Too often, today's managers are sold simple solutions to complex problems. But as many soon discover, simplicity is rarely effective in the face of complexity, change and diversity. Despite apparent promise, quick-fix panaceas fail because they are not holistic or creative enough. They focus on parts of the organization rather than the whole, take little account of interaction, and pander to the notion that there is one best solution in all circumstances. As instances of such failure escalate, intelligent managers are increasingly seeking to improve results through Systems Thinking. Whatever stage you are at in your study of Systems Thinking, this book will help. If you are new to the field then it will serve as a solid introduction.If you are familiar with a few concepts but not with how they can be linked and used by managers, then it will give you a greater understanding of how holistic ideas developed and how to use them in practice. And if you are expert in some approaches but not in others, then it will expand your knowledge and provide you with more choice.
In all cases you will achieve competency in creative holism, emerge better equipped to solve complex problems, and ultimately become a more effective Systems Thinking manager.'It's neat, easy to read and easy to absorb...It is a boon to students and executives alike..' - J P. von Gigch in Systems research and Behavioural Science. '...excellent summary of the latest research findings and ...very clear explanations and accessibility'. 'No other recent book in the systems field aims for such an accessible and at the same time rigorous interpretation of the major developments of systems theory' - D. Petkov in "Journal of the Operational Research Society". 'As far as I can tell there is no other book that includes all the major developments in systems thinking over the last fifty years' - Misha Hebel ("Amazon Review").
Michael C. Jackson graduated from Oxford University and has since worked in public sector management, in academia, and as a consultant. He is Professor of Management Systems at the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and Director of its business school. Mike is author of Systems Methodology for the Management Sciences, Plenum, 1991; Creative Problem Solving, Wiley, 1991 (with R.L. Flood); Systems Approaches to Management, Kluwer/Plenum, 2000; and numerous articles in academic and professional journals, including some of the most cited in the field. He is also editor-in-chief of Systems Research and Behavioral Science and associate editor of Systems Practice and Action Research. Mike has been Chair of the UK Systems Society and President of the International Federation for Systems Research and the International Society for the Systems Sciences. His work has been translated into six languages and he has given invited lectures in over twenty countries. He is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, the Chartered Management Institute, and the Cybernetics Society.
Preface. Introduction. Part I: Holism and Systems Practice. 1 The Systems Language. 1.1 Introduction. 1.2 Philosophy. 1.3 Biology. 1.4 Control Engineering. 1.5 Organization and Management Theory. 1.6 The Physical Sciences. 1.7 Why is the Systems Language so Powerful? References. 2 Applied Systems Thinking. 2.1 Introduction. 2.2 Hard Systems Thinking. 2.3 The Development of Applied Systems Thinking. 2.3.1 Problem contexts. 2.3.2 Systems methodologies related to problem contexts. 2.4 The Main Strands of Applied Systems Thinking. 2.5 Conclusion. References. 3 Creativity and Systems. 3.1 Introduction. 3.2 Creativity and Metaphor. 3.3 Creativity and Paradigms 37 3.4 Conclusion 39 References 41 Part II: Systems Approaches. Type A Improving Goal Seeking and Viability. 4 Hard Systems Thinking. 4.1 Introduction. 4.2 Description of Hard Systems Thinking. 4.2.1 Historical development. 4.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 4.2.3 Methodology. 4.2.4 Methods. 4.2.5 Recent developments. 4.3 Hard Systems Thinking in Action. 4.4 Critique of Hard Systems Thinking. 4.5 The Value of Hard Systems Thinking to Managers. 4.6 Conclusion. References. 5 System Dynamics: The Fifth Discipline. 5.1 Introduction. 5.2 Description of System Dynamics. 5.2.1 Historical development. 5.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 5.2.3 Methodology. 5.2.4 Methods. 5.2.5 Recent developments. 5.3 System Dynamics in Action. 5.4 Critique of System Dynamics. 5.5 The Value of System Dynamics to Managers. 5.6 Conclusion. References. 6 Organizational Cybernetics. 