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The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 21, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 225 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Forget your old, tired ideas about leadership. The  most successful corporation of the 1990s will be  something called a learning organization." --  Fortune Magazine.

From the Inside Flap

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."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 445 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Revised & Updated edition (March 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385517254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385517256
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since I read this book 15 years ago, the idea of the learning organization has embedded itself in my brain and not let go. I've been on a search to find or create the learning organization ever since. I've never been sure that it really exists in practice, so it's good to see that the revised edition adds the reflections of some successful practitioners, demonstrating that learning organizations have emerged, even if they are almost as rare as they were before the first edition of Senge's book was published.

But learning may be about to become less rare in our organizations. The 21st century brings a networked world of business -- and in this era only living, learning organizations will be able to adapt and survive. All companies will be linked in a global ecosystem. No company will know when and where the next competitor will emerge. To sustain themselves, all organizations will need to constantly innovate and learn.

Senge's book is worth having and keeping on your bookshelf because it gets to the essence of what's needed to create a learning organization. Senge describes five disciplines that must be mastered at all levels of the organization:

1. Personal mastery -- clarifying personal vision, focusing energy, and seeing reality

2. Shared vision -- transforming individual vision into shared vision

3. Mental models -- unearthing internal pictures and understanding how they shape actions

4. Team learning -- suspending judgments and creating dialogue

5.
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Format: Paperback
I read many business books-this is the best I've read in years, maybe ever. Now I know why so many other business books, methods and cultures leave me feeling empty. The insight in Fifth Discipline aligns with my mental models and suggests a path for achieving great things, rather than for getting promoted or making a buck.

Here's my take on a couple of the disciplines:

Systems Thinking: Believing in myths about business leads us to make the same mistakes again and again. We cannot escape these bad cycles unless we see the whole system of how problems occur and then change the structure that create the problems.

Shared Vision: Forget work-life balance. Think work-life integration. Know why the work you are doing is important to you. Transform your work and workplace to create a learning organization where everyone strives to accomplish a shared vision. That vision sounds idealistic, but it is more realistic than trying to lead two separate lives-work and home.
Comment 52 of 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
The Fifth Discipline contains some great concepts which are very usable in the day to day management of an organization.

Unfortunately, the author is very long-winded and over-explains concepts repeatedly - taking what should have been less than 50 pages of information and turning it into a 400 page behemoth that is difficult to slog through.

Several people to whom I have recommended this book have suggested that one order the fieldbook instead, as it contains all of the original work's raw information and models in a 17 page executive summary at the beginning. Most people seem to find that more usable than this book.
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Format: Paperback
The Fifth Discipline is a seminal book by the famous author Peter M. Senge. The book teaches the concept of the learning organization namely that the successful organization must continually adapt and learn in order to respond to changes in the environment effectively and therefore to grow and prosper. I have read the book a number of times and keep on referring to it as is filled with a lot useful knowledge and wisdom. System thinking and learning is critical to organisational growth and development in the present highly dynamic operating environment.

According to Peter Senge, "real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do. Through learning we reperceive the world and our relationship to it. Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life. There is within each of us a deep hunger for this type of learning"--powerful advice indeed from a real learning guru.

This revised and updated edition includes the thoughts and ideas of some successful practitioners, taking into account developments since the first edition was published about 15 years earlier. Do not be intimidated by the length of the book, over 450 pages, as it is very informative, insightful and interesting to read.

I recommend this book for individuals interested in understanding the nature of how organizations develop, how behaviours are formed, and how organizations achieve growth and augment their capabilities. You will learn how to improve the way your organization or department functions, how to review and improve systems and how to develop shared visions, create long term goals among other critical insights.
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