Research Paper on 40 Years in Business: Strategies to Outsmart Competitors

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1528 Words
Date:  2023-02-27


In "The Fifth Discipline" by Peter Senge, he highlights that close to one-third of 500 companies often stop their operations, and it has been established that the largest organization always has an average lifetime of approximately 40 years (Senge, 1990). Furthermore, he addresses concerns on how contemporary organizations can expand their operations to edge their competitors in the ever-changing competitive business environment. Moreover, modern companies can stay much longer in the business environment if they develop a learning organization that refers to a situation where individuals persistently increase their capacity to create the desired outcomes (Senge, 1990). Additionally, in a learning organization, there is always nurturing of creative and expansive thinking and, most importantly, the creation of an environment where people can embrace the value of learning together. Understandably, the five disciplines of learning organizations developed by Senge demonstrate how to effectively manage the development of an organization and, most critically, how the employees can put the extreme effort that supersedes the company's expectations.

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Themes of The Fifth Discipline

Personal Mastery

This refers to a situation where an individual has a well-defined vision properly integrated with reality's perception (Senge, 1990). An individual's mastery of creativity often transforms the perception of failure, which is the underlying gap that exists between vision and reality. Understandably, it is this gap that propels an employee to put extra effort into realizing the set vision. The mastery of creative tension will result in a shift in people's view of reality (Senge, 1990). Furthermore, many people often hold beliefs that are not necessarily related to their mastery. An organization's employees often have a false belief that they lack the capacity and relevant competencies to achieve desired results. Senge demonstrated that an individuals' subconscious mind, when adequately trained, could solve complex problems that cannot be solved by their consciousness.

Mental Models

Mental models highlight the people's presumptions that significantly influence their actions within an organization. According to Peter Senge, employees can change their mental models by reflecting on their behavior and, most significantly, beliefs (Senge, 1990). Furthermore, he demonstrates that employees' deep understanding of the organization will drive them in the right direction (Senge, 1990). Managers of organizations that permit continuous changes in the mental models often bring success to their company.

Shared Vision

Notably, an organization's interaction with the employees often results in vision that can be shared to achieve desirable results. Creating visions that are consistent with the values held by the employees will potentially inspire much-needed enthusiasm (Senge, 1990). Aspiration often results in vital energy that can push the organizations forward by setting the employees on the path of growth and learning. Understandably, some leaders always possess great personal visions, but more often than not, they always fail to transform them into a shared vision. According to Senge, creating a shared vision will require the organization to compromise on its vision and that of the employees (Senge, 1990). Organizations that do not promote shared vision often fail to achieve their objectives, and worse still destroys the relationship between the company and the employees.

Team Learning

Team learning often results in the establishment of effective teamwork that will bring the most desirable results compared could not have been achieved by the individual employees (Senge, 1990). Most significantly, a team will always learn faster, which ultimately increases the organization's productivity. Additionally, team learning often creates a conducive environment where the colleagues are viewed as important team members and not as rivals. According to Senge, learning teams promotes practicing together where the employees' learning skills can be developed and enhanced (Senge, 1990).

System Thinking

According to Senge, system thinking involves a situation where the significant focus is put on the entire system rather than the individual concerns (Senge, 1990). He used described the discipline using an elephant metaphor where he highlighted that splitting an elephant will not result in two elephants that can be managed. In the same vein, an organization can effectively be managed as one just like living organisms.

Relationship Between Disciplines

The organization's success is often premised on its focus on a few of the disciplines as most of them are always interlinked to each other. Peter Senge argues that organizations that put significant emphasis on all the disciplines will experience challenges, and focusing on one or two disciplines will ultimately earn the organization a much-desired competitive advantage in the contemporary competitive business environment (Senge, 1990). Team learning is related directly to the disciplines of personal mastery and shared vision within an organization. Individuals who have a well-defined vision will always strive to adopt strategies that would help them in realizing such visions (Senge, 1990). This relates to the shared vision as they can only be realized when the organization has established an environment where the visions of the leaders can be shared with all the employees. Moreover, mental models often relate to the discipline of team learning as the individuals who have a proper understanding of what the organization need will feel the need to form learning teams that will enhance their learning skills (Senge, 1990). Additionally, there is always a linkage between shared vision and the mental models, where the employees will put extreme effort into ensuring that they adopt changes that are in line with the visions of the organization to achieve the desired outcomes.

Disciplines and Learning Organization

Personal mastery plays an integral role in establishing a learning organization as it makes the employees become more committed to continual learning, which inevitably sets the organization in the path of growth (Senge, 1990). Personal mastery encompasses becoming more focused on becoming the best and, most importantly, striving to realize one's full potential.

The mental models can impede the implementation of new insights and best organizational practices when not adequately managed. The discipline promotes self-reflection, which makes an individual understand what the company and focusing on openness to ensure that the organizational goals are realized (Senge, 1990).

Building a shared vision is an instrumental discipline in establishing a learning organization. Visions are naturally embedded in the individual employees, and more often than not, such visions may not be in line with the leaders' visions (Senge, 1990). However, managers always strive to ensure that the inherent visions are shared to elicit commitment, which will spur the growth of the organization.

Team learning is vital in the contemporary business environment, as most organizations' operations are always anchored on teamwork. Notably, organizations often fail to transform to learning organizations when they do not emphasize creating a team where employees can enhance their learning skills and growth (Senge, 1990). Most importantly, team learning enhances the employees' capacity to achieve the desired results.

System thinking creates a holistic viewpoint and is often reliant on the other four disciplines to ensure that the learning organization is realized (Senge, 1990). Furthermore, this discipline creates an interconnection as a whole where the managers develop an understanding that the individual actions and consequences are interrelated.

Description of the Case Study

Uber was founded in the United States by Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick in 2009 by creating a smartphone app that was intended to bring a new customer experience in the ride-for-hire service across the globe. The company was hell-bent on leveraging on the frustrations of most passengers across the globe in finding a taxi. More importantly, the company developed an app that was aimed at limiting the frustrations of the passengers as they could hail the taxi anytime irrespective of their location. Understandably, the company has integrated different disciplines of a learning organization to achieve desired results. For instance, the company has effectively utilized the discipline of shared vision and team learning by seeking the coming of together of established, experienced limousine drivers and companies that are willing to be incorporated in the new system. Additionally, the company has effectively utilized the system thinking by pursuing an expansion strategy to ensure that it extends its services to many cities across the world (Senge, 1990). It is worth noting that Uber is a learning organization because it has adopted new technology that is aimed at creating a competitive advantage over other rivals in the ride-for-hire service industry. The learning organization of the company can be enhanced through promoting a focus on a shared vision and team learning as the success of any organization is often premised on its ability to create an environment that promotes teamwork towards a shared vision (Senge, 1990).


Organizations' success is often premised on their adoption of best strategies and disciplines of learning organizations. It is worth noting that the disciplines of the learning organization are always interlinked, and the adoption of all of them often results in adverse effects on the organization. Understandably, focusing on one or more disciplines will help the organization in identifying the underlying challenges and better still opportunities in the business environment. In light of this, therefore, an organization should always strive to ensure that it implements the five disciplines of learning organizations that will guarantee continuous learning and, most importantly, the creation of the desired competitive and learning organization. Notably, Uber has laid significant emphasis on creating a learning and creative environment by implementing a shared vision and team learning to edge its competitors in the ride-for-hire service industry.


Senge, P. M. (1990). The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

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Research Paper on 40 Years in Business: Strategies to Outsmart Competitors. (2023, Feb 27). Retrieved from

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