5 TWO APPROACHES WITHIN SYSTEMS THINKING

At its broadest level, systems thinking encompasses a large and fairly amorphous body of methods, tools, and principles, all oriented to looking at the interrelatedness of forces, and seeing them as parts of a common process” (Senge et al. 1994)).

 

Systems thinking appears fragmented as it covers many different meanings, models, approaches and methodologies, including for example system dynamics, soft systems methodology and critical systems thinking (M. Q. Patton 1999). Therefore it is not surprising that systems thinking serves several purposes. Each “sub discipline” has its own objectives and represents a different way to approach complexity. System dynamics are appropriate when the aim is to clarify complexity and/or predict future behavior of a system, systems thinking reveals a variety of potential actions you may take to bring about change in a strategically desired direction. “Each of these actions will produce some desired results and (almost certainly) some unintended consequences somewhere else in the system. The art of systems thinking includes learning to recognize the ramifications and trade-offs of the action you choose” (Senge et al. 1994)