The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization: First edition (Century business) Paperback – 6 May 1993
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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
A groundbreaking book which tells companies why, and how, they must become learning organizations if they are to retain competive advances in the 1990s
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book on Systems Thinking, which can impact on the majority of peoples lives.Published 21 months ago by Sam Huish
An excellent concept in business that has not been covered by other authors. A must read. Get it bought now!Published on 30 April 2014 by Marcos White
The book is in good shape and was delivered on time.
It is a very insightful book about the problems in implementing learning organizations, driving us into the causes and... Read more
I bought this book using the Kindle app on my i-pad and was delighted at how easy and quick it was to do so.Published on 28 Dec. 2012 by Mr. Andrew Simpson
Most accessible book I've read on Systems Thinking so far. Good examples and narratives, generally pretty OK to relate to. Read morePublished on 4 Nov. 2012 by tsagars