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The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

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This revised edition of the bestselling classic is based on fifteen years of experience in putting Peter Senge’s ideas into practice. As Senge makes clear, in the long run the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. The leadership stories demonstrate the many ways that the core ideas of the Fifth Discipline, many of which seemed radical when first published, have become deeply integrated into people’s ways of seeing the world and their managerial practices.
Senge describes how companies can rid themselves of the learning blocks that threaten their productivity and success by adopting the strategies of learning organizations, in which new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and people are continually learning how to create the results they truly desire.
Mastering the disciplines Senge outlines in the book will:
• Reignite the spark of genuine learning driven by people focused on what truly matters to them
• Bridge teamwork into macrocreativity
• Free you of confining assumptions and mindsets
• Teach you to see the forest the trees
• End the struggle between work and personal time
This updated edition contains more than one hundred pages of new material based on interviews with dozens of practitioners at companies such as BP, Unilever, Intel, Ford, HP, and Saudi Aramco and organizations such as Roca, Oxfam, and The World Bank.

445 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1990

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About the author

Peter M. Senge

55 books274 followers
Peter M. Senge is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), a global community of corporations, researchers, and consultants dedicated to the "interdependent development of people and their institutions."
--from the author's website

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews55.9k followers
October 13, 2021
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization, Peter M. Senge

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Peter M. Senge 1990) is a book by Peter Senge, focusing on group problem solving using the systems thinking method in order to convert companies into learning organizations.

The five disciplines represent approaches (theories and methods) for developing three core learning capabilities: fostering aspiration, developing reflective conversation, and understanding complexity.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیستم اکتبر سال 1997میلادی

عنوان: پنجمین فرمان؛ نویسنده: پیتر سنگه؛ مترجم: حافظ کمال هدایت؛ محمد روشن؛ تهران، سازمان مدیریت صنعتی، 1375؛ در 500ص؛ چاپ دوم 1377؛ شابک ایکس - 964617518؛ چاپ چهارم 1382؛ چاپ پنجم 1385؛ در 508ص؛ شابک 9646175546؛ موضوع سازماندهی کارآمد گروههای کار از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

پیام کلی «پیتر سنگه» در کتاب «پنجمین فرمان»، این است که: «هیچ سازمانی نمی‌تواند برای رشد و پیشرفت خود، تنها به معدودی از کارکنان خویش تکیه کند؛ بلکه باید همه‌ ی اعضای سازمان، بیاموزند، که باهم کار کنند، و دنیای بیرون را، و مشکلات درونی خود را، از نگاهی تازه ببینند»؛ «پیتر سنگه» شرح می‌دهد: (اگر کسی می‌خواهد یک سازمان یادگیرنده بنا کند -یا سازمان خود را به یک سازمان یادگیرنده تبدیل کند- باید در ایجاد و توسعه‌ ی پنج حوزه، سرمایه گذاری نماید)؛ ایشان این پنج حوزه را: «تفکر سیستمی»؛ «قابلیت‌های شخصی»؛ «مدلهای ذهنی»؛ «چشم انداز مشترک»؛ و «یادگیری تیمی»؛ مینامند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Neelesh Marik.
75 reviews10 followers
August 10, 2011
This book is of biblical importance to any 'systems thinker' and/ or a life long learner, specifically in a organizational context as opposed to a lone ranger situation.

The book traces the endemic learning disabilities that plague most organizations, expounds on the fundamental laws of the fifth discipline, and describes typical ‘system archetypes’ that constitute dysfunctional patterns which impede performance.

Upon that foundation, it goes to describe each of the five disciplines: personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning and systems thinking. Beyond just the core concepts of each discipline, there is an emergent synergism that weaves all five disciplines into an inter-connected whole.

This edition goes on to provide a practitioner’s handbook for implementation: the impetus for change, strategies for learning organizations, the new role of leadership and the recipe for systems citizenship.

