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Double Loop Thinking
1 July 2022

Escaping Single-Loop Thinking… to Get Stuck in the ‘Double-Loop’ of Non-Reflection in Military Strategy and Operational Planning Efforts

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Original post can be found here: https://benzweibelson.medium.com/escaping-single-loop-thinking-to-get-stuck-in-the-double-loop-of-non-reflection-in-military-1e67d07fe99b

Double loop thinking, as defined by Flood and Romm presents a middle ground between organizations stuck in perpetual process reinforcement and that of an organization capable of a slightly more useful yet limited form of critical examination. This is termed ‘second loop thinking’ and is not to be confused with reflective practice. Instead, Flood and Romm explain that “[r]ather than looping between two centres of learning, consciousness gets stuck in the middle looking out… There is double vision and blurriness.”[1] An organization using second-loop thinking will rotate between inquiring “are we doing things right” and “are we doing the right things”- thus attempting to get closer to Ackoff’s warning that “doing the wrong things right just make you better at being more wrong.” This still creates an element of anti-intellectualism in that institutional blindness retains a fixation on preserving epistemological frameworks for how the military must understand what war is, and how warfare is exercised within that socially constructed paradigm.[2]

author’s original graphic, 2022

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