Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization

Senge, Peter M.

An MIT Professor's pathbreaking book on building "learning organizations" -- corporations that overcome inherent obstacles to learning and develop dynamic ways to pinpoint the threats that face them and to recognize new opportunities. Not only is the learning organization a new source of competitive advantage, it also offers a marvelously empowering approach to work, one which promises that, as Archimedes put it, "with a lever long enough... single-handed I can move the world." Senge's pathbreaking book draws on science, spiritual wisdom, psychology, and the cutting edge of management thought to show how businesses can overcome their "learning disabilites" and beat the odds of failure. The book provides a searching personal experience and a dramatic professional shift of mind. Editorial Reviews Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly A director at MIT's Sloan School, Senge here proposes the ``systems thinking'' method to help a corporation to become a ``learning organization,'' one that integrates at all personnel levels indifferently related company functions (sales, product design, etc.) to ``expand the ability to produce.'' He describes requisite disciplines, of which systems-thinking is the fifth. Others include ``personal mastery'' of one's capacities and ``team learning'' through group discussion of individual objectives and problems. Employees and managers are also encouraged to examine together their often negative perceptions or ``mental models'' of company people and procedures. The text is esoteric and flavored with terms like ``recontextualized rationality,'' but the book should help inventory-addled retailers whom the author cites as unaware of their customers' desire for quality. Macmillan Book Clubs selection. (Aug.)

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