Peter Senge: Five Disciplines and Organizational Climate

Peter Senge, a management theorist and founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, defines a learning organization as an institution where people continually expand their capacity to achieve the desired results. In addition, these organizations focus on nurturing and exceeding the level of thinking, collective aspirations, and team learning. Senge argues that what separates a learning organization from a more traditional school is the mastery of certain fundamental disciplines.

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Senge’s Five Disciplines

According to Peter Senge, the five primary characteristics of the learning organization are personal mastery, mental models, share vision, team learning, and systems thinking (Kopp, 2014). Personal mastery requires the ability of the individuals to determine their needs and desire to pursue a particular goal. With the help of a learning institution, the employees can fulfil their ambitions and aims in life since the transfer of training enhances the possibility to reach perfection in various disciplines (Bui, & Baruch, 2010; Kopp, 2014). Mental models refer to the employee’s internal worldview whereby the learning institutions follow holistic paradigms. Therefore, it is significant to consider the process of the training transfer (Martínez-León, & Martínez-García, 2011). Shared vision conveys a sense of commitment in the institution through the development of shared images of the prospect. The method includes the amendment of the policies and guiding practices that assist the individuals in realizing their aspirations. However, for successful transfer of training, most organizations implement the strategy of developing shared visions by allowing the trainees to settle goals and training results (Bui, & Baruch, 2010). To upgrade the collective thinking skills, Senge suggests to utilize the method of team learning as the improved skills enable the individuals to expand their abilities and intelligence more than the talents. It is worth to note that during the transfer, the performance appraisal of the individual, team, and the entire organization should be considered. The learning organizations consider systems thinking a discipline. According to Kopp (2014), the systems thinking determines the relevance of one’s opinion and understanding to the interrelationships that shape the performance of the systems. In other words, systems thinking facilitates the organizations to focus on the means to change the systems effectively by detecting and correcting the errors.



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Characteristics of an Organizational Climate that Support Organizational Learning

For organizational learning to occur, the trainee must perceive the work environment as a climate for training. For instance, a location for training is characterized by the level of supervisor support, opportunities to learn and practice the training tasks, and openness to change. According to Kopp (2014), specific variables that influence the training climate include supervisor support, resistance to change, mentoring and coaching levels as well as both positive and negative personal results. Moreover, most organizations consider peer support a determinant element of supporting organizational training. The other aspects of the organizational climate that affect organizational learning include teamwork, the appreciation and support of training, and awareness of the organizational members of the training possibilities.

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How Organizational Climate and Senges’s Disciplines relate to Organizational Learning

Evidently, organizational climate and Senge’s disciplines have the distinct relation to organizational learning.  Both notions may be interdependent since learning organizations can only develop with the presence of active organizational learning methods. Organizational learning involves sharing, learning, and problem-solving strategies while the learning organization mostly recognizes the structure based on individuals’ mastery, team learning, and shared visions. The members of the organization facilitate organizational learning, and the extent to which the learning is effective depends on the organizational climate that is hinged upon Senge’s five disciplines (Kopp, 2014). In essence, the organizational climate provides an environment, where the discussed disciplines can be nurtured, which in turn helps enhance organization learning among the team members (Kopp, 2014). The whole process results in the development of a learning organization. Therefore, Senge’s five disciplines define the organizational climate needed for organizational learning.

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To conclude, the five basic principles of learning organizations are individual’s mastery, mental models, share visions, team learning, and systems thinking. To provide a proper organizational climate for organizational learning, the organization should demonstrate the readiness to change, provide opportunities to practice the newly acquired skills, supervisor support, teamwork, appreciation and support of training. In addition, the organizational members should be aware of the training possibilities of the employees. Lastly, Senge’s five disciplines delineate the organizational climate needed for organizational learning.

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