Unilateral Control (model 1)

The theory-in-use that almost all of us use to design our behavior in situ­a­tions that are psycho­log­i­cally threat­ening or poten­tially embar­rassing. As a result, we create many unin­tended nega­tive conse­quences.


Mutual Learning (model 2)

The theory-in-use that enables you and the groups you work with to become more effec­tive, partic­u­larly under diffi­cult condi­tions. Unin­tended conse­quences, including defen­sive behavior, are reduced.


down­load argyris-mutual-learning.pdf

Theory-in-use is the theory you actu­ally employ to design and act out your behavior. It oper­ates quickly, skill­fully and effort­lessly, outside of your aware­ness. Espoused theory is what you say you do.

Core values of the Mutual Learning model

Valid infor­ma­tion: You share all infor­ma­tion rele­vant to an issue, including your assump­tions, your reasoning behind your conclu­sions, and your feel­ings about how the issue is being addressed. You give specific exam­ples so others can clearly under­stand what you mean and deter­mine for them­selves if the infor­ma­tion is accu­rate.

Free and informed choice: You can define your own objec­tives and the methods for achieving them. (You are not being coerced, manip­u­lated or acting out of defen­sive­ness). Your choice is based on valid infor­ma­tion.

Internal commit­ment: You feel person­ally respon­sible for the choice you make; the deci­sion is intrin­si­cally compelling or satis­fying, not because you are rewarded or penal­ized for making that choice. You take owner­ship for imple­menting the deci­sion.

Compas­sion: You temporarily suspend judg­ment towards others and your­self. You have empathy for others and for your­self while holding your­self and others account­able for action rather than unilat­er­ally protecting others or your­self.

Version by Roger Schwarz & Asso­ciates, based on the work of Chris Argyris and Donald Schön (1974); Action Design (1997)