The appendices are very useful as they contain a full list of variants of the system archetypes, and a short snapshot of the ‘U process’ which is dealt with in greater detail in his next book ‘Presence’.
Profile Image for SeyedMahdi Hosseini.
117 reviews66 followers
May 12, 2017
مدت زیادی بود که این کتاب در کتابخانه بود و میخواستم مطالعه کنم. از طرف دیگر خیلی وقت بود که به دنبال مطالعه درباره تفکر سیستمی بودم دریغ از اینکه چنین کتاب ارزشمندی در کتابخانه خاک میخورد. با وجودی که کتاب در سال 1990 نوشته شده اغلب اوقات احساس کهنگی نمی کنید و به خوبی با مفاهیم تفکر سیستمی و پیچیدگی آشنا می شوید. ضمنا فرامینی برای ایجاد سازمانهای یادگیرنده می آموزید که همگی به هم وابسته اند. ضمیمه 20 صفحه ای که در انتهای کتاب وجود دارد درواقع کل کتاب را به شکلی زیبا مرور می کند به گونه ای که اگر بخواهید چند ماه آینده مجددا کتاب را بازنگری کنید مرور همین 20 صفحه تقریبا 80درصد کتاب را پوشش می دهد.
درمجموع از وقتی که بابت مطالعه این کتاب گذاشتم بسیار راضی بودم زیرا مطالب آن علاوه بر مدیریت سازمانها برای زندگی شخصی نیز مفید است.
Profile Image for Jack Vinson.
705 reviews34 followers
September 21, 2010
This book isn't so much a knowledge management book as a tome on management philosophy. Senge has a lot of great ideas and thoughts throughout the book. There is the concept of leaders advocating vs. inquiring. The “what I say vs. what I do” idea of Espoused vs. In-use theories. The heart of the book is centered on five characteristics (disciplines) that organizations need in order to move into the next level of quality and competition. 
I. Systems Thinking. This is the ability to see the patterns behind any behavior, whether it is in the company or on a much more personal level. Senge spends a lot of time describing the idea and giving examples of how systems thinking provides leverage to make significant changes. “Give me a lever long enough and I can move the world” is one of the many quotes here. Senge also defines several archetypes of systems that he encounters over and over again. The basic cycles are balancing processes and reinforcing processes. 
A. Balancing process with delay. This is a simple cycle where an action in one direction eventually causes a reverse effect on the same variable. This is a fairly standard feedback loop with delay in the control world. It is interesting because the delay frequently makes people overreact when their first action appears to be ineffective. 
B. Limits to growth. This is a pair of cycles. One reinforcing cycle represents growth, but is connected to a balancing cycle that reduces the effectiveness of the growth cycle. 
C. Shifting the burden. This is archetype has paired balancing processes that affect a variable / problem. One process makes the problem go away temporarily. The other process digs at the heart of the problem but frequently has a delay, so that it is “easier” to use the temporary fix. This has a side reinforcing process that adversely affects the ability to employ the long-term solution. Best is example is alcoholism where the alcoholic uses alcohol as a fix, but the longer she drinks the harder it is to stop. 
D. Shifting the burden to the intervener. A special case where an external entity is the quick fix, slowly eroding the internal ability to solve the problem. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” 
E. Eroding goals. Another special case where the fix is to let a goal slip. This eases tension and sets up a downward spiral where the tension can only be relaxed by letting the fundamental goals slip. 
F. Escalation. Two reinforcing processes linked by a common problem. This is the model used to describe arms races or price wars. 
G. Success to the successful. A limited resource is doled out in greater proportion to the most “successful” user of the resource, leaving the other users short. This can quickly spiral out of control, leaving only one user. 
H. Tragedy of the commons. A common, limited resource is used by many groups. While the overall usage is low, there is no problem. As all the users are successful, they demand more and more of the resource. As the resource becomes the constraint, the tragedy is that the users do not see what is happening until too late. This is frequently found in land-use problems and was a likely cause of the dust bowl and over-grazing of African savannas. 
I. Fixes that fail. This is basically a shifting the burden without a second, fundamental balancing loop. There are the easy fixes that also cause long-term problems. Examples include cutting the maintenance budget to meet some financial goal, which eventually leads to quality or other problems. 
J. Growth and under-investment. This archetype has three cycles. A pair of balancing cycles limits a growth cycle. This is a type of Limits to growth where the balancing process is sort of a Shifting the burden. 
All the archetypes are simple descriptions of problems that frequently occur in business, society, family, the environment, anywhere problems arise. Clearly, real systems are complex beyond description. The idea behind the archetypes is to 
II. Personal Mastery. The ability to know oneself; how one reacts to situations and people. The ability to see how one's beliefs affect their environment. Being open to change and new ideas. Having a personal vision that causes internal tension and a desire to change and move in new directions. 
III. Mental Models. Love of truth and openness are the goals to shoot for in this discipline. Understanding that we all have mental models and willingness to examine one's own along with those of the organization. 
IV. Building Shared Vision. Connecting people by generating visions that integrate personal vision for life and for the organization into an organic, living whole. 
V. Team Learning. The practiced discipline of learning together, developing the best plan for the group. Having true dialog amongst colleagues. Increasing the collective intelligence above that of any one person in the room. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 
Profile Image for Amanda Brinkmann.
27 reviews10 followers
January 14, 2013
Senge, along with Ackoff and Flood, are some of the great minds in the field of systems thinking and complexity. This book and the full integration and understanding of its content into Leadership and Organisational practice, should, in my opinion, be compulsory. The Learning Organisation is not some pie-in-the-sky, futuristic concept - it is a necessity in respect of Transformation so as to still exist as an organisation, given the rapid change, uncertainty and increased complexity that we live and manage within. Within the active practice of being a Learning Organisation, Sustainability - from an authentic and systemic perspective - finds its place rather comfortably within the DNA of the organisation. Handle this change process correctly, involve everyone in your organisation, enroll them and make true sustainability - people, profit, planet - REAL and rewarded - and sit back and watch how productivity and morale improve, how innovations leads to improvement of the bottom line.

We have reached the Limits to Growth - and so conventional management/leadership practice, where the CEO or Board decide on some ridiculous and unachievable financial growth target, so as to satisfy their shareholders and to deliver on the HUGE incentive packages of the CEO's, is simply very last century. Such leadership leads to unwell, unhappy and demotivated employees, collective stress and creates a toxic business environment, typically exemplified by static thinking, rigid planning and processes, top-down structures, silos, destructive internal competition and the CMA [ cover my arse] syndrome being prevalent.

The Fifth Discipline - Systems thinking and design - brings everything together. I have mastered Systems Thinking and Design, am in flow at the highest levels of complexity and have a deep interest in learning as much as possible from the range of thinkers as well as about the related fields of study, such as behaviorism, socio-psychology, various economic principles.

I say again - Senge's revised edition of The Fifth Discipline is a core book that will open up a whole new world of possibilities for those who have not been exposed to systems thinking and the learning organisation; or if they have, and are not practicing the principles, then the book should be read, slowly and systematically, notes made and the principles understood, internalised and practiced.
Profile Image for Obeida Takriti.
394 reviews41 followers
December 14, 2014
من أفضل الكتب في مجال الإدارة..
يشرح الكتاب الأبعاد الخمسة الضرورية لأي منظمة كي تصبح متعلمة..
فالمعرفة في هذا العصر وسرعتها هي أهم عامل في تميز الشركة عن غيرها..

الكتاب بناء على اسمه يركز على البعد الخامس كأهم بعد وهو
System Thinking
أي التفكير بطريقة النظم التي يمكن أن نبنيها لأي عملية تحصل أمامنا..
وذلك لكي نبتعد عن النظرية الأحادية المتسلسلة في النظر للأحداث..

الأبعاد الأربعة البقية هي:
التميز الشخصي Personal Mastery
النماذج والصور العقلية Mental Models
رؤية مشتركة Shared Vision
التعلم كفريق Team Learning

الكتاب قديم ونشر في 1990..
ورغم ذلك ما زلنا في العالم العربي نفكر كمنظمات وشركات ربحية أو غير ربحية بطريقة الثورة الصناعية والتي مضى عليها أكثر من قرن ونصف ربما..

هذا الكتاب وغيره خاصة في مجال إدارة المعرفة في المنظمات هي كتب مهمة لتفتح لنا أفقاً جديداً لفهم المؤسسات..
خاصة في مجال الـ
System Thinking
فالعالم قد طور هذا المفهوم وتطبيقاته لكثير من المجالات التي تتطبث على المنظمات وتجعلها في مجال العالمية إنتاجاً وقيمة مضافة للمجتمع والعالم..

المنظمات العالمية ليست وليدة الصدفة..
بل وليدة العمل الدؤوب لإدارة المنظمة بطريقة فعالة أكثر ;)
2 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2009
Rarely would I use this term to describe anything but the good book itself but here goes..."this book is the bible for any leader/manager".

Or maybe a better description would be "the canon", since it is a definitive work but one, as by the theme of the book suggests, that can and should be improved upon.

The book is both frustrating and refreshing for the same reason - it doesn't try and present it's ideas in an "easily" replicable framework. Though an outlined framework or step-by-step process/venn diagram would make the reader feel more at ease, the author continually states that stuffing these ideas into an ubiquitous framework is next to impossible. There is no panacea diagram that can be turned into a power point slide when building a learning organization.

