Peter Senge

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Peter M. Senge, November 2004

Peter Michael Senge (born 1947) is an American scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is known as author of the book The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization from 1990 (new edition of 2007). He is a senior lecturer at the System Dynamics Group at MIT Sloan School of Management.


[edit] Biography

Peter Senge received a B.S. in Aerospace engineering from Stanford University. While at Stanford, Senge also studied philosophy. He later earned an M.S. in social systems modeling from MIT in 1972. He also earned a Ph.D. from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1978.[1][2]

He was the Director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and is presently (2005) on the faculty at MIT.

He is the founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL). This organization helps with the communication of ideas between large corporations. It replaced the previous organization known as, The center for Organizational Learning at MIT.

He has had a regular meditation practice since 1996 and began meditating with a trip to Tassajara, a Zen Buddhist monastery, before attending Stanford.[3] He recommends meditation or similar forms of contemplative practice.[4][3][5]

[edit] Work

An engineer by training, Peter was a protegé of John H. Hopkins and has followed closely the works of Michael Peters and Robert Fritz and based his books on pioneering works with the five disciplines in Ford, Chrysler, Shell, AT&T, Hannover Insurance, Harley-Davidson since the 70s and 80s through today.

[edit] Organization development

Senge emerged in the 1990s as a major figure in organizational development with his book The Fifth Discipline where he developed the notion of a learning organization. This views organizations as dynamical systems (as defined in Systemics) in a state of continuous adaptation and improvement.

In 1997, Harvard Business Review identified The Fifth Discipline as one of the seminal management books of the previous 75 years.[6] For this work, he was named by Journal of Business Strategy as the 'Strategist of the Century'. They further said that he was one of a very few people who 'had the greatest impact on the way we conduct business today'.[6]

[edit] Learning Organization and Systems Thinking

According to Senge 'learning organizations' are those 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 to see the whole together."[6] He argues that only those organizations that are able to adapt quickly and effectively will be able to excel in their field or market. In order to be a learning organization there must be two conditions present at all times. The first is the ability to design the organization to match the intended or desired outcomes and second, the ability to recognize when the initial direction of the organization is different from the desired outcome and follow the necessary steps to correct this mismatch. Organizations that are able to do this are exemplary.

Senge also believed in the theory of Systems Thinking which has sometimes been referred to as the 'Cornerstone' of the Learning Organization. Systems thinking, focuses on how the individual that is being studied interacts with the other constituents of the system.[7] Rather than focusing on the individuals within an organization it prefers to look at a larger number of interactions within the organization and in between organizations as a whole.

[edit] See also

[edit] Publications

Peter Senge wrote several books and articles. A selection:

  • 1990, The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization, Doubleday, New York, 1990.
  • 1994, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
  • 1999, The Dance of Change
  • 2004, Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, published in 2004
  • 2005, Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and SocietyOrganizations, and Society
  • 2008, The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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