Discussion Post #4: Systems Thinking
Discussion Question: What is your understanding of thinking systems and how may it be used in a practical manner in your organization?
Systems thinking is an analytic tool for solving problems. Donella Meadows, in the text, Thinking Systems—A Primer, provides examples of the systems thinking process which emphasizes how individual parts interact or influence other constituents of the system.
Peter Senge (1990) termed systems thinking the cornerstone of the learning organization. He advises to view problems in parts of the overall system rather than reacting to the problem as an entity. Systems thinking is a powerful tool that one can use to address problems by recognizing the relationships between and among a system’s parts.
Although systems thinking encourage one to look at the long view, it is a way of understanding reality in the present. How does the part affect the whole now? What will be the effect in one year, three years, or five years from now? If systems thinking is understood and implemented, change in the organization should be the result.
In addition to your individual discussion, each student is expected to respond to/dialogue with at least two other students (agreement/disagreement/elaboration/building on ideas).
Discussion postings are due on Sunday of the week assigned. Two responses to other students are due by the following Thursday.
***For this discussion posting only, please use attachments.
Guidelines to Consider
• Meadows uses Interludes to clarify the discussion of systems thinking. How effective is this technique? Describe which Interlude has relevancy to your work/organization.
• How does systems thinking lead to change in an organization? Provide an example.
• Consider the steps you use when engaging in routine tasks and processes. If one of the steps were removed or became problematic, how would this impact the final outcome?
• What is your favorite “aha” moment encountered when reading the Meadows text or watching the Peter Senge conference video?
Peter Senge: 2010 Systems Thinking in Action Conference Preview
David C. Aron: Systems Thinking, Complexity Theory and Management
Meadows, D.H. (2008). Thinking in systems—A primer. (D. Wright, Ed.) White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Doubleday.
10-Point Individual Posting (4) Systems Thinking
• Length of systems thinking paper should be 500-750 words.
• Citations should reflect textual information, the Senge Conference material provided on YouTube, and at least one other source.
• Application of personal experience or view of how systems thinking concepts can be used in your professional area should be included.