6Creating and Applying Knowledge as a Learning Organization

Learning is not compulsory . . . neither is survival.

—W. EDWARDS DEMING

Learning Challenges

It seems we have been talking about learning organizations for a long time now. Back in the mid-1980s, Dr. W. Edwards Deming urged American companies to improve their ability to learn in order to keep pace with Japanese firms, such as Toyota, which were beginning to dominate their industries. In 1990, Peter Senge’s seminal book The Fifth Discipline introduced us to the incredible potential of becoming a true “learning organization.”1 Harvard’s Chris Argyris went into even more detail in his excellent book On Organizational Learning, distinquishing between single-loop learning focused only on ...

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