Thus with the above point in mind, this book quickly undermines most other strategy books/papers and points out missed themes in other books - like Good to Great Good to Great. The point being that the underlying long-term source of success in an organization is not its present strategy but its people and culture. Only the quality of its people and a culture of openness allow an organization to continually, adapt, learn and grow. James C. Collins James C. Collins touched on this idea in G2G when he discussed "getting the right people on the bus" but he made the fatal consulting mistake of seeing the overall results as static and linear, rather than dynamic and self-reinforcing.

However, there are five main points that can summarize Senge's Peter M. Senge requirements for a learning organization:

1. Systems thinking
2. Self-awareness/emotional intelligence
3. Vision
4. Clear Communication
5. Bottom-up solutions

These requirements are more requirements for the organizations leaders but should be encouraged throughout the organization as well.

Unfortunately for most organizations and people, Senge's ideas are easy in theory but hard in practice. I believe they are difficult to implement because once an organization hits a certain critical mass, the needs of the individual start to diverge from the needs of the organization and at certain organizational sizes a horizontal and efficient structure always seems to teeter on the brink of pure chaos.

For now, organizational design is an art and a science and needs constant innovation and more books like this one to help keep driving it forward until we can unlock the true secrets.
Profile Image for thethousanderclub.
298 reviews18 followers
June 29, 2018
Years ago I wrote ". . . I have historically struggled a great deal with reading business-oriented books. And why is this? To begin with, most business books feel terribly pretentious, even if the authors aren't in reality that way." The Fifth Disciple was a reminder of what I wrote that. Although not devoid of value or practical use, The Fifth Discipline is an overly long book, which forces the reader to slog through pages and pages of banal explanations to dig out specks of useful wisdom.

Clearly I didn't like The Fifth Discipline, but I would never claim it was devoid of value. In fact, I recently presented at a conference and directly referenced the book. There is good stuff to be found here. It's just buried under what too often feels like a strained attempt to convince the reader that what they're reading is important. The last 80 pages or so in particular are far more interested in evangelizing the ideas the author finds important rather than clearly stating the ideas and letting them stand on their own merit.

I felt that Senge's book does in fact tap into some very fundamental and essential ideas. However, the explication of the ideas, including the fifth discipline itself, is so clunky and unmemorable, I'm struggling to remember the last time I read an author who was so passionate about their subject matter but fumbled so badly in explaining it. Brevity could very well have saved this book from itself, but brevity appears counter-intuitive to Senge.

With only a handful of meaningful take-aways from the The Fifth Disciple, some of which, such as systemic thinking, are very significant and useful, there isn't much to recommend the book. Many, if not all, of the ideas presented, can be found and learned (more effectively, I might add) from a multitude of other sources. I appreciate what I got out of it, but The Fifth Discipline is a bloated and largely ineffectual attempt to describe and champion some very important ideas.

Profile Image for TarasProkopyuk.
686 reviews94 followers
June 24, 2016
"Пятая дисциплина. Искусство и практика самообучающейся организации" Питера Сенге вошла в ряд одной из лучших бизнес книг, которые мне доводилось когда либо прочесть. Если сравнивать её с подавляющим большинством другой деловой литературы, то приходишь к выводу, что когда многие не менее уважаемые авторы борются с симптомами, то Сенге же выискивает сам корень проблемы и учит решать сложные вопросы на фундаментальном уровне.

Это далеко не новая мысль, но то с какими акцентами, аргументами, фактами и предлагаемыми методами внедрения Сенге ставит на повестку дня вопрос самообучающейся организации - это выводит данную книгу в разряд лучшей в своей теме, а самого автора можно смело признать одним из отцом такой дисциплины как "Управление знаниями" (knowledge management).

Данную книгу включили в списки 25 лучших бизнес книг по версии журнала Time и не включили в 100 лучших бизнес книг всех времен по версии Джека Коверта и Тодда Саттерстена из-за того того, что она якобы сложна для восприятия. Но я недоумеваю, как они пришли к такому выводу, ведь так просто написать о столь важных вещах далеко не у каждого писателя удается. И хотя самого рейтинга, как такого, в последнем списке книг не существует, я бы сказал, что "Пятая дисциплина" лично для меня могла бы смело занять верхние позиции этого списка книг, да и пожалуй первого также.

Одним словом, для менеджеров, руководителей и предпринимателей книга обязательна к прочтению. Поверьте, это очень сильная работа!
Profile Image for Helene.
464 reviews11 followers
February 3, 2016
Though this is NOT an easy read, it IS a must-read for everyone in a leadership position, and that really does include teacher-leaders. I think I started it four or five times before I was able to finish it. I would pick it up read a few chapters and then drop out. I'd pick it up again, start over, and then drop out again. It was Wyllis Terry who finally said, don't start it over, just keep reading from where you left off which allowed me to finally finish it. I'm glad I did. It is such a basic leadership book and really helps with looking at the whole system and not just the piece that you are working with.

I heard Senge a couple of times speak to systems thinking. The first time was at a National Staff Development Conference in Boston. He had many of the 1,000 educators there in tears about their own influence on the environment before he was done, very moving. The second time was at the Upper Valley Educators Institute under the direction of Rob Fried. Senge used the earth as the ultimate example of a system. Very effective and influential. This book truly is worth getting through. Don't give up, keep reading!
Profile Image for P. Lundburg.
Author 7 books81 followers
January 31, 2018
I'm not going to write a formal review on this one, but it's worthy of a couple of comments. I'm generally not a fan of business-success books, but Senge's observations about organizations and how they function--and can function better--is honest and spot on. The Learning Organizations are those that see the greatest success, and largely because their leaders cultivate an appropriately humble approach to mission fulfillment. Everybody, including top leaders, are part of the organization: they are not the organization, and the organization is not them. Building a culture of team players takes a lot of trust, and that starts at the top. When an organization applies the principles Senge lays out, it can be highly effective.
Profile Image for Bob.
92 reviews10 followers
October 20, 2020
Why this Book: I had read most of this book about 10 years ago, and it really appealed to me – it’s easy to read, but it’s long and entailed. I was invited to participate in a reading group discussion of the book with the Cleveland Indians, and agreed – which meant reading it again – just a couple of chapters at a time and then discussing. Very worthwhile.

Summary in 3 sentences: In The Fifth Discipline Peter Senge describes a vision of what he calls a “learning organization” and offers a number of steps for how leaders and managers can move their organization toward that ideal. First he describes some of the many dysfunctions he’s found in many if not most of today’s organizations and explains why these dysfunctions inhibit productivity and performance. Then he describes the “fifth discipline” itself – “systems thinking” – and then offers descriptions of four other essential personal and organizational disciplines which together, when integrated lead to systems thinking and a learning organization.

