Systems Thinking and the Internet

Systems Thinking and the Internet

Kambiz E. Maani (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch482
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Abstract

Despite our most impressive advances in science and technology, our prevailing worldview and the way we work and relate are deeply rooted in the thinking that emerged during the Renaissance of the 17th century. This thinking was influenced by the sciences of that era and, in particular, by Newtonian physics. Newton viewed the world as a machine that was created to serve its master—God (Ackoff, 1993). The machine metaphor and the associated mechanistic (positivist) worldview, which was later extended to the economy, the society, and the organization, has persisted until today and is evident in our thinking and vocabulary. The mechanistic view of the enterprise became less tenable in the 20th century, partly due to the emergence of the corporation and the increasing prominence of human relation issues in the workplace. As the futurist Alvin Toffler (1991) declared, “the Age of the Machine is screeching to a halt” (Toffler, 1991).

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