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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Moti Frank

As technological systems grow larger, more complex, and interdisciplinary, electronics and hi‐tech industries face a growing demand for engineers with a capacity for…

Abstract

As technological systems grow larger, more complex, and interdisciplinary, electronics and hi‐tech industries face a growing demand for engineers with a capacity for “engineering systems thinking”. This paper presents a multifunctional definition and 30 laws of “engineering systems thinking”. The definition and the laws are based on a study that its purpose was to identify the characteristics of engineers who are able to think in the manner called “engineering systems thinking”. A thorough understanding of “engineering systems thinking” on both the theoretical and operational levels will prove useful in the design of curricula to improve and develop thinking of this sort.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 31 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Book part
Publication date: 30 October 2018

FR. Oswald A. J. Mascarenhas, S.J.

Morality is primarily a system of values, meanings, convictions, beliefs, principles, and drivers of good behavior and good outcomes in any organization. Using systems

Abstract

Executive Summary

Morality is primarily a system of values, meanings, convictions, beliefs, principles, and drivers of good behavior and good outcomes in any organization. Using systems thinking concepts and applications introduced and developed during the last 50 years or so by various scholars from MIT, Stanford, and Wharton, such as Chris Argyris, Russell Ackoff, G. K. Forrester, Peter Senge, Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins, this chapter seeks to explore various past and contemporary market systems and challenges in terms of specific inputs, processes, and outputs. Systems thinking reckons everything in the cosmos (usually classified as subjects, objects, properties, and events) as a system (composed of two or more interactive parts with individual and interactive effects) that is connected to every other system in the universe. Various systems thinking laws and archetypes that have been developed thus far by systems thinkers will be introduced in order to identify basic patterns, structures, and constraints of human thinking and reasoning that create market phenomena. The academic and managerial challenge is to identify, explore, and capitalize such nonobvious connections for creating and developing new markets and corporate growth opportunities in the highly turbulent markets of today. In a globalized, digitized, and networked planet and universe, systems thinking is a very effective tool for analyzing turbulent market systems holistically and in an inclusive and integrated manner, with their specific inputs, processes, and outcomes. Several contemporary market cases will be included to illustrate the contents of this chapter.

Details

Corporate Ethics for Turbulent Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-187-8

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Book part
Publication date: 27 June 2015

Shannon E. Finn Connell and Ramkrishnan V. Tenkasi

Organizations facing issues related to growth, innovation, and strategy are embracing design thinking, a problem-solving process. This study explores 40 design thinking

Abstract

Organizations facing issues related to growth, innovation, and strategy are embracing design thinking, a problem-solving process. This study explores 40 design thinking initiatives and identifies operational practices emerge and empirical categories across various contexts. Quantitative analyses of the initiatives and qualitative interview data are used to distinguish four configurations of action analogous to races: training, emphasizing learning-by-doing; marathons, capturing personal reflection over a long project; relays, highlighting team collaboration; and sprints, reflecting fast-paced product innovation. The initiatives are differentiated as designer-led versus team-driven and, low-urgency versus high-urgency. Implications of practicing design thinking in Organization Development and Change are discussed.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-018-0

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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2018

Piero Mella and Patrizia Gazzola

Accepting the assumption that our intelligence depends on the ability to construct models which may allow us to acquire, update and transmit our knowledge, this paper aims…

Abstract

Purpose

Accepting the assumption that our intelligence depends on the ability to construct models which may allow us to acquire, update and transmit our knowledge, this paper aims to highlight the role of Systems Thinking in developing the “intelligence” of managers for all types and sizes of organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Four relevant contributions for improving the “intelligence” of managers will be examined: the ability to understand and model dynamic systems, the structure of Control Systems, the rules of the decision-making process and the identification of systems archetypes.

Findings

The paper will show that Systems Thinking, through the logic of Control Systems, offers managers a comprehensive representation of the problem-solving and decision-making processes, teaching them how to distinguish problems from symptoms and to acquire a leverage effect. Additionally, Senge’s system archetypes will be presented and new archetypes will be added to Senge’s list.

Practical implications

The viability of every organization and its effective resilience and survival make it more than ever necessary for managers to adopt Systems Thinking, not only as a technique but also primarily as a discipline for efficient and effective thinking, learning, communication and explanation with regard to the dynamics of the world.

Originality/value

The message of the paper is that by continually applying the rules and language of Systems Thinking, managers develop the capability to continually adapt their models to the dynamics of the world, increase their learning capacity and better gauge their consequent judgments, decisions and behavior, thereby removing the mental impediments to intelligence (inappropriate mental models, defensive routines, judgmental biases, rules, etc.).

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Article
Publication date: 6 August 2019

Hernán López Garay and Alfonso Reyes

Present-day engineering education is in dire need to expose would-be engineers to a systemic view of the world. Society’s problems are getting increasingly complex…

Abstract

Purpose

Present-day engineering education is in dire need to expose would-be engineers to a systemic view of the world. Society’s problems are getting increasingly complex “wicked” problems, and they require inter and transdisciplinary approaches to understand and “dissolve” them (that is to solve them systemically). In this context, the purpose of this paper is to invite engineering educators to reflect on the need to teach systems thinking and spark their interest on finding appropriate methods to do so. This paper aims to describe an actual intervention at Universidad de Ibagué (UNIBAGUE), Colombia, where the methodology of teaching systems thinking as a foreign language has been on trial for one year.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting with a simple model of teaching systems thinking, and using an action-research methodology, the teaching model is gradually evolved to a model for teaching systems thinking as a foreign language.

Findings

The authors only have preliminary qualitative results with this systems-thinking teaching model. Although these results are encouraging (the authors think basic systems concepts are better apprehended by the students), further research is needed. One objective of the present paper is precisely to invite engineering educators to experiment with this teaching model.

Research limitations/implications

The authors think it is necessary to exploit further the teaching-a-foreign-language analogy. There is a vast experience on methods for teaching second and foreign languages. They could enrich the method and hint at possible directions for further research.

Practical implications

Teaching systems thinking is a field still open for wide research. The pedagogical model developed in this research to teach systems thinking could benefit other teachers of systems thinking to build upon.

Social implications

As one of the referees pointed out: “The implications of the insides obtained in this research are very significant to society. The problem observed in the systems thinking researchers and practitioner's community about how to disseminate systems thinking knowledge and how to embed this way of thinking into the minds of young people (K-12, university, etc.) is addressed in this research. In it is shown an experience that provides very valuable insides about how this can be done.

Originality/value

The idea of teaching systems thinking as a foreign language has not been widely explored. Furthermore, we feel that inasmuch as systems thinking is more of a skill or competency, than a technique or theory, then the model of teaching which emerges from this case study might be more appropriate than models of teaching based in the old educational paradigm.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Haim Shaked and Chen Schechter

The purpose of this paper is to explore how effective school principals use systems thinking, aiming to present the systems school leadership (SSL) approach – an approach…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how effective school principals use systems thinking, aiming to present the systems school leadership (SSL) approach – an approach where principals lead schools through the systems thinking concept and procedures.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants were 28 Israeli school principals, selected as outstanding leaders by recommendations from their superintendents and according to their schools’ achievements. The study employed semi-structured interviews as well as focus groups. Generating themes was an inductive process, grounded in the various perspectives articulated by participants.

Findings

Data analysis generated four main characteristics of SSL: leading wholes; adopting a multidimensional view; influencing indirectly; and evaluating significance.

Research limitations/implications

Further research that will explore to what extent and how often principals use systems thinking is required. In addition, replication in various educational contexts is important in order to substantiate the validity of the SSL's characteristics. Beyond principals’ perceptions, more objective measures like direct observations are needed to evaluate actual implementation of SSL in diverse school settings.

Practical implications

Identifying the SSL characteristics facilitates the development of practical processes for nurturing SSL in various stages of school leaders’ educational career.

