January 05, 2016
6 PhD Scholarships in the Centre for Systems Studies, Hull University Business School!
The Centre for Systems Studies, based in the Business School at the University of Hull (UK), has a strong international reputation for its cutting edge work on the theory, methodology and practice of systems thinking. We have six scholarships for our Systems Science PhD program to offer to successful candidates wanting to start a PhD in September 2016, and the deadline for applications is 29 February 2016. Please distribute this information as widely as possible to your social media groups and contacts.
These scholarships are structured into three research areas, each of which has a pair of scholarships associated with it:
Resilient Communities for Sustainable Development: exploring the potential for harnessing ecosystem services and local sustainable development to promote the physical, social, mental and economic well-being of communities in different socio-economic settings. One PhD student will work on local “green economy” models and their impact on the socio-economic well-being of the community, and the other will work on the exploitation of ecosystem services for health and well-being.
Resilience in Cyberspace: examining the opportunities and challenges for public and private sector service providers operating in the digital economy. The focus will be on internet-based business models and their sustainability. One PhD student will focus on the way social media and pervasive technologies furnish data and networks that can be harnessed by businesses; and the other student will focus on how the digitisation and connectivity afforded by these technologies can expose service providers and consumers to ethical and security challenges.
Marginalisation and Conflict: extending the capabilities of systemic action research methodologies and complexity science to address the dynamics of conflict and marginalisation and their consequences in complex social systems. The first PhD student will focus on health/welfare settings, and the second will focus on social inclusion/exclusion, collective identities and radicalisation. Both students will work with the wider team of academics to develop a framework for understanding and explaining the systemic phenomena associated with the dynamics of marginalisation, in order to inform the design of policies and interventions to minimise the social costs of this.
For applicants in the European Union (EU), the scholarship pays for your fees and an annual stipend of £14,057 (tax free) for three years. For applicants outside the EU, it covers three years of fees only, so you must have the means to pay for your living expenses during your studies. Hull is one of the cheapest places in the UK to live, so your stipend (if you receive one) will spread further than those offered by many other universities.
For further details of these scholarships, please click on the link below. This will take you to a page where, if you scroll down, you will find a list of all the scholarship topics being offered across the University. In this list, click on Resilience and Sustainability of Socio-Ecological Systems, which is the overall title for our Centre for Systems Studies cluster of scholarships. This will open a drop down menu where you can click on each Systems scholarship topic in turn to view the details.
All the Systems PhD topics have Professor Yasmin Merali nominally allocated as supervisor, as she is Director of the Centre for Systems Studies. In reality, however, she will allocate successful candidates to a pair of appropriate supervisors with in-depth knowledge of the relevant research area.
To apply, please go back to the first page you visited. Above the list of all the scholarship titles is a button saying Apply Now. Click on this and follow the instructions. Remember, the deadline is 29 February 2016. We look forward to reading your application!
PS. We also welcome applications on other topics from potential students who have their own sources of funding.
Professor Gerald Midgley
Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise
T +44 (0)1482 463316
Hull University Business School
University of Hull
Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
December 11, 2015
TERRORISM: A SYSTEMIC VIEW
Russell L. Ackoff and Johan P. Strümpfer
Broadly speaking “terrorism” is regarded as extremely violent behavior by what is normally considered to be a minority subgroup of society. The value system in which terrorism is embedded is not universally shared within the larger society from which it emanates. Terrorists form a movement that pursues a cause defined by its aims which, in turn, are defined within a value framework that may be political, religious, social or economic. Its objective is to obtain acceptance of its value system and its aims. In pursuit of this objective it applies violence aimed at creating terror and anxiety in one or more target societies.
A major factor in the success of terrorism lies in the fear and social paralysis it induces. Through the media, particularly television, the terror produced is rapidly disseminated through a large part of the world. Instantaneous global dissemination by the media, particularly television, of news of terrorist acts promotes the aims of terrorism. Terrorists thrive on exposure of their message. The connections created by the media between most parts of the world directly favors terrorism. There is no better example than CNN and the September 11 attacks on the USA, which allowed a global audience to witness first hand terrorism in progress, in real time. Through violence terrorism conducts what is primarily a psychological war directed at affecting the mind and the behavior of public.
Those who sympathize with terrorists see them as freedom fighters. They create an environment in which terrorist movements are supported and flourish.
October 04, 2015
Failing With Single-Point Solutions: Systems Thinking For National Security
Journal Article | September 29, 2015
I have a problem with the Sunday morning political talk shows that our nation’s leaders use as a testing ground for solutions to the challenges, issues, and problems besetting the US on a regular basis. My problem is not that I watch the shows, but when I do indulge I have a hard time understanding the simple, linear, reductionist explanations of experts that offer predictable and comfortable responses to complex issues. Terrorism, nation-state bankruptcies, stock market crashes, humanitarian disasters, invasions through proxies, nuclear and technology proliferation, and transnational criminal organizations are just a few of the more recent headlines that all experts agree are undermining US national security. But few of these experts identify—let alone explain—the interrelationship of many of these issues or the multitude of contributing factors inherent within each of these challenges. The pundits of opposing political parties, aka experts, seek to define a static end-product easily judged as right or wrong, good or bad that doesn’t exist.
