The main themes of the Fifth Discipline
- The first theme states that the problems of today are associated with the solutions that were formulated yesterday.
- That behavior gradually grows from it being better to worse.
- The solutions or the cure that one comes up with may have adverse effects than the existing problems.
- That there should be no blames in the system for the factors that caused the problems and the people in the organization all belong to the same there system (Senge, 2006).
Describing and explaining each discipline
System thinking relates to the incorporation of interrelationships instead of having just components. System thinking involves the appreciation of change and coming up with patterns and not remaining static. System thinking is also sensitive to the complexities that are present in organizations. Nevertheless, system thinking relates to the bringing together of different functions and skills into an integrated system (Senge, 2006). Lastly, system thinking doubles up as a foundation to learning organizations and in the rebuilding of how individuals contribute to the performance of an organization.
In this context, individuals in organizations are instigated to be objective in their decisions and their responsibilities. Also, they are supposed to exercise patience to achieve the predetermined goals (Senge, 2014) As such, individuals perform around the achievement of what is significant to them through the applicability of profound skills that are inculcated by continuous learning.
It involves having a clear image of dynamics of the world of business. To be being able to strategize the most feasible policies to encompass to be consistent with the emerging dynamics. The mental models shape the decisions or the strategies of organizations, and that is why they can breed resistance amongst individuals due to individuals viewing the images of the business world in different ways.
Building shared vision
The driving force here is the specific objectives that the organization wants to accomplish together. All the stakeholders in the organization are included in the decision-making process, so that direction of the organization is created. With the integration of all the stakeholders, all the significant aspects of success will be unleashed. An organization possessing a shared goal amounts to betterment of policies, learning outcomes and informed decisions on accomplishing unachieved goals.
Team learning stipulates the act of group thinking. That is the organization can exchange experiences, abilities, and schools of thoughts. With team learning, teams are in a position to build up a shared vision. The teams are also called upon to utilize the learning cycle to instigate change. With team learning, well informed and skilled decisions reign amongst teams.
Relatedness of the Disciplines
All the five disciplines are related to each other because they all promote organizational learning. Firstly, in the case of personal mastery, an individual has to first learn individually before he can appreciate group learning. Again, system thinking reinforces the interrelationships between functions to allow integration that aids in the unison achievement of the goals of the organization, in the same way, team learning calls for the co-operation of teams through continuous learning to ensure the efficient learning of the organization.
Personal mastery refers to the learning of an individual where he aims at speculating what they want to be or what they can do to realize success in the organization (Davis, D. C., & Lopuch, V. S., 2016) On the other hand, the mental models look into the values, beliefs, and cultures that are held by individuals and shaping them in such a way that they can encourage the realization of value in the organization through learning.
Moreover, building a shared vision is related to systems thinking and team learning. Where all the three focus on having a common objective and working as a whole towards the attainment of the predetermined goal.
Importance of each discipline in establishing a learning organization
To begin with, building a shared vision as a discipline emphasizes the need to have a vision and as such encourages the formulation of ways that can aid the organization in accomplishing the goals (Lopuch & Davis 2014). A shared vision in an organization makes individuals arrive at making it a learning organization so that the values can be attained.
Personal mastery advocates for the learning of the individuals so that they can actively participate in the roles of the organization. Personal mastery creates the importance of understanding the beliefs and the values of individuals to improve the performance of the organization. The purpose of a learning organization is thus appreciated.
Team learning is essential in establishing a learning organization because it encourages group learning and the collective decision-making process. Also, it entails the sharing of experiences and skills that all straight back to a learning organization.
System thinking has the role of ensuring that all the functions in the organization are brought together through interdependence. System thinking thus encompasses abilities, objectives, strategies, decisions and capabilities just to mention a few. With these, the organization needs to learn on how to integrate all these functions into one whole system so to attain desirable results.
Mental models institute the understanding of the dynamics available and how to make viable decisions or actions that relate to the situation at hand. With organizational learning, decisions are prepared better to reinforce the stability of organizations.
Description of the case
The case relates to that of Merck Company which was a leading pharmaceutical. The organization in the year 2006 was experiencing problems such as facing litigations in court and also posting a negative score to its investors following the recalling of one of its most popular drug by the name of Vioxx (Hill, C.W and Jones,G.R., 2014). Amidst all the challenges, Merck was still reporting high profits. It can be attributed to the fact that the company had operated for more than seven years upholding ethical principles and being socially responsible. The challenges that they were facing were attributed to the limited research. The FDA had recalled Vioxx due to its side effects. The case showcases the dealings of Merck with the FDA and its strategies to curb the arising issues.
Describing if the organization is a learning organization or not.
Merck was a learning organization in that it had its core values that it believed in. Also, it engaged in a lot of socially responsible behavior and showcased the respect of human life throughout its operation. Again, the organization ensured that its sales representatives had the expertise skills in the marketing of its products. Lastly, the organization provided an integration of its components that led to good financial performance.
How to Improve the learning of Merck
Merck can improve its learning through the leaders of the organizations and managers spearheading learning in the workplace. Employees should acquire new knowledge on the new legal laws to avoid litigations (Chadwick & Raver, 2015). Also, managers should link organization learning to performance. Managers should push for learning to instigate performance.
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