Learning organizations, as defined by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline, The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, have developed five essential components. They enable knowledge workers to be highly productive in the knowledge economy:
- Personal Mastery – All stakeholders enjoy awareness of their unique and specific skills, expertise, passions, and thought leadership. Each of these people are continuous learners in and beyond their fields of expertise, facilitating new value creation whenever possible, for themselves and their organizations.
- Mental Models – All stakeholders understand and use the same models for structuring and completing work so it is a simple process to align thinking and goals for the common work practices.
- Shared Vision – All stakeholders have the same visionary idea of the future of the organization and its long term value to society and community, both internal and external to the organization.
- Team Learning – All stakeholders expect to learn from each others’ work, discovery, and progress. Workflows, their inputs and outputs, as well as their continuous evaluation leads to team members who learn from each other.
- Systems Thinking – All stakeholders are aware of all of the touch points, their implications for results, and how to identify causal, correlated, complementary, and coordinated relationships among and between work steps and initiatives.