My impressions: This is the most impactful book of the many I’ve read on organizational culture and how leaders can positively shape it to the benefit of the people in it, as well as the purpose/mission of the organization or business. It is not a difficult read at all – in fact I found it fascinating and engrossing – but it is not a quick, easy read. Weighing in at close to 400 pages, it is so rich in content that I recommend to others that it be read in small chunks with other thoughtful readers – and digested and discussed along the way. In the first chapter, Senge says “this book is for the learners, especially those of us interested in the heart and practice of collective learning. “ p16

The Fifth Discipline was first published in 1990, in paperback in 1994 and a second edition came out in 2006. In 1997, Harvard Business Review named The Fifth Discipline as “one of the seminal management books for the previous 75 years.” The idea of a “Learning Organization” certainly comes from this book, and I and many others aspire to be in, and ideally to lead such a “learning organization.” I wish I had spent some time with this book absorbing its lessons and insights before leading commands I had in the Navy. The page numbers cited in this review are from the 1994 paperback printing.

The Fifth Discipline is Systems Thinking. Senge describes the learning organization as embodying five fundamental disciplines – but the fifth of these – “systems thinking” – is the most important, and cannot be fully realized without the first four. In fact the Fifth discipline of systems thinking is the integration of the other four.

Systems thinking is the ability to look beyond immediate cause and effect and understand that in sometimes obvious, but often very subtle ways, everything that happens in a system is connected to, and impacted by everything else. He thoroughly explores the idea of systems thinking, seeing events not as isolated snap shots, and seeing relationships between events not as simply linear cause-effect chains, but rather as part of larger processes of change. This is the fundamental insight of the book, but to get to it, and to create an organization that reflects this wisdom, the reader and the organization must develop and refine four other disciplines, to each of which he devotes an entire chapter in the next section of the book, entitled “The Core Disciplines: Building the Learning Organization.

The Four Core Disciplines which together and when integrated, result in systems thinking. They are:

1. Personal Mastery “Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively.” P.7 “….people with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them – in effect, they approach their life as an artist would approach a work of art. They do that by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning.” p. 7 In The Fifth Discipline, Senge is mostly focussing on the inter-relationships between personal life-long learning and organizational learning. He delves deeply into this in his chapter on personal mastery.

2. Mental Models. These are “deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action.” p8 The discipline is to “unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. “ p9 I found this to be one of the most powerful discussions in the book – emphasizing how awareness of and understanding one’s own, and one’s culture’s often unacknowledged mental models can accelerate growth, and how lack of such awareness can cripple growth.

3. Building Shared Vision – This chapter was very reminiscent of the shared vision idea which 2+ decades later Stan McChrystal describes in Team of Teams. It is the capacity of a team to hold a shared picture of the future. It “involves the skills of unearthing shared ‘pictures of the future’ that foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance. In mastering this discipline, leaders learn the counter-productiveness of trying to dictate a vision, no matter how heartfelt.” p. 9 The idea of the leader helping the team develop and realize its shared vision, rather than the leader dictating his vision and commander’s intent, is contrary to the predominant practice in military culture.

4. Team Learning I loved this concept and this chapter. It is about how not only individuals learn, but how teams learn – through open dialogue, in which people feel free to share thoughts ideas and opinions, regardless of position or rank. It demands an openness to and respecting ideas that may be different from one’s own ideas or beliefs, and avoiding defensiveness. He distinguishes “dialogue” from “discussion,” which he says is often a battle of ideas, an effort to convince or persuade, rather than seeking to understand different ideas, and learn. “Team learning is vital because teams, not individuals, are the fundamental learning unit in modern organizations…unless teams can learn, the organization cannot learn.” p 10

A lot has changed since The Fifth Discipline was written in 1990. Reading it, one sees a lot of ideas that have since become part of any discussion of organizational change, but were not then part of the vocabulary and discussion of organizational leadership – such as growth and fixed mindset, popularized by Carol Dweck in her classic Mindset. The impact of social media, remote working, distributed work forces are not explored in this book, but I believe that the sociology and principles of a great learning organization apply today, though some of these more recent developments will certainly impact their implementation.

My copy of The Fifth Discipline is so full of highlights, underlines, and marginalia that to simply go through these in reviewing the book would take me several hours. It is so rich in insight and wisdom, I could read it again and again, and each time, walk away richer and with new insights. It is hard to summarize in this review, but I’ve encouraged many people to read it, but to read it as a group – and to practice “dialogue” to practice “team learning” – to learn how a TEAM can learn so much more from this book than any individual reading it.

The best and most impactful book I’ve read on organizational culture and leadership, and I’ve read quite a few.

To read my full review, go to: https://bobsbeenreading.wordpress.com...
Profile Image for Brandon.
25 reviews133 followers
May 1, 2022
I picked up this book as it came recommended by fellow GR readers as a follow up to Thinking in Systems (TiS) by Donella Meadows.

I want to caveat that I only got through 53% of the book as I’ve developed a norm of not continuing book I’ve lost interest in, so 4 stars because I got good value from it, but there’s an entire half of the book I can’t vouch for, but not at the fault of the author.

Bottom line: The first 30% of The Fifth Discipline (TFD) is a fantastic follow up for TiS.

TFD shares a far more relatable examples when it comes to systems thinking (human body, company dynamics) so it made it easier to follow along and understand. I feel much more confident in my grasp of systems thinking after TFD.

The next 20% of TFD that I read was about how to address common dysfunctions of organizations. I did appreciate his distinction between “commitment,” “enrollment,” and “compliance.” I’m a fan of Dave Logan’s Tribal Leadership where he talks about 5 levels of organizations, and I think the rest of TFD serves as a more practical handbook to implement level 4/5 practices into an organization. His thoughts on vision/purpose, discussion/dialogue, and mental models and how they hamper a company’s progress are thorough and useful distinctions. If I was in a different stage in life/career, I’d probably enjoy reading the rest of the book, but it’s just not my focus atm.

I think TFD is a fantastic read for newer managers looking to be a better manager on a holistic level.

For systems thinkers, I’d just read the first 30% and call it a day.

And in comparison to Systems Thinking for Social Change (previously reviewed book), TFD’s section on systems thinking was far easier to read, digest, and as a result was more effective in enriching my systems thinking understanding.
Profile Image for Morgan Blackledge.
554 reviews1,905 followers
October 4, 2020
Author Peter Senge’s classic treatise on the composition of ‘learning organizations’ i.e. organizations that change adaptively in response to problems and based on collaborative insight and shared values.

The five disciplines are:

1. Personal Mastery, entailing honest reflection and evaluation for the purpose of identify individual and organizational shortcomings, strengths, needs and goals.

2. Mental Models, referring to explicit understanding of our otherwise implicit personal and organizational assumptions, biases, schemata, point of view, etc.

3. Shared Vision, referring to the practice of clear definition and (most importantly) enactment of guiding principles and aspirations.

