In the long run, the only sustainablesource of competitive advantage isyour organization's ability to learnfaster than its competition.Founder and Director of the Centerfor Organizational Learning at MIT'sSloan School of Management, whichboasts such members as Intel, Ford,Herman Miller, and Harley Davidson,author Peter M. Senge has found a meansof creating a "learning organization." InTHE FIFTH D I SC I P L I N E , he drawsthe blueprints for an organization wherepeople expand their capacity to createthe results they truly desire, where newand expansive patterns of thinking arenurtured, where collective aspiration is setfree, and where people are continuallylearning how to learn together. THEFIFTH DISCIPLINE fuses these featuresinto a coherent body of theory andpractice, making the whole of anorganization more effective than the sumof its parts.Company after company, from Intel toAT&T to Procter & Gamble to Coopersand Lybrand, have adopted thedisciplines of the learning organization torid themselves of the learning"disabilities"C O N T I N U E D ON B A C K17. září 2004F L A P2 ze 412


TO DIANEFor more information on Currency Doubleday's new ideas on business, please write:Currency Doubleday1540 Broadway—Eighteenth FloorNew York, New York 10036A CURRENCY PAPERBACKPUBLISHED BY DOUBLEDAYa division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. 1540Broadway, New York, New York 10036CURRENCY and DOUBLEDAYare trademarks of Doubleday,a division of Bantam Doubleday DellPublishing Group, Inc.The Fifth Discipline was originally published in hardcover by Currency Doubleday, a division ofBantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., in 1990.BOOK DESIGN BY RICHARD ORIOLOPermission to reprint Navajo sand painting given by theWheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe,New Mexico, Photography by Kay V. Weist.The Library of Congress has cataloged the Currency hardcover edition as follows:Senge, Peter M. The fifth discipline: the art and practice ofthe learning organization/Peter M. Senge. — 1st ed.p. cm."A Currency book"—T.p. verso. 1. Organizational effectiveness.2. Work groups. I. Title. II. Title: Learning organization.HD58.9.S46 1994658.4-dc2090-2991CIPISBN 0-385-26095-4 Copyright 1990 by Peter M. SengeIntroduction to the Paperback Edition and Some Tips for First-Time Readers copyright 1994by Peter M. SengeAll Rights Reserved Printed inthe United States of America17. září 20044 ze 412

CONTENTSIntroduction to the Paperback EditionSome Tips for First-Time ReadersixxxiPARTIHOW OUR ACTIONS CREATE OURREALITY . . . AND HOW WE CANCHANGE IT1 "Give Me a Lever Long Enough and Single-Handed I Can Movethe World"32 Does Your Organization Have a Learning Disability?173 Prisoners of the System, or Prisoners of Our Own Thinking?27PARTIITHE FIFTH DISCIPLINE: THECORNERSTONE OF THE LEARNINGORGANIZATION574 The Laws of the Fifth Discipline685 A Shift of Mind6 Nature's Templates: Identifying the Patterns93That Control Events1147 The Principle of Leverage1278 The Art of Seeing the Forest and the Trees17. září 20045 ze 412

PARTI I ITHE CORE DISCIPLINES: BUILDINGTHE LEARNING ORGANIZATION9101112Personal MasteryMental ModelsShared VisionTeam enness273Localness287A Manager's Time302Ending the War Between Work and Family306Microworlds: The Technology of the Learning Organization 313The Leader's New Work339PARTCODA19 A Sixth Discipline?20 Rewriting the Code21 The Indivisible WholeAppendix 1. The Learning DisciplinesAppendix 2. Systems ArchetypesNotesAcknowledgmentsIndex17. září 2004V3633643683733783914114146 ze 412

P A R TIHow Our ActionsCreate Our Reality.and How We CanChange It17. září 20047 ze 412

1"GIVE ME A LEVERLONG ENOUGH. . A N DSINGLE-HANDED I CANMOVE THE WORLD"From a very early age, we are taught to break apart problems, to fragment the world.This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more manageable, but we pay ahidden, enormous price. We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we loseour intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole. When we then try to "see the bigpicture," we try to reassemble the fragments in our minds, to list and organize all thepieces. But, as physicist David Bohm says, the task is futile—similar to trying toreassemble the fragments of a broken mirror to see a true reflection. Thus, after a whilewe give up trying to see the whole altogether.The tools and ideas presented in this book are for destroying the illusion that theworld is created of separate, unrelated forces. When we give up this illusion—we canthen build "learning organizations," organizations where people continually expandtheir capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patternsof thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people arecontinually learning how to learn together.As Fortune magazine recently said, "Forget your tired old ideas about leadership. Themost successful corporation of the 1990s will be something called a learningorganization." "The ability to learn faster than your competitors," said Arie De Geus,head of planning for Royal Dutch/Shell, "may be the only sustainable competitiveadvantage." As the world becomes more interconnected and business becomes morecomplex and dynamic, work must become more "learningful." It is no longer sufficientto have one person learning for the organization, a Ford or a Sloan or a Watson. It'sjust not possible any longer to "figure it out" from the top, and have everyone elsefollowing the orders of the "grand strategist." The organizations that will truly excel inthe future will be the organizations that discover how to tap people's commitment andcapacity to learn at all levels in an organization.Learning organizations are possible because, deep down, we are all learners. No onehas to teach an infant to learn. In fact, no one has to teach infants anything. They areintrinsically inquisitive, masterful learners who learn to walk, speak, and pretty muchrun their households all on their own. Learning organizations are possible because notonly is it our nature to learn but we love to learn. Most of us at one time or anotherhave been part of a great "team," a group of people who functioned together in anextraordinary way— who trusted one another, who complemented each others'strengths and compensated for each others' limitations, who had common goals thatwere larger than individual goals, and who produced extraordinary results. I have metmany people who have experienced this sort of profound teamwork—in sports, or inthe performing arts, or in business. Many say that they have spent much of their lifelooking for that experience again. What they experienced was a learning organization.17. září 20048 ze 412

