The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

by Peter M. Senge


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Completely Updated and Revised

This revised edition of Peter Senge’s bestselling classic, The Fifth Discipline, is based on fifteen years of experience in putting the book’s ideas into practice. As Senge makes clear, in the long run the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. The leadership stories in the book demonstrate the many ways that the core ideas in The Fifth Discipline, many of which seemed radical when first published in 1990, have become deeply integrated into people’s ways of seeing the world and their managerial practices.

In The Fifth Discipline, Senge describes how companies can rid themselves of the learning “disabilities” that threaten their productivity and success by adopting the strategies of learning organizations—ones in which new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and people are continually learning how to create results they truly desire.

The updated and revised Currency edition of this business classic contains over one hundred pages of new material based on interviews with dozens of practitioners at companies like BP, Unilever, Intel, Ford, HP, Saudi Aramco, and organizations like Roca, Oxfam, and The World Bank. It features a new Foreword about the success Peter Senge has achieved with learning organizations since the book’s inception, as well as new chapters on Impetus (getting started), Strategies, Leaders’ New Work, Systems Citizens, and Frontiers for the Future.

Mastering the disciplines Senge outlines in the book will:

• Reignite the spark of genuine learning driven by people focused on what truly matters to them
• Bridge teamwork into macro-creativity
• Free you of confining assumptions and mindsets
• Teach you to see the forest and the trees
• End the struggle between work and personal time

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385517256
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/21/2006
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 60,947
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

PETER M. SENGE is the founding chairperson of the Society for Organizational Learning and a senior lecturer at MIT. He is the co-author of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, The Dance of Change, and Schools That Learn (part of the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook series) and has lectured extensively throughout the world. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

The Fifth Discipline

By Peter M. Senge

Random House

Peter M. Senge
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0385517254

Chapter One

Give Me a Lever Long Enough... And Single-Handed I Can Move The World

From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world. This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay a hidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole. When we then try to "see the big picture," we try to reassemble the fragments in our minds, to list and organize all the pieces. But, as physicist David Bohm says, the task is futile--similar to trying to reassemble the fragments of a broken mirror to see a true reflection. Thus, after a while we give up trying to see the whole altogether.

The tools and ideas presented in this book are for destroying the illusion that the world is created of separate, unrelated forces. When we give up this illusion--we can then build "learning organizations," organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.

As the world becomes more interconnected and business becomes more complex and dynamic, work must become more "learningful." It is no longersufficient to have one person learning for the organization, a Ford or a Sloan or a Watson or a Gates. It's just not possible any longer to figure it out from the top, and have everyone else following the orders of the "grand strategist." The organizations that will truly excel in the future will be the organizations that discover how to tap people's commitment and capacity to learn at all levels in an organization.

Learning organizations are possible because, deep down, we are all learners. No one has to teach an infant to learn. In fact, no one has to teach infants anything. They are intrinsically inquisitive, masterful learners who learn to walk, speak, and pretty much run their households all on their own. Learning organizations are possible because not only is it our nature to learn but we love to learn. Most of us at one time or another have been part of a great team, a group of people who functioned together in an extraordinary way-- who trusted one another, who complemented one anothers's strengths and compensated for one another's limitations, who had common goals that were larger than individual goals, and who produced extraordinary results. I have met many people who have experienced this sort of profound teamwork--in sports, or in the performing arts, or in business. Many say that they have spent much of their life looking for that experience again. What they experienced was a learning organization. The team that became great didn't start off great--it learned how to produce extraordinary results.

One could argue that the entire global business community is learning to learn together, becoming a learning community. Whereas once many industries were dominated by a single, undisputed leader--one IBM, one Kodak, one Xerox--today industries, especially in manufacturing, have dozens of excellent companies. American, European, or Japanese corporations are pulled forward by innovators in China, Malaysia, or Brazil, and they in turn, are pulled by the Koreans and Indians. Dramatic improvements take place in corporations in Italy, Australia, Singapore--and quickly become influential around the world.