4. Team Learning, the practice of collaborative learning and supportive group inquiry.

5. Systems Thinking, the powerful holistic approach to viewing organizational behavior.

The topic of Systems Thinking is why I picked up this book in the first place. But I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity and usefulness of the other material.

I loved the book, and immediately began reading the sequel; the Fifth Discipline Field Guide.

Why only 4 stars ( ? 📖 X4 ⭐️ ? )


Frankly speaking.

It’s 30 years old and subsequently dated in sections, and a contemporary reader may find some of the concepts (that were clearly radical and revolutionary in the 1990’s) kind of obvious or de rigueur by today’s standards.

Consider this critique to function as part of the informed consent process rather than an attempt to dissuade the curious reader.

It’s a very worthwhile book with some brilliant observations and powerful management techniques.

So just read it dumb dumb!
Profile Image for Adam.
18 reviews
July 5, 2010
Stumbled upon a copy this week and decided to re-read. I found it more enjoyable now than I did when I read it the first time, perhaps because systems thinking has become such a core part of what we discuss in our company and with our clients.

Most of the texts that I read on systems thinking when I was in school and even today are written in a very 'smarter than you' tone; I think that one of the greatest features of this book is that its choice of language is very accessible.

I think that there are times when the writing became slightly redundant, but I did not mind as the examples that Senge gives are excellent. My favorite sections had to do with the presentation of the concept of 'creative tension' and how we often confuse the resulting 'emotional tension' with it, thus reacting to the wrong forces; this is very applicable to product development companies.

All in all, a tremendous work that holds up after all these years. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sri Shivananda.
32 reviews286 followers
October 19, 2020
In continuing to learn about systems thinking, I picked up this book as a recommendation from a colleague. Peter writes about the fifth discipline - systems thinking. The other four being Shared vision, mental models, personal mastery, and team learning. Good lessons on mindset shift, identifying patterns that control events, a culture of commitment vs. compliance, creating a learning organization, and more.
Profile Image for Foad Ansari.
235 reviews35 followers
September 8, 2015
این نویسنده رو میشه به عنوان پدر تفکر سیستمی نام برد
Profile Image for Omar Halabieh.
217 reviews54 followers
August 10, 2013
The main premise of the book is best summarized by the author in the opening chapter: "The tools and ideas presented in this book are for destroying the illusion that the world is created of separate, unrelated forces. When we give up this illusion—we can then build "learning organizations," 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." The development of such an organization is based on five pillars: "Today, I believe, five new "component technologies" are gradually converging to innovate learning organizations. Though developed separately, each will, I believe, prove critical to the others' success, just as occurs with any ensemble. Each provides a vital dimension in building organizations that can truly 'learn," that can continually enhance their capacity to realize their highest aspirations: Systems Thinking...Personal Mastery...Mental Models...Building Shared Vision...Team Learning."

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "At the heart of a learning organization is a shift of mind—from seeing ourselves as separate from the world to :ted to the world, from seeing problems as caused by someone or something "out there" to seeing how our own actions create the problems we experience. A learning organization is a place where people are continually discovering how they create their reality. And how they can change it. As Archimedes has said, "Give me a lever long enough . and single-handed I can move the world."

2- "It is no accident that most organizations learn poorly. The way they are designed and managed, the way people's jobs are defined, and, most importantly, the way we have all been taught to think and interact (not only in organizations but more broadly) create fundamental efforts of bright, committed people. Often the harder they try to best efforts of bright, committed people. Often the harder they try to solve problems, the worse the results. What learning does occur takes place despite these learning disabilities—for they pervade all organizations to some degree."

3- "All of the learning disabilities described in Chapter 2 operate in the beer game: • Because they "become their position," people do not see how their actions affect the other positions. Consequently, when problems arise, they quickly blame each other—"the enemy" becomes the players at the other positions, or even the customers. • When they get "proactive" and place more orders, they make matters worse. • Because their overordering builds up gradually, they don't realize the direness of their situation until it's too late. • By and large, they don't learn from their experience because the most important consequences of their actions occur elsewhere in the system, eventually coming back to create the very problems they blame on others. The "teams" running the different positions (usually there are two or three individuals at each position) become consumed with blaming the other players for their problems, precluding any opportunity to learn from each others' experience.'"

4- "Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes, h is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static "snapshots." It is a set of general principles—distilled over the course of the twentieth century, spanning, and management. It is also a set of specific tools and techniques, originating in two threads: in "feedback" concepts of cybernetics and in "servo-mechanism" engineering theory dating back to the nineteenth century."

5- "The primary insights in shifting the burden will come from (1) distinguishing different types of solutions; (2) seeing how reliance on symptomatic solutions can reinforce further reliance. The leverage will always involve strengthening the bot¬ tom circle, and/or weakening the top circle. Just as with limits ) growth, it's best to test your conclusions here with small actions—and to give the tests time to come to fruition. In particular, strengthening an atrophied ability will most likely take a long period of time."

6- "The art of systems thinking lies in being able to recognize increasingly (dynamically) complex and subtle structures, such as that at WonderTech amid the wealth of details, pressures, and cross currents that attend all real management settings. In fact, the essence of mastering systems thinking as a management discipline lies in seeing patterns where others see only events and forces to react to. Seeing the forest as well as the trees is a fundamental problem that plagues all firms, as is illustrated in the next chapter."

7- "When personal mastery becomes a discipline—an activity we integrate into our lives—it embodies two underlying movements. The first is continually clarifying what is important to us. We often spend too much time coping with problems along our path that we forget why we are on that path in the first place. The result is that we only have a dim, or even inaccurate, view of what's really important to us. The second is continually learning how to see current reality more clearly. We've all known people entangled in counterproductive relationships, who remain stuck because they keep pretending everything is all right. Or we have been in business meetings where everyone says, "We're on course relative to our plan," yet an hon;st look at current reality would show otherwise. In moving toward a desired destination, it is vital to know where you are now. The juxtaposition of vision (what we want) and a clear picture of current reality (where we are relative to what we want) generates what we call "creative tension": a force to bring them together, caused by the natural tendency of tension to seek resolution. The essence of personal mastery is learning how to generate and sustain creative tension in our lives."

8- "The ability to focus on ultimate intrinsic desires, not only on secondary goals, is a corner stone of personal mastery."

9- "Organizations intent on building shared visions continually encourage members to develop their personal visions. If people don't have their own vision, all they can do is "sign up" for someone else's. The result is compliance, never commitment. On the other hand, people with a strong sense of personal direction can join together to create a powerful synergy toward what I/we truly want. Personal mastery is the bedrock for developing shared visions. This means not only personal vision, but commitment to the truth and creative tension—the hallmarks of personal mastery. Shared ion can generate levels of creative tension that go far beyond individuals' "comfort levels." Those who will contribute the most toward realizing a lofty vision will be those who can "hold" this creative tension: remain clear on the vision and continue to inquire into current reality. They will be the ones who believe deeply in their ability to create their future, because that is what they experience personally."

