, whose interactions have to be appropri- ate to the aims of the system as a whole. Through promot- ing a creative thinking about organizations, VSM includes and organizes the following three significant entities: a) the operational elements – the organization’s components dealing with implementation; b) meta-system composed of the four management functions: coordination (dealing with the short-term problems in the system’s operational elements); control (maintaining the internal stability of the system); intelligence (gathering the relevant information about the strengths and weaknesses of the system’s process, and options and threats of the external environ- ment); identity (developing the system’s policy); c) envi- ronment (the local environments of each operational ele- ment and a future environment for making the develop- mental decisions).

2 A broader insight into the theoretical foundations, methodologi- cal development, and using of the VSM is provided, for example, in: Ê1; 10, pp. 387-410Ë.

Figure 2. The Conceptual framework of Viable Systems Model

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Shortcomings and errors – in relation to the ends of the organization as a system – of a proposed systemic design, or a real organization, should be uncovered within the VSM’s use, through identifying and diagnosing the sys- tem. A tool for dealing with the problem of designing an effective organization is provided by means of diagnosis and the resulting redesign of the system. VSM helps con- tinual learning and improving the organization; also, VSM provides the management entities with a variety that is necessary for effective and efficient management of the organization. At the same time, VSM does not deal in an appropriate manner with the important issues of the social processes, culture, and power in organiza- tions. As in the other tools of this single loop learning type, a previously set aim has been taken over and pur- sued, control is delegated on the organization’s parts, who are the only ones allowed to develop the alternative ways for achieving the aim.
The second type of single loop learning represents a most widely grasped learning about the processes of de- bates, i.e. the discussions, through which the organiza- tions’ ends should be set – Figure 1.(b). A certain kind of interpretive intervention in organizations is the rele- vant subject matter in this single loop learning type. This interpretive-grounded intervention in the manage- ment problem areas should be considered as a theoret- ical, methodological, and applicative response to an ob- session of the first type of single loop learning with finding and implementing the structuralist solutions. In fact, the debates – necessary for setting the organiza- tion’s ends – between the participants are prevented in the first type of single loop learning.
In the second type of single loop learning – through inter- pretivism, as the relevant scientific paradigm – setting the ends and determining the means of their achieving are considered as problematic. This is because in each or- ganization in contemporary circumstances there are many different stakeholders with, as a rule, various inter- ests, value systems, ends and means of their achieve- ment, different participation in formulating the prob- lems and finding their solutions, different participation in making the decisions and their implementation, differ- ent power. There is a following key question in the cen- tre of this single loop learning type: Are we doing the right things?, i.e. What should we do? As the first type, this type of single loop learning is also oriented towards the task – now: the task of setting the ends and achieving them by the appropriate means. In relation to the first type of single loop learning, the different ends and means of their achieving are determined: The ends become the appropriate reconciliations between the participants in a debate on the preferred results of the organization’s functioning. Participative, open, and free debate between the participants in a problem situation, which is the re- search subject and in which one wants to intervene in or-
der to improve it, becomes an adequate mean of achiev- ing the aim of learning, that has been set in such a man- ner. An intervention in the organization’s problem area represents a participative process; in this process, the de- signs for organizing processes, and the arrangements for structuring are discussed from different points of view, through the debate between the participants, and en- riched by an interpretive thinking about relevant dimen- sions of organisations as cultural phenomena. Despite the undoubted breakthrough from the viewpoint of the resulting insights and knowledge important to managing the problem situations in organizations, the whole process, however, as in the first type of single loop learn- ing, is under the domination of an exclusive focus on the redefined ends, and means of their achievement.
As a theoretical-methodological support to the interpre- tive-grounded single loop learning, there are the method- ologies belonging to the hermeneutic paradigm of sys- tems thinking3 – Soft Systems Methodology (Checkland, P.B.), Interactive Planning (Ackoff, R.L.), Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing (Masson, R.O., Mitroff, I.I.), Robustness Analysis (Rosenhaed, J.), Strategic Options Development and Analysis (Eden, C.).
Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)4 can underpin the in- terpretive learning about the complex-pluralist prob- lems in organizations, in a scientifically founded and practically useful way – Figure 3. The Process of Soft Systems Methodology. SSM deals with those manage- ment problems that – besides the complexity of the structure and processes – are characterized by the rela- tively autonomous participants, with different interpre- tations of the problem areas in organizations. This im- portant variety of the viewpoints and interpretations should be developed and explored, particularly in the context of determining the common ends and means for intervention in the organization. In addition, within SSM, the concept of the system is used as an epistemo- logical tool, i.e. as a tool for organizing and transferring the ideas and thinking about organizations and their problems. The four key principles are built into the SSM basis: a) learning – a continual process of defining the different ways of moving through the problem situation, with regard to: relevance (for those included into the sit- uation), cultural feasibility (the restrictions that have to be respected) and systemic desirability (holistic thinking must not be undermined); b) culture – the organization- al and/or social limitations whose changes have to be met through interventions; c) participation – in the ex- ploration and intervention – of those who are included
3 The interpretive systems methodologies have been developed, for example, in: Ê5; 10; 12Ë.
4 The key theoretical, methodological, and applicative features of
Soft Systems Methodology can be found out, for example, in: Ê2; 5, pp. 181-210; 10, pp. 486-506; 12Ë

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into the problem situation, has to be guaranteed; d) the two ways of thinking – an abstract systemic thinking and thinking about the reality associated with specific con- texts. SSM represents a learning system that employs the ideas about the systems in formulating the basic mental procedures – observation, assertion, comparison, and deciding on action.
Through the following seven phases, SSM includes: 1) uncovering, i.e. exploring the problem situation (The stakeholders, along with the problem situation’s struc- ture, its processes, and the resulting ‘milieu’, should be identified.); 2) expressing the problem situation (The identified key issues, conflicts, problem features of the situation are encompassed within so called rich pic- tures.); 3) formulating the so called root definitions of the extracted sets of the relevant systems for the con- ceived action (It is necessary to specify: What should be
done, and why, who should do that, who should bene- fit, i.e. suffer damage from the activity, what are the re- strictions on the given actions imposed by the environ- ment.); 4) constructing the conceptual models of the systems specified within the root definitions (these models represent the means of understanding of the re- ality, and initiating the discussion, whose results have to be the changes towards improving the situation.); 5) comparing the models with the real-world actions (the structure and substance of an organized debate about improving the problem situation are provided through this methodology phase.); 6) determining the systemi- cally desirable and culturally feasible changes in the problem situation through a coherent debate; 7) taking action in order to improve the problem situation (an ef- fective and efficient implementation of the determined desirable and feasible changes in the problem area with the aim of its enhancing).

SSM helps the process of generating a mutual under- standing between the participants in the management problem situations. On the other hand, due to the con- straints of the interpretive theory built into SSM, SSM does not include the organizations’ interest in predic- tion and control, and does not pay the necessary atten- tion to the achievement of the participative decision- making released from the influences of the power rela- tionships, and coercion.
The third type of single loop learning is focused on the power-knowledge dynamics – Figure 1.(c). A corre- sponding subject area can be determined as an impar- tial practice for the participants involved in the prob- lem situations, in which it is intended to intervene. This type of single loop learning represents a reaction
to an exclusive focus of the first and second types of single loop learning on an intervention based on de- sign and debate, respectively. That is, determining the ends and means in the learning centre of the type How? is considered as problematic, because of an im- plicit risk of producing the results that are unfair – if not for many participants, then – for some participants in the problem situation. At the same time, the tools of a debate in the learning centre of the type What? are regarded as problematic, because the debate about the desirable states and means of their achiev- ing has been distorted by means of the influences of coercion; it means that the debate in the problem sit- uation is not open, free, and participative, i.e. is not fair for those over whom a coercion is applied in the organization.
