Intro -- Brock Vodden LO6902

Brock Vodden (
Tue, 23 Apr 1996 00:03:54 -0400

I joined learning-org recently and have found the discussions most

I have a consulting practice that combines the fields of training and
development and information management. Much of my work involves the
interface between people and systems development, but I also provide
consultation on all types of training issues as well as front end analysis
for systems. The common thread running through all of my assignments is
the importance of ensuring that the project (whether it be training or
system design) be firmly anchored in the strategic direction of the

The Learning Organization concept is intriguing. Many of the specific
learning strategies recommended have been around for a long time, albeit
without the broad LO framework and without the integration of systems
concepts that add so much to the power of the concept. This means that I
did not need to be convinced of the validity of these approaches to
personal learning and performance improvement.

I will be looking for discussion of these two questions among many others
which will come up as I continue to study the concept:

1. How can I (or can I) introduce aspects of the LO concept to those many
client organizations who, I know, will never achieve the level of
commitment required to study and internalize this very broad concept and
implement it in anything approaching a comprehensive manner? (I do a lot
of work with medium-sized organizations which are not noted for their
attentiveness to theories and academia.)

2. People from many different fields are becoming professional advocates
of the LO concept. It is sometimes difficult to recognize that they are
talking about the same subject. Those from the training and development
field portray the LO as a T&D concept which is incidentally supported by
systems concepts, and quality concepts. Those from the systems fields
indicate that LO is a movement in which the systems community is going to
save the day by coverting everyone to the ways of thinking that they have
known about and practiced for a long time. In each case, these groups seem
to be saying that they were just waiting for someone like Peter Senge to
come along to articulate their thoughts and place them in a cohesive
framework that the rest of the world can understand.

Likewise, other groups are laying claim to Senge as one of theirs, and
claim that their fields are the central theme of the concept, with minor
spin-offs into other "less important areas".

Is this diversity of interpretation inevitable because of the colossal
scope of Senge's vision?

Is the diversity likely to be a problem? Will it lead to the concept
becoming trivialized as proponents subjugate the concept to their
traditional disciplines or technologies? Will the diversity produce more
of the fragementation that The Fifth Discipline describes as one of the
major flaws in Western organizations?

Brock Vodden
Vodden Consulting

"Where People and Systems Meet"
Brock Vodden
Vodden Consulting
"Where People and Systems Meet"


Brock Vodden <>

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