There is also another, in some ways deeper, movement toward learning organizations, part of the evolution of industrial society. Material affluence for the majority has gradually shifted people's orientation toward work--from what Daniel Yankelovich called an "instrumental" view of work, where work was a means to an end, to a more "sacred" view, where people seek the "intrinsic" benefits of work.(1) "Our grandfathers worked six days a week to earn what most of us now earn by Tuesday afternoon," says Bill O'Brien, former CEO of Hanover Insurance. "The ferment in management will continue until we build organizations that are more consistent with man's higher aspirations beyond food, shelter and belonging."

Moreover, many who share these values are now in leadership positions. I find a growing number of organizational leaders who, while still a minority, feel they are part of a profound evolution in the nature of work as a social institution. "Why can't we do good works at work?" asked Edward Simon, former president of Herman Miller, a sentiment I often hear repeated today. In founding the "Global Compact," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan invited businesses around the world to build learning communities that elevate global standards for labor rights, and social and environmental responsibility.

Perhaps the most salient reason for building learning organizations is that we are only now starting to understand the capabilities such organizations must possess. For a long time, efforts to build learning organizations were like groping in the dark until the skills, areas of knowledge, and paths for development of such organizations became known. What fundamentally will distinguish learning organizations from traditional authoritarian "controlling organizations" will be the mastery of certain basic disciplines. That is why the "disciplines of the learning organization" are vital.


On a cold, clear morning in December 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the fragile aircraft of Wilbur and Orville Wright proved that powered flight was possible. Thus was the airplane invented; but it would take more than thirty years before commercial aviation could serve the general public.

Engineers say that a new idea has been "invented" when it is proven to work in the laboratory. The idea becomes an "innovation" only when it can be replicated reliably on a meaningful scale at practical costs. If the idea is sufficiently important, such as the telephone, the digital computer, or commercial aircraft, it is called a "basic innovation," and it creates a new industry or transforms an existing industry. In these terms, learning organizations have been invented, but they have not yet been innovated.

In engineering, when an idea moves from an invention to an innovation, diverse "component technologies" come together. Emerging from isolated developments in separate fields of research, these components gradually form an ensemble of technologies that are critical to one another's success. Until this ensemble forms, the idea, though possible in the laboratory, does not achieve its potential in practice.(2)

The Wright brothers proved that powered flight was possible, but the McDonnel Douglas DC3, introduced in 1935, ushered in the era of commercial air travel. The DC3 was the first plane that supported itself economically as well as aerodynamically. During those intervening thirty years (a typical time period for incubating basic innovations), myriad experiments with commercial flight had failed. Like early experiments with learning organizations, the early planes were not reliable and cost-effective on an appropriate scale.

The DC-3, for the first time, brought together five critical component technologies that formed a successful ensemble. They were: the variable-pitch propeller, retractable landing gear, a type of lightweight molded body construction called "monocque," a radial air-cooled engine, and wing flaps. To succeed, the DC3 needed all five; four were not enough. One year earlier, the Boeing 247 was introduced with all of them except wing flaps. Boeing's engineers found that the plane, lacking wing flaps, was unstable on takeoff and landing, and they had to downsize the engine.

Today, I believe, five new component technologies are gradually converging to innovate learning organizations. Though developed separately, each will, I believe, prove critical to the others' success, just as occurs with any ensemble. Each provides a vital dimension in building organizations that can truly "learn," that can continually enhance their capacity to realize their highest aspirations:

Systems Thinking. A cloud masses, the sky darkens, leaves twist upward, and we know that it will rain. We also know the storm runoff will feed into groundwater miles away, and the sky will clear by tomorrow. All these events are distant in time and space, and yet they are all connected within the same pattern. Each has an influence on the rest, an influence that is usually hidden from view. You can only understand the system of a rainstorm by contemplating the whole, not any individual part of the pattern.

Business and other human endeavors are also systems. They, too, are bound by invisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play out their effects on each other. Since we are part of that lacework ourselves, it's doubly hard to see the whole pattern of change. Instead, we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system, and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved. Systems thinking is a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools that has been developed over the past fifty years, to make the full patterns clearer, and to help us see how to change them effectively.

Though the tools are new, the underlying worldview is extremely intuitive; experiments with young children show that they learn systems thinking very quickly.

Personal Mastery. "Mastery" might suggest gaining dominance over people or things. But mastery can also mean a special level of proficiency. A master craftsman doesn't dominate pottery or weaving. People with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them-- in effect, they approach their life as an artist would approach a work of art. They do that by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning.

Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively. As such, it is an essential cornerstone of the learning organization--the learning organization's spiritual foundation. An organization's commitment to and capacity for learning can be no greater than that of its members. The roots of this discipline lie in both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions, and in secular traditions as well.

Bu few organizations encourage the growth of their people in this manner. This results in vast untapped resources: "People enter business as bright, well-educated, high-energy people, full of energy and desire to make a difference," says Hanover's O'Brien. "By the time they are 30, a few are on the fast track and the rest 'put in their time' to do what matters to them on the weekend. They lose the commitment, the sense of mission, and the excitement with which they started their careers. We get damn little of their energy and almost none of their spirit."

And surprisingly few adults work to rigorously develop their own personal mastery. When you ask most adults what they want from their lives, they often talk first about what they'd like to get rid of: "I'd like my mother-in-law to move out," they say, or "I'd like my back problems to clear up." The discipline of personal mastery starts with clarifying the things that really matter to us, of living our lives in the service of our highest aspirations.

Here, I am most interested in the connections between personal learning and organizational learning, in the reciprocal commitments between individual and organization, and in the special spirit of an enterprise made up of learners.

Mental Models. Mental models are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action. Very often, we are not consciously aware of our mental models or the effects they have on our behavior. For example, we may notice that a coworker dresses elegantly, and say to ourselves, "She's a country club person." About someone who dresses shabbily, we may feel, "He doesn't care about what others think." Mental models of what can or cannot be done in different management settings are no less deeply entrenched. Many insights into new markets or outmoded organizational practices fail to get put into practice because they conflict with powerful, tacit mental models.

For example, in the early 1970s, Royal Dutch/Shell, became one of the first large organizations to understand how pervasive was the influence of hidden mental models. Shell's success in the 1970s and 1980s (rising from one of the weakest of the big seven oil companies to one of the strongest along with Exxon) during a period of unprecedented changes in the world oil business--the formation of OPEC, extreme fluctuations in oil prices and availability, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union--came in large measure from learning how to surface and challenge managers' mental models as a discipline for preparing change. Arie de Geus, Shell's Coordinator of Group Planning during the 80s, said that continuous adaptation and growth in a changing business environment depends on "institutional learning, which is the process whereby management teams change their shared mental models of the company, their markets, and their competitors. For this reason, we think of planning as learning and of corporate planning as institutional learning."(3)

The discipline of working with mental models starts with turning the mirror inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. It also includes the ability to carry on "learningful" conversations that balance inquiry and advocacy, where people expose their own thinking effectively and make that thinking open to the influence of others.

Building Shared Vision. If any one idea about leadership has inspired organizations for thousands of years, it's the capacity to hold a shared picture of the future we seek to create. One is hardpressed to think of any organization that has sustained some measure of greatness in the absence of goals, values, and missions that become deeply shared throughout the organization. IBM had "service"; Polaroid had instant photography; Ford had public transportation for the masses and Apple had "computers for the rest of us.&


Excerpted from The Fifth Discipline by Peter M. Senge Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

1 ""Give Me a Lever Long Enough . . . and Single-Handed
2 Does Your Organization Have a Learning Disability?    17
3 Prisoners of the System, or Prisoners of Our Own Thinking?    27
4 The Laws of the Fifth Discipline    57
5 A Shift of Mind    68
6 Nature's Templates: Identifying the Patterns That
7 The Principle of Leverage    114
8 The Art of Seeing the Forest and the Trees    127
9 Personal Mastery    139
10 Mental Models    174
11 Shared Vision    205
12 Team Learning    233
13 Openness    273
14 Localness    287
15 A Manager's Time    302
16 Ending the War Between Work and Family    306
17 Microworlds: The Technology of the Learning Organization    313
18 The Leaders New Work    339
19 A Sixth Discipline?    363
20 Rewriting the Code    364
21 The Indivisible Whole    368
Appendix 1: The Learning Disciplines    373
Appendix 2: Systems Archetypes    378
Notes    391
Acknowledgments    411
Index    415

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Forget your old, tired ideas about leadership. The  most successful corporation of the 1990s will be  something called a learning organization." —  Fortune Magazine.

