Donald Alan Schön (September 19, 1930 – September 13, 1997) was an influential thinker in developing the theory and practice of reflective professional learning in the twentieth century.
- See also: On organizational learning (1999)
- Belief in the stable state serves primarily to protect us from apprehension of the threats inherent in change. Belief in stability is a means of maintaining stability, or at any rate the illusion of stability. But the most threatening situations are those that confront us with uncertainty, and by ‘uncertainty’, I don’t mean risk, which is a probability ratio which we all know how to handle, particularly those who are managers of industry. We can deal with risk.
- Donald Schon "REITH LECTURES 1970: Change and Industrial Society: Lecture 1: The Loss of the Stable State" at the BBC, 15 November 1970 – Radio 4; cited in: Richard Duane Carter (1981) Future challenges of management education. p. 102
- Old questions are not answered—they only go out of fashion.
- Schon (1971, 42) cited in: William G. Weissert, Carol S. Weissert (2012) Governing Health: The Politics of Health Policy. p. 296
- A social system does not move smoothly from one state of its culture to another... Something old must come apart in order for something new to come together. But for individuals within the system, there is no clear grasp of the next stable state - only a clear picture of the one to be lost Hence, the coming apart carries uncertainty and anguish for the members of the system since it puts at risk the basis for self-identity that the system had provided.
- Schon (1971: 51) cited in: Hedley Beare, Richard Slaughter (1994) Education for the Twenty-first Century. p. 15-16
Quotes about Donald Schön
- Another group at MIT and Harvard University developed the notion of “organizational learning.” Chris Argyris and Donald Schön were the key figures in this group. Argyris was a student of Kurt Lewin, who was a participant in the Macy Foundation meetings that were chaired by Warren McCulloch.
- Stuart A. Umpleby, and Eric B. Dent. "The origins and purposes of several traditions in systems theory and cybernetics." Cybernetics & Systems 30.2 (1999): 79-103. p. 87; About Organizational Learning
- Argyris is best known for his theory, in collaboration with the late philosophy scholar Donald Schön, on the two types of learning — single-loop and double-loop. This theory refers to the way people respond to changes in their environment. Single-loop learning is the repeated attempt at the same problem by an organization or individual, without varying the method or questioning the goal. Double-loop learning goes beyond that, modifying the goal in light of the experience.
Argyris’s work raises profound questions about how organizations run, and casts doubt on what is widely accepted as good practice. But he offers management a profound exploration of the fundamental principles of organizational behavior and human interaction in the workplace.
- Chris Argyris, Harvard University: James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award at psychologicalscience.org, May 10, 2013.
- Infed.org profile on Schön