The article by McAdam and Leonard (1998) alludes to the exploration of traditional business improvement (BI) approaches. According to Delgado, Weber, Ruiz, Guzman, and Piattini (2013), BI refers to a set of instruments and methods that constitute a framework for the identification and evaluation of business processes that contribute to decreased costs or increased revenues. Effective BI can provide a company with valuable strategic perspectives to help it to adapt to a new environment. The article also focuses on the model of double-loop learning that serves as a guarantee of BI’s successful implementation.
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Beginning with the traditional or long-range strategic planning, McAdam and Leonard (1998) emphasize its disadvantages, such as the lack to provide rapid responses and being flexible and open to new discoveries on the market that inevitably lead to the failure of the establishment of a competitive edge. Besides, the authors argue that it “fails to take into account the creative processes and discoveries that generate breakthroughs and prompt genuine shifts in strategic direction” (McAdam & Leonard, 1998, p. 265). In general, long-range strategic planning retards progress. On the contrary, the learning-based approach to strategic planning allows for the creation of quick responses, thus promoting dynamic strategies and distinguishing between strategic thinking and action. The mentioned approach integrates experience into an organization’s performance. And last but not least, it stipulates progress development and minimum limits.
Speaking of the impact of learning approaches, it is pinpointed that the transformation of strategic planning is one of the aspects that introduces the element of renovation. For that reason, it is safe to say that an organization incorporating the learning approach ensures its product development based on modern tools and methods that help to address the current challenges in an effective manner. Meanwhile, the learning approach contributes to the fact that employees “think creatively about the needs of the organization” (McAdam & Leonard, 1998, p. 268). In particular, they assess not only the internal environment of an organization but also the external one as well as any changes and discoveries. In effect, such an approach creates the opportunity to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing era of technology and innovation.
It is also essential to note that double-loop learning presents another beneficial aspect of a learning approach. It is considered to be a progressive BI strategy that integrates proficiency and efficiency. Collecting ideas from the bottom loop that is represented by employees, this strategy implies the two cycles, thus ensuring that a range of the required learning interventions is implemented as appropriate throughout an organization. In other words, being a cyclical model that reflects its consistent nature, double-loop learning introduces progress. Drawing from the evidence presented in the article, it is possible to pinpoint that the mentioned learning model is rather significant to keep an organization competitive.
To conclude, it should be emphasized that the article specifies core concepts that are associated with traditional approaches to strategic planning. In the course of the study, it was revealed that the learning-based approach to BI is an advantageous means to respond to changing environments in a timely manner. The implementation of this approach implies practical efforts based on action and response. Double-loop learning is an integral element of the learning-based approach that promotes adaptation to new conditions within an organization’s strategic vision.
Delgado, A., Weber, B., Ruiz, F., Guzman, I., & Piattini, M. (2013). An integrated approach based on execution measures for the continuous improvement of business processes realized by services. Information and Software Technology, 56(1), 134-162.
McAdam, R., & Leonard, D. (1998). Development of a learning approach to business improvement strategy in rapidly changing business environments. Strategic Change, 7(1), 261-276.