In the opening pages of his book, Senge offers some
It is no longer sufficient to have one person learning
for the organization.
The organizations that will truly excel in the future
will be the organizations that discover how to tap
people's commitment and capacity to learn at all
levels of the organization.
What fundamentally will distinguish learning
organizations from traditional authoritarian "controlling
organizations" will be the mastery of certain basic
The disciplines Senge lists are these:
- systems thinking
- personal mastery
- mental models
- building shared vision
- team learning
Central to any discussion of learning organizations is
the definition of learning. As Senge himself noted:
"The problem with talking about 'learning organizations'
is that the 'learning' has lost its central meaning in
contemporary usage. Most people's eyes glaze over
if you talk to them about 'learning' or 'learning organizations.'
Little wonder--for, in everyday use, learning has come to
be synonymous with 'taking in information.' "
Senge offered up "metanoia" -- a shift of mind -- to get at
what he termed "the deeper meaning of learning." He
added, "Real learning gets to the heart of what it means
to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves."
Nowhere that I can find does Senge suggest that the
term "learning organization" refers to an organization that
learns in the same sense in which people learn. Indeed,
my reading of Senge suggests that he is saying the exact
opposite, that learning organizations are organizations in
which people are learning.
-- Fred Nickols email@example.com