The Fifth Discipline

by Peter M. Senge


In his book, Peter Senge proposes "systems thinking" for companies. Anyone who sees a company as a living system and practises changing perspective, will see both "the wood and the trees".

Systems thinking is the fifth discipline, which links the other four disciplines together to enable learning. The other disciplines are:



  • "Mental models", which illustrate a constructive approach: Reality is in the mind and it is important to remember that every individual has a different image of reality.
  • "Shared visions", which aim to foster commitment and communication between individuals in the company, and without which efforts towards a company goal could not be made.
  • "Team learning", which describes the synergy that only occurs when there is a genuine exchange in the team.
  • "Personal mastery", which emphasises that competence and responsibility for further development lie with the individual.

Using this image, the author encourages readers to revise their thinking (metanoia) and to analyse the interaction between system elements instead of the system elements themselves. This opens up potential approaches for change and ongoing development.

Using a combination of brainteasers, interviews and numerous practical everyday examples, Peter Senge provides the reader with a clear and detailed introduction to this systems philosophy. This enables the reader to view the world from another perspective and to discover new potential approaches.

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