The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable competitive advantage. (Peter Senge, 1990)
Peter Senge introduced the term Learning Organization in his 1990 classic The Fifth Discipline. From Senge's work, Forman (2004) traces how this concept rapidly spread through the corporate world to the present situation where the "human capital" of Furtune 500 companies is believed to be worth 6 times as much as their physical and financial assets. According to Forman intangible assets include human capital (tacit knowledge and competencies), structural capital (intellectual property, methods and policies), social capital (relationships), and organizational capital (customer relationships and agreements). Forman suggests that there are two levels of organizational learning - the contribution level (where people learn, collaborate and innovate) and the multiplier level (where what comes from the contribution level is passed along to the rest of the organization through processes such as mentoring, networking and inspiring).