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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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TLO’s Latency Period

Research indicates that fads and fashions in business techniques typically have latency periods during which the techniques have little popularity (Abrahamson and Eisenman, 2008). Latency may give way to sudden upswings in techniques’ popularity followed by equally sudden downswings, resulting in waves of diverse amplitudes and durations (Carson, Lanier, Carson, and Guidry, 2000). Some ideas may achieve wide acceptance and popularity; other ideas fail to gain much attention.

Both academic and nonacademic writers had been discussing components of Senge’s TLO for several decades; an emergence and sudden surge in popularity could have occurred earlier. They did not. Senge’s book could have been yet another incremental contribution to a continuing latency period. It was not. Instead, Senge brought TLO to prominence. Why Senge? Why his book? Why in 1990?

TLO and its five component disciplines build on a wide range of prior conceptual developments. Predecessor thinking concerns organizational learning, organizational rigidity, learning systems, systems thinking, and even prior discussions of similarly described ‘learning organizations.’ Senge devoted large portions of The Fifth Discipline to the ideas of other people. Table 11.1 shows the antecedents on whom Senge relied most strongly; they include both academics and practitioners.

Table 11.1 Antecedents Senge acknowledged as important

Although Senge gave credit to the works listed in Table 11.1, he did not mention ...

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