Managing Diversity Through Triple-Loop Learning: A Call for Paradigm Shift

Chang Kyu Kwon, Aliki Nicolaides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to conceptualize the meaning and explore the potential for triple-loop learning in the context of diversity management. Three different paradigms of diversity management, namely, discrimination and fairness, access and legitimacy, and learning and effectiveness, will be explored. The authors argue that whereas single-loop learning can be applied during the transition from the discrimination and fairness paradigm to the access and legitimacy paradigm, double-loop learning is required when transforming from the access and legitimacy paradigm to the learning and effectiveness paradigm. The authors assert that triple-loop learning can produce transformation, in individual and organizational capacity for curiosity, compassion, and courage, which goes beyond the cognitive dimensions of double-loop learning. Finally, the authors discuss and suggest Collaborative Developmental Action Inquiry (CDAI), as a method that generates and sustains this existential shift for individual and organizational transformation through ongoing single-, double-, and triple-loop learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Resource Development Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • collaborative developmental action inquiry
  • diversity
  • triple-loop learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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