Picture of Senge's Disciplines? LO6715

David J. Skyrme (david@pop3.hiway.co.uk)
Tue, 16 Apr 1996 07:52:42 +0100

Replying to LO6644 --

Marianne asked about a picture of these disciplines.

If the purpose of a picture to to help learning, then the picture itself
will need to be related to the context, including the reader. Marianne
will have to be a bit more illuminating about the context if anyone is to
develop a useful picture. In Senge's book he makes effective use of small
icons and loop diagrams. When I worked in a computer company, people
related well to block schematics, especially if one was careful not to
confuse verbs = activities with nouns (entities) or states.

Thus I have such a schematic (that suits me) of the various subsystems of
a learning organisation.

Senge's work is a combination of individual attributes, but also their
relationship to others (especially in teams). To my mind, I often find the
overlap between systems thinking, shared vision and mental models
confusing. It is possible to show a schematic of individual learning
states (bottom half) and collective learning states (upper half) with
present (left) and future (right) and processes joining them. If you want
three dimension, then a third dimension would show the degree of fuzziness
or structure e.g. systems models are a more structured representation of
some mental models. I suspect the most powerful diagram, though, is not
one positioning the different aggregate disciplines, but a diagram that
works at one level down, namely at the specific techniques deployed within
the disciplines, such as structured dialogue, and how they move people
from one state of knowledge (learning) to another. I also suspect, that
when such a diagram is developed, that they don't fall easily into the
five discipline compartments (which was a good way of catching attention
for a book)..

Therefore the issue is how much people draw from Senge's writings on the
disciplines about understanding their own mental models (concepts and
thinking) and how much about useful techniques which could help them in

Just as I finish this piece, I wonder what happened to 'compound
documents', where you could embed diagrams in emails without doing MIME
attachments etc.

[Host's Note: Sorry - Although compound documents are alive and well on
our PC's, I think the encoding/decoding is still too tricky so I don't
pass msgs with attached documents on the LO list. I'm happy to take a
graphic and put it on the web pages. Best way is to fax to me, fine mode,
to 617-523-3839 and mark IN CAPITAL LETTERS where in your msg it goes.

David J. Skyrme Tel/Fax: +44 1635 551434
David Skyrme Associates Limited Newbury, Berks, England
a member of the ENTOVATION Network
Knowledge Innovation (sm) Strategies for the Millennium


david@pop3.hiway.co.uk (David J. Skyrme)

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>