Systems thinking to facilitate “double loop” learning in tourism industry: a COVID-19 response strategy




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Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



It is evident there is an urgent need for tourism companies to build highly responsive learning systems to adapt to COVID-19 threats and beyond. As such, only learning tourism companies that promote inquiry, challenging current actions, and departing away from adopted assumptions will be able to survive. However, there is paucity of studies exploring effective learning methods in tourism companies to adapt to unpredictable crisis consequences. This study argues that systems thinking approach for service delivery design can operationalize double loop learning in tourism companies of finding alternative service offerings. An exploratory case study was conducted in a leading cruise group company in Vietnam. Results show that systems thinking activated double-loop learning by promoting three different drivers: systematic judges and acts, problem-based task force teams, and service innovation. This paper theorizes systems thinking with double-loop learning as an organizational means to help tourism companies survive during COVID-19 global tragedy, and to transform their service offerings. It also extends current understanding of tourism companies’ organisational learning by incorporating double loop learning with structural design issues based on the lens of organic structures and introduces managers of tourism companies to the significance of organic structures for competitive advantage creation during crisis.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


COVID-19, systems thinking, double loop learning, response strategy, tourism industry


Jaaron, A.A.M., Pham, D.T. and Cogonon, M.E. (2021) Systems thinking to facilitate “double loop” learning in tourism industry: a COVID-19 response strategy. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 31 (4), pp. 1032-1050


Research Institute

Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)