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The Leader's New Work: Building Learning Organizations

Over the past two years, business academics and senior managers have begun talking about the notion of the learning organization. Ray Stata of Analog Devices put the idea succinctly in these pages last spring: “The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage.” And in late May of this year, at an MIT-sponsored conference entitled “Transforming Organizations,” two questions arose again and again: How can we build organizations in which continuous learning occurs? and, What kind of person can best lead the learning organization? This article, based on Senge’s book, “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization,” begins to chart this new territory, describing new roles, skills, and tools for leaders who wish to develop learning organizations.

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