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Fifth Discipline 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Discipline was a required reading for my Quality Control class. I was assigned to present the concepts to the class and apply them to the engineering field. I think this book is very difficult to read because there is a lot of information and the concepts are mixed of business and engineering concepts. Basically, this book is about how to run an organization. Senge addresses five disciplines that organizations and leaders should strive to master in creating learning organizations. The five disciplines are: . Personal mastery: similar to continuous improvement. It means continually clarifying our personal vision while striving to see reality objectively. . Mental models: becoming conscious of our individual and collective mindset or worldview. Good leaders learn to consider other perspectives through inquiry and reflection. . Building a shared vision: the practice of continually engaging people in articulating personal visions for the future and building a common sense of purpose and vision. . Team learning: learning skills of dialogue and discussion in order to generate collective learning and produce results that are greater than the contributions of individuals. . Systems thinking: changing the way we think in order to see the underlying structures of things, the relationships among players and forces, and the dynamic complexity of many problems we face. The essence of this discipline lies in a shift of mind: seeing interrelationships rather than linear cause-effect chains, and seeing processes of change rather than snapshots. Personally, I recommend everyone who is either in engineering or business major to read this book. It's a great book. Since this book is difficult to read because of the deep meaning of the concepts, it would be better if you put enough time to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Peter Senge's book details in great length the problems that continue to plague many organizations. His outlines clear steps for solving these problems in a logical and systematic manner. In this book Senge outlines what he considers to be learning disabilities that contribute to the problems of many individuals and organizations. To overcome these disabilities he outlines five disciplines that when followed will provide continuous learning and improvement. He extensively covers the revolutionary ideas of his fifth discipline; systems thinking. Today more than ever there is a need to understand this form of thinking for both the individual and any organization that wishes to succeed in the modern global economy. I recommend this book for any student or employee who would like to make a positive contribution in their current or future workplace.
Lolzy More than 1 year ago
The Learning Organization remains one of the most talked-of management concepts in today's business world, and nobody is as capable of explaining exactly what is a Learning Organization or what are the requirements for such an elusive concept than Peter Senge. Senge's main thesis is that for an organization to become a Learning organization, it must embrace five disciplines: 1) Building Shared Vision so that the organization may build a common commitment to long term results and achievement. 2) Mental models are a technique that can be used to foster creativity as well as readiness and openness to change and the unexpected. 3) Team Learning is needed so that the learning is passed on from the individuals to teams (i.e. the organization as a whole). 4) Personal Mastery is the individual's motivation to learn and become better (hence the term Mastery). and Finally 5) The fifth discipline is that of Systems Thinking which allows to see a holistic systemic view of the organization as a function of its environment. However, this is not simply a book about management practice.. though it was written primarily for the use managers. This is a book about growth, improvement and continuous development. If you wish to achieve these results for yourself, your home, or your organization, then you MUST read this book. Senge introduces his ideas and concepts smoothly and in an absorbing style. He is able to explain difficult concepts simply and by the end, you find that you have whole-heartedly embraced his belief in the Learning Organization, in fact, you find yourself yearning for it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is pretty heavy book to read since the author tries to give a lot of information in the book, I think if you put time to read and understand the book, it will help you to think more clearly in the future, makes you more organized and be more capable. the author also include several examples in his book making it easier to understand his points.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Senge has a wonderful talent as a founder and teacher of 'learning organization'. I know he has helped many through his deep understanding of the theories and practices on how to make an organization more effective. I know this book will open the minds of all who will read it.
RobinJacksonPearson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has been a real treat to find so much wisdom in one book. Peter Senge clearly and logically explains how the systemic forces of organizational dynamics work, and then casts a compelling vision of how we can use this knowledge to resolve problems and create opportunities. He proposes that organizations can learn better survival skills, just as people can. The title comes from the last item in Senge's list of the five disciplines of a learning organization:1. Personal Mastery (developing full human potential)2. Mental Models (identifying and testing hidden assumptions)3. Shared Vision (engaging everyone for a worthy goal)4. Team Learning (practicing dialog to build trust and synergy)5. Systems Thinking (discerning how influences in a system are interrelated and recognizing common dynamics, or "systems archetypes")It turns out that living organizational systems need an ongoing, deliberate input of applied idealism to produce optimal results. What I mean by "idealism" is a set of high humanitarian standards, such