Premium Essay

System Thinking Intro

In: Business and Management

Submitted By dianegoetz1
Words 1501
Pages 7
Systems Thinking and Tools
Darthula Diane Goetz
MOL504A Systems Thinking and the Learning Organization
Dr. Roger Martin
Warner Pacific College
August 31, 2012

System Thinking and Linear Thinking Systems Thinking is a process of viewing the entire entity and the paths or connections that allow each part of the entity or process connecting to the whole to be followed and analyzed as each decision affects the whole scheme of the social system/process or organization. This process of thought and understanding is different from the traditional process in that it no longer focuses on the individual piece or person, but the dynamics of the entire organization as the individual piece or person interacts and travels through the system. A system can be anything or any process. As stated by Donella Meadows in Thinking in Systems “words and sentences must, by necessity, come only one at a time in a linear, logical order. Systems happen all at once.” (Meadows, 2008, p. 5). The system being studied may be human or non-human. The concept of System Thinking is not the what is being studied but the how that something interacts with all the various other whats within the entire system. System thinking will frequently allow the individual studying any situation or process to come up with entirely different conclusions than when the same situation or process is studied using the traditional analysis of linear thinking which focuses on tracing a direct path to cause and effect (Meadows, 2008). Traditional analysis frequently allows one to focus the cause of a problem or issue onto an individual or group of individuals instead of seeing the problem or issue as a piece of a larger issue/system with possibly a systemic problem that is far more difficult to pin onto any one individual or group (Bolman & Deal, 2008) Linear thinking is what one learns throughout…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Systems Thinking

...Systems Thinking-Getting the Big Picture When we try to assemble the jigsaw pieces of organisational world, one important tool comes to rescue called Systems Thinking. In Simple terms, it is a way to view systems from a broader perspective and understand the micro structures, patterns and cycles rather than focussing on specific events in the system. This unique approach to problems is interwoven with system dynamics which was founded in 1956 by MIT professor Jay Forrester. To ingrain the concepts of systems thinking, understanding “Systems” is a pre-requisite which can’t be ignored. A system is a web of interrelated and interdependent components that complete the complex whole. Our body has various systems like circulatory, respiratory etc.The sales department in an organisation is another example. Every system has some common characteristics: * A purpose within a larger system. * Specific arrangement of system’s parts so that the overall system works perfectly. * System should trigger a change on feedback. * System should maintain stability by adjusting based on feedback. Coming back to systems thinking, its application on most difficult types of problems have been found quite effective where apparent solutions have failed and a need to raise the level of thinking has been found. Its use can be associated at individual as well as in organisations where complexities exist at every next step before reaching a solution. To make the understanding on this...

Words: 794 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

System Thinking

...engine is made up of thousands of parts put together and a typical shop visit (input, repair/upgrade, assembly, testing) will take approximately 60 days to complete. The current system of achieving the 60 days target is done by dividing the resources into 4 different sections. Each section will be in-charge of each module’s strip and assembly. Upon completion an additional team will put together all 3 major modules together before it is sent to the Test Cell for an engine run. The objective of this paper is to look into how the process of engine may be streamlined to reduce the overall turn around time (TAT). Some concepts and models adapted from an article “10 effective performance tools for 21st century managers” by Prof KC Chan (Reference 1) and the “Stage Gate System” by Robert R Cooper (Reference 2) will be incorporated to illustrate how to create an efficient system for the engine shop. The goal is to achieve at least 15% reduction in the TAT per engine. With a typical input of 100 engines per year, the target savings in number of labour days is approximately 900 days. Using the labour days multiplied by the cost of manhours (assuming US$70) will be the quantitative savings that is used to measure the outcome of the improved system (Figure 1)...

Words: 267 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Systems Thinking

...Systems Thinking Written Assignment Company South and Company North, both companies were purchased by a parent company because they were successful companies in the federal government contracting industry. South and North performed some similar services but each had distinct services that were not similar. The parent company wants the marketing and sales tracked for purposes of planning growth, reporting to the Board growth potentials, ensuring that the parent has control that companies do not duplicate and compete for the same services, and to control new service areas. Both company’s revenues and growth are paid out to previous owners as a profit share agreement. North’s primary service lines are in information technology, call center activities, and limited environmental support. South’s primary service lines are in environmental, military medical health services, engineering, administrative support, and some information technology. South and North share a few common clients. Both North and South were instructed to input all sales and marketing information into the database and to keep updates on marketing processes current through a chatter system and process step system. They were instructed to put in all possibilities because if a problem of duality came forward it could be addressed immediately. Both were instructed that teaming together would be viewed as favorable and that if the two companies had the same opportunity that the boss would make the final......

