The Fifth Discipline

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization ... by PeterSenge, 1990 - 1st edition, 1994 - paperback edition, xxiii, 413 pages

ISBN 0-385-26095-4 While Senge's book frames the issue and primes management for a pattern-based view of the world, it's my personal opinion that his approach to finding these patterns is a bit haphazard, and I certainly feel his diagraming style could use some help. I'd really like to see some convergence between the tech-centric and business-centric worlds (isn't this one of the things we are supposed to get from ObjectTechnology?) and a well defined method of documenting patterns across the two might be a nice starting place.

I've always thought that there is a lot of potential synergy between Senge's organizational structures and the work being done by the patterns community (especially some of the OrganizationalPatterns work done by JimCoplien et al.) Sadly, I haven't seen much that tries to bridge the gap between the two areas. Fifth Discipline is widely read by management, but most of them have very little (if any) understanding of the work being done on Organizational, Analysis, and Design Patterns.

I've always felt that the patterns community (or at least the OrganizationalPatterns work) has been largely ignoring the wider study of organizations by people like Senge. A quick revisit of JimCoplien's site gives me no obvious reason to change my view (e.g. the very limited view of management expressed by http://www.bell-labs.com/cgi-user/OrgPatterns/OrgPatterns?TheRoleOfManagement). It's also very based around software development organizations, and appears to me very prescriptive, not accounting for the variety of things that can and do work in practice.

So achieving this synergy would be great (and extending it to the organizational design field more widely, and it's definitely a two way process; the OrganizationalPatterns world has a lot to learn from Senge et al.

BTW, read TheFifthDisciplineFieldBook for something more practically focused. -- PaulHudson


2006 revised edition

It has a new section called "Reflections from Practice" which from browsing, appear to have a Societal dimension (a worldview in the real sense) to it. This seem to match up with a new Appendix on "U Process". A reference to "U process" can be seen at http://www.generonconsulting.com/publications/papers/pdfs/u-Process_Social_Technology.pdf


A SystemsThinking perspective to Wiki EditWars

Bridging the ImpedanceMismatch in concept and practices of SharedVision

Near the end of the SharedVision chapter, PeterSenge was commenting on the current disillusionment with the SharedVision concept. He said LeaderShip teams are about to give up on PositiveDialogue, in the last section titled "THE MISSING SYNERGY: SHARED VISION AND SYSTEMS THINKING". He completes the chapter with a quote he heard from a manager, saying , "... the reality we have is only one of several possible realities" (page 215).

What has that got to do with EditWars? Perhaps we can consider there is another alternative to the geek mode of ListenWithYourAnswerRunning. I think the author did a superb job in explaining the need to strike a balance, between "advocacy" and "inquiry" in a previous version of this book, if more explanations are needed than what is here already.

Those of us who haven't got the book may want a peek at this http://www.thedialoguegrouponline.com/whatsdialogue.html, a link on PositiveDialogue

Related: MentalModelInDialogue


Shift in MentalModel

And SystemsThinking lets participants realise sometimes an acceptable solution (reality) lies within the larger system, within which the WardsWiki people reside. -- WikiNobody?


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