refers to an organization that constantly monitors its environment for
and learns from and adapts to these changes. The term was
coined by Harvard's Chris Argyris, but it was
Peter Senge, a highly acclaimed business strategist
a PhD in Management, who popularized the term in his book, "The Fifth Discipline." Senge
defines a 'learning organization' as a dynamical system that is in a state
of continuous adaptation and improvement. Learning organizations build
designed to maximize the effectiveness of their learning processes.
learning is becoming more and more important in the modern business world
where things change rapidly and information get transmitted almost
instantaneously. In such a constantly changing environment, only the truly
flexible and adaptive companies will excel, i.e., learning from the past
is vital to success in the future.
Senge, companies should be a place where "people
continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire,
where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where
collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually
learning to see the whole together."
or components of a learning organization: 1) systems thinking; 2)
personal mastery; 3) mental models; 4) shared vision; and 5) team
learning. People need structures and systems that are conducive to
learning, reflection, and engagement. The 5 components of the
learning organization were conceptualized to help people become active participants in
understanding their reality at present and shaping it for the future.
which is said to be the conceptual cornerstone of Senge's approach, is the
discipline that recognizes the interconnection between parts that make up
a whole. It acknowledges that organizations are complex systems composed
of many inter-related components, and that it is very important to
understand how the key components dynamically interact with each other to
give life to the system that they comprise. Managers within the
organization must learn to think at the 'systems' level, giving more
importance to the long-term impact of system dynamics instead of the
short-term problems encountered in each part of the system.
refers to the discipline of an individual being able to continuously
clarify and deepen his personal vision, focus his energies, develop
patience, and openly and honestly see reality as it exists.
Personal learning does not ensure organizational learning, but the latter
can not exist without the former. Individuals must therefore strive
to learn and live life from a creative rather then reactive perspective.
Having a very clear personal vision of how things should be and a very
objective recognition of what the reality is would help the individual
determine the gap between his vision and the reality, motivating him to
learn in active pursuit of continuous improvement.
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are, according to Senge, "deeply ingrained assumptions,
generalizations, or even pictures and images that influence how we
understand the world and how we take action." Mental models represent
an individual's ability to compare new ideas with internal images of how
the world works. These mental images, if in contrast with new ideas, can
prevent the latter from being turned into reality. It is therefore
important for an organization to foster openness among its people while
providing them with the right direction in order to prevent mental models
from limiting the organization's ability to put new ideas into practice.
refers to the ability of a group to form and hold a common picture of a
desired future that its members seek to create. According to Senge,
a shared vision is "a vision that many people are truly committed to,
because it reflects their own personal vision. Shared vision is vital for
learning organizations because it provides the focus and energy for
learning." When there is a genuine commonly-held vision within
the organization, people strive to learn and excel, not because they are
told to, but because they want to.
according to Senge, is "the process of aligning and developing the
capacities of a team to create the results its members truly desire."
Achieving personal mastery and having a shared vision are important to a learning
organization, but not enough. People need to be able to learn
together, so they can act together. Team learning starts with a
'dialogue', or the process of 'thinking together',
wherein its members suspend personal assumptions and enter into a state of genuine
group awareness and collective thinking.
Game Theory; TQM
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