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concept of experiential learning as an ongoing cycle of activity. 1940s: and The Macy Conferences -bring -featuring "systems Margaret thinking" Mead, to the Gregory awareness Bateson, of a
cross-disciplinary group of intellectuals. 1940s: Scottish psychologist Kenneth Craik coins the term "mental models,"
which later makes its way to MIT through Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert. 1946: proposes of reality. 1956: Edgar Schein's research on brainwashing in Korea paves the way for Kurt idea Lewin, of a founding "creative theorist tension" of between National personal Training vision Laboratories, and a sense
an understanding of "process consultation." 1960: "The Human Side of Enterprise," by Douglas McGregor, is published. 1961: major Jay Forrester of publishes system "Industrial dynamics Dynamics." to This book, the first the
turbulence within a typical appliance value chain. 1970: study actions. 1972: "The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind," by Donella Meadows and Dennis Meadows, is Chris of Argyris how and Donald values Schon clash begin with work the on values "action that science," underlie the real
published. The book draws on Forrester's theories about system dynamics. 1971 to 1979: attitude Erhard shifts Seminars that Training can ( EST ) demonstrate a seminar the kind of lasts
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1982: Devices Senge. an a the annual newsletter devoted to discipline" Pegasus newsletter's conference parent series organization. Hanover and Insurance other CEO Bill O'Brien. two spends a sabbatical Business School and articles about scenario planning as a learning activity. mental models ( based on Wack's and Argyris's work ). called Systems Thinking in Action. CEO Arie de Geus. an article that on only organizational Harvard Business arguing learning that can be measured will be useful to managers. 1993: Harvard University learning in professor the David Garvin publishes Review. Stata. 1989: quantum Oxford University David management Bohm. the The "Systems following launches Thinker. 1990: "fifth Daniel Kim founds issues. is published. shared vision ( based on work done at Innovation Associates ). the Argyris. Analog a Ray executive leaders form learning-organization study group. Network." by Charles Handy. Isaacs." includes learning whose quality research movement involves ). staff Kim the "learning center. Global Napier Business Collyns.1984 to 1985: at Pierre Harvard Wack. advisers. as director Bill called. 1989: "The Age of Unreason. is published. Jay with a Ogilvy. and team learning ( based on David Bohm's concepts ). 1990: "The Fifth system Discipline" dynamics. Learning Chris The Daniel work to is formed Arie of ( the at de MIT. Communications. which meets regularly at MIT." year. and linking organization research director George Roth. . mastery" The ( book based draws on on Fritz's many work influences: "personal and the concept of creative tension ). the an associate of of physicist introduces Senge concept dialogue as a process for building team capability. Geus. 1989: as and it's The Center and O'Brien for with as Organizational Ed key Bill Schein. scenario planner at Royal writes Dutch/Shell. 1987: Peter Schwartz. with Ray Senge Stata. charter and to Lawrence Wilkinson foster organizational learning through scenario planning. form Stewart the Brand. scholar Bill to Isaacs.
have embraced the "learning organization" idea because it encourages people to follow their own aspirations and. 1995: Working process with of Dee Hock. the an Organizational ambitious Learning Center begins a two-year building international consortium called the Society for Organizational Learning. Managers in middle levels." by Art Kleiner. Authors Ross." by Arie de Geus. . 1997: "The Living Company. boost organizational performance. meanwhile. 1994: The first major Organizational Learning Center projects reach completion. are published. The leaders of all learning and change efforts in organizations sooner or later run up against the challenge of proving the value of their efforts' accomplishments. and of the book." by Joseph Jaworski. Rick ). and Synchronicity: "The Inner Path of Leadership. the idea of building a "learning organization" has gained currency in management circles. But a few have resulted in disappointing career prospects for some of the line leaders who were involved in them. 1994: The use of "learning histories" as a method of assessment begins at the Center for Organizational Learning. But even the most fervent "learning organization" enthusiasts have difficulty demonstrating a link between organizational learning efforts and key business results. in the process. In recent years. is published. Smith ( who new Roberts. Many senior managers. This implies that people can reclaim a little bit of the spirit of community and personal involvement that has been leached out of conventional business decision-making. have come to recognize that. with Peter Senge as chairman. Executives authorize millions of dollars for organizational learning. The same is true for other types of "change" and "transformation" efforts. 1999: "The Dance of Change" is published. and Art Kleiner a serves editorial director The "Fieldbook" becomes management-book genre. Many of them have produced remarkable results. of Discipline include Fieldbook" Charlotte is published. of Canada Bryan president as Innovation Associates ). their enterprises can continually gain new talents and capabilities even as they weather the vicissitudes of fate. in particular.1994: which ( "The Senge Fifth edited. 1996: "The Age of Heretics. with the right approach to collective learning.
. But these sorts of changes are misunderstood. Moreover. as windowdressing that isn't backed up by action. Any feedback. As people become aware of being assessed and measured. to help the rest of the organization develop. the rest of the company also needs to understand the experience of its learning efforts to date. or quality improvement -. They may be seen as evidence of cultishness.and then grapple unsuccessfully with the problem of assessing their investment. They need to judge the value of their past experience. and make sense of it in a way that is credible to them. the intrinsic motivation which drove them to learn is supplanted by an extrinsically motivated desire to look successful. mediated through an outside observer's eyes.so that they can come to terms with it based on actual data (not just on the gossip that reaches them). Finally. re-invention. Assessment is also vital for the participants in learning efforts. need to build upon that experience. successful learning efforts generally require people to rise above their conventional blinders to add new ways of thinking and new forms of behavior to their repertoire. or as well-intentioned but misguided attempts at change. if only to help their organizations move forward and to develop their judgment and skills further. They will.reengineering. people throughout the organization need a feedback process that can provide guidance and support Yet reacting to the pressure of assessing learning can easily undermine any learning effort. In short. after all. people throughout the organization need to see it through the various perspectives of people who have been involved with it firsthand . will be tainted by this built-in set of distortions. and avoid repeating the first mistakes? How do they spread the sense of potential achievement through the rest of the organization? How do they overcome the disdain for anything "not invented in our part of the company"? Companies have found it notoriously difficult to institutionalize the learning of its subgroups. To really make sense of a learning effort. How do they replicate the first successes. when an organization has been through a learning or change process.