Figure 3. The Process of Soft Systems Methodology

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A new center of learning with the following central ques- tion is developed within the third type of single loop learning: Is fairness supported by power or vice versa?
The key question in this single loop learning type is: Why should we do it?, or Why should we fight to pre- serve/protect a power-rightness arena from the de- bates, when such a debate enables a research into the power-knowledge configurations in the system. Although the question Why? is fundamentally differ- ent from the questions characterising the learning cen- tres of the types How? and What, this question is still focused on the task of achieving the ends through the appropriate means. Different ends are set and differ- ent means are determined within the third type of sin- gle loop learning. Now, the ends are expressed as the forms of an impartial practice, and the means repre- sent the ways in which this fair, i.e. fairer practice can be realized. A learning process is under the domina- tion of an exclusive focus on the set ends and the means corresponding to these ends.
Within the theoretical, methodological, and applica- tive approaches supporting the first and second types of single loop learning, these ends and means are re- garded as problematical. The forms of an impartial practice, treated as the ends, and the ways in which such practice can be realized are not considered as sci- entifically based, but as ideological. It is believed that the processes of generating the knowledge are under- estimated due to the focus on understanding of the power-knowledge relationships. Therefore, the asser- tion of the third type of single loop learning – that a judgement about quality of any knowledge or learning can become impossible because of the influences of coercion – is regarded as ideological. However, the proponents of the third type of single loop learning ar- gue the opposite: according to them, ideology appears exactly because the people fail to problematize the relevant power-knowledge connections.
The Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH)5 methodology can support learning about the power-knowledge dy- namics in
organizations, in a scientifically grounded and practi- cally useful way. As an emancipatory development within the critical systems thinking paradigm, CSH deals with the management problems that are charac- terised by the coercion, and in which the power sources can be relatively easily identified. Relying on the ap- propriate philosophical foundations, CSH seeks to de-
5 The philosophical foundations, methodological development, the ways of employing the Critical Systems Heuristics have been presented, for example, in: Ê13; 10, pp. 525-538Ë.
velop a methodology that can be used by the organiza- tion’s stakeholders in order to reveal a normative con- tent of the functioning design and/or the proposed de- sign of the system. In doing so, the normative content of the organization’s design involves the value assump- tions built into the design and the consequences of the design’s implementation for those affected by the de- sign. Within the practical reasoning, the appropriate paradigm of the conceived systems is developed; the design creators can employ this paradigm in order to think critically about the existing designs and to identi- fy the possible alternative designs; on the other hand, the procedures for critical challenging the systemic ra- tionality of the system’s designers are developed for those who have to function in/with the respective de- sign. Within CSH, the purpose of systems thinking and learning is to shape scientifically the system’s design, in order to ensure improving the stakeholders’ position. The epistemological position of CSH points to an en- deavour to expand science and rationality also on the ends. In searching for the knowledge and rational ac- tion, the assumptions built into the judgements are critically reassessed; ‘systemic’ indicates the necessity of critical thinking about the undoubted lack of com- prehensiveness and objectivity of all designs of social systems; heuristics implies providing a suitable method for continual reassessment of the assumptions built in- to the designs, and their unquestionable incomplete- ness. There are twelve critically heuristic categories that are vitally important for the CSH-methodology development, and its employment in the process of generating the knowledge; these categories make a clear distinction between: those who are involved – a client, a decision maker, a planner, i.e. a designer, and those who are affected, but who are not involved in the processes of building the system’s design, and deciding – so called witnesses. The developed system should generate the knowledge that is important for the ends, and encourage the debate about the ends; at the same time, all proposals for the design of the explored man- agement problem domain should be critically assessed in the categories of the normative design.