The team that became great didn't start off great—it learned how to produceextraordinary results.One could argue that the entire global business community is learning to learntogether, becoming a learning community. Whereas once many industries weredominated by a single, undisputed leader —one IBM, one Kodak, one Procter &Gamble, one Xerox—today industries, especially in manufacturing, have dozens ofexcellent companies. American and European corporations are pulled forward by theexample of the Japanese; the Japanese, in turn, are pulled by the Koreans andEuropeans. Dramatic improvements take place in corporations in Italy, Australia,Singapore—and quickly become influential around the world.There is also another, in some ways deeper, movement toward learning organizations,part of the evolution of industrial society. Material affluence for the majority hasgradually shifted people's orientation toward work—from what Daniel Yankelovichcalled an "instrumental" view of work, where work was a means to an end, to a more"sacred" view, where people seek the "intrinsic" benefits of work.1 "Our grandfathersworked six days a week to earn what most of us now earn by Tuesday afternoon," saysBill O'Brien, CEO of Hanover Insurance. "The ferment in management will continueuntil we build organizations that are more consistent with man's higher aspirationsbeyond food, shelter and belonging."Moreover, many who share these values are now in leadership positions. I find agrowing number of organizational leaders who, while still a minority, feel they are partof a profound evolution in the nature of work as a social institution. "Why can't we dogood works at work?" asked Edward Simon, president of Herman Miller, recently."Business is the only institution that has a chance, as far as I can see, to fundamentallyimprove the injustice that exists in the world. But first, we will have to move throughthe barriers that are keeping us from being truly vision-led and capable of learning."Perhaps the most salient reason for building learning organizations is that we are onlynow starting to understand the capabilities such organizations must possess. For a longtime, efforts to build learning organizations were like groping in the dark until theskills, areas of knowledge, and paths for development of such organizations becameknown. What fundamentally will distinguish learning organizations from traditionalauthoritarian "controlling organizations" will be the mastery of certain basic disciplines.That is why the "disciplines of the learning organization" are vital.DISCIPLINES OF THE LEARNING ORGANIZATIONOn a cold, clear morning in December 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, thefragile aircraft of Wilbur and Orville Wright proved that powered flight was possible.Thus was the airplane invented; but it would take more than thirty years beforecommercial aviation could serve the general public.Engineers say that a new idea has been "invented" when it is proven to work in thelaboratory. The idea becomes an "innovation" only when it can be replicated reliably ona meaningful scale at practical costs. If the idea is sufficiently important, such as thetelephone, the digital computer, or commercial aircraft, it is called a "basic innovation,"and it creates a new industry or transforms an existing industry. In these terms, learningorganizations have been invented, but they have not yet been innovated.In engineering, when an idea moves from an invention to an innovation, diverse"component technologies" come together. Emerging from isolated developments inseparate fields of research, these components gradually form an "ensemble oftechnologies that are critical to each others' success. Until this ensemble forms, theidea, though possible in the laboratory, does not achieve its potential in practice.2The Wright Brothers proved that powered flight was possible, but the McDonnellDouglas DC-3, introduced in 1935, ushered in the era of commercial air travel. TheDC-3 was the first plane that supported itself economically as well as aerodynamically.During those intervening thirty years (a typical time period for incubating basic17. září 20049 ze 412

innovations), myriad experiments with commercial flight had failed. Like earlyexperiments with learning organizations, the early planes were not reliable and costeffective on an appropriate scale.The DC-3, for the first time, brought together five critical component technologiesthat formed a successful ensemble. They were: the variable-pitch propeller, retractablelanding gear, a type of lightweight molded body construction called "monocque," radialair-cooled engine, and wing flaps. To succeed, the DC-3 needed all five; four were notenough. One year earlier, the Boeing 247 was introduced with all of them except wingflaps. Lacking wing flaps, Boeing's engineers found that the plane was unstable on takeoff and landing and had to downsize the engine.Today, I believe, five new "component technologies" are gradually converging toinnovate learning organizations. Though developed separately, each will, I believe,prove critical to the others' success, just as occurs with any ensemble. Each provides avital dimension in building organizations that can truly "learn," that can continuallyenhance their capacity to realize their highest aspirations:Systems Thinking. A cloud masses, the sky darkens, leaves twist upward, and weknow that it will rain. We also know that after the storm, the runoff will feed intogroundwater miles away, and the sky will grow clear by tomorrow. All these events aredistant in time and space, and yet they are all connected within the same pattern. Eachhas an influence on the rest, an influence that is usually hidden from view. You canonly understand the system of a rainstorm by contemplating the whole, not anyindividual part of the pattern.Business and other human endeavors are also systems. They, too, are bound byinvisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play out theireffects on each other. Since we are part of that lacework ourselves, it's doubly hard tosee the whole pattern of change. Instead, we tend to focus on snapshots of isolatedparts of the system, and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved.Systems thinking is a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools that hasbeen developed over the past fifty years, to make the full patterns clearer, and to helpus see how to change them effectively.Though the tools are new, the underlying worldview is extremely intuitive;experiments with young children show that they learn systems thinking very quickly.Personal Mastery. Mastery might suggest gaining dominance over people or things.But mastery can also mean a special level of proficiency. A master craftsman doesn'tdominate pottery or weaving. People with a high level of personal mastery are able toconsistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them— in effect, theyapproach their life as an artist would approach a work of art.