Peter Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard Ross, Bryan Smith
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Organizational Learning & Innovation

NRFSN number: 15842
Record updated: November 24, 2017

This fieldbook, though dated, remains an excellent resource for anyone interested in using the principles of learning organizations in a field setting. It is a companion to Senge’s book, “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization”. The fieldbook is a series of notes, reflections, and exercises written by people who have “been in the field” using and learning how to apply Senge’s five principles of a learning organization. The five principles—personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning, and systems thinking—are used as chapter headings, and over 60 individual authors suggest actions one might take to develop a deeper ability to learn and grow, both individually and organizationally. Each of the five sections begins with a succinct definition and a brief overview of the learning organization principle being described. Within each section, strategies, tools, and notes for further reading are presented to help the practitioner more fully develop skills in using that principle. Numerous sidebars with pictures graphically display how these tools can be used. Some of the more fully developed concepts include developing feedback loop charts to be used while dealing with systems thinking problems; telling a good story to induce learning; strategies for working with mental models and the conflict that can occur when mental models clash; designing a dialogue discussion group; facilitating a meeting using the tools ladder of inference; and balancing advocacy and inquiry. The final chapter deals with the “frontiers” of the learning organization—organizations as communities, the core processes of organizations, organizations as natural learning laboratories, and using flight simulators to model management problems.


Senge, Peter, Kleiner, Art, Roberts, Charlotte, Ross, Richard, Smith, Bryan. 1994. The fifth discipline fieldbook: strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York: Doubleday-Currency. 594 p.

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