6.2 Modes of managing systemically

Now I want to describe some of the possibilities I see as being available in the repertoire of an aware systems practitioner able to connect with the history of systems thinking and with the new theories of complexity.

David Robertson, in a presentation to the Society for Research into Higher Education in late 1998 entitled ‘What employers really, really want’ reported that: ‘research on employers in a number of English-speaking countries (an elite survey with senior corporate peo
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5.4 Methodology, method, technique, and tools

As you engage with systems thinking and practice you will become aware how different authors refer to systems methodologies, methods, techniques, and tools, as well as systems approaches. Having just spent some time explaining what I mean by a systems approach, I now want to distinguish between methodology, method, technique and tool.

Several authors and practitioners have emphasised the significance of the term methodologies rather than methods in relation to Systems. A method i
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5.5 Multiple-cause diagrams

Multiple-cause diagrams are another way of using interconnectedness to structure a complex situation. In this case, the interconnectedness is that of causation. Multiple-cause diagrams represent both sufficient and contributory cause, without making a distinction between them. Drawing multiple-cause diagrams allows for the identification of systems of causation. Such a system can be pictured as an interconnected group of events or effects; the effect is of a system that behaves
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7.5 Summary

I hope that, by now, you have a rich picture you are pleased with. This is a considerable achievement because, despite the informality of the rich picture's style, a rich picture that effectively captures the complex situation takes a lot of effort to achieve. It depends crucially on being prepared to enter into the experience of the situation of interest and to interrogate that experience thoroughly. Noticing is not enough. Each feature of the situation has to be carefully captured by repres
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7.4 Complexity from someone else's perspective

You may already have noticed, and included, the author of the case study in your rich picture. The clues that this is necessary are in Figure 5 and in my comments about epistemology in the introduction to the unit. Just how important the writer of the case study is becomes obvious when
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Learning outcomes

After reading this unit you should be able to:

  • appreciate diagrams as a powerful aid to thinking and acting;

  • distinguish between systems diagrams and diagrams helpful in systems work;

  • demonstrate sufficient skills to ‘read’ and ‘draw’ a wide range of diagrams, following given conventions, that help improve your understanding of a situation;

  • select diagrams suited to the needs of the situation you are investigating and the purp
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1 Some facts about water

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