The following three questions can be considered as decisively important: a) What can one find out? (the endeavours to map the organizational reality and con- struct the adequate designs of such systems are char- acterized by the undoubted deficiency of comprehen- siveness.); b) What may one do? (the values embed- ded in the designs, and the moral deficiencies of the designs have to be explored.); c) What may a partici- pant in the problem situation expect? (there is no ab- solute guarantee that exploring, i.e. designing the problem situation and implementing the design will result in improving the situation and the participants’ position in it.). A practical tool that can be used by the

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stakeholders in order to commit the designers to a ra- tional debate about the incompleteness of their de- signs represents a special part of the methodology. It is about a polemical using the boundary judgements about what it is important for the management prob- lem domain, and consequently has to be included into the process of research and learning, as well as, what it is less important or irrelevant, and therefore can/may be excluded from the process of considera- tion. The twelve boundary questions specified in two different contexts – the ‘is’ manner and the ‘should be’ manner – are simultaneously posed and considered in the process of uncovering a normative content of the system’s design. In doing so, the questions concerning: the clients – talk about the value basis of the design, the decision makers – indicate the power base, the de- signers – testify about the basis of expertise, the wit- nesses – point to the basis of the design’s legitimacy. CSH is aimed at: a) learning about the problem situa- tions and their designs, and b) freeing of the power re- lations; as a result, CSH provides a heuristic support to identifying, testing and enhancing the normative content of the social systems’ designs. CSH uncovers the interests to which the proposed design serves, and contributes to organizing a rational debate about the deficiencies of the design. In addition, CSH does not deal with the problem situations characterised by sub- tle and complex use of the power.
Double loop learning
An existence of the three different centres of single loop learning results in numerous conflicts concerning the issue of which of these centres is the most appro- priate to the management problem area, and which, therefore, should be chosen. Each type of single loop learning seeks to attract the researchers by demon- strating its own superiority in resolving the issues and dilemmas appearing within the other two types of sin- gle loop learning.
An appropriate reconciliation between the first and the second types can be seen as a particular attempt to overcome the concerned conflict. This reconciliation is the most probable because the first centre and the second centre find that the intervention resulting from the third type of learning is ideological and unscientif- ic, and, therefore, it can be challenged. This reconcili- ation between the learning type How and the learning type What represents double loop learning – Figure 4. Double loop learning. Double loop learning strives to bring into interaction the learning centres that include the practices of debates and designs by posing and considering the two key questions: Are we doing the right things? and Are we doing the things in a right way? What and How learning centres, which explain these two questions, respectively, without an emphasis
on the nature of intervention focused on the task, ought to be protected by double loop learning. An in- tervention is developed in a suitably conceived direc- tion, accepting the problem of choice between the two centres, and tackling this problem in any moment of the problem situation’s exploration that should be en- hanced through that intervention.
The new relevant insights, i.e. the broadened and
Figure 4. Double loop learning.
deepened knowledge about the problem area in the organization are generated through the process in which the researchers/practitioners circulate between the two learning centres. That is, there is a certain – al- beit limited – complementarism of perceptions of the problem situation simultaneously from the two impor- tant aspects: a) the pluralist relationships between the participants in the problem situation, implying that an appropriate compromise – on the preferred ends and the ways of intervening in the situation – has to be reached between them, and b) the complexity of the situation, that has to be designed in a suitable manner. The appropriate theoretical-methodological and ap- plicative developments can support a simultaneous exploring of these two important dimensions of orga- nizational functioning, and learning about them through the two centres of the types What and How; namely, a) a particular methodology belonging to the interpretive scientific paradigm, for example, Soft Systems Methodology, as a dominant, and b) a corre- sponding methodology belonging to the functionalist- structuralist scientific paradigm, for example, the methodology of Organizational Cybernetics, as a sup- portive, are chosen and implemented.
The concerned choices of the methodologies (and their associated methods, techniques, and models), and their implementation in structuring the problem situations allow for the researchers to simultaneously deal with the relevant issues of effectiveness and effi- ciency of the organizations’ functioning, in a scientifi- cally grounded, practically useful and responsible way. In other words, an appropriately conceived and per- formed management of the debate between the stake- holders about what should be done, and how the

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changes should be implemented in order to achieve a desirable enhancement of the problem situation in the organization has been enabled.