10- "Enrollment is a natural process that springs from your genuine enthusiasm for a vision and your willingness to let others come to their own choice. Be enrolled yourself. There is no point attempting to encourage another to be enrolled when you are not...• Be on the level. Don't inflate benefits or sweep problems under the rug. Describe the vision as simply and honestly as you can. •Let the other person choose. You don't have to "convince" another of the benefits of a vision. In fact, efforts you might make to persuade him to "become enrolled" will be seen as manipulative and actually preclude enrollment."

11- "Bohm identifies three basic conditions that are necessary for dialogue: 1. all participants must t "suspend" their assumptions, literally to hold them "as if suspended before us"; 2. all participants must regard one another as colleagues; 3. there must be a "facilitator" who "holds the context" of dialogue."

12- "In a discussion, different views are presented and defended, and as explained earlier this may provide a useful analysis of the whole situation. In dialogue, different views are presented as a means toward discovering a new view. In a discussion, decisions are made.In a dialogue, complex issues are explored...A learning team masters movement back and forth between dialogue and discussion. The ground rules are different. The goals are different. Failing to distinguish them, teams usually have neither dialogue nor productive discussions."

13- "The neglected leadership role is the designer of the ship...Lao-tzu also illuminates part of the reason why design is a neglected dimension of leadership: little credit goes to the designer. The functions of design are rarely visible; they take place behind the scenes. The consequences that appear today are the result of work done long in the past, and work today will show its benefits far in the future. Those who aspire to lead out of a desire to control, or gain fame, or simply to be "at the center of the action" will find little to attract them to the quiet design work of leadership. Not that this type of leadership is without its rewards. Those who practice it find deep satisfaction in empowering others and being part of an organization capable of producing results that people truly care about. In fact, they find these rewards more enduring than the power and praise granted to traditional leaders...The design work of leaders includes designing an organization's policies, strategies, and "systems." But it goes beyond that. Designing policies and strategies that no one can implement because they don't understand or agree with the thinking behind them has little effect."
Profile Image for Ishika.
69 reviews49 followers
April 12, 2021
My longest read ever and I really hope it remains that way.

The Fifth Discipline gave me textbook vibes. It starts with a very informative and strong introduction and then jumps to a lot of suppositional theories and principles and law of learning organisation. Although they proved them to be somehow in existence but with a dynamic environment it's still debatable. I was really fascinated by the 'Beer Game'.

The huge segment of The Fifth Discipline contributes to its four core disciplines and it explains them really well. Every system explained is pervasive, from organisation to individuals.

I would say it's one of the most fundamental books to understand the systems and how they behave.

The thing that pissed me was the language of the book. It is very complex which makes it difficult to read. In a paragraph, It says the a particular notion in a fifteen different ways. It might be useful for people to understand or grasp the concept better but for me it confused me a lot.
Profile Image for Tõnu Vahtra.
534 reviews73 followers
August 14, 2018
“The committed person doesn’t play by the rules of the game. He is responsible for the game. If the rules of the game stand in the way of achieving the vision, he will find ways to change the rules.”

I expected systems thinking to be more specific collection of principles (maybe they are in some other fundamental book about them) but it's mostly about common sense. The discussions about creating vision resonated in this book - you cannot define vision in a managers workshop, vision is defined through action.

“It’s just not possible any longer to figure it out from the top, and have everyone else following the orders of the “grand strategist.” 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 in an organization.”

“We will never transform the prevailing system of management without transforming our prevailing system of education. They are the same system.”

“Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively."

“The most effective people are those who can "hold" their vision while remaining committed to seeing current reality clearly”

“To empower people in an unaligned organization can be counterproductive. If people do not share a common vision, and do not share common mental models about the business reality within which they operate, empowering people will only increase organizational stress and the burden of management to maintain coherence and direction.”

“The Japanese believe building a great organization is like growing a tree; it takes twenty-five to fifty years.”

“When people in organizations focus only on their position, they have little sense of responsibility for the results produced when all positions interact. Moreover, when results are disappointing, it can be very difficult to know why. All you can do is assume that “someone screwed up.”

“vision without systems thinking ends up painting lovely pictures of the future with no deep understanding of the forces that must be mastered to move from here to there.”

“I believe that, the prevailing system of management is, at its core, dedicated to mediocrity. It forces people to work harder and harder to compensate for failing to tap the spirit and collective intelligence that characterizes working together at their best.”

The five disciplines that organizations need in order to move into the next level of quality and competition:
#1# SYSTEMS THINKING - The ability to see the patterns behind any behavior, whether it is in the company or on a much more personal level.
Archetypes of systems:
a) Balancing process with delay - cycle where an action in one direction eventually causes a reverse effect on the same variable. The delay frequently makes people overreact when their first action appears to be ineffective.
b) Limits to growth - One reinforcing cycle represents growth, but is connected to a balancing cycle that reduces the effectiveness of the growth cycle.
c) Shifting the burden - paired balancing processes that affect a variable / problem. One process makes the problem go away temporarily. The other process digs at the heart of the problem but frequently has a delay, so that it is “easier” to use the temporary fix. This has a side reinforcing process that adversely affects the ability to employ the long-term solution.
d) Shifting the burden to the intervener - an external entity is the quick fix, slowly eroding the internal ability to solve the problem. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”
e) Eroding goals - The fix is to let a goal slip. This eases tension and sets up a downward spiral where the tension can only be relaxed by letting the fundamental goals slip.
f) Escalation - Two reinforcing processes linked by a common problem. This is the model used to describe arms races or price wars.
g) Success to the successful - A limited resource is doled out in greater proportion to the most “successful” user of the resource, leaving the other users short: this effect spiraling out of control.
h) Tragedy of the commons - A common, limited resource is used by many groups. While the overall usage is low, there is no problem. As all the users are successful, they demand more and more of the resource. As the resource becomes the constraint, the tragedy is that the users do not see what is happening until too late.
i) Fixes that fail - Shifting the burden without a second, fundamental balancing loop. There are the easy fixes that also cause long-term problems. Examples include cutting the maintenance budget to meet some financial goal, which eventually leads to quality or other problems.
j) Growth and under-investment - A pair of balancing cycles limits a growth cycle.

#2# PERSONAL MASTERY - The ability to know oneself; how one reacts to situations and people. The ability to see how one's beliefs affect their environment. Being open to change and new ideas. Having a personal vision that causes internal tension and a desire to change and move in new directions.

#3# MENTAL MODELS - Love of truth and openness are the key goals. Understanding that we all have mental models and willingness to examine one's own along with those of the organization.

