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Bite-size Case Study

Yarra Valley Water: double-loop learning and sustainability

Published on July 31, 2017 Originally recorded 2010   4 min
0:04
Adaptive Management and Leadership depends on critical reflection, reducing the impact of defensive reactions and resistance upon management, and the associated tendency to say what we know is what such managers and leaders need to do. They need to encourage us to challenge world views and assumptions and to reconceptualize our governing variables. That is, they need to prompt us into what we call double-loop learning. That is, into reconceptualizing what the business model of the organization is, so that it works with nature rather than against it, for instance. So, double-loop learning really means changing our governing variables, if the outcomes of actions do not meet with sustainability targets. So instead of just modifying our strategies and trying again, we need to have managers and leaders who are going to encourage us to change our whole governing concept.
1:10
I want to look with you to a case study and learning and change. This is a case study of an organization, Yarra Valley Water. It's an Australian organization, a retail water company that provides water supply and sewage services to over 1.5 million people in Melbourne, in Victoria, in Australia. It's had some key challenges recently. Dealing with drought in Australia is a massive challenge for water services, water retail companies. There's a number of community tensions that have emerged recently, around water planning and selection of appropriate, or what might be thought as the correct supply options. There's certainly changing expectations amongst customers regarding water savings and efficiency. And within this organization, which is a highly technologically capable organization, many engineers and economists involved. And there is a diversity of views amongst the staff regarding the focus and vision for the organization. Sustainability was embraced by the organization and became a key theme in bringing about change both culturally and in terms of its technical systems.
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Yarra Valley Water: double-loop learning and sustainability

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