chapter  1
22 Pages

Learning for Development: Katherine Pasteur

The environment in which development agencies are working is characterized by complexity and uncertainty. The development process itself is non-linear, unpredictable and poorly understood: a complex range of social, economic and political factors are at play over which donor organizations, and even partners, have very little control. Furthermore, decisions are shaped by personal behaviours and organizational norms and constraints. Organizational learning is considered a key discipline for dealing with the 'white water'; of dynamic, unfamiliar and uncertain contexts. When individuals are in the position of doing things they have little experience with or have never done before, effective learning is a clearly a critical skill (Vaill, 1996).