I am Susan Kaplan, and I am the Budget Officer of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of
Commerce. I am located in Washington, D.C.
My interests in the concept of the learning organization developed as I
became interested in the "new" management. In addition to my employment,
I have, at the age of 44, decided that my "real work" is in change
agentry. To that end, I am enrolled in the Organization Development
program run by the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science. In one
of my recent courses, we actually used the America Woodmark case which is
in the FieldBook--taking it a step further and actually trying to do OD on
the corporation itself.
My organization is in relative turmoil--we are engaged in an OD effort,
largely due to efforts on my part, as well as an imminent functional and
structural realignment. We are trying to incorporate (at least I am
trying to incorporate) the radical concepts of team work and team
learning, program and technical mastery, expansion of decision-making
authority, and continuous evolution as an organization into a culture that
finds these concepts foreign, arcane, and dangerous. I was inspired by
Senge's work partly because I found the concepts so meaningful and partly
because I found his writing almost lyrical.
In answer to the question why a learning organization, my answer is
simple: why not? It may be the only way we can survive.
I apologize for the length of this message; sometimes I get longwinded.
Susan Kaplan email@example.com
Budget Officer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
US Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC