Followership LO16533

Mnr AM de Lange (
Wed, 14 Jan 1998 12:00:05 GMT+2

Replying to LO16476 --

Dear organlearners,

Simon Buckingham <> writes:

> > " Is "strong followership" a prerequisite for an organisation to become a
> > LO, or is it one of the most valuable outcomes of an LO?
> On the contrary, I think that independence and not followership is what is
> needed for optimal learning. Strong followership is a prerequisite for the
> continuance of organizations in their typical static, formal form.
> Voluntary fellowship is the valuable outcome from independence.


The sentence to which your refer, orginated from me.

I defined "strong followership" through the etymology of the the postfix
"-ship". For me it means "creative follower". I do not think that a
creative peson will ever promote a "typical static, formal form". On the
contrary, who uphelds a "typical static, formal form"? Is it not
"uncreative followers". Is it not "weak followership"?

But what actually is it that we wish to articulate with the word
"independence"? I know of a number of organisations which failed to become
LOs because of this very "independence". The members were so convinced
that they will lose their "independence" in the LO that they would not
partcipate in forming one. They thought of "independence" as "free from
depending on others".

Peter Senge considers "team learning" as one of the five disciplines
needed to understand more about learning organisations. Of team work
itself he writes that the teamworkers have to trust each other, complement
each other's $strengths$ and compensate each other's $limitations$. This
is almost the opposite of "free from depending on others".

But if we try to articulate with "independance" that which has now become
known as "self-organisation", then it becomes a totally different issue.
Each worker in a team remains a self-organising unit with $strengths$ and
$limitations$. But they also join so that a team can emerge - the team as
a hyper-self-organisation.

Is Senge insenstive to "independancy" a-la "self-organisation"? No. He
points out that "self-mastery" is another of the five disciplines. Much of
what he writes about self-mastery are now topics in self-organisation

Simon, if I could change only word in your last sentence to make it
"voluntary fellowship is the valuable outcome from self-mastering" I agree
with you fully. This sentence means exactly the same as "spontaneous
participation in a more complex self-organisation depends on the
self-organisation of its lesser complex units." It certainly does not mean
"spontaneous participation in a more complex self-organisation is
independent of the self-organisation of its lesser complex units."

For example, to use life as a metaphor. I am an organism - a
"self-organising" system. My liver is an organ - a "self-organising"
system. My liver is definitely not independant of the other organs in my

And just to pester many of you: all self-organising systems are
dissipative (produce entropy)!

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email:

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