Organizational learning

Organizational learning means the process of systematically improving actions through better collective knowledge and understanding.


1. In the context of disaster resilient infrastructure, the term “organizational learning” can be applied very broadly to any organized entity (even a community), that has established learning processes, such as observation, analysis, knowledge sharing, reflection, sensemaking, experimentation, and change design. Through these processes, the entity seeks to learn from experience, especially from adverse events, to change the way it works, and improve the outcomes from its actions. See also “Systemic change”.

2. In the context of disaster resilient infrastructure, “better knowledge and understanding” often refers to improved understanding of the causal relations and feedback loops within infrastructure systems, and especially the behaviours of complex systems. See also “Feedback loops”, “System of systems”, “Systemic change”, “Systemic risk” and “Cascading hazards”.

3. Organizational learning offers a particular approach to single-, double- and triple-loop learning. See also "Feedback loops".

4. See also “Flexibility”.


Modified from Fiol, C. M., & Lyles, M. A. (1985). Organizational learning. Academy of management review, 10(4), 803-813.


Reference for Note 3: Romme, A. G. L., & Van Witteloostuijn, A. (1999). Circular organizing and triple loop learning. Journal of Organizational Change Management.


Learning post Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident, Japan

In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, Japan has taken significant strides to enhance its safety protocols and reinforce the resilience of its nuclear infrastructure. By implementing new safety requirements beginning in July 2013, Japan has set a higher standard for disaster preparedness, including low-frequency accidents and external events like fires, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. These new regulations emphasize a “defence in depth” approach, meaning the implementation of multiple layers of redundant defensive measures to mitigate potential human and mechanical failures. Some of these measures include raising the assumption level of disasters and reinforcing measures for events which could result in loss of safety functions. Additional measures include improving reliability through frequent communication between the local population and authorities.


Source: ERIA (2020), ‘Policy Recommendations’, in Murakami, T. and V. Anbumozhi (eds.), Securing the Resilience of Nuclear Infrastructure against Natural Disasters. ERIA Research Project Report FY2020 No. 06, Jakarta: ERIA, pp.52-55.