Originality/value

This paper provides a useful conceptual and empirical framework to evaluate SSL as a managerial approach.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 52 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1993

M.C. Jackson

Outlines the emergence of critical systems thinking and practice and the reasons why such a development in the systems approach was necessary. Considers the limitations of…

Abstract

Outlines the emergence of critical systems thinking and practice and the reasons why such a development in the systems approach was necessary. Considers the limitations of traditional systems thinking and the strengths and weaknesses of three alternatives to the traditional systems approach — soft systems thinking, organizational cybernetics and emancipatory systems thinking. Reflection on the relationship between these different strands of the systems approach gave impetus to the birth of critical systems thinking. Details the nature of critical systems thinking, as resting on five commitments, and describes a new methodology (“total systems intervention”) to operationalize this approach.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2010

Tomas Palaima and Aelita Skaržauskienė

Effective decision making and learning in a world of growing dynamic complexity requires leaders to become systems thinkers – to develop tools to understand the structures…

Abstract

Purpose

Effective decision making and learning in a world of growing dynamic complexity requires leaders to become systems thinkers – to develop tools to understand the structures of complex systems. The paper aims to clarify the relationship between systems thinking and leadership performance. The relevance of systems thinking as a competence was disclosed in the context of leadership in the complex world.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper followed a quantitative research approach. First, exploratory factor analysis was employed to assess dimensionality of scales. Second, relationships between variables were explored using Spearman's correlation. Third, multiple linear regression was run to test the hypothesized model of relationships. The total sample of 201 consists of subsamples in two industries: retail trade (103 respondents) and manufacturing (98 respondents).

Findings

Based on the analysis and synthesis of the scientific literature, a conceptual model of relationship between intelligence competencies (such as systems thinking) and leadership performance is developed. The theoretical model is supported by empirical evidence from the two industries perspectives: the paper compares the impact of systems thinking on leadership performance in manufacturing and retail trade enterprises. Correlational and regression analyses revealed that systems thinking was associated with higher leadership performance.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalizability. First, the model was tested empirically only in two industries: in retail trade and in manufacturing. Second, the sample of this research was limited only to national level, therefore there is no possibility to compare results across different countries. In order to generalize the research findings, further research should include more companies from different industries.

Practical implications

The paper discloses the benefits of systems thinking in organization and includes implications for the development of systems thinking and other leadership competencies.

Originality/value

This paper establishes a link between systems thinking and leadership performance. Theoretical insights that systems thinking is most important dealing with conceptual strategic problems of an organization were confirmed empirically.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2010

Aelita Skaržauskienė

The paper aims to analyse new management practices for addressing complexity, uncertainty and changes of today's business landscape. In this context it is critical to

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to analyse new management practices for addressing complexity, uncertainty and changes of today's business landscape. In this context it is critical to understand the role of intellectual capital and particularly what are the key competencies to be developed in order to deal with the fluidity of business. Effective decision making and learning in a world of growing dynamic complexity requires leaders to become systems thinkers – to develop tools to understand the structures of complex systems. The paper aims to clarify the relationship between systems thinking and organization performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of systems thinking is inseparable from the philosophy of systems thinking, thus, the first part of the paper presents the common theory of systems and the systems approach to the organization. The paper follows a quantitative research approach. Firstly, exploratory factor analysis was employed to assess dimensionality of scales. Secondly, relationships between variables were explored using Spearman's correlation. Thirdly, multiple linear regression was run to test the hypothesized model of relationships. Finally, one‐way ANOVA was employed to test the influence of intelligence competence level on mean of organization performance.

Findings

Based on the analysis and synthesis of the scientific literature a conceptual model of the relationship between cognitive intelligence competencies (such as systems thinking) and organization performance was developed. The theoretical model was supported by empirical evidence. Correlational and regression analyses revealed that systems thinking was associated with higher organization performance.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalizability. The sample of this research was limited only to national level therefore it is not possible to compare results across different countries. In order to generalize the research findings, further research should include more companies from different industries. Secondly, the traditional self assessment method has been used for evaluation of competencies in this paper, but the results could be supplemented by adding 360‐degree feedback or multisource assessment results.

Practical implications

A systems thinking approach allows the realization of various interrelations and working schemes in the organization and helps to identify regularities of the organizational development. The application of systems thinking principles cannot guarantee success but may be a useful means or a permanent form of activity when solving conceptual problems.

Originality/value

Rich insight to the systems thinking approach was provided at the conceptual level and meaning of systems thinking was developed. The paper discloses the effects of systems thinking on organization performance and includes implications for the development of systems thinking and other leadership competencies.

Details

Measuring Business Excellence, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1368-3047

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Rewriting Leadership with Narrative Intelligence: How Leaders Can Thrive in Complex, Confusing and Contradictory Times
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-776-4

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