Those who learn through double loop can fall into a less thought-out awareness. The researchers – and their knowledge about the problem situation – can be stuck in a central position, ‘looking outside’ – Figure 4.(b) instead of circulating between the centres of types What? and How? It is about a double or a blurred vision. In the case of a double vision, the re- searchers still receive the information from the two learning centres, but they do not try to manage the vi- sion; rather, they act in accordance with the ends and means of their preferred loop, and, in doing so, they change the nature of the other loop. In the conditions of the double vision, there is no readiness to think about the premises embedded in the preferred loop. In the case of a blurred vision, there is a particular, eclectic awareness. The practitioners seek to achieve any ends they meet, continuing to use the means that are immediately available to them; the practitioners follow the direction which is well-established and does not imply careful thinking about the details of the sit- uation.
Triple loop learning
An establishment of tolerance between all three cen- tres of learning and, as a result, a preservation of a va- riety should be enabled in the process of triple loop learning – Figure 5. Triple loop learning.
Figure 5. Triple loop learning
Within triple loop learning, the three relevant ques- tions: Are we doing the things in a right way?, Are we doing the right things?, and Is fairness supported by power, or is power underpinned by fairness? strive to be integrated in an appropriate holistic knowledge, i.e. in a systemic knowledge about the management problem area. An intervention is not longer oriented to a task because the How?, What? and Why? centres of learning – which have been supported by these three questions – are entering the consideration in any moment as a base for: a) producing the valid knowl-
edge and b) making the accountable choices. There is a new thought-out awareness, since the researchers circulate continually between the three specified ques- tions – Figure 5.(a).
Through the concerned circulation, the stakeholders of the problem situation can develop an appropriate de- bate for each learning centre: a structuralist debate for the How? learning centre, an interpretive debate for the What? centre, and an emancipatory debate for the Why? learning centre. In doing so, a critical production of the deepened and broadened knowledge about the problem area in the organization, that should be im- proved is enabled. Those who learn through a triple loop connect the three centres of learning into the ap- propriate triple loop, and simultaneously explore the relevant dimensions of design, debate, and power- knowledge relationships. The resulting overall knowl- edge is more than the sum of parts that make it. It is about an appropriate systemic complementarism which enables the stakeholders involved in the situation, as well as those affected by the found and implemented solution, to critically manage the power-knowledge re- lationships, debate, and design.
Those who learn through triple loop are able to consid- er the extent to which the different methodologies cor- respond to the different types of ends: How?, What? and Why? that are identified as decisively important for an intervention. That is, they are capable of inter- preting the methodological principles and the associat- ed operational procedures, in a manner that helps them discuss the selected purpose. Thus, the knowl- edge about the methodological options, that can be in- cluded into exploring and making choices, is relevant to the choice and managing the purpose. Triple loop learning enables the researchers/managers/practition- ers to holistically manage the diversity of methodolo- gies, methods, techniques, and models for the three learning centres, and, in turn, to purposefully improve management of the diversity of issues, problems, prob- lem situations, and related dilemmas, that are relevant to the organization. In its basis, triple loop learning represents making a choice about the ends that should be achieved in certain circumstances. Also, through the triple circulation, the researchers/practitioners are en- couraged to explore the possible principles and processes of action in certain circumstances. The re- searchers become familiar with a diversity of possible courses of action for the selected purpose. Thus, the methodological courses of action are locally devel- oped and implemented, in accordance with the speci- ficities of the respective problem situation.
As in double loop learning, those who learn through a triple loop can fall in a less thought-out awareness; i.e.

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they can ‘get stuck in the center, looking outside’. As a result, a circulation between the three learning centres either stops or does not start – Figure 5.(b). An uncrit- ical pursuing a preferred vision, or an unproductive eclecticism, when the monotonous, dominant and repetitive patterns have been chosen and implement- ed represent an inappropriate solution for a triple vi- sion, or the circumstances with much confusion.
