Systems Thinking, Systems Design

Day 3

Time and place:

  • Wednesday,  January 24, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Bissell 417

3.1 Preparation

For all class participants, spend no more than 2 hours reading from a selection in each of the clusters.  If you don't like what you're reading, move on!

3.1.1 Cluster 3:  Idealized Design

Recommended articles

Recommended book chapters

  • Ackoff, Russell Lincoln, Jason Magidson, and Herbert J. Addison. 2006. Idealized Design: Creating an Organization’s Future. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Wharton School Pub.
  • Ackoff, Russell L. 1969. The Nature and Content of Planning. In A Concept of Corporate Planning, 1-22. Wiley-Interscience.
    • Excerpted as "The Nature of Planning", Chapter 6, pp. 100-103 in Ackoff, Russell L. 1999. Ackoff's Best: His classic writings on management. Wiley.
  • Ackoff, Russell L. 1981. Our Changing Concept of Planning. In Creating the Corporate Future: Plan or Be Planned For, 51-76. New York: John Wiley and Sons
    • Excerpted as "Ends Planning" in Chapter 10, pp. 119-124 in Ackoff, Russell L. 1999. Ackoff's Best: His classic writings on management. Wiley.

Recommended multimedia

  • Ackoff, Russell L. 2004. Keynote at ICSTM 2004. Web Video. International Conference on Systems Thinking in Management. University of Pennsylvania.
  • Ackoff, Russell L. ????. Tape of Ackoff’s Bell Lab Lecture.

3.1.2 Cluster 4:  Soft Systems Methodology

Recommended articles

  • Kish, Katie, Martin Bunch, and Beiyuan Xu. 2016. “Soft Systems Methodologies in Action: Environment, Health & Shanghai’s Elderly.” Systemic Practice and Action Research 29 (1):61–77.
  • Checkland, Peter. 2010. Researching real-life: Reflections on 30 years of action research. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2: 129-132.
  • Checkland, Peter. 2010. Comments on the conference and special issue. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2: 240.
  • Zhang, Huaxia. 2010. Soft systems methodology and ‘soft’ philosophy of science. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27, no. 2 (March 1): 156-170.
  • Bunch, Martin J. 2003. “Soft Systems Methodology and the Ecosystem Approach: A System Study of the Cooum River and Environs in Chennai, India.” Environmental Management 31 (2):0182–97.
  • Waltner-Toews, David, James J. Kay, Cynthia Neudoerffer, and Thomas Gitau. 2003. Perspective changes everything: managing ecosystems from the inside out. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1, no. 1 (2): 23-30.[0023:PCEMEF]2.0.CO;2.
  • Sinn, J. S. 1998. A comparison of interactive planning and soft systems methodology: enhancing the complementarist position. Systemic Practice and Action Research 11, no. 4: 435–453.

Recommended book chapters

  • Checkland, Peter, and John Poulter. 2010. “Soft Systems Methodology.” In Systems Approaches to Managing Change: A Practical Guide, edited by Martin Reynolds and Sue Holwell. London: Springer London.
  • Checkland, Peter, and Jim Scholes. 1990. Soft systems methodology in action. Chichester: Wiley

Recommended multimedia

3.2 Presenter-facilitator Groups 3 and 4

Prepare slides or materials to lead the class, with suggested content as:

  • How is the approach used (in one or two example system(s), close to your research interests)?
  • What are the basics of the approach?
  • Why would you use (or not use) this approach (over another approach)?
  • When and where would you use (or not use) this approach?
  • Which points about the approach are unclear, and would benefit from deeper inquiry?

If you have questions, you can consult with the instructor!

3.3 Classroom activities

1:00 - 1:15 Discussion on blogs from the previous class
1:15 - 2:15 Group 3 presents and facilitates discussion on Idealized Design
2:15 - 2:30 Instructor fills in on ambiguities
2:30 - 2:45 Break
2:45 - 3:45 Group 4 presents and facilitates discussion on Soft Systems Methodology
3:45 - 4:00 Instructor fills in on ambiguities

3.4 Assignments

  • Write an personal appreciation diary log as a blog post, trying to spend no more than 45 minutes.
    • Which 2 or 3 system ideas from today are resonating to change the way you think (and which ones might remain a mystery)?
    • Why are those systems ideas significant in your research, your work and/or your life?
    • Where could you see applying (or avoiding) using these systems approaches?
    • Include 2 or 3 references at the end of your blog post, and use a proper citation style.
  • Post a notification on the Google+ Systems Sciences Community, or on a Blackboard Discussion Board thread.
    • The deadline for posting is the Monday morning, 9 a.m., January 29