The organisation as Mind/Brain LO30999

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 03/02/04

Replying to LO30984 --

Dear Organlearners,

Philip Keogh <> wrote:

>I continue to find this list extremely stimulating. It has
>caused me to reconsider many times how I view things.

Greetings dear Philip,

You are not the only one. This list had been most valuable in shaping
my own thoughts.

>I was beginning to write some personal notes around
>"The Learning Organisation is a myth" and it struck me
>how similar an organisation is to the brain.

What Senge designated as a LO is not a myth even though they are
scarce. It is a pity that so many institutions for learning call
themselves LOs while they do not qualify the least for a Sengian LO.

>In the brain we have neurons connected together and
>communicating - giving rise to "intelligence". I was considering
>the "emergent" nature of this intelligence and began to compare
>it to an organisation.

You have formulated it lovely -- intelligence is an emergent
phenomenon. Neurons acting together in the brain -- people acting
together in the organisation.

>In the brain we have two hemispheres - the left and the right.
>These seem to give rise to our left brain functions - language,
>numeracy, communication, computation and right brain
>functions - appreciation of music, development of art, holistic

Philip, i myself cannot uphold this "left-right" categorisation upon
the physical brain's two hemispheres. However, i do find that many
people think either analytically or holistically. Furthermore, i have
found people who have changed through learning from analytical to
holistic thinking.

>I began to compare these to the organisation and there are
>remarkable similarities. But what I did notice was that the
>organisations right brain functions are pretty weak, while,
>in this technological age, the left brain functions are in ascendancy.

I think you are right with respect to the weaknesses and strenths of
most organisations. But why is it so prevalent? I can come to no other
conclsuion that that of Peter Senge -- their lack of organisational

>Are we concentrating too much on the organisations left brain
>functions? What are the organisations right brain functions and
>how do we develop them? I suspect At and Andrew Campnona
>will have some thoughts here as their contributions are very
>holistic in nature (this is not to say that everyone else's are not).

Thank you for the compliment.

I think that organisations concentrate too much on information and too
little on knowledge. If i ever have to subcribe to the "left-rigth"
brain distinction, i would say that information exists in the left
hemisphere and knowledge lives in the right hemisphere.

I had been writing an essay on the wholeness of knowledge, but after
many moons i stopped with it. The reason? My knowledge of wholeness is
just not enough to complete it. The "right brain" functions of
organisations which you refer to, require a sensitivity for wholeness.
But how many membes of an organisation have such a sensitivity?

>I am very probably rediscovering what someone else has
>already said, so I'd appreciate any comments on the above
>thoughts and any references. I can already see strong links
>in the works of De Geus, Senge, Polanyi, Watslawick,
>Checkland, Nonaka and others.

Redisovering is for me as authentic as original discoveries. To create
knowledge anew despite all the information available is a formidable
task. I admire students who try to do this.

Thank you Philip for your thoughts. They made me think again what is
of priority in our organisations.

>Pathology Information Officer
>(see our website at

I had a look at the website and was pleasantly surprised. The site is
well organised and bears witness to a true concern for patients and

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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