Prof Epstein also states that organizations do not routinely and systematically learn from past errors and mistakes- if fact they rarely do. This is an ‘intentional lack of oversight’ is why the ‘predicament’ in Iraq is so perilously close to the experience in Vietnam,
One reason for this folly is that many aspects of the disasters in decision making are known only within the organizations, and not even by many insiders at that (so we have teachers desperately trying to do what they believe to be a good job, only to be let down at a systemic level) The organizations tend not to make relevant and detailed studies of past errors, let alone reveal theselves outside the organization. (internal/external politics?) and then there is the matter of how such studies are done, and how they are revealed ( league tables are a classic example!) In fact the risk that such a study or investigation might leak to the outside is sufficient to keep enquiries from being made in the first place.
This deliberate intention to not try to learn internally what has gone wrong constitutes an anti-learning mechanism. Avoiding improved performance is not the purpose of the mechanism. But because studying present and past faulty decision making risks may invite blame and organizational , political or even legal penalty, those outcomes ‘outweigh’ the benefits of clearly understanding what needs to be changed within the organization.
This does not just impact education. Our experiences at Hastings Point in fighting overdevelopment and trying to save one of the last and most biodiverse estuaries on the NSW coast has also uncovered extensive ‘intentional lack of oversight’ as well as deliberate systemic failure of government at all three levels across most departments!