Words: 1113 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Intro to Databse Systems Ch1

...access the data. Data independence lacks in file systems because any program that accesses a file system's file must tell the computer not only what to do, but how to do it. Each program must contain lines that specify the opening of a specific type of file, its record specification, and its field definitions. Data dependence makes the file system very difficult from the point of view of a programmer and database manager. 5. Structural independence is exists when you can change the file structure without affecting the application's ability to access the data. Structural independence is important because it would be very difficult to make changes to an existing file structure, resulting in going through a number of steps and producing errors. 7. The role of a DBMS is to serve as the intermediary between the user and the database. The DBMS receives all application requests and translates them into complex operations required to fulfill those request. The advantages of a DBMS are the following: * Improved data sharing * Improved data security * Better data integration * Minimized data inconsistency * Improved data access * Improved decision making * Increased end-user productivity The disadvantages of a DBMS are the following: * Increased costs * Management complexity * Vendor Dependence * Frequent upgrade/replacement cycles. 9. The main components of a database system are hardware, software, people, procedures, and......

Words: 424 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

System Thinking

... Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity This Page Intentionally Left Blank Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity A Platform for Designing Business Architecture SECOND EDITION Jamshid Gharajedaghi AMSTERDAM • BOSTON • HEIDELBERG • LONDON NEW YORK • OXFORD • PARIS • SAN DIEGO SAN FRANCISCO • SINGAPORE • SYDNEY • TOKYO Butterworth-Heinemann is an imprint of Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann is an imprint of Elsevier 30 Corporate Drive, Suite 400, Burlington, MA 01803, USA 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, California 92101-4495, USA 84 Theobald's Road, London WC1X 8RR, UK This book is printed on acid-free paper. Copyright © 2006, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Permissions may be sought directly from Elsevier’s Science & Technology Rights Department in Oxford, UK: phone: (+44) 1865 843830, fax: (+44) 1865 853333, E-mail: permissions@elsevier.com. You may also complete your request on-line via the Elsevier homepage (http:/ /elsevier.com), by selecting “Support & Contact” then “Copyright and Permission” and then “Obtaining Permissions.” Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Gharajedaghi, Jamshid. Systems thinking : managing chaos and complexity : a platform for designing business......

Words: 116913 - Pages: 468

Premium Essay

Systems Thinking

...One of the first problems I immediately encountered was that the management system was from run from the top-down. Of course, this job was on a military installation where the top-down style of management system is common. According to the article by Reed, military organizations tend to place a higher premium on the traditional methods for leadership which just doesn’t work. He stresses the importance of having leaders who are able to really see the big picture of how the organization works both internally and externally (2006). My supervisor was the Library Director who had a PhD in Library Sciences. He held very strong to the belief that he was in charge of everyone and everything in the library. I can recall one instance where everyone called in sick except for me. This wasn’t a huge deal because I was able to handle the circulation desk operations for the day. However, I was shocked to realize he had no idea how the day to day operations of the library were run. I expected that the Library Director would know how to use the system in place to check items out to library patrons, but he didn’t. I tried to show him how to do some of the library technician tasks, and he was quick to remind me that he was the director and should not have to do the tasks of a library technician. I find this to be a huge management flaw, as I lost respect for him as my supervisor due to his level of incompetence about his business. If my manager had used more of the outside-in......

Words: 913 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Systems Thinking

...Systems Thinking University of Maryland University College Abstract Back in 2008, as a leader / manager, I had a difficult task ahead of me to get 131 Sailors in my department, to complete 11 online courses that were required annually. These had to be done while “on the clock”. This was in addition to their primary responsibility of maintaining and fixing Naval aircraft. To put it lightly, I failed. All the Sailors may have completed these courses, but it wasn’t by my deadline, it wasn’t by their choice or on their terms and it certainly could have been done a better way. Looking back, I realize that the only reason I succeeded quantitatively was because I had to use my rank and authority. The result was not qualitative. Systems Thinking An Example of Ignorance In 2008 my job rotation landed me as the Maintenance, Manpower and Training Officer. One of my responsibilities was to ensure all 131 personnel in my department completed their annual requirement of 11 online courses. In the recent years leading up to, Sailors were delinquent for the training at year’s end. In order to meet the requirement, Sailors were pulled off their primary job of fixing aircraft in hopes there would be an open computer to complete 11 courses. These courses took about 16 hours to complete. There are 4 levels of leadership between each Sailor and me. The 8 Division Officers and 14 Chiefs are a strong association through whom I can......

