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Fred Kofman, Peter Senge
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Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Organizational Learning & Innovation

NRFSN number: 15813
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In this article, Kofman and Senge explore shifts in contemporary management principles. They argue that the common organizational complaints of reactiveness, competition, and fragmentation are larger societal issues. These problems cannot simply be solved, but need to be dissolved through a new way of thinking, feeling, and being. Through what they call the “Galilean Shift,” reactiveness can become creating, competition can become cooperation, and fragmentary thinking can become systemic. Such a shift is impossible without personal commitment to organizational change and community. Traditional analytical models involve a three part process: 1) break the system into parts, 2) study each isolated part, and 3) understand the whole through understanding the parts. In comparison, Kofman and Senge’s Galilean Shift also has three parts: 1) the primacy of the whole, 2) the community nature of self, and 3) language as generative practice. From these three assumptions, the authors discuss several operating principles and advocate community collaboration in order to devise new and inspirational models of organization.


Kofman Fred, Senge Peter. 1993. Communities of commitment: the heart of learning organizations. Organizational Dynamics 22(2), p. 5-23.

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