Organizations That Learn




Hock’s "Elements”






 … a clear, simple statement of intent that identifies and binds the community together as worth of pursuit. It is more than what we want to accomplish. It is an unambiguous expression of that which people jointly wish to become. It should speak to them so powerfully that all can say with conviction, “If we could achieve that, my life would have meaning.”


… a behavioral aspiration of the community, a clear, unambiguous statement of a fundamental belief about how the whole and all the parts intend to conduct themselves in pursuit of the purpose. … a precept against which all structures, decisions, actions, and results will be judged. A principle always has high ethical and moral content. It never prescribes structure or behavior it always describes them. Principles often fall quite naturally into to categories: principles of structure and principles of practice. (Dee Hock, Birth of the Chaoric Age)

The principles of an organization include its core values, fundamental beliefs, approach to the world, etc. They define the culture of the organization and, to a large extent, the acceptable ranges of organizational behavior. Like purpose, effective core values and principles are discovered rather than invented. The are precepts the organization cannot abandon and remain the same organization.

In "Building Your Company's Vision" Collins & Porras provide the following examples:

Core Values – An Organization’s Essential Principles
“Who we are”



Philip Morris


Walt Disney

As final example consider the core values that drove the formation of Strategic Technology Partners, a technology consulting firm in which one of the OTL instructors was a founding partner.


[those needed] to be participants in the enterprise in order to realize the purpose in accordance with the principles.


… a visualization of the relationships between all of the people that would best enable them to pursue the purpose in accordance with their principles. An organizational concept is perception of a structure that all may trust to be equitable, just, and effective. It is a pictorial representation of eligibility, rights, and oblations of all prospective participants in the community.






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