Senge Perverted LO25393 -Was: congress for systemic management

From: KiWiDressler (
Date: 10/01/00

Replying to LO25381 --

I didn't want to change the subject line, but it could be called "Senge

[Host's Note: I did change the subject line. Thanks for noticing this,
Winfried! ..Rick]

Dear LOlearners,

> I would like you to know that the institute for systemic coaching and
> training, Austria, organizes the 1st world congress for systemic
> management
> 1. - 6. May 2001, Vienna
> I don't exaggerate if I say that the "who is who" of the systems thinking-
> world is present.
> e.g. Beer, Maturana, Gilligan, Zeig, Senge, Willke, Baecker, Varga von
> Kibed, Ciompi, Rossi and many more

This is interesting, I thought, and had a look at the mentioned site. In
the announcement of a speech by Senge I stumbled over the following

"The fifth discipline in management developed by Peter Senge - systems
thinking - is the basis for the other four disciplines in management."

Whoever wrote this has not understood why Peter Senge wrote his Fifth
Discipline. The point is - and please correct me if you see it differently
- that if systems thinking were indeed the basis for the other four
disciplines, there would be no need for the other four at all.

If one has got a foot into cybernetics or systems dynamics - be it
Stafford Beer or Jay Forrester - and if one KNOW how vitally important
these insights are for any organization, then it is completely mind
boggling to find organizational reality generally unimpressed and
following their business as usual. This was surely true of Peter Senge and
'all he did' was to outline the required infrastructure without which the
needed systems thinking cannot be implemented. Didn't he use the analogy
of air traffic? It was indeed a great break-through when man described the
path along which flying machines could be built, but since then it was
mainly engineering work to do so. Great as it was as a complex
innovation, it was not sufficient to ground the whole air traffic
industry: Other components like efficient airports and radar were needed

But this infrastructure again can be subjected to highly qualified
engineering work: Someone outside the system designs the system. This
makes the strength of the analogy: The reader can imagine both, the plane
and the infrastructure. And the point of this analogy is: The four
disciplines are necessary conditions to make the fifth discipline WORK. I
don't know how you feel, but this is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what is said
with "The fifth ... is the basis for the other four disciplines", as if
you need systems thinking in order to be able to develop the other four.

The strength of the analogy is also its weakness. In fact, systems
thinking cannot be performed outside the system 'human beings'. Only if it
could, systems thinking would be sufficient alone and could be applied by
a professional systems thinking engineer. Such a strict outside position
simply does not exist.

And this is why we have to learn - individually and organizationally -
learn to cope and grow with the requisite level of complexity. Discipline
is a wonderful word for such learning.

I wished that that sentence in the announcement is 'just' a problem of
transduction - erroneous complexity attenuation for the announcement. But
I am afraid that rote learners of 'systemic management' fad are invited to
worship their gods. The title of Senges speech is written to be: "Die 5.
Disziplin im Management ganz einfach umsetzen." ganz einfach umsetzen -
simply do it. Anybody here still thinking that the Fifth Discipline is
just a matter of simply do it?

Liebe Gruesse,


-- (KiWiDressler)

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