Amplifying the Significance of Systems Thinking in Organization

Amplifying the Significance of Systems Thinking in Organization

Mambo Governor Mupepi (Grand Valley State University, USA), Sylvia C. Mupepi (Grand Valley State University, USA) and Jaideep Motwani (Grand Valley State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch048
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This chapter discusses how systems thinking (ST) can be put into context in companies and how it can be applied to initiate and sustain change. For that change to be introduced and maintained there must be a synergistic relationship between all the role players. A case study is deployed to illustrate that the path to organizational effectiveness and efficiency requires the development of computer aided communication schema that provide the understanding and modeling of human and technical and philosophical framework in the value creation process to increase productivity.
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The reality in organization is that learning never stops. People in the organization can be taught to think alike about the job at hand. Systems thinking is pervasive in highly productive organizations. Effective teams can be well-coordinated in their specific roles in the value creation system. Job specifications and descriptions are akin to tele-prompters in aiding individuals to do the right thing first time and always. They are part of the documentation necessary in successful organizations. Individuals groups and teams must learn their roles and understand what gives life to the organization. The sociotechnical conceptual model provides a description of perceived reality. It gives a systemic content of inquiry and views the organization as an open system model, a purposeful conceptual part or whole organism. Koestler (1967) coined the term holon to imply something that could be described simultaneously as a whole or part. Divisions or units in organization can be viewed as holon because they can be corporations in their own right and at the same time they can be owned by another corporation.

An Interdisciplinary Origin

A system is viewed as a whole whose elements hang together because they continuously affect each other over time and operate toward a common purpose. In Stichweh (2010), systems theory is defined as an interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of discovering patterns and algorithms necessary in maintaining the value creation system to produce the goods and services demanded by the customers. Stichweh elucidates the definition of systems theory as an understanding related to the General System Theory of biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy (Bertalanffy, 1934), physiologists Walter B. Cannon, Walter Pitts, Warren McCulloch and cybernetics technologists Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener, and William Ross Ashby. In Daft (2013) a group of technocrats from the same organization referred to as skunkworks meet regularly in defined physical places and in cyberspace to progress organizational goals. Daft argued that the skunkworks were a people who shared the same vision about their organization. They deliberated in designing new products and appropriate technology to make those new products a reality. In Gharajedaghi (2010) systems thinking is deployed in the search for solutions to the problems the organization faces such as competition. How to effectively compete can be framed by co-constructing a shared vision of the future. Systems thinking can be applied to design and implement the competitive advantage.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Algorithm: An algorithm is a self-contained step-by-step set of procedures applied in solving mathematical or industrial problems.

Holon: Adapted from Hebrew implying a self-containing part which is part of a larger system.

Differentiation: The process of making products or organization different from others in competition.

Systems Thinking: Systems thinking involves the use of various techniques to study systems of many kinds.

Skunkworks: A project typically developed by a small and loosely structured group of people who research and develop a project primarily for the sake of innovation.

Value Creation System: A value creation system is a production perspective that describes social and technical resources employed to produce goods and services demanded by customers.

Ubiquitous: Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere.

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