Still in search of learning organization? Towards a radical account of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

Shih Wei Hsu, Peter Lamb

    Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the inherent problem of Senge’s learning organization, embedded in his seminal work, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. The authors contend that such a problem has an enduring quality that leads to a highly problematic state of learning organization, and a radical shift in the understanding is necessary. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based on a critical review of relevant literature in the areas of learning organization. Some of Senge’s own works will also be reviewed. Findings: This paper contends that Senge’s project of learning organization is a managerial attempt to remove bureaucracy and, as such, the concept of learning has been displaced from the outset. Hence, the theory of learning organization offers a weak response to the pressing issues such as climate and global warming. While some of Senge’s other works seem to show an awareness of the necessity of new managerial visions, the authors argue that what is required is a scrutiny of the belief that corporations are able to achieve a wider social and ecological goal. Originality/value: This paper offers a radical account of Senge’s concept of learning organization, including Senge’s dialogue with Nan Huai-Jin, published in Chinese. The authors question the mysterious state of learning in Senge’s learning organization and offer a possible new account of learning organization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-41
    Number of pages11
    JournalLearning Organization
    Volume27
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2020

    Keywords

    • Critique
    • Learning
    • Learning organizations
    • Senge
    • Taoism
    • The sixth discipline

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Still in search of learning organization? Towards a radical account of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this