History of Learning Organization LO25873

From: Peggy Stuart (pstuart@c2t2.ca)
Date: 01/12/01

Replying to LO25858 --

Hi Malini:
I don't know if this is what you are looking for ...

Chronology of Learning Organization Concepts

1938: In his book "Experience and Education," John Dewey publicizes the
concept of experiential learning as an ongoing cycle of activity.

1940s: The Macy Conferences -- featuring Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson,
and Lawrence Kubie -- bring "systems thinking" to the awareness of a
cross-disciplinary group of intellectuals.

1940s: Scottish psychologist Kenneth Craik coins the term "mental models,"
which later makes its way to MIT through Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert.

1946: Kurt Lewin, founding theorist of National Training Laboratories,
proposes idea of a "creative tension" between personal vision and a sense
of reality.

1956: Edgar Schein's research on brainwashing in Korea paves the way for
an understanding of "process consultation."

1960: "The Human Side of Enterprise," by Douglas McGregor, is published.

1961: Jay Forrester publishes "Industrial Dynamics." This book, the first
major application of system dynamics to corporations, describes the
turbulence within a typical appliance value chain.

1970: Chris Argyris and Donald Schon begin work on "action science," the
study of how espoused values clash with the values that underlie real

1972: "The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on
the Predicament of Mankind," by Donella Meadows and Dennis Meadows, is
published. The book draws on Forrester's theories about system dynamics.

1971 to 1979: Erhard Seminars Training ( EST ) demonstrate the kind of
powerful attitude shifts that can occur during a seminar that lasts
several days.

1979: Consultant Charlie Kiefer, Forrester student Peter Senge, and
researcher-artist Robert Fritz design the "Leadership and Mastery"
seminar, which becomes the focal point of their new consulting firm,
Innovation Associates.

1984 to 1985: Pierre Wack, scenario planner at Royal Dutch/Shell, spends a
sabbatical at Harvard Business School and writes two articles about
scenario planning as a learning activity.

1982: Senge, Arie de Geus, Hanover Insurance CEO Bill O'Brien, Analog
Devices CEO Ray Stata, and other executive leaders form a
learning-organization study group, which meets regularly at MIT.

1987: Peter Schwartz, Stewart Brand, Napier Collyns, Jay Ogilvy, and
Lawrence Wilkinson form the Global Business Network, with a charter to
foster organizational learning through scenario planning.

1989: Oxford University management scholar Bill Isaacs, an associate of
quantum physicist David Bohm, introduces Senge to the concept of dialogue
as a process for building team capability.

1989: "The Age of Unreason," by Charles Handy, is published.

1989: The Center for Organizational Learning is formed at MIT, with Senge
as director and with Ed Schein, Chris Argyris, Arie de Geus, Ray Stata,
and Bill O'Brien as key advisers. The staff of the "learning center," as
it's called, includes Bill Isaacs, Daniel Kim ( whose research involves
linking the learning organization work to the quality movement ), and
research director George Roth.

1990: "The Fifth Discipline" is published. The book draws on many
influences: system dynamics, "personal mastery" ( based on Fritz's work
and the concept of creative tension ), mental models ( based on Wack's and
Argyris's work ), shared vision ( based on work done at Innovation
Associates ), and team learning ( based on David Bohm's concepts ).

1990: Daniel Kim founds the "Systems Thinker," a newsletter devoted to
"fifth discipline" issues. The following year, the newsletter's parent
organization, Pegasus Communications, launches an annual conference series
called Systems Thinking in Action.

1993: Harvard University professor David Garvin publishes an article on
organizational learning in the Harvard Business Review, arguing that only
learning that can be measured will be useful to managers.

1994: "The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook" is published. Authors of the book,
which Senge edited, include Charlotte Roberts, Rick Ross, and Bryan Smith
( president of Innovation Associates of Canada ), and Art Kleiner ( who
serves as editorial director ). The "Fieldbook" becomes a new
management-book genre.

1994: The use of "learning histories" as a method of assessment begins at
the Center for Organizational Learning.

1994: The first major Organizational Learning Center projects reach
completion. Many of them have produced remarkable results. But a few have
resulted in disappointing career prospects for some of the line leaders
who were involved in them.

1995: Working with Dee Hock, the Organizational Learning Center begins a
two-year process of building an ambitious international consortium called
the Society for Organizational Learning, with Peter Senge as chairman.

1996: "The Age of Heretics," by Art Kleiner, and Synchronicity: "The Inner
Path of Leadership," by Joseph Jaworski, are published.

1997: "The Living Company," by Arie de Geus, is published.

1999: "The Dance of Change" is published.

Alan Webber (May 1999) "Learning for a Change" Fast Company magazine.
Issue 24, page 178 (http://www.fastcompany.com/online/24/senge.html)

Cheers and good luck on your thesis!


>I'm a degree student and currently doing a thesis on the Learning
>Organization and would appreciate if someone could guide me on where can
>Any website or details on this matter is hihgly appreciated.

[Host's Note: Thank you, Peggy, for this chronology! ..Rick]


Peggy Stuart <pstuart@c2t2.ca>

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