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Book : Rethinking the Fifth Discipline (1999)

Rethinking the Fifth Discipline

Categories: BusinessSystems Thinking

Tags: bookbusinessfloodlearningorganisation

Publisher:Taylor and Francis Group

Author(s):Flood, Robert L.

Published: 1999 • ISBN: 0415185300 • 213 pages • Delivery Format: Hard Copy - Paperback

Available from: Amazon (DE)Amazon (UK)Amazon (US)


From the publisher:

A purely financial and economic view of companies had its place when capital was a scarce resource and it was management's duty to optimize its use. But today's scarce resource is knowledge and knowledge is created by a company's human assets, not its capital assets.

This, now more than ever before, makes a company into a living work community, instead of a collection of assets on a balance sheet. It demands completely different management approaches and requires the language of biology, anthropology and psychology for further insights. And in leading today's modern corporation, management must think in terms of "learning" as the main process through which the company can flourish and hold its own in a competitive market.

This readable, thought-provoking and highly original book explores these themes and develops in depth what organizational learning means. It investigates the consequences of building a sustainable work community for human resource management, strategic planning and organizational structure. It makes a case for a thorough public debate on corporate governance and on the reallocation of power, both inside and around the company.

Content / Structure

1- Introduction


2 Senge's The Fifth Discipline

  • The Learning Man
  • Systemic Thinking, System Dynamics
  • Personal Mastery
  • Mental Models
  • Shared Vision
  • Team Learning
  • Openness and Localness
  • Commentary

3 Bertalanffy's Open Systems Theory

  • The Seminal Man
  • Open Systems Theory
  • Relevance to 'Management' and 'Organisation'
  • General System Theory
  • Systems View of People
  • A Systemic Discipline Emerges

4 Beer's Organisational Cybernetics

  • The Recurring Man
  • Cybernetics
  • Viable System Model
  • Team Syntegrity
  • Cybernetics Makes Its Mark

5 Ackoff's Interactive Planning

  • The Planning Man
  • Fables and Foibles
  • Operations Research
  • Interactive Planning
  • Circular Organisation
  • A Soft Turn

6 Checkland's Soft Systems Approach

  • The Man of Passion and Structure
  • Action Research
  • Interpretive-Based Systemic Theory
  • Hard Lessons from a Soft Thinker

7 Churchman's Critical Systemic Thinking

  • The Moral Man
  • Operations Research
  • Critical Sytemic Thinking
  • The People's Conscience

8 Senge's The Fifth Discipline Revisited

  • Taking Stock
  • An Empowering Quality
  • Commonalities and Similarities
  • Two Central Issues for Systemic Thinking
  • Reflections on Part I



9 Towards Systemic Thinking

  • Introduction
  • The Enlightenment
  • Reductionism
  • Spiritualism
  • Essence of Systems Thinking
  • Between Mystery and Mastery

10 The Demise of Problems, Solutions and Normal Organisational Life

  • Introduction
  • From Causal Factors to Systemic Awareness
  • The 'Problem' with 'Problems'
  • The 'Issue' with 'Issues'
  • The 'Dilemma' with 'Dilemmas
  • '

11 Getting to Grips with Complexity

  • Introduction
  • Two Central Issues Revisited
  • Boundary Judgements

12 Deepening Systemic Appreciation

13 Window 1: System of Processes

  • What Are Processes?
  • Process Maps
  • Improvement of Efficiency and Reliability
  • Strategies for Improvement
  • Discussion

14 Window 2: Systems of Structure

  • What is Structure?
  • Improvement of Effectiveness
  • Diagnosis and Design
  • Strategies for Improvement
  • Discussion

15 Window 3: Systems of Meaning

  • What is Meaning?
  • What is Meant by Agreement?
  • Improvement of Meaningfulness
  • Strategies for Improvement
  • Discussion

16 Window 4: Systems of Knowledge-Power

  • What is Knowledge-Power?
  • Why Problematise Knowledge-Power?
  • Improvement of Fairness
  • Strategies for Improvement
  • Discussion

17 Prismatic Thought

  • Introduction
  • What is Prismatic Thought?
  • Creativity and Transformation


18 Organisational Learning and Transformation

  • Introduction
  • Learning with Scenarios
  • Improvement
  • Overview of Process
  • Diagrammatic View of Process
  • Inside View of Process
  • Step on to Evaluation
  • Appendix 18.1: Individual Learning and Transformation

19 Systemic Evaluation

  • Introduction
  • Formative and Summative Evaluation
  • Measurement of Improvement
  • Measurement Theory
  • Scales of Measurement
  • Physical Measures
  • Surveys
  • Ethnography
  • Documentary Analysis
  • Triangulation and Recoverability
  • Process of Evaluation
  • An Oft-Neglected Issue
  • Appendix 19.1: Logical Properties of the Scales of Measurement

20 Instrumental and Experiental Action

Practical Animation

21 Local Area Policing (LAP) in York, UK

  • Introduction
  • Note on Recoverability
  • Emergence of an Issue in York Division
  • Major Events of the Project
  • Initial Reflections on the Project
  • Management Group's Deliberations
  • Steering Committee Engages in Team Learning
  • PCs Develop Shared Vsion
  • Evaluation of LAP Implementation
  • My Role as a Researcher
  • Questions to Ask Yourself
  • Appendix 21.1: Operational Staff Questionnaire
  • Appendix 21.2: Inspector's Question Sheet
  • Appendix 21.3: Survey Results

22 Reflections and Key Insights of Systemic Thinking

  • Further Reading
  • Index

Copyright 1999 Robert Louis Flood


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