The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization

Peter M. Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, Bryan Smith

Publisher: Doubleday, 1994, 593 pages

ISBN: 0-385-47256-0

Keywords: Human Resources

Last modified: Aug. 4, 2021, 7:16 p.m.

Peter Senge's national bestseller, The Fifth Discipline, revolutionized the practice of management by introducing the theory of learning organizations. Now Dr. Senge moves from the philosophical to the practical by answering the first question all lovers of the learning organization ask: What do they do on Monday morning?

The Fieldbook is an intensely pragmatic guide. It shows how to create an organization of learners where memories are brought to life, where collaboration is the lifeblood of every endeavor, and where the tough questions are fearlessly asked. The stories in this book show that companies, businesses, schools, agencies, and even communities can undo their "learning disabilities" and achieve superior performance. If ever a work gave meaning to the phrase hands-on, this is it. Senge and his four co-authors cover it all including:

  • Reinventing relationships
  • Being loyal to the truth
  • Strategies for developing personal mastery
  • Building a shared vision
  • Systems thinking in an organization
  • Designing a dialogue session
  • Strategies for team learning
  • Organizations as communities
  • Designing an organization's governing ideas

This is a book that will have you creating a learning organization from the very first chapter!

As its name promises, The Fieldbook is designed to be referred to in meetings, planning sessions, during reflections, or anytime a conflict or challenge arises. Open it up anywhere and icons and cross references will lead you from defining the problem to thinking about how to solve it. Mark up the pages. Write in the margins. Draw. Scribble. Daydream. As your field notes accumulate, you will create your own guide to mastering the disciplines of organizational learning.

  • Getting Started
    1. "I See You"
    2. An Exchange of Lore and Learning
    3. How to Read This Book
    4. Why Bother?
    5. Why Bother? (A CEO's Perspective)
    6. Moving Forward
    7. Core Concepts About Learning in Organizations
    8. The Wheel of Learning
    9. Leadership Fields
    10. Reinventing Relationships
    11. Finding a Partner
    12. Opening Moves
  • Systems Thinking
    1. Strategies for Systems Thinking
    2. What You Can Expect… As You Practice Systems Thinking
    3. Brownie's Lamb: Learning to See the World Systemically
    4. Starting with Storytelling
    5. The Language of Systems Thinking: "Links" and "Loops"
    6. The Archetype Family Tree
    7. Systems Sleuth
    8. Enriching the Archetype
    9. Seven Steps for Breaking Through Organizational Gridlock
    10. Moving into Computer Modeling
    11. Systems Thinking with Process Mapping: A Natural Combination
    12. Where to Go from Here
  • Personal Masterly
    1. Strategies for Developing Personal Mastery
    2. What You Can Expect… from the Practice of Personal Mastery
    3. Loyalty to the Truth
    4. The Power of Choice
    5. Innovations in Infrastructure for Encouraging Personal Mastery
    6. Instilling Personal Mastery at Beckman Instruments
    7. Intrapersonal Mastery
    8. Where to Go from Here
  • Mental Models
    1. Strategies for Working with Mental Models
    2. What You Can Expect… in Working with Mental Models
    3. The Ladder of Inference
    4. Balancing Inquiry and Advocacy
    5. Conversational Recipes
    6. Opening Lines
    7. Bootstrapping Yourself into Reflection and Inquiry Skills
    8. Creating Scenarios
    9. Shell's Internal Consultancy
    10. Double-loop Accounting
    11. Where to Go from Here
  • Shared Vision
    1. Strategies for Building Shared Vision
    2. What You Can Expect… As You Build Shared Vision
    3. Designing an Organization's Governing Ideas
    4. Building Shared Vision: How to Begin
    5. Letter to the CEO
    6. Letter to the CEO's Partner
    7. Strategic Priorities
    8. Where to Go from Here
  • Team Learning
    1. Strategies for Team Learning
    2. What You Can Expect… from Team Learning
    3. Dialogue
    4. The Cauldron
    5. Designing a Dialogue Session
    6. Skillful Discussion
    7. Skillful Discussion at Intel
    8. Popular Postmortems
    9. Silence
    10. Reframing Team Relationships
    11. Building an Organization that Recognizes Everyone's Uniqueness
    12. Tools for Discovering Learning Styles
    13. Bringing Diverse People to Common Purpose
    14. Designing a Company-wide Strategy for Team Learning
    15. Executive Team Leadership
    16. Where to Go from Here
  • Arenas of Practice
    1. "Our Quality Program Isn't Working"
    2. Springing Ourselves from the Measurement Trap
    3. Corporate Environmentalism
    4. Training As Learning
    5. Workplace Design
    6. The Tricky Dynamics of Learning in a Family-owned Business
    7. Creating a Learning Newspaper
    8. Health Care
    9. Education
    10. Can Large Government Learn?
    11. A Letter to an Aspiring Policymaker
    12. The Local Community as a Learning Organization
  • Frontiers
    1. Organizations as Communities
    2. Merging the Best of Two Worlds
    3. Bean Suppers
    4. Free Agency, Employment Stability, and Community Boundaries
    5. Operating Principles for Building Community
    6. Microworlds and Learning Laboratories
    7. Where the Organization Develops a Theory About Itself
    8. Using Microworlds to Promote Inquiry
    9. A Buyer's Guide to OR-the-Shelf Microworlds
    10. Creating Your Own Management Flight Simulator
    11. The Du Pont Manufacturing Game
    12. Creating a Learning Lab – and Making It Work
    13. Coda
    14. Acknowledgments
    15. How to Stay in Touch with The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook Project
    16. Contributors to The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook


The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Bad ** (2 out of 10)

Last modified: June 29, 2008, 9:32 a.m.

OK, Senge admits that the first book was confusing (surprise!). This will be addressed by this bible-like tomb (another one), designed by a committee.



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