Peter Senge is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
The Journal of Business Strategy (September/October 1999) named Senge one of the 24 people who has had the greatest influence on business strategy over the last 100 years. The Financial Times (2000) named him one of the world’s top management gurus, andBusinessWeek (October 2001) rated Senge one of the top 10 management gurus. Senge has lectured extensively throughout the world, translating the abstract ideas of systems theory into tools for better understanding of economic and organizational change. He studies decentralizing the role of leadership in organizations so as to enhance the ability of employees to work productively toward common goals, and the managerial and institutional changes needed to build more sustainable enterprises—those businesses that foster social and natural as well as economic well-being. Senge’s work articulates a cornerstone position of human values in the workplace: namely, that vision, purpose, reflectiveness, and systems thinking are essential if organizations are to realize their potential. He has worked with leaders in business, education, civil society, healthcare, and government.
Senge is the founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), a global community of corporations, researchers, and consultants dedicated to the “interdependent development of people and their institutions.” He is the author of the widely acclaimed book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization (1990). With colleagues Charlotte Roberts, Rick Ross, Bryan Smith, and Art Kleiner, he is the co-author of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization (1994) and a second fieldbook The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations (March 1999), co-authored by George Roth. In September 2000, Senge co-authored a fieldbook on education, the award-winning Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education (2000). The Fifth Discipline hit a nerve within the business and education communities by introducing the theory of learning organizations. Since its publication, more than one million copies have been sold worldwide. In 1997, Harvard Business Review identified it as one of the seminal management books of the past 75 years. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook was developed in response to questions from readers of The Fifth Discipline who wanted more help with tools, methods, and practical experiences in developing enhanced learning capabilities within their own companies. The Dance of Change is based on more recent experiences of companies developing learning capabilities over many years, and the strategies leaders develop to deal with the many challenges this work entails. He also has authored many articles published in both academic journals and the business press on systems thinking in management, and has co-authored Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future.
Senge holds a BS in engineering from Stanford University as well as an SM in social systems modeling and a PhD in management from MIT.
Peter Senge answers the question by first suggesting that “we jettison the jargon” and work on organizations where everyone works together successfully. He discusses how there are only two dominant factors within an organization: control or learning and the question is which one is dominant. He lays out the major factors that need to be present in order for an organization to be centered in learning.
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