The Five Learning Disciplines

THE CORE OF LEARNING ORGANIZATION WORK IS BASED UPON FIVE “learning disciplines”— lifelong programs of study and practice:

  1. Personal Mastery— learning to expand our personal capacity to create the results we most desire, and creating an organizational environment which encourages all its members to develop themselves toward the goals and purposes they choose.
  2. Mental Models— reflecting upon, continually clarifying, and improving our internal pictures of the world, and seeing how they shape our actions and decisions.
  3. Shared Vision— building a sense of commitment in a group, by developing shared images of the future we seek to create, and the principles and guiding practices by which we hope to get there.
  4. Team Learning— transforming conversational and collective thinking skills, so that groups of people can reliably develop intelligence and ability greater than the sum of individual members’ talents.
  5. Systems Thinking— a way of thinking about, and a language for describing and understanding, the forces and interrelationships that shape the behavior of systems. This discipline helps us see how to change systems more effectively, and to act more in tune with the larger processes of the natural and economic world.

To practice a discipline is to be a lifelong learner on a never- ending developmental path. A discipline is not simply a “subject of study.” It is a body of technique, based on some underlying theory or understanding of the world that must be studied and mastered to put into practice.


Senge, P. M. (2010). The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization. Random House LLC.