as - nurturing human development - creating and sharing a worthy vision - pursuing egalitarian dialog, honesty, and inquiry - fostering a trust culture - cultivating the kinds of relationships that create team synergy.The convergence of interests between a fully engaged workforce and a true "learning organization" has great potential to bring prosperity to all concerned. It may be too much of a generalization, but I suspect that one of the underlying causes of our economic recession is a simple lack of engagement and alignment between the people and the institutions they work for. Perhaps the best way for American business to remain competitive in a global market over the long run is to leverage the full power and potential of the American workforce.Whether or not the five disciplines might solve our country's economic woes, I am persuaded they can create the kind of work environments that seriously upgrade their employees' quality of life. I dearly hope these pragmatic ideals will soon transform the corporate world so that skilled practitioners of the five disciplines become the norm rather than the exception. With "over one million copies in print," and numerous other thinkers and authors promoting similar views, it seems that the movement is gathering momentum.A tragic side note - one of the companies Senge profiled as a good example of a learning organization has recently become a byword for business practices gone wrong on a grand scale. Whatever BP was doing right when he wrote the book 20 years ago didn't work well enough to prevent disaster. However, I don't think this case necessarily undermines the validity of the model - it may simply underscore the need to apply the principles more thoroughly.
paulsignorelli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Peter Senge's much admired book on building learning organizations and communities of learning is essential reading for trainers and anyone else interested in how successful learning is fostered. He introduces his key themes--systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building a shared vision, and team learning--in the first several pages of the book, then takes us on an engaging exploration of those themes as he shows us how successful learning organizations develop through what he terms the "core learning capabilities for teams": aspiration, reflective conversation, and understanding complexity. Chapter 14--"Strategies"--is particularly helpful through sections on integrating learning and working, connecting with the core of the business, building learning communities, and developing learning infrastructures.
dmcolon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm in education and we tend to have a professional disdain for anything coming out of the business world. I understand that disdain and largely sympathize with it from an ideological perspective, but on a practical level, we are missing out on some really tremendous works. Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline is certainly one of these books. Sure the book is verbose and tends to make its points ad nauseam, but there's some great discussions about leadership here. In sum, Senge encourages us to take a systems approach to organizations -- we need to look at organizations in their full context rather than through our narrow perspectives. This will allow us to see the best paths we need to take in order to success. The best way to achieve this is to create learning communities where we work, i.e., places where ideas are taken seriously and exchanged and debated on a regular basis. The book is full of learned references to philosophy (Western and Eastern) and literature. For me, this went a long way toward dispelling the stereotype of the one-dimensional businessperson, obsessed only with profit. Nothing in the book seemed all that revolutionary to me but when I thought about that, I realized that's because so much of this book has been used in so many different conversations I've had about leadership, that Senge's ideas have become intellectual common knowledge.
jamclash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To me, a still very relevant theory and method of instructional design and corporate organization.
jaygheiser on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the best business book ever written. A very wise book, there is far more going on here than just organizational behavior. This is a life philosophy. The court learning dilemma ""we can't learn it when we see no consequences of our actions"" area did highly significant info set. Also, the Truevision versus the vision statement, the danger of best practices, visions fail without systems thinking, the concept of compensating feedback -- why what I refer to as 'the Heiser uncertainty principle' occurs, ""too much information"" as a fundamental problem, why can't work be one of the wonderful things of life, conflict manipulation describes the use of any ""negative vision"" as a motivator, entire industries can develop misfits between models and reality, why visions die, the boundary between work and life is artificial.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge was, though difficult to follow at times, an extremely insightful book that opens the door to a whole new way of managerial thinking. In the book, Peter Senge goes through many of the problems, or ‘learning disabilities’, that have effected organizations over the years and offers 5 disciplines to remedy these disabilities. The five disciplines include shared vision, mental models, personal mastery, team learning, and systems thinking; the fifth discipline, or systems thinking, being the most important, most overlooked, and is the center piece that the other four disciplines surround. Mr. Senge walks the reader through the disciplines with great examples and stories, and truly believes that organizations must continue to pursue improvement in these areas in order to be successful.  One thing that Peter Senge continued to preach throughout the book is the importance of being a ‘learning organization’. A learning organization is an organization where everyone buys into the idea of continuous improvement and innovation. Within this type of organization, the leaders are not as concerned about the hierarchy within the organization but the significance of improvement. Implementing these five disciplines within an atmosphere that encourages creativity, individualism, and innovation is the only way to attain this. By having the boss send a memo demanding for each employee to share their vision for the company is not going to suffice; as this approach will only produce a watered down vision that the employees think their bosses want to hear and not at all what they truly see. Peter Senge does a wonderful job of continually shaping this idea and helping to bring it to life off the page.  I personally recommend this book to not only managers but all people operating within an organization; as the system where you live, work, or attend can always be improved. 
