Main theme of the book ‘The Fifth Discipline’
1. What are the main themes of the Fifth Discipline? What are these five disciplines? How you describe and explain these disciplines.
2. How these disciplines relate to each other and why?
3. Why these disciplines are important in establishing a learning organization?
4. Evaluate and discover if that organization is a learning organization or not. If yes why and if not why? Then propose how you can transform this organization to a learning organization.?
1: Main theme of the book ‘The Fifth Discipline’:
The main concept of the book involves focusing into solving of group problems through the method of systematic thinking. This would help the organization to become a learning organization. The core capabilities of learning that evolves from the five disciplines are fostering of aspirations, comprehending perplexity and development of a reflective conversation. The central theme of the book helps in suggesting that it is not a wise act for an organization to rely on a single person for learning (Arvinen-Muondo and Perkins 2013). The business can be only successful through the development of member’s capacity at all the organization levels. A learning organization is the one whose members needs to be open to ideas, able to communicate effectively , understand the organization , form a vision that is shared by the team members and work towards achieving that vision (Senge, 1990).
The five disciplines that are referred to as the learning organization are as follows:
Building shared vision
The pictorial representation of the five disciplines is given below:
(Source: Wilson and O'Connor 2013)
Explanation of the disciplines:
Personal Mastery: This discipline helps in deepening and clarifying the personal vision. Individual learning causes organizational learning.
Mental Models: This discipline holds the ingrained assumption and generalization that affects the actions and the understanding of the world (Wilson and O'Connor 2013).
Building shared vision: This discipline involves unraveling shared pictures of the future that would help in fostering enrolment and genuine thinking.
Team learning: This discipline begins with a dialogue conjoined with the systematic form of thinking. The team members have the ability to reject the assumption and form a genuine thinking (Catlin-Legutko and Klingler 2012).
System thinking: This discipline is basically an integration of the above four. A type of thinking that has long-term view (Zuber-Skerritt 2014).
Learning organizations are organization where the learning process is continuous. There is rapid change in the organization through the incorporation of the adaptive and the productive change. There exist learning capacity of individuals but the proper form of structure is not available for expansion. There are some contemporary forms of disciplines based on which the learning organizations are built. These disciplines are interrelated and work in coordination. Individuals are the building blocks to learning process. This would help in guaranteeing organizational learning (Gallistel 2013). The next thing that follows is the mental model. This is the thinking aspect of an individual, the necessary action taken by him and the ability to reflect on certain perspective. The thinking ability of the individual will help in shared vision. When a genuine vision is expressed to the team members then the members can work upon the vision. The vision is spread through the process of reinforcement. Individual learning based of certain desires would find a vent through the process of team learning. The concept of team learning centres on shared vision and personal mastery. In an organization, the system of thinking would be established only when individuals in the team are on constant learning phase.3: The five disciplines are interrelated and help in forming the process of learning in the organization. Personal mastery helps in describing the pro-activeness of individual learning. Individual learning helps serving the purpose of organizational learning. It clarifies and deepens the personal visions. The continuous learning process helps in attaining mastery over their work in the organization. Mental model is the ability of reflecting on actions. The internal pictures of the world can be unearthed through this method. The method of mental learning helps in developing ‘learningful’ conversation. This helps in exposing creative thinking effectively and this thinking then helps in influencing the team members (Garvin 2013). In order to develop the capacity of work, new skills and development orientation is to be made. The individual learning process will help in sharing of vision. This would enhance clarity, enthusiasm and commitment (Rosenthal 2012). The organization will grow not through single person’s learning actions but is dependent upon the learning actions of all the people working in the organization. Individual learning will help in building team learning. Team learning will help in bringing out the objective of learning for each member. Apart from the individuality, the team learns to grow through the visions and prospects about the organization (Gould and Baldwin 2013). The system thinking discipline takes into all the aspects of discipline. Systematic thinking addresses the whole perspective and examines the interrelationship of the parts. This is a long-term phenomenon and so the understanding the loophole gets important.
Explanation of the disciplines
4: The case study highlights on the aspect of lower morale of the employees in Nestle Corporation. The company has not been able to cater to the needs of the people and so they are not able to provide efficient output (Robbins and Judge 2013). The morale of the employees are down due to a number of reasons. Some of the reasons are the inability to communicate freely with the management and the efficient people not given the type of job for which they are qualified (HjoÌˆrne, Aalsvoort and Abreu 2012). The productivity of the company is falling and it is running in losses. The company Nestle lost a large market share to its competitors. The losses were so huge that the company had to sell a part of their internal assets. The company could not understand where it went wrong. The fall in sales and poor customer services have risen due to the number of unhappy employees in the company. There is no guidance by the organization provided to the employees on a weekly or monthly basis. This is the reason why a special team by the company was arranged to note down the feedback of the employees. The human resources department was given the authority to conduct the whole process (Knights and Willmott 2012). There was diverse opinion revealed by the employees but the common factor that was noticed is that there was lack of creativity or learning process within the organization.
5: Application of five discipline of Peter Senge on the case study:
The personal mastery discipline when applied does not show a convincing picture. The personal vision that is projected by the employees in Nestle Company does not have any basis. There is no encouragement given to the employees so that they can reach a fruitful vision (Leistner 2012). It is already mentally present in the mind of the manager that the workers lack productivity. Since there is no sharing of vision by the employees, the process of learning does not evolve and the team learning is stagnated. Due to lack of learning at all the levels, the whole system suffers that is reflected through losses that the company accrues.
Reason for the company for not being a learning organization:
The reasons for Nestle not being a learning organization are:
There is no support or encouragement given to the employees for critical thinking and risk taking with respect to new ideas (Marquardt 2013).
Nestle does not give rewards to the employees who offer valuable contribution to the company.
Transforming of an organization into a learning organization:
In order to transform an organization into learning organization there is need for change resistance. This can only be possible when the vision of a senior like the CEO of the company compels the employees have a similar one (Pettinger 2013). The visionary leader when setting up the learning organization should have the awareness that learning should be involved in all levels not only with respect to the management. It is important to build an organizational structure that is facilitative and which helps in removing the organizational boundaries.
Arvinen-Muondo, R. and Perkins, S. (2013). Organizational behaviour. London: Kogan Page.
Catlin-Legutko, C. and Klingler, S. (2012). Organizational management. Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press.
Gallistel, C. (2013). The organization of learning. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Garvin, D. (2013). Learning in action. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
Gould, N. and Baldwin, M. (2013). Social work, critical reflection, and the learning organization. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate.
HjoÌˆrne, E., Aalsvoort, G. and Abreu, G. (2012). Learning, social interaction and diversity-- Exploring identities in school practices. Rotterdam: SensePublishers.
Knights, D. and Willmott, H. (2012). Introducing organizational behaviour and management. Andover, Hampshire, U.K.: Cengage Learning EMEA.
Leistner, F. (2012). Connecting organizational silos. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Marquardt, M. (2013). Building the learning organization. Palo Alto, Calif.: Davies-Black Pub.
Pettinger, R. (2013). The learning organization. Oxford, U.K.: Capstone Pub.
Robbins, S. and Judge, T. (2013). Organizational behavior. Essex, England: Pearson.
Rosenthal, N. (2012). Active Learning/Empowered Learning. Adult Learning, 1(5), pp.16-18.
Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline. New York: Doubleday/Currency.
Wilson, P. and O'Connor, D. (2013). The learning organization. Kent, C.T.: Scitech.
Zuber-Skerritt, O. (2014). The learning organization. Bradford, England: Emerald Group Pub.
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