Change, Growth, and Development

The learning organization is a manifestation of continuing development. In the following chapters the concept of development plays a large part, particularly the development of forms of organization, along with management systems and styles of managing. It is therefore necessary to define this concept more clearly. To do so we have to distinguish between three concepts: change, growth, and development.


The concept that we are living in a changing world not only appears regularly in this book but is expressed almost daily in newspapers and journals. As a generalization, however, it is fairly meaningless. It is given content only if we define and describe where and what changes are taking place. Then it becomes evident that the concept of change can have almost any content and that the same phenomenon is described differently by different people. The term “change” simply tells us that nothing is static and that everything is moving in the stream of time. Thus it becomes necessary to investigate whether change takes place haphazardly and by chance, or whether there are fields where one can find a system in the change.

If the latter is true, this could be a manifestation of natural laws. For instance, in physics we know the law of entropy: unequally distributed energy tends toward equal distribution and levelling out. This tendency toward the levelling out of differences appears also outside physics in “higher” biological and social systems. In ...

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