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Operationalising “Double-Loop” learning in service organisations: A systems approach for creating knowledge

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-11-02, 15:04 authored by Ayham A.M. Jaaron, Chris Backhouse
© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New YorkLearning organisation literature has widely discussed the connections between “double-loop” learning and its significance to organisational performance, but paying little attention to tools and systems that can operationalise “double-loop” learning in organisations. This paper investigates the impact of applying a systems approach for service operations design, expressed as the Vanguard Method (Seddon, Freedom from command and control: a better way to make the work work, 2003), in order to activate “double-loop” learning in service organisations. Two case studies were conducted in the banking mortgage operations and adults’ social care services in the UK, using the dimensions of the learning organisation questionnaire (DLOQ), semi-structured interviews, observations, and documents. The findings of the cross-case analysis support the link of applying the Vanguard Method with operationalising “double-loop” learning through three main factors, namely systematic-operations improvement, organisational capacity development, and outside-in mode of work; that are all embedded into the seven dimensions of the DLOQ. The value of this paper is the introduction of a service operations design tool that can activate “double-loop” learning performance in the fast changing knowledge era. It also provides an impetus for service organisations to creatively influence employees’ competencies to effectively improve internal systems.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Systemic Practice and Action Research


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JAARON, A.A.M. and BACKHOUSE, C.J., 2017. Operationalising “Double-Loop” learning in service organisations: A systems approach for creating knowledge. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 30(4), pp.317-337.


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  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11213-016-9397-0




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