Words: 1216 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Information Systems Intro

...specific region. The biggest problem is that most of the time people being behaviorally tracked have not consented to anything and the information is passed on to a third party without any knowledge of the individual. Most companies today use information to help bring similar products to individuals with certain online behavior. Some select groups believe that it is a direct violation of privacy and are against big business tracking online activity without consent. Q5. Digital technology has damaged humans in many ways from critical thinking, social interaction, and attention span. The evolution of technology has made people too dependent on it and people research shows that the average american spends about half of their day using technology from phones, laptops, tvs, and tablets. From the moment we wake up to when we go to bed we constantly have a device in arms reach. The effect of constant usage of theses devices makes us less dependent on thinking on ourselves but rather type in some words in a search engine. Growing up in the early 90’s its crazy to see how technology made kids growing up today so different, interaction with each other can count as chatting or using social media when back then it was actually seeing one another face to face. This also affects how people interact with one another. We are responsible for letting technology take over our lives, technology makes the world's a better place but it is upon ourselves to find a good balance. Work......

Words: 745 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Systems Thinking

...A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning. Fields that study the general properties of systems include systems science, systems theory, systems modeling, systems engineering, cybernetics, dynamical systems, thermodynamics, complex systems, system analysis and design and systems architecture. They investigate the abstract properties of systems' matter and organization, looking for concepts and principles that are independent of domain, substance, type, or temporal scale. Some systems share common characteristics, including: A system has structure, it contains parts (or components) that are directly or indirectly related to each other; A system has behavior; it exhibits processes that fulfill its function or purpose; A system has interconnectivity: the parts and processes are connected by structural and/or behavioral relationships; A system's structure and behavior may be decomposed via subsystems and sub-processes to elementary parts and process steps; A system has behavior that, in relativity to its surroundings, may be categorized as both fast and strong. The term system may also refer to a set of rules that governs structure and/or behavior. Alternatively, and usually in the context of complex social systems, the term institution is......

Words: 2579 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Systems Thinking

...Why is systems thinking critical in developing solutions to sustainability challenges? Systems thinking is a method of thinking that looks at the interconnectedness between different elements rather than a linear cause and effect approach and sees patterns of change rather than fixed “snapshots”. In essence it is a view on the “whole picture” (Anderson, R 1994). Peter Senge and Andres Edwards expressed the importance of system thinking in that it is necessary for “understanding the dynamic complexity of a situation”, anticipating “the unintended consequences of proposed actions” and implementing “lasting solutions” (Higgins, K 2014). Obesity is a wicked problem we face today where systems thinking is necessary as it is a sustainability issue that flows into the three pillar model. It affects the social, economic, and environmental pillars, as well as physiological and psychological factors on an individual level making it a unique and complex system. By looking at genetics, psychological disorders, social norms and consequences, the food we buy and energy we use as well as the economy we can see why past and current attitudes have failed and that by encouraging a system thinking approach a new understanding of the circumstances can be achieved helping to identify prospects for action that may not have previously be seen; altogether illustrating systems thinking’s critical role in developing solutions to sustainability challenges. Over the last few decades obesity has......

Words: 2606 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Systems Thinking

...Running  Head:    Systems  Thinking     1   Systems Thinking Management Process Systems  Thinking             2   Table of Contents Introduction to Systems Thinking Reflections on readings Applying SIMILAR to an area needing improvement Conclusions Systems  Thinking             3   Systems thinking is a very new concept to me. It is an outstanding approach with a global view of the entire system and not viewing each department as a separate entity thus preventing the siloed effect. First and foremost, I think it is critical to define just exactly what constitutes a system. According the Dr. Deming’s book, a system is defined as “a series of functions or activities within and organization that work together for the aim of the organization” (Latzko, 1995, p. 35). I at first struggled with the systems concept. Using this approach all components of the system gain and not at a cost to another. With that definition in mind we can apply this thinking to any organization or process. I love the analogy Dr. Deming used by looking at an orchestra as a perfect system. My translation of this analogy is that the sum is greater than the parts. The combined efforts of each member of the orchestra are an outstanding product, beautiful music, regardless of the instrument played. All the orchestra members have the same common purpose (Dr. Deming’s 1st point for management). Thus,......