PLupercio More than 1 year ago
This book was a lengthy but great read that explains the five disciplines that are critical to running a successful business. At the root of these disciplines is the employee, and  this book emphasis the importance for everyone involved to have that drive to succeed. To develop their personal mastery and feel invested in their work. This book inspired me to create a clear path to reach my vision of running my own business. The concepts in the book are very important to understand and implement in any managerial or team environment where success depends on the collaboration of everyone involved to solve key issues.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like others, I worked on a team that had to read and present on this book for our Quality Control class. The book is long and a difficult read, yet it does a great job explaining the many errors that most people do not realize they do everyday. There are numerous examples and diagrams to gain a strong understanding of the material, and most of the info ties together to emphasis on each other. The book could be cut down into strong points with fewer examples to have a stronger impact on the reader. If there there was a revise or update, we recommend combining sections so the information had less transitions and flowed from one concept to the next. Overall, great book with a strong message of how to change mentalities of thinking for the better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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RODRIGUEZD More than 1 year ago
Initially The Fifth Discipline may seem only as an engineering or leadership book for the management team of a company for the formation and development of the Learning Organization. None the less, it gradually becomes a very engaging read in which the interrelation of self and the organization reveals how the same system can be applied to one self and serve as introspection tool for growth. Although the book is repetitive at times, it serves to truly attain understanding of the points and more abstract ideas treated. The Learning Organization is described as the most efficient model for the functioning of a team and ultimately a company of continual improvement and thus its capacity to achieve goals. Senge guides its formation based on five principles or "disciplines" with the help of many vivid examples that make deep though and making the connection to a real organization dynamic and exciting. I found one of the most interesting quotes was "Structures of which we are unaware hold us prisoners", which envelops the general problem that without being aware of shortcomings, improvement and development cannot occur. This concept resonates throughout the book, where every chapter begins by identifying the fundamental problem which prevents discipline implementation . This concept is also the cornerstone of the Fifth Discipline-Systems Thinking, where the underlying fabric of interrelated factors is a juxtaposition of the factor which makes organizations fail when ignored or makes them true Learning organizations, both as result of their learning environment.. - Personal Mastery is the individual motivation created by "creative tension" or the moving force to reach a vision by purpose. It is essential to develop before systems thinking is achieved by surpassing archetypes of fundamental problems. -Mental Models is very similar to the concept of individual schema, and which has to be modified to attain shared vision (another Discipline) for everyone in the team from which it then can move forward. -Shared vision is explained as the concrete concept of a goal which is fueled by purpose to long term results and improvement. -Team Learning encompasses the various types of leaders and their capabilities in directing and "passing on" learning from individuals to the organization as a whole. As a result of Senge's passionate narration of how all these disciplines are interconnected, the book is an absorbing guide that encompasses every aspect of how to begin and achieve a Learning organization from the perspective of unit to the whole. It is truly a great book in as much for academic learning as for personal and social examination that leaves one believing in the Learning organization for its nominal and human value of common purpose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very hard to read. However, there was interesting information about the learning disabilities and how that can impact a company/organization. What I found to be most interesting was the importance of having a learning organization and systems thinking. Senge stated in order to be successful, people within an organization must learn how to learn together, and one must view the system as a whole. One person’s action will impact the entire system. Although such a simple concept, it is still plaguing many organizations. What helped with the reading was listening to the audio book also. The audio book contained many examples that cleared up much confusion from reading. I felt that the book had more information than needed. Senge could have reduced the number of pages and still have made all of his points.
VELGARA More than 1 year ago
