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The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization: Second edition Paperback – 6 Apr 2006

19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; 2nd Revised edition edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905211201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905211203
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Senge explains why the learning organization matters, provides an unvarnished summary of his management principals, offers some basic tools for practicing it, and shows what it's like to operate under this system. The book's concepts remain stimulating and relevant as ever. Amazon.com"

Book Description

In the long run, the only sustainable source of competitive advantage is your organisation's ability to learn faster than its competitors.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Layla Halabi on 17 April 2009
Format: Paperback
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!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
All too often, I find myself acting cynically about my field and ready to dismiss just about anything as mediocre, no matter how popular or praised. Well, this is one book that I think is really excellent - for content, for clarity, for sincerity, for the stories reported in it.
When I plow through a business book, I try to see if I can remember the central ideas, the essence of what the author has to say from the mass of details and stories that make up every business book. Most often, they are appalingly banal and pathetically over-applied, touted as able to solve just about every problem, in particular if a fee is paid to the authors to come and talk about it in person. I was preparted to treat this book the same way, and was simply delighted to find a truly excellent and useful book. And gee, I am glad that I can get inspired by a book in my chosen field, rather than bored!

As I see it, this book has three principal ideas. First, we must think of organizations and their missions as complex systems rather than as conglomerations of isolated problems. It is pitch for the development of a holistic view - how everything interacts and what factors act upon what other factors. This is an analytical tool that can pinpoint what should be done, breaking 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 empowered 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, hence the subtitle of a learning organization. Mistakes are part of this process and should be allowed as valid experiments.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Marik on 13 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is of biblical importance to any 'systems thinker' and/ or a life long learner, specifically in a organizational context as opposed to a lone ranger situation.

The book traces the endemic learning disabilities that plague most organizations, expounds on the fundamental laws of the fifth discipline, and describes typical `system archetypes' that constitute dysfunctional patterns which impede performance.

Upon that foundation, it goes to describe each of the five disciplines: personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning and systems thinking. Beyond just the core concepts of each discipline, there is an emergent synergism that weaves all five disciplines into an inter-connected whole.

This edition goes on to provide a practitioner's handbook for implementation: the impetus for change, strategies for learning organizations, the new role of leadership and the recipe for systems citizenship.

The appendices are very useful as they contain a full list of variants of the system archetypes, and a short snapshot of the `U process' which is dealt with in greater detail in his next book `Presence'.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Parry on 27 May 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this book highly simulating but required heavy study to transfer the ideas into the working environment. I found the framework was incomplete especially around the issues of creating a learning environment. Senges' framework for Systems is best described in terms of 'systems dynamics' which leads onto a more developed theory by others on system complexity and emergence.

He describes what might be an end state without detailing how to get there, the later follow up field book on tools and methods now fills this gap neatly. Both books together are perfect.

This book sets out theory very well, it also provides Thought Leadership, Breakthrough ideas and Inspiration. Its well written and enjoyable.
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