Peter Senge

Senior Lecturer, Leadership and Sustainability


Peter SengePeter M. Senge is the founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), a global community of corporations, researchers, and consultants dedicated to the “interdependent development of people and their institutions.”

Senge is the author of the widely acclaimed book, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (1990); with colleagues Charlotte Roberts, Rick Ross, Bryan Smith, and Art Kleiner, he is the co-author of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization (1994). He and George Roth coauthored the fieldbook, The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations (March, 1999). Along with Nelda Cambron-McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Bryan Smith, Janis Dutton, and Art Kleiner, he coauthored the award-winning fieldbook on education, Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education (September, 2000).

The Fifth Discipline hit a nerve deep within the business and education community by introducing the theory of learning organizations. Since its publication, more than a million copies have been sold worldwide. In 1997, Harvard Business Review identified it as one of the seminal management books of the past 75 years. There have been feature articles in BusinessWeek, Fortune, Fast Company, Sloan Management Review, and other leading business periodicals regarding the work of Senge and his colleagues at MIT and SoL.

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (over 400,000 copies sold) was developed in response to questions from readers of The Fifth Discipline who wanted more help with tools, methods, and practical experiences in developing enhanced learning capabilities within their own companies. The Dance of Change is based on more recent experiences of companies developing learning capabilities over many years, and the strategies leaders develop to deal with the many challenges this work entails.

Senge has also authored many articles published in both academic journals and the business press on systems thinking in management. The Journal of Business Strategy (September/October 1999) named Senge as one of the 24 people who had the greatest influence on business strategy over the last 100 years, the Financial Times (2000) named him as one of “The World’s Top Management Gurus,” and BusinessWeek (October 2001) rated him as one of the “Top Ten Management Gurus.”

Senge has lectured extensively throughout the world, translating the abstract ideas of systems theory into tools for the better understanding of economic and organizational change. His areas of special interest focus on decentralizing the role of leadership in organizations so as to enhance the capacity of all people to work productively toward common goals. Senge’s work articulates a cornerstone position of human values in the workplace; namely, that vision, purpose, reflectiveness, and systems thinking are essential if organizations are to realize their potential. He has worked with leaders in business, education, healthcare, and government.

Senge holds a BS in engineering from Stanford University, as well as an MS in social systems modeling and a PhD in management from MIT.

Faculty Media

  • Thinking And Feeling Go Hand In Hand In The Classroom

    In a discussion I had with Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at MIT Sloan, I wanted to know how feelings and emotions were addressed in systems education. Here’s what he...

  • The Future of Business: From Mechanical to Natural

    As leadership specialist Peter Senge and many others have noted, this shift in management and leadership thinking to a more emergent, collaborative, relational and integrative logic is the most...

  • Great Workplace Leadership: From Obstacles to Opportunities!

    As Peter Senge wrote, "To empower people in an unaligned organization can be counterproductive. If people do not share a common vision [...] empowering people will only increase organizational...

  • Dr. Peter Senge on Education, Systems Thinking and Our Careers

    Senge is the founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) and senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is the author of The Fifth Discipline, named by Harvard...

  • A Fireside Chat with Jay Forrester, Peter Senge, George Richardson and Dennis Meadows

    At the Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling conference, attendees can ask personal questions of some of the excellent pioneers in the field of system dynamics. Listen to Jay Forrester telling...

  • Collaborating for Systemic Change

    Meeting the sustainability challenge will require the kind of cross-sector collaboration for which there is still no real precedent. It must be co-created by various stakeholders by interweaving...

  • Innovating Our Way to the Next Industrial Revolution

    What would constitute the beginnings of a truly post-industrial age? In many ways, the industrial age has been an era of harvesting natural and social capital in order to create financial and...

  • Why and How to Become a Learning Organization

    According to Peter Senge, the author of The Fifth Discipline, a learning organization is one where people continually expand their capacities to create the results that they wish to achieve. In...

  • Real Collaboration Takes More than Meetings and PowerPoints

    Harvard Business Review identified his book, The Fifth Discipline, as one of the seminal management books of the last 75 years. Learn how Dr. Senge, Senior Lecturer at MIT, uses systems theory to...

  • Video: Peter Senge on Systems Thinking

    As Peter Senge discusses in this video, people must be willing to challenge their mental models in order to find non-obvious areas of high leverage, which allow significant improvement. Systems...


Contact Information

Office: E62-439
Phone: 617-253-1575
Fax: (617) 253-2660
Support Staff
Name: Diane Nakashian
Phone: (617) 300-9550