SYSTEMS THINKING 2
Systems thinking ideally entails the use of decision making and strategic planning by the
stakeholders in an organization to heed to the customer demands while at the same time
maintaining the organizational objectives as outlined in its mission and vision. All parts of the
organization, which in this case is the zoo, have to work cooperatively, with the involvement of
effective communication so as to allow total organizational experience to enable it meet the
demands of its customers. Systems thinking has the potentiality of creating an organization in
which both the internal and the external stakeholders, not considering their position or their job,
work collaboratively thereby resulting into a successful organization.
In Quintin Cain’s posting, he states that “System thinking is an approach for developing
models to promote understanding of events, patterns of behavior resulting in the events, and the
underlying structure responsible for the pattern of the behavior.” This, according to me, is an
understatement of what systems thinking actually is. Systems thinking is more than just
developing models for the above stated purpose. It has to entail strategic planning that involves
stakeholders from the various parts of the organization. All the stakeholders should be involved
irrespective of their position within the organization as was observed in the case of the zoo.
Tracey Foster’s posting is in fact less comprehensive in describing the meaning of
systems thinking as it fails to highlight the role of other stakeholders apart from the mangers. He
only tells us that “…systems thinking in general is for organizational leaders to understand the
relationships of systems within their organization.” All the people involved in the running of the
organization, regardless of their position or the kind of job they do, have to get involved in
systems thinking as his is what will help the organization to achieve its set objectives.
Quintin Cain’s Question
SYSTEMS THINKING 3
- Why are organizations not adopting the use of systems thinking in their organizations?
As has always been with any other self-improvement activity, adopting the systems thinking is
not an easy task for most organizations (Denise & Will, 2010). It is a great challenge for human
beings to embrace new behaviors and do away with the ones that have been engrained in them
over time and instilled into them by their respective organizations (Gazzaniga, 2010). Such
organizations that are resistant to change, and have found it difficult to adopt systems thinking,
should borrow from other organizations that have successfully made use of systems thinking to
achieve their maximum potential.
Tracey Foster’s Question
- Would Waste Management’s leaders benefit from expanding their systems thinking to
this level? If so, how could they implement this understanding into their business?
Waste Management, Inc. is a typical organization that would greatly benefit from systems
thinking as it is subdivided into various systems and thus it is a systems of systems. Systems
thinking will help the leaders to effectively manage this organization as they will seek the
opinions of various stakeholders within the subdivisions (Giovanni, Daniela & Francesco, 2012).
This implies that they will actually benefit from the expansion of their systems thinking. The
managers could implement this understanding into the business by collecting the various
opinions of the stakeholders from each of the sectors of the organization and reviewing them so
as to come up with the best ways to implement to achieve the goals and objectives of the
organization (Mark, Alan, John & Stan, 2011).
SYSTEMS THINKING 4
Denise, M. C. & Will, A. (2010). Who do you think you are? An examination of how systems
thinking can help social marketing support new identities and more sustainable living
patterns. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 18(3), 195-197.
Gazzaniga, M. (2010). Psychological Science. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Giovanni, S., Daniela, C. & Francesco, S. (2012). Applying a systems thinking framework to
assess knowledge assets dynamics for business performance improvement. Expert
Systems with Applications, 39(9), 8044-8050.
Mark, D., Alan, H., John, F. & Stan, M. (2011). Systems thinking, market failure, and the
development of innovation policy: The case of Australia. Research Policy, 40(9), 1145-