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What is a Learning Organization?

A Learning Organization
Any organization in which you cannot not learn because learning is so insinuated into the fabric of life
Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

Any organization that has a culture and structure that promotes learning at all levels to enhance its capabilities to produce, adapt and shape its future. Insinuated = Enhance = Fabric = Capabilities =

Peter M. Senge
Peter M. Senge, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Peter is the author of the widely acclaimed book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization He is also Founding Chair of ,Sol the Society for Organizational Learning, a global community of corporations, researchers, and consultants dedicated to the "interdependent development of people and their institutions. Peter Senge received a B.S. in engineering from Stanford University, an M.S. in social systems modeling and Ph.D. in management from MIT. He lives with his wife and their two children in central Massachusetts.

Peter M. Senge
Dr. Senge's work articulates a cornerstone position of human values in the workplace; namely, that vision, purpose, reflectiveness, and systems thinking are essential if organizations are to realize their potentials. He has worked with leaders in business, education, health care and government.

Learning Organization Definition: Peter Senge

From The Fifth Discipline, 1990: organizations 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 how to learn together.



Five Disciplines
Senge defines these five elements as disciplines.  They represent a body of theory and method to be learned and put into practice by individuals within an organization.  Systems thinking, the fifth discipline, unites all.

Define = Individual =

element =

Systems Thinking

Personal Mastery

The core of Learning Organization

Mental Models

Shared Vision

Team Learning

Personal Mastery

Personal Mastery
This discipline of aspiration involves formulating a coherent picture of the results people most desire to gain as individuals (their personal vision), alongside a realistic assessment of the current state of their lives today (their current reality). Learning to cultivate the tension between vision and reality (represented in this icon by the rubber band) can expand peoples capacity to make better choices, and to achieve more of the results that they have chosen.
aspiration = formulating = coherent = assessment = expand =


Creataive tension

Mental Models
This discipline of reflection and inquiry skills is focused around developing awareness of the attitudes and perceptions that influence thought and interaction. By continually reflecting upon, talking about, and reconsidering these internal pictures of the world, people can gain more capability in governing their actions and decisions. The icon here portrays one of the more powerful principles of this discipline, the ladder of inference depicting how people leap instantly to counterproductive conclusions and assumptions.

inquiry = perception = portrays = ladder = depicting = instantly =

Shared Vision
This collective discipline establishes a focus on mutual purpose. People learn to nourish a sense of commitment in a group or organization by developing shared images of the future they seek to create (symbolized by the eye), and the principles and guiding practices by which they hope to get there.
establishes = mutual = nourish = Commitment = seek =


Personal vision

Shared vision

Shared Vision

Mental Models

The Ladder of Inference

Team Learning

Team Learning
This is a discipline of group interaction. Through techniques like dialogue and skillful discussion, teams transform their collective thinking, learning to mobilize their energies and ability greater than the sum of individual members talents. The icon symbolizes the natural alignment of a learninglearning-oriented team as the flight of a flock of birds.

Interaction Discussion Individual Symbolizes Alignment Mobilize

, ,

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking
In this discipline, people learn to better understand interdependency and change, and thereby to deal more effectively with the forces that shape the consequences of our actions. Systems thinking is based upon a growing body of theory about the behavior of feedback and complexity-the complexityinnate tendencies of a system that lead to growth or stability over time. Vocabulary Consequence = , Complexity = Tendency = Stability =


Systems Thinking
Tools and techniques such as systems archetypes and various types of learning labs and simulations help people see how to change systems more effectively, and how to act more in tune with the larger processes of the natural and economic world. The circle in this icon represents the fundamental building block of all systems: the circular feedback loop underlying all growing and limiting processes in nature.

Archetype = Simulation = Fundamental = ,


The End