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The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization: First edition (Century business) Paperback – 6 May 1993

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; New edition edition (6 May 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712656871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712656870
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Peter Senge, founder of the Centre for Organisational Learning at MIT's Sloan School of Management, experienced an epiphany while meditating one morning back in the fall of 1987. That was the day he first saw the possibilities of a "learning organisation" that used "systems thinking" as the primary tenet of a revolutionary management philosophy. He advanced the concept into this primer, originally released in 1990, written for those interested in integrating his philosophy into their corporate culture.

The Fifth Discipline has turned many readers into true believers; it remains the ideal introduction to Senge's carefully integrated corporate framework, which is structured around "personal mastery", "mental models", "shared vision", and "team learning". Using ideas that originate in fields from science to spirituality, Senge explains why the learning organisation matters, provides an unvarnished summary of his management principals, offers some basic tools for practising it, and shows what it's like to operate under this system. The book's concepts remain stimulating and relevant as ever. --Howard Rothman, Amazon.com

Book Description

A groundbreaking book which tells companies why, and how, they must become learning organizations if they are to retain competive advances in the 1990s


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Senge definitively is an inspriring writer, and in that sense I did like th Fifth Discipline and the accompanying handbook. If its sole purpose would be to introduce people to looking at what they are doing from a more holistic perspective , I must say, he has succeeded really well. But, in my view, he could have done that in a few chapters in stead of writing two massive books on it. Those books suggest 'control'.
I do see a fundamental flaw, though. All his balancing and reinforcing feed back loops are probably helping, but they remind me too much of Ptolemeic epicircles, explaining everything. We have rejected those long ago. I think there is a fundamental difference between systems thinking and what I call 'complexity thinking'. Complexity thinking, or perhaps even better 'complicity thinking' (Cohen and Stewart), looks at emerging simplicities and (sadly) the inherent impossibility to control them. How do I recognise these patterns? Via feed back loops? Which?
Senge does hit a few nice notes with me, and he certainly goes a lot further than many others but concepts of 'living companies' (also Arie de Geus) and 'fieldbooks' sound a bit too 'consulty' to me.
I recommend everyone to read books like 'Striking a Balance' (Roos and Oliver, 2000), 'The Soul at Work' (Lewin and Birute, 1999) and 'The Next Common Sense' (Lissack and Roos, 1999). If you really want a new approach, please read 'The Collaps of Chaos' (Cohen and Stewart, 1994) and start anew from there.
Don't expect a fieldbook, though, or a nice theory of everything.
Frank
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Format: Paperback
System thinking is an interesting concept. Some of the background theory draws upon feedback control theory. The author acknowledges this but still claims the novelty/originality of the approach, which is probably true in the field of management. However, system thinking should be taken with a great pinch of salt, as it is difficult to reconduct many of the intricacies of real life to series of feedback loops. Real life is largely "fuzzy" in nature - chaos theory, stochastic processes are examples of powerful approaches that try to deal with the enormous complexity of the real world phenomena, including macro/micro economics and business management.
The book is a bit overstretched in other areas (or "disciplines", e.g personal mastery, etc.), which have significantly less "staying power".
Perhaps a new edition of this book should include an assessment of the successes and failures of the approach. Some of the references to "real world" adopters of the book's principles and doctrines would be interesting. Quite a good presentation after all.
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Format: Paperback
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. For these people, The Fifth Discipline is a wonderful gift.
Our emotions tell us to do one thing, and that one thing is usually not in our own best interest.
I had heard clients of mine talk about the beer game, and I was delighted to see it described in this book.
For the average reader, this book will make you expert enough in systems thinking to be much more successful with your decisions. If you feel that you would like more help in this area, please read The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. It is a very helpful companion book that will give you practical advice for implementing what you learn in this book. Follow that up with The Dance of Change which focuses on how to sustain a learning organization.
If you have colleagues or friends who often make decisions that do not turn out well, it may be because they do not understand how to think about business as a system. Give them this book, and you will have done the person a great favor. Follow-up by discussing what they have learned, and help them with an exercise or two from the Fieldbook. You'll be glad you did.
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Format: Paperback
For the "learning organization," success depends most on how well the organization thinks. Senge's breakthrough came when he first comprehended and then articulated thinking as an organizational priority for modern business. His work, The Fifth Discipline, left many in the academic and business worlds wondering "Why didn't I think of that?" The answer: they had considered thinking as essentially an individual task and communicating thought as a group activity. Senge proved the matchless worth of systems thinking, that is of treating thinking at its most fundamental level as a group learning experience. After reading The Fifth Discipline you will want to read challenging new works such as "Why Didn't I Think of That? - Think the Unthinkable and Achieve Creative Greatness" where the author takes you to the highest levels of current creative managerial thought so that you, unlike your predecessors in the pre-Senge days, will not end up having to ask yourself "Why didn't I think of that?"
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Format: Paperback
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. For these people, The Fifth Discipline is a wonderful gift. Our emotions tell us to do one thing, and that one thing is usually not in our own best interest. I had heard clients of mine talk about the beer game, and I was delighted to see it described in this book. For the average reader, this book will make you expert enough in systems thinking to be much more successful with your decisions. If you feel that you would like more help in this area, please read The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. It is a very helpful companion book that will give you practical advice for implementing what you learn in this book. If you have colleagues or friends who often make decisions that do not turn out well, it may be because they do not understand how to think about business as a system. Give them this book, and you will have done the person a great favor. Follow-up by discussing what they have learned, and help them with an exercise or two from the Fieldbook. You'll be glad you did. If you decide from reading The Fifth Discipline that you want to establish and maintain a learning organization, you must read The Dance of Change, which is remarkably good at helping you sustain improvements in your organization. For your personal decision-making, I also recommend Smart Choices.
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