"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Friday, July 27, 2007

Learning Organizations

Learning organizations is an organization where people are as a group; constantly looking to grow and reach the goals they aspire. The predominant leader of the learning organizations paradigm is Peter Senge, the author of The Fifth Discipline. In that book he describes that the distinguishing factor of learning organizations is learning and practicing the five basic disciplines. These five disciplines consist of 1. Systems thinking, 2. Personal mastery, 3. Mental models, 4. Building shared vision, and 5. Team learning. Each of these should be applied to the organization if it is to learn.
Building a learning organization and mastering the five basic disciplines is important for organizations of the 21st century because it will allow for them to continually grow. In relation to panarchy, a learning organization would be a sustainable one even at the point of k, because the organization is not content, and has a clear vision of the future. This vision cultivates the necessary commitment for the organization to keep expanding as there is no end to their growth.
One form of application that Senge recommends is the use of “systems maps”, in order to view how key elements of systems connect and allow people to see the big picture when looking for solutions. Leaders of the 21st century should also strive for personal mastery, a lifelong discipline where one searches for continual improvement. Senge encourages that we should do an internal reflection so that we can understand and review our predisposed beliefs. Thinking together is a great asset that is taught in learning organizations that help people understand others through communication rather than maintaining assumptions. Overall learning organizations is a framework beneficial to societies as a whole and can help the society function in a more peaceful and progressive fashion.

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