Organizations work the way they work because of the ways that people work. Policies and rules did not create the problems in classrooms or schools today, nor will they eliminate them. The difficulties faced by schools (as in all organizations) are always deeply influenced by the kinds of mental models and relationships at large in the system – at every level, from the teacher and students in a classroom to the national political governing bodies that oversee all schools. If you want to improve a school system, before you change the rules, look first to the ways that people think and interact together. Otherwise, the new policies and organizational structures will simply fade away, and the organization will revert, over time, to the way it was before.
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Peter Michael Senge is an American scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management.He is known as author of the book The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization from 1990 (new edition 2006). He is a senior lecturer at the System Dynamics Group at MIT Sloan School of Management, and co-faculty at the New England Complex Systems Institute.
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