Theory Underlying Organizational Learning LO30014

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 03/23/03

Replying to LO29923 --

Belatedly returning to a fading thread, as usual:

At writes in reply to Mark:
>> For me, At (and Don), the distinction I'm making between
>> and 'theory of system' and a 'theory of practice' is crucial to
>> this discussion. It's fundamental to our issue. I suggest we
>> try to agree on the meaning and usefulness of those terms
>> before we continue. Can we do that?


> As for me, i do not want to fragment "becoming" and "being" from each
> other. I am not sure whether you want to focus with your "theory of
> system" on "being" and "theory of practice" on "becoming". Should it be
> the case, then i would prefer to work with both together which is nothing
> else than an art. In this manner the heading of the topic should have been
> "Art Underlying Organisational Learning".

> It makes me wonder. How much is The Fifth Discipline an art of
> organisational learning rather than the practice of organisational
> learning? It is certainly a book very much unlike the others in managerial
> science.

Thanks to you both for sending me back for another look at the book. I
found near the end some writing which might not satisfy Mark as being a
theory, either of system or of practice, but might throw more light on the
five disciplines, and how they fit into an overall picture.

I'm referring specifically to Chapters 20 and 21, and to Appendix 1, which
discusses the 5Ds on the levels of practices, principles, and essences (At
has discussed the essences before in relationship to his 7Es.) Mark, the
denotation of Senge's words may leave you dissatisfied as to whether they
constitute a theory, but I invite you to imagine yourself watching and
listening to Senge in the process of creating these sections. In
particular, why would he, in effect, turn over the last chapter of the book
to the astronaut Rusty Schweikert?

Theory and art; can they illuminate each other?

In love of learning, and learning of love,


Don Dwiggins "I've learned a lot since I knew it all." -- George Melton, "Welcome to Caring"

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