In a world of increasing complexity, instant information availability and constant flux, systems approaches provide the opportunity of a tangible anchor of purpose and iterate learning. The five approaches outlined in the book offer a range of interchangeable tools with rigorous frameworks of application tried and tested in the `real world'. The frameworks of each approach form a powerful toolkit to explore the dynamics of how societies emerge, how organisations create viability, how to facilitate chains of argument through causal mapping, how to embrace a multiplicity of perspectives identifying purposeful activity and how to look for the bigger picture across multiple disciplines.
Systems Approaches offers an excellent first introduction for those seeking to understand what `systems thinking' is all about as well as why the tools discussed herein should be applied to management and professional practice. This book provides a practical guide, and the chapters stand alone in explaining and developing each approach.
Sue Holwell joined Cranfield University in 1998 and taught on the MSc in the Design of Information Systems and MBA at the Royal Military College of Science. In April 2002 she joined the Systems Department at the Open University. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, Centre for Complexity and Change, Technology Faculty, Open University. Dr Martin Reynolds joined OU in 2000. He previously worked with Gerald Midgley at Hull University co-authoring Operational Research and Environmental Management with support from the Operational Research Society. His interest in critical systems came through PhD work on participatory natural resource-use appraisal in Botswana, based at the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
Introducing Systems Approaches.- System Dynamics.- The Viable System Model.- Strategic Options Development and Analysis.- Soft Systems Methodology.- Critical Systems Heuristics.- Epilogue: Systems Approaches and Systems Practice.