The Primacy of the Fifth Discipline

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With globalization and modern technology prying the world open to all, change has happened and grown so fast that business has to move faster than change to be ahead and stay in front of the competition. But moving faster would mean discarding old habits and practices because of fiercer competition and advances in technology. It is no longer practicable to be following the same old procedures. What is needed, according to Garvin (2008), is a new attitude or a new posture towards learning. What is needed, add Kouzes and Posner (1991), is a new model fit for the world. What is needed is a learning organization (Senge, 1990). … Hence, his advocacy for the adoption or the mastery of the five disciplines of learning organizations. Systems Thinking. Systems thinking is a theoretical framework that views business and human activity as parts of a larger network, and which are in fact, in themselves, made up of such different parts that are interconnected to form a whole. Systems thinking is the cornerstone of Senge‚Äôs (1990) five disciplines, putting the other four in an interconnected web or network to produce a learning and dynamic organization. Senge suggests the adoption of this systems framework as a frame of mind in order to solve complex problems caused by the actions and reactions of different parts against each other. Systems thinking in effect advocates viewing the whole rather than the individual parts. Personal Mastery. Even as Senge pushes strongly for a macro-view of things, he does not abandon the examination of the individual parts. In fact, he recommends the development of the individual to the point of his maximum proficiency so he can exhibit his best self in his chosen craft. Senge admonishes the individual member of the organization to never lose the initiative and the desire to be a learning individual in order to gain such mastery. He suggests for the individual to continually clarify and deepen his personal vision and focus his energies towards bringing out his full potential as a member of his organization. Senge thinks that for this personal mastery to be developed as a discipline, it must be encouraged, and in fact facilitated, by the organization by creating an environment where the individual can fully develop.