Words: 1640 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

System Thinking

...open management strategies. Organizational systems vary and can be simple or complicated; complex or chaotic; and linear or nonlinear. System dynamics in its broadest sense seeks to provide information and knowledge of how relationships influence the behavior of the system (parts and whole) over time. Designing, and managing systems in an ever-changing environment can present leaders with challenges as well as opportunities. Ackoff and Gharajedaghi (1996) defined a system as “a whole defined by one or more functions, which consists of two or more essential parts” (p.13). Systems Theory, Systems Analysis and Systems Thinking examines input, processes, outputs and outcomes, with ongoing feedback. Social systems (groups, supply and demand, friendship, etc.) range from very simple to very complex. Complex systems, are comprised of numerous subsystems are arranged in hierarchies, and integrated to accomplish the overall goal of the overall system. Internal dynamics and effectiveness The structure of an organization macro (focus on larger social structural challenges) or micro (focus on everyday challenges) can have a direct effect on company productivity and effectiveness. Kilduff and Brass (2010) suggest at the macro level can consist of a broad spectrum of social processes and the micro level can consist of interactions between individuals (teams, performance, turnover, etc.). Within an open system of internal dynamics, system thinking can provide leaders with a new......

Words: 1202 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Systems Thinking and Sustainable Development

...Topic: Systems thinking is critical in developing solution to sustainability challenges Name: Tutor: Introduction System thinking is an approach which focuses on how the issue on study interacts with other related issues and not merely isolating it. Over time, it has been used to address various complex issues (Banson et al. 2014, p.173). Wicked problems are one of these issues addressed by it in a successful way. It is also useful in solving recurring problems which prove difficult to solve. Basically it is composed of various parts which are related either directly or indirectly. They all entail processes which produce outputs from inputs. It is not only dynamic but also holistic and seeks to produce results of the complex problems. Systems thinking is the only critical way to solve complex issues impeding sustainability challenges and develop quality solutions. Since its conception in 1920 by Jan Smuts Holism, it has developed and solved many issues (Gharajedaghi p.2013 558). Pollution is a complex issue which is intertwined in different processes and impacts in diverse ways. Thus, the topic is significance in pursuing ways to help solve the pollution. Ocean pollution also referred to as marine pollution is a wicked problem which has been increasing in complexity day in day out. This is because of the increasing population growth which stands at 7.2 billion worldwide (Noga & Wolbring 2013 p.3615). The increased industry establishment is directly proportional......

Words: 2407 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Intro Nervous System

...Lab #12. The Nervous system. Sensorimotor transformations. EPPS BIOE 2101 Spring 2016 INTRODUCTION The nervous system “is” you. Nervous cells transform signals from the outside world into “spikes,” voltage changes, or chemical signals, perform transformations on these signals, and then may turn on muscles. Muscles, in turn, cause behavior: a smile, or moving across the room. Your nervous system is responsible for your interaction with the world, from sensing it to acting upon it. | Parts of the nervous system: the spinal cord, motor neurons, and sensory neurons. Sense organs in muscles transmit sensory information to spinal cord interneurons, that connect to motor neurons, that in turn activate muscles. (Adapted from Kandell et al., 2000). | | Parts of the nervous system: the spinal cord, motor neurons, and sensory neurons. Sense organs in muscles transmit sensory information to spinal cord interneurons, that connect to motor neurons, that in turn activate muscles. (Adapted from Kandell et al., 2000). | Neurons – The cellular building block of the nervous system is the neuron. These cells are typically excitable: they can “spike,” a process by which their membrane voltage quickly changes, and they transmit information. Neurons can transduce signals from the outside world into spikes, transmit spikes to each other via connections called “synapses,” and connect to muscles, in order to turn the muscle on and make it contract. When spikes happen in......

Words: 1417 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Intro to System Security

...1.0 Overview Standards for network access and authentication are highly required to the company's information security. Any user accessing the company's computer systems has the ability to compromise the security of all users of the network. Appropriate Network Access and Authentication Policy decrees the chances of a security breache by requiring application authentication and access standards across the network in all locations. 2.0 Purpose The purpose of this policy is to illustrate what must be done to ensure that users connecting to the corporate network are authorized users in compliance with company standards, and are given the least amount of access required to perform their job function. 3.0 Scope The scope of this policy includes all users who have access to company provided computers or require access to the corporate network and systems. This policy applies not only to employees, but also to guests, contractors, and anyone requiring access to the corporate network. Public accesses to the company’s externally-reachable systems, such as its corporate website or public web applications, are specifically excluded from this policy. 4.0 Policy 4.1 Account Setup During initial account setup, certain checks must be performed maintain the integrity of the process. The following policies apply to account setup: • Positive ID with Human Resources • Users will be granted least amount of network access required to perform his or her job function...

Words: 937 - Pages: 4