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How Organizations Learn
ASQ product with no image

How Organizations Learn

Investigate, Identify, Institutionalize

Patrick L. Townsend, Joan E. Gebhardt

PDF, 80 pages, Published 2007
ISBN: 978-0-87389-727-3
Item Number: E1319

Member Price: $21.00

List Price: $35.00
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  • Organization
  • Learning
  • Employee
  • Army
  • AAR
  • CALL
  • AARs
  • CALLs


Organizations learn effectively by following a three-step cycle: investigating the situation; identifying failures and successes; and institutionalizing the lessons so that they become “the way things are done.” This book examines this 3-I learning cycle as it is used in the United States Army. Prominent companies such as General Electric, Motorola, Harley-Davidson, and Amoco have taken advantage of the army’s experiences as they’ve moved through this cycle, reinventing themselves as learning organizations. These companies and more have gleaned valuable lessons from the army’s After-Action Reviews (AARs) and Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALLs).

Parallels are drawn between the Army’s experience and the quality movement. Among the similarities are the idea that everything can be improved and the emphasis on integrating working and learning, with each supporting the other.

The concepts of AARs and CALLs, like many quality tools, are relatively straightforward and easy to understand. Nonetheless, they require dedication and perseverance to implement fully and sustain. As with all quality concepts and tools, though, the results easily justify the effort!