Replying to LO26029 --
Very good point Harriet. Yes orgns do get graded all the time and from
time to time, they will be better or worse on a number of measures.
What I was meaning was let's not have a single artificial subjective
measure created in our own minds which we call 'learning organisation' and
admit some orgns to this club and deny membership to others.
In the introduction to The Fifth Discipline, Senge says:
'To practice a discipline is to be a lifelong learner. You "never arrive";
you spend your life mastering disciplines. You can never say "We are a
learning organisation." any more than you can say, "I am an enlightened
person." The more you learn, the more acutely aware you become of your
ignorance. Thus, a corporation cannot be "excellent" in the sense of
having arrived at a permanent excellence; it is always in the state of
practicing the disciplines of learning, of becoming better of worse.'
So we might be able to say "This orgn is currently demonstrating a high
degree of learning," or "There currently appears to be a lot of learning
activity in this orgn." Or of another orgn "This does not appear to be
doing much learning at the moment."
But to say absolutely, "This is a learning organisation and this is not,"
seems highly presumptuous.
I was a teacher for quite a while. I used to grade students. I was once
doing a survey and co-relating results on the survey to students academic
performance. I remember the lowest grade on the performance was "LA" and
for a short time confused LA to mean "Low Ability" when I really meant it
to mean "Low Achievement." I can measure a student's achievement on a test
with high reliability. It is a much harder thing to do to measure a
Similarly, I can tell you what an orgn's stock performance is like on a
number of measures. It is a much harder thing to tell the degree to which
the orgn is learning.
Let's allow that either all orgns are LOs or that none have achieved the
ideal of being an LO. In between, let's accept that all orgns are
struggling the best they can to do the best they know how to. We believe
that all organisations can benefit by learning about and consciously
applying the learning disciplines.
Chris Curnow <email@example.com>
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