The Fifth Discipline was assign in my Quality Class. What this book did for me, it gave me a good idea of how business are affected because they do not or are not able to implement the different strategies of being a leader and knowing how to run a business when one faces bigger problems than the ones we are used to seen everyday. There are some people out there that are very successful for example the Google Company or Facebook. These people are the type of people that are able to see their vision of where they want to be. As Senge explained, these men had a vision, but used the gap that existed between their vision and current reality to inspire their workers to achieve remarkable things. And they created self-reinforcing systems to do so. Another, thing that I really enjoy about this book is that, even though this book is really old it has examples that one can relate to and be able to understand them. The way it is written with different kind of examples help people understands the concept and the importance of the book. Sometimes when books are old the examples that are used usually need some updates but this book was really good it doesn’t feel like it needs any updating even though it is old it gets the point across. The fifth discipline has three primary steps that are really helpful to any organization and business. These steps should be learned by the managers and the bosses in order to have a successful business. First, we must think of organizations and their missions as complex systems rather than as collections of isolated problems. It is pitch for the development of a complete view. How everything interacts and what factors act upon what other factors. This book is a tool that can help pinpoint what should be done, or what needs to be done in an organization. It assist on how to break mental habits of looking only at the bottom line of sales revenues, for example, rather than the need to provide better service or delivery times. Second, employees must be permitted to make their own decisions locally, requiring honesty and openness throughout the organization as standard practice. This enables them to question and learn, not just individually but as part of a unified team. It helps managers to listen to workers and to implement their ideas into the business or organization. Mistakes are part of this process and should be allowed as valid experiments. Third, the task of a leader is to design an organizational system within which this can all be accomplished. Rather than control all decisions in a centralized manner in accordance with a rigid plan, the leader must develop a vision of where they organization should go and then allow his employees to pursue that vision as a team with great autonomy. It was a great experience in reading this book. It was the first business book that I have read but I am looking forward on reading more business books because they give you a good idea of what business are like and what are the problems that organizations are having and how they can be solved. I really recommend this book to everyone but specially to managers because they are the ones that will face most of the problems in the businesses or organizations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great look into ways that businesses can thrive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pete_the_ReaderNJ More than 1 year ago
It's complicated, but its depth is wide-reaching and comprehensive. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anthony_Y More than 1 year ago
Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline contains the information and practices necessary for an organization to become a learning organization. That being said, the lessons in this book are of great help to anyone looking to improve the way they work within a group, how a group works, and even improve a large multinational corporation. The "five disciplines" are all strongly tied together and spelled out in plain language for many to read, understand, and benefit from. They are, however, quite complex to master. The book teaches people to alter or avoid actions that come naturally with being human. From defensive mechanisms that hinder cooperation, to small scale thinking that keeps people from focusing on an entire system, Senge has written a book that is a must read for anyone that cares and wants to improve upon the way that they or their company works, learns and strives for goals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fifth discipline written by Peter Senge overall is a very interesting book, it has great theories supported with examples which are critical to many different organizations and personal life. The methodologies proposed in the book can definitely help reinforce already existing belief or help highlight mistakes that are currently in existence. Whether someone agrees or disagrees with Senge's views, it is without a doubt a good read. The only negative aspect of this writing is that although he provides actual stories of businesses succeeding or failing as evidence for his points. Many times he fails to show that his theories are the actual reasons why the companies were able to succeed. One example of this would be the success of the Shell Corporation during the oil crisis. Although he was able to show that with proper mental models the company used was critical to their success, the Shell Corporation could have just as easily have had an improper forecast and failed. Then the example would have been detrimental to his theory instead. Perhaps if Senge were to include fewer examples and explain the examples further so that he can reinforce his points it may be more convincing. None the less the five disciplines mentioned in the book are useful. Some of the disciplines are focused on changing oneself instead of merely focusing on changing the organization. This way, although trying to change the organization may be long and strenuous to some being able to improve one's personal mastery can be a great accomplishment in the personal aspect. In addition to that being a part of a learning organization with a shared vision is better than one without these qualities. Although it is unsure the importance and effectiveness of the disciplines as heavy as Senge claims, it is certain that results will vary from organization to organization. Despite a few blemishes, the book is a useful read and can help add value to the reader being a part of any organization.