6.1 Introduction. 6.2 Description of Organizational Cybernetics 6.2.1 Historical development. 6.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 6.2.3 Methodology. 6.2.4 Methods. 6.2.5 Recent developments. 6.3 Organizational Cybernetics in Action. 6.4 Critique of Organizational Cybernetics. 6.5 The Value of Organizational Cybernetics to Managers. 6.6 Conclusion. References. 7 Complexity Theory. 7.1 Introduction. 7.2 Description of Complexity Theory. 7.2.1 Historical development. 7.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 7.2.3 Methodology. 7.2.4 Methods. 7.2.5 Recent developments. 7.3 Complexity Theory in Action. 7.4 Critique of Complexity Theory. 7.5 The Value of Complexity Theory to Managers. 7.6 Conclusion. References. Type B Exploring Purposes. 8 Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing. 8.1 Introduction. 8.2 Description of Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing (SAST). 8.2.1 Historical development. 8.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 8.2.3 Methodology. 8.2.4 Methods. 8.2.5 Recent developments. 8.3 Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing (SAST) in Action. 8.4 Critique of Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing (SAST). 8.5 The Value of Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing (SAST) to Managers. 8.6 Conclusion. References. 9 Interactive Planning. 9.1 Introduction. 9.2 Description of Interactive Planning. 9.2.1 Historical development. 9.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 9.2.3 Methodology. 9.2.4 Methods. 9.2.5 Recent developments. 9.3 Interactive Planning in Action. 9.4 Critique of Interactive Planning. 9.5 The Value of Interactive Planning to Managers. 9.6 Conclusion. References. 10 Soft Systems Methodology. 10.1 Introduction. 10.2 Description of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). 10.2.1 Historical development. 10.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 10.2.3 Methodology. 10.2.4 Methods. 10.2.5 Recent developments. 10.3 Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) in Action. 10.4 Critique of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). 10.5 The Value of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to Managers. 10.6 Conclusion. References. Type C Ensuring Fairness. 11 Critical Systems Heuristics. 11.1 Introduction. 11.2 Description of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH). 11.2.1 Historical development. 11.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 11.2.3 Methodology. 11.2.4 Methods. 11.2.5 Recent developments. 11.3 Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH) in Action. 11.4 Critique of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH). 11.5 The Value of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH) to Managers. 11.6 Conclusion. References. 12 Team Syntegrity. 12.1 Introduction. 12.2 Description of Team Syntegrity. 12.2.1 Historical development. 12.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 12.2.3 Methodology. 12.2.4 Methods. 12.2.5 Recent developments. 12.3 Team Syntegrity in Action. 12.4 Critique of Team Syntegrity. 12.5 The Value of Team Syntegrity to Managers. 12.6 Conclusion. References. Type D Promoting Diversity. 13 Postmodern Systems Thinking. 13.1 Introduction. 13.2 Description of Postmodern Systems Thinking. 13.2.1 Historical development. 13.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 13.2.3 Methodology. 13.2.4 Methods. 13.2.5 Recent developments. 13.3 Postmodern Systems Thinking in Action. 13.4 Critique of Postmodern Systems Thinking. 13.5 The Value of Postmodern Systems Thinking to Managers. 13.6 Conclusion. References. Part III: Creative Holism. 14 Total Systems Intervention. 14.1 Introduction. 14.2 Description of Total Systems Intervention (TSI). 14.2.1 Historical development. 14.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 14.2.3 Metamethodology. 14.2.4 Methods. 14.2.5 Recent developments. 14.3 Total Systems Intervention (TSI) in Action. 14.4 Critique of Total Systems Intervention (TSI). 14.5 The Value of Total Systems Intervention (TSI) to Managers. 14.6 Conclusion. References. 15 Critical Systems Practice. 15.1 Introduction. 15.2 Description of Critical Systems Practice (CSP). 15.2.1 Historical development. 15.2.2 Philosophy and theory. 15.2.3 Metamethodology. 15.2.4 Methods. 15.2.5 Recent developments. 15.3 Critical Systems Practice (CSP) in Action. 15.4 Critique of Critical Systems Practice (CSP). 15.5 The Value of Critical Systems Practice (CSP) to Managers. 15.6 Conclusion. References. Conclusion. Index.