Peter Senge's groundbreaking ideas on building organizations have made him a household name amongst corporate managers. His theories help businesses to clarify their goals, to defy the odds, to more clearly understand threats, and to recognize new opportunities. He introduces managers to a new source of competitive advantage, and offers a marvelously empowering approach to work.
Mastery of Senge's five disciplines enables managers to overcome their obstacles to growth and creates brave new futures for them and their companies. The five disciplines are drawn from science, spiritual wisdom, psychology, the cutting edge of management thought, and Senge's own work with top corporations that employ his methods. Listening to The Fifth Discipline provides a searching personal experience and a dramatic professional shift of mind.
A director at MIT's Sloan School, Senge here proposes the ``systems thinking'' method to help a corporation to become a ``learning organization,'' one that integrates at all personnel levels indifferently related company functions (sales, product design, etc.) to ``expand the ability to produce.'' He describes requisite disciplines, of which systems-thinking is the fifth. Others include ``personal mastery'' of one's capacities and ``team learning'' through group discussion of individual objectives and problems. Employees and managers are also encouraged to examine together their often negative perceptions or ``mental models'' of company people and procedures. The text is esoteric and flavored with terms like ``recontextualized rationality,'' but the book should help inventory-addled retailers whom the author cites as unaware of their customers' desire for quality. Macmillan Book Clubs selection. (Aug.)