Learning Disability: The parable of the Boiled Frog



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Building Learning Organizations

Anthony bahlman


Olcu 602









Continuous quality improvement programs are popping up all over the place as companies scramble to stay ahead of the competition in today’s global market. Many of these seminars cover a wide range of topics targeted at increasing the productivity of employees. While many of these programs have failed, there has been little improvement in the overall pace of improvement. Continuous improvement necessitates a commitment to learning, which is something that the majority of corporations have failed to grasp.

The ability to re-engineer processes, introduce new products, and solve problems effectively demands new knowledge and action. Organizations are doomed to mediocrity if they don’t constantly improve their methods.

Case Analysis

There are several examples of system archetypes and learning difficulties at Macy’s Inc. In the US, Macy’s is an omnichannel fashion retailer consisting of their Bluemercury, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s retail brands. New York City is where the company’s headquarters are located. The brand was formed in 1858 and has since developed into a fashion industry powerhouse.

System Archetype: Fixes that Fail

“Fixes that fail” is the principal system archetype for Macy’s. Using this system paradigm, a company can respond quickly to an emerging problem by putting in place a solution (Elia et al, 2020). Although the immediate effects of this temporary fix may not be apparent, they add up to a larger problem in the long run (Burns, 2019). When the corporation recognized it would have trouble making ends meet, it rapidly increased the number of physical locations. Some of the company’s players, such as auto services, electronics, and toys, were also given away to smaller players. In spite of the growing competition in the fashion sector, the areas left over were filled with clothing.

Learning Disability: The parable of the Boiled Frog

The boiled frog analogy is a metaphor for Macy’s learning impairment. According to Senge’s fifth discipline, many firms fail to discover seven types of learning difficulties. If Peter is correct, boiling water will cause a frog to rush to escape. As long as it doesn’t get spooked, the same from will stay put in a pot of room temperature water. When placed on top of a heat source and the temperature is steadily increased, the frog will not try to jump out the pot. Nothing happens as the temperature goes from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recommendations and Action Plan

If Macy’s is to preserve its market position and thrive in the fast-paced garment business, it will require a strategy for financial recovery. In the second quarter of 2019, the stock price of the corporation dropped by 13%. In addition, the corporation stated that it intends to phase out the sale of fur products by the end of 2020. Additionally, in 2020, the corporation announced the closure of its Cincinnati headquarters, a sign of a failing business. When it comes to long-term survival, the corporation needs to turn itself into a learning organization.

Systems Thinking

A collaborative learning environment is essential for a successful learning organization. It’s expected that everyone will contribute to the framework’s overall success, but everyone is appreciated.

Small units, like the parts of a puzzle, make up organizations. Learners in organizations must have a thorough understanding of the entire system and all of its components. In addition, they need to know how these components work together. Managers must put more emphasis on the system’s long-term goals than its short-term problems.

Team Learning

A learning company must have a shared vision, but it is not enough if there is no teamwork.

As a group, individuals must learn and apply what they’ve learned. A dialogue in which participants suspend their own personal assumptions serves as the basis for team learning. In other words, they go into a kind of collective trance. Every member of the team must be aware of the learning goals.











Elia, G., Margherita, A., & Secundo, G. (2020). Project management canvas: a systems thinking framework to address project complexity. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.

Burns, E. A. (2019). Professions Unbound. In Theorising Professions (pp. 293-331). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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