#4# BUILDING SHARED VISION - Connecting people by generating visions that integrate personal vision for life and for the organization into an organic, living whole.

#5# TEAM LEARNING - The practiced discipline of learning together, developing the best plan for the group. Having true dialog among colleagues. Increasing the collective intelligence above that of any one person in the room. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Profile Image for Ali Sattari.
119 reviews35 followers
November 10, 2017
Well, I listened to the abridged version (unknowingly at first), I think I should at least partially reread the unabridged version. Points on mental models and systems thinking are useful and to the point.
Profile Image for Bob Wallner.
346 reviews28 followers
October 12, 2018
I remember when I got out of my undergraduate studies in the early 1990s the buzzword “Learning Organization” was all in fashion. At the time there were a lot of discussions around making our organization a learning organization to compete with the Japanese.

We didn't have a good understanding of what was happening with the Japanese invasion, so we played whack-a-mole trying different things to see what worked. Within a couple of years “Learning Organization” was not talked about much other than by a few, die-hard zealots.

In the Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge discusses some essential truths that contemporaries such as Dr. Deming had talked about for decades. One of the major disciplines is thinking regarding systems. The beer game that's outlined in the Fifth Discipline is an excellent example of how independent silos can function with ultimate efficiency, yet still not benefit the system as a whole. They do the opposite and hurt the system.

The Toyota Way, Dr. Jeffrey Liker, discusses the learning organization as a combination of Hansei and Kaizen in a continuous loop. Continuous deep reflection and sorrow for a mistake followed by a strategy of improvement to ensure that mistake never happens again. Although Senge’s definition of a learning organization is much more complicated, I think they are complementary to one another.

The audiobook is not an audiobook even though it claims to be the abridged version. The audiobook is a combination of a narrator reading selected text with the author discussing in his own words the impact of that text. The mix is quite pleasant and quite effective at rolling out the concepts.

This is the first time I listened to the audio. If you reading the text, it is long, comprehensive and full of theory.
Profile Image for m.nima Eslamian.
53 reviews17 followers
July 10, 2020
حتما در مورد تفکر های سیستمی مثل اثر پروانه ای شنیدید. تفکر سیستمی به ما یاد آوری میکنه که برای هر نوع تصمیم گیری نمیتونیم اجزا رو قسمت قسمت
کنیم، بلکه هر مسئله ای با کل نگری حل میشه. در واقع هر عمل و رفتار ما در هر موردی بر نتایج مورد نظر ما تاثیر گذاره.
مثالی که برای خودم میزنم مثال پزشک عمومی و متخصصه، فرض کنید پاتون شمارو اذیت میکنه و به یک پزشک فوق متخصص در مورد مچ پا مراجعه میکنید(ک��ی که فقط درمورد مچ پا اطلاعات داره)، این عمل شما که به کسی مراجعه کردید که کل نگری نمیکنه و جز نگری داره ممکنه باعث شه عملی روی مچ شما انجام شه درصورتی که ایراد و درد شما اصلا مربوط به مچ پا نبوده. اگر از اول به پزشک عمومی مراجعه کرده بودید و پزشک عمومی با تفکر سیستمی که درد هر جز ممکنه باعث درد جز دیگر بشه محدوده اصلی درد را مشخص کرده بود چنین مشکلی پیش نمیومد.

البته من با این تفکر آشنا بودم ولی هیچوقت فکر نمیکردم چنین عمق و بینشی پشتش باشه. در این کتاب مسائلی که برای تفکر سیستمی نیازهست مثل مدل های ذهنی هم شرح داده شده.
وقتی شروع به خوندنش کردم هدفم افزایش معلوماتم در مورد صرفا این موضوع و استفاده کاری ازشون بود اما الان میینم خوندن این کتاب دیدم رو به ویژگی های شخصیتی خودم و هدف گذاری های خودم برای آینده شخصیم یا حتی نگرشم به هستی را هم تغییر داده. فکر میکنم همه نیاز به خوندن و آشنایی با این تفکر نسبتا جدید را دارند.

تائو ت چنگ
برام خیلی جالب بود که خیلی از این تفکر هایی که شرح داده شده خیلی شبیه تفکرات لائوتزو نویسنده کتاب "تائو ت چنگ" بود، قطعا اگر کتاب "تائو ت چنگ" را مطالعه کردین، بعد از مطالعه این کتاب میتونید فرامین لائوتزو را نه فقط در شعار، بلکه در عمل هم مشاهده کنید.

در مورد ترجمه هم متاسفانه خیلی خیلی سخت مفاهیم رو انتقال میداد. حتی ترجمه اسم الگو ها هم اصلا مناسب نبود. این حس را داشتم که مترجما بدون اینکه هیچ حس تعهدی به این کتاب داشته باشند فقط ترجمه را شروع کردند که اسمشون با تفکر سیستمی تو ایران یکی بشه !
42 reviews
November 23, 2018
It's a management book that is about 150 to 200 pages too long. In the passages, the late in the book passages, which could be moving or inspirational, Senge has to muck them up with his own take on things rather than leave it to the experts. Kudos to him for briefly exploring women's management styles and positing that they are worth reviewing because there are so many examples of good managers who happen to be women. The books and people he quotes from are people that I like, and the discussion around systems thinking is important. However, his writing style kept me from ever getting into that reading "flow." It felt like I was reading a textbook while the author lectured to me in monotone. Would I have had a different experience if I had not been required to read this book for work? I guarantee I wouldn't have read past the first three pages.
Profile Image for Raghini .
28 reviews6 followers
October 3, 2018
If you have always had the feeling that there is something wrong with your organisation/institution and you have been unable to define it; if you have not found the right language to describe the ills; if you have always wanted to draw a larger and clearer picture of the workings of the organism that your organisation is, but never found the right brush - look no further, this book is the answer.

This is not one book that you can read and put away in a couple of days. It is going to be tedious like the books that taught you fundamentals in university. You will have to dwell on most of the sentences, build on your ideas, on concepts as you read through. You will find yourself building a dream for your organisation as you understand the idea of a learning organisation.

Most importantly, it does not matter at what level of management you function in the organisation; even if your top management does not fancy understanding the idea or implementing the tools of a learning organisation, you will be able to to have a different perspective, one infused with systems thinking and foresight.