4. Conclusion
Within the process of triple loop learning, a critical production of the relevant insights and knowledge about the important dimensions of the management problem situations in organizations implies a develop- ment of the appropriate discourses – structuralist, in- terpretive, emancipatory, i.e. critically systemic – for each How?, What?, and Why? learning centre. A cre- ative management of the design, debate, and power- knowledge dynamics can be provided by means of im- plementation of the resulting – deepened and broad- ened – knowledge about the considered problem area in the organization.
Relying on Diversity Management, as a complemen- tarist meta-theoretical development of critical systems thinking, triple loop learning indicates: a) the relevance of awareness about the complexity of the process of knowledge construction, b) the importance of not-ob- session with the particular theories, methodologies, methods, techniques, and models, that can be employed in the processes of managing the problem situations, c) the possibility and desirability of action in the manage- ment problem situations without a pre-selected and ex- clusive focus on a particular learning loop. Triple loop learning helps the practitioners explore the principles and the processes of action in certain circumstances, to continually take care about the purpose to which they tend, not to act through a pre-selected learning loop in all management problem situations.
In particular, triple loop learning helps the practitioners who are characterized by an eclecticism, which is inap- propriate to grounded and accountable management of the complex and ambiguous problem situations in or- ganizations. Within an intervention that relies on the knowledge critically generated in the triple loop learn- ing process, the focus is on a local – in the temporal and the spatial sense – improvement of the explored man- agement problem area in the organization.
REFERENCES
Ê1Ë Beer, S. Diagnosing the System for Organization. Wiley, Chichester, 1994
2. Ê2Ë Checkland, P.B. Systems Thinking, Practice. Wiley, Chichester, 1996
3. Ê3Ë Flood, R.L. and Romm, N.R.A. Management: Triple Loop Learning. Wiley, Chichester, 1996
4. Ê4Ë Flood, R.L. and Romm, N.R.A. From Metatheory to ’Multimethodology’. In: Mingers, J. and Gill, A. (eds.) Multimethodology – The Theory and Practice of Combining Management Science Methodologies. Wiley, Chichester, 1997, pp. 291- 322.
5. Ê5Ë Jackson, M.C. Systems Thinking: Creative Holizm for Managers. Wiley, Chichester, 2003
6. Ê6Ë Jackson, M.C. Beyond Problem Structuring Methods: Reinventing the Future of OR/MS. Journal of the Operational Research Society. Vol. 57, pp. 868-878, 2006
7. Ê7Ë Mingers, J. Realising Systems Thinking – Knowledge and Action in Management Science. Springer, New York, 2006.
Ê8ËPetrovic, S.P. Coherent Pluralism in Managing Problem Situations. The Book of Abstracts of The 18th Triennial Conference of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies, IFORS 2008, p. 77, Sandton, South Afica, July 13- 18, 2008
Ê9ËPetrovic, S.P. Triple Loop Learning – A Complementarist Systems Approach to Management. The Book of Abstracts of The 23rd European Conference of Operational Research, EURO 2009, p. 145, Bonn, Germany, July 5-8, 2009
Ê10Ë Petrovi}, S.P. Sistemsko mi{ljenje, Sistemske metodologije. Ekonomski fakultet Univerziteta u Kragujevcu, Kragujevac, 2010
Ê11Ë Rosenhead, J. Reflections on fifty years of opera- tional research. Journal of the Operational Research Society. Vol. 60, pp. S5-S15, 2009
Ê12Ë Rosenhead, J. and Mingers, J. (eds.) Rational Analysis for a Problematic World – Problem Structuring Methods for Complexity, Uncertainty and Conflict Revisited. Wiley, Chichester, 2001
Ê13Ë Ulrich, W. Critical Heuristics of Social Planning – A New Approach to Practical Philosophy. Wiley, Chichester, 1994.
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