Peter senge is a genius and this book is a bible of sorts.
Profile Image for Larkin Tackett.
455 reviews3 followers
January 20, 2023
I'm not sure if anyone has called him this, but systems scientist Peter Senge could be considered the father of systems change. He coined the phrase, "System thinking is discipline for seeing wholes." As I began my own learning journey about complexity science and systems change, his name kept coming up. It took me nearly two years to finish this seminal book. The work project that prompted my reading the book has passed, but the lessons are applicable to just about everything I'm do at work and in the community. There are a ton of highlights from different sections of the book that really resonate:

- Three core capabilities (from Deming's "profound knowledge" approach for learning teams: 1) aspiration (personal mastery, shared vision, and a commitment to lifelong learning); 2) reflective conversations (mental models and dialogue); and 3) understanding complexity and systems thinking

Prisoners of the System
- "When people in organizations focus only on their position, they have little sense of responsibility for the results produced when all positions interact." (19)
- "The nature of structure in human systems is subtle because we are part of the structure. This means that we often have the power to alter structures within which we are operating." (44)
- "... your influence is broader than the limits of your own position." (49)
- "... your success is not just influenced by your orders; it is influenced by the actions of everyone else in the system.... in order for you to succeed others must succeed as well." (40)
- "The reason that structural explanations (of patters of behavior) are so important is that only they address the underlying causes of behavior at a level at which patters of behavior can be changed. Structure produces behavior, and changing underlying structures can produce different patterns of behavior. In this sense, structural explanations are inherently generative." (53)
- "For most players of the game, the deepest insight usually comes when they realize that their problems, and their hopes for improvement, are inextricably tied to how they think." (53)

Laws of the Fifth Discipline
- "Today's problems come from yesterday's solutions." (58)
- "The harder you push, the harder systems push back." (58)
- "Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space." (63)
- "Small changes can produce big results -- but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious." (63)
- "You can have your cake and eat it too -- but not at once." (65)
- "... the 'principle of the system boundary," is that the interactions that must be examined are those most important to the issue at hand, regardless of parochial organizational boundaries. What makes the principle difficult to practice is the way organizations (and systems) are designed to keep people from seeing important interactions." (66)

A Shift of Mind
- "System thinking is discipline for seeing wholes." (68)
- "Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing the 'structures' that underlie complex situations, and for discerning high from low leverage change. That is, by seeing wholes we learn how to foster health. To do so, systems thinking offers a language that begins by restructuring how we think." (69)
- Detail vs. dynamic complexity (71)
- "The real leverage in most management situations lies in understanding dynamic complexity." (72)
- "Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines." (73)
- "In mastering systems thinking, we give up the assumption that there is an individual, or individual agent, responsible. The feedback perspective suggests that everyone shares responsibly for problems generated by a system. That doesn't necessarily imply that everyone involved can exert equal leverage in changing the system." (78)
- Reinforcing and Balancing Feedback (79)

Nature's Templates
- "In many ways, the greatest promise of the systems perspective is the unification of knowledge across all fields -- for these same archetypes recur in biology, psychology, and family therapy; in economies, political science, and ecology; as well as in management." (93)
- "Don't push growth; remove the factors limiting growth." (95)
- "...successes usually involve genuine efforts to distribute control, and deal with threats of giving up unilateral control." (101)
- "Beware the symptomatic solution" (the quick fax that only addresses the symptom), but sometimes symptomatic solutions are needed; they should just be named (103 and 110)

Self-Limiting or Self-Sustaining Growth
- "... it is vital to hold to critical performance standards 'through thick and thin," and to do whatever it takes to meet those standards." (121)
- "Two things make the pattern hard to see: 1) First it is gradual. 2) Mangers in the middle of teh syndrome see so many urgent problems requiring attention -- and they are unequipped to see the larger patterns." (123-124)
- "The art of systems thinking lies in seeing through the detail complexity to the underlying structures generating change. Systems thinking does not mean ignoring detail complexity. Rather, it means organizing detail complexity into a coherent story that illuminates the causes of problems and how they can be remedied in enduring ways." (124)
- "I would suggest that the fundamental 'information problem" faced by managers is not too little info but too much info. What we most need are ways to know what is important and what is not important, what variables to focus on and which to pay less attention to -- and we need ways to do this that can help groups or teams develop shared understanding." (125)

(a bunch of other quotes I added but didn't save)
Profile Image for Mark.
519 reviews66 followers
November 1, 2016
Absolutely exceptional concepts, and remains a must read for anyone who wants to understand fundamentally important concepts such as organizational learning, systemic approaches (that overtly recognize how processes/actions/sub-systems cause circular impacts) and how to take steps toward related improvements.
Profile Image for Nay Keppler.
394 reviews16 followers
October 5, 2018
The densest of the dense. Some good takeaways, but not very accessible.
Profile Image for Ahmad Tekriti.
33 reviews10 followers
December 23, 2017
الكتاب ممتع ووافر جدا خاصة للمهتمّن بفهم المنظومات وإدارتها على إختلاف شكلها ( شخص، مؤسسة،مجتمع أودول).
عندما نتحدث عن الهندسة الإدارية المنظمات (Organizations )،
فإننا تكلم عن سيستام ديناميكي تتحرك فيها أجزاء متعددة داخلية وخارجية
كالجدارات، آليات العمل، سياسات، قوانين، سوق ..
هي عبارة عن سيستام تتناغم فيه جميع هذه الأجزاء ولكن هل وجود الأجزاء الأساسية كافي ؟
هل تتناغم كل هذه التعقديات من تلقاء نفسها ؟ كيف يصبح هذا السيستام متعلم بطريقة دائمة ؟
ما هي السلوكيات الخمسة الأساسية لتحقيق ذلك ؟
يتحدث Peter Senge عن سلوكيات خمسة أساسية لتحقيق هذا التناغم
1- personal mastery التميز الشخصي
يرى Peter أن التميز الشخصي يتعدى تحصيل الجدارات إلى إيمان شخصي بطريقة عيش مبنية على الإبداع و الإنتاج
هل هي مرحلة يصل إليها الفرد أم طريقة في العيش ؟
المؤسسات تتعلم عند يتعلم أفرادها ولكن هل تعلم الأفراد يؤدي إلى تحقيقة مؤسسة متعلمة ؟
ألا يمكن ان يؤدي تعلم الأفراد إلى نتائج سلبية؟
بالنسبة لموضوع الpersonal mastery أنصح بكتاب personal mastery – Robert green
فلقد أعطى تفصيلا واضحا ً عن مراحل التميز الشخصي والإستراتجيات التي ممكن إتباعها في كل مرحلة
2- النماذج والصور العقلية Mental Models
3- رؤية مشتركة Shared Vision
4- التعلم كفريق Team Learning
5- System thinking

إن إدارك وتحقيق السلوكيات الخمسة حسب درجة وعي المؤسسة بالإضافة لتصميم وإدارة أجزاءها يشكل مسار ل��ا في طريق تحقيق منظمة متعلمة .
إن وجود هذا النوع من الشركات يشكل عصب أساسيا في بناء دول وأفراد متعلمين منتجين مساهمين في معالجة مشاكل البشر وبناء فرص لجعل هذا العالم مكاناً أفضل
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