What has become clear are the uncertainties of a changing, continually globalizing world. Each subsequent change highlights the growing mismatches between the capabilities and capacities of traditional nation-states and the complexities inherent within non-traditional, global challenges. These complexities pose theoretical and real-world puzzles that demand thoughtful holistic policies by national security experts. Unfortunately, single-point solutions developed by government experts have failed to account for dynamic and volatile global conditions highly resistant to predetermined resolution. In fact, there is compelling evidence that suggests the very policies proffered as solutions act as catalysts to spawn the unanticipated consequences and shocks currently manifesting in the global environment. In fact, Dr. Jay Forrester, Professor Emeritus at the Sloan School of Business at MIT, assessed that up to 98% of all policy interventions fail in whole or part because of a lack of understanding of the systems in play. These failures highlight the limitations of our mental models and our overly simplistic approaches to problem solving.
To continue reading, please click on: Failing With Single-Point Solutions: Systems Thinking For National Security
September 05, 2015
An Interview with Russell L. Ackoff
By Glenn Detrick –
Academy of Management Learning and Education
Volume 1, Issue 1 September 2002
Russell L. Ackoff is one of the pioneers in management education. With an undergraduate degree in architecture and a PhD in philosophy, Ackoff is one of the founders of operations research and systems thinking, linking science and business. Influential in management thinking for the entire second half of the 20th century, Ackoff has published 22 books and over 200 articles in journals and books, on a myriad of topics. His illustrious academic career has played out primarily at Case Institute of Technology and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Such is the breadth and reach of his intellectual contribution that the Ackoff Center for Advanced Systems Approaches at the University of Pennsylvania was established as part of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Ackoff has consulted with more than 350 corporations and 75 governmental agencies in the United States and abroad. All have benefited greatly from his “out of the box” thinking and point of view.
Ackoff provides a particularly useful perspective for this the first issue of the Academy of Management Learning and Education. As you will see from what follows, Ackoff challenges much of current thinking about teaching and learning in terms of what is effective and what isn’t when the ultimate objective is to improve the learning process.
To continue reading, please click on: An Interview with Russell L. Ackoff
August 31, 2015
Building on the Work of Ackoff, Deming, and Fromm
Strategic Intelligence: Conceptual Tools for Leading Change
Print publication date: 2015
Print ISBN-13: 9780199682386
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015
Building on the contributions of Ackoff, Deming, and Fromm, we can describe great organizations. Great organizations are works of performing art. Learning organizations survive and maintain profitability by adapting to change. They are learning organizations with the purpose of improving their customers’ quality of life and/or improving their capability. They develop people at work, their competence, and character. They work to continually improve their social and environmental impact. If successful, great organizations will attract the most talented young people and become the model for education to shape the social character.
July 30, 2015
Learn Change Leadership From Two Great Teachers
By Michael Maccoby
Research Technology Management; Vol. 53, No. 2 March-April 2010 pp. 68-69.
If you need to change your organization, to make it more efficient and effective, I advise you to first get acquainted with the thinking of W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) and Russell Ackoff (1919-2009). I had the very good fortune to learn directly from both of these theorists who have contributed so much to our most advanced understanding of change leadership.
During 1990-93, Deming invited me to meet with him regularly to discuss leadership and change. Ackoff and I worked together for more than 20 years at workshops and on change projects.
After World War II, Deming’s teachings helped Japanese industry produce high-quality products and drive waste out of the system. In the 1980s, Ford improved quality by using his methods which evolved into the Six Sigma approach that has made America products globally competitive.
Although both thinkers came from technical backgrounds—Deming from statistics, Ackoff from architecture and operations research—both combined technical and psychological factors in their systems thinking. Both emphasized the importance of the human side. Although you can apply Deming's philosophy to any managerial challenge, his teachings about quality improvement, with emphasis on reducing variation, are mainly useful for designing processes for manufacturing products so they fit specifications, less so to organizing technical service and knowledge work.
To continue reading, please click on: Learn Change Leadership From Two Great Teachers
June 30, 2015
The 59th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Abstracts to be included in the #ISSS2015 Conference Program need to be submitted by 2 July at the latest.
Full papers can be uploaded onto the online Journal after the Conference once feedback has been received.
May 05, 2015
International Society for the Systems Sciences
Governing the Anthropocene: the greatest challenge for systems thinking in practice?
The 59th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences will be held in Berlin, Germany, August 2 - 7, 2015.
Announcement - PhD Course
Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research: Cybersystemic Possibilities for Governing the Anthropocene
30 July – 7 August 2015, Germany
March 25, 2015
Ackoff's rules of system interdependency, Part I
BY Gordon Housworth -- From ICG Blog
"Anyone familiar with my systems side knows that I treasure Russ Ackoff, whose three rules of system interdependency are never far from hand when approaching any system, human, natural, or mechanical. Any analysis of our own or of an opponent's system calls for them as they immediate flag disconnects and suboptimization. I summarize Ackoff’s rules of interdependency as:
- Rule One: If you optimize a system, you will sub-optimize one or more components
- Rule Two: If you optimize the components of a system, you will sub-optimize the system
- Rule Three: The components of a system form subgroups that obey Rules One and Two
They show why a system can be so maddeningly complex, especially when its parts are examined in isolation to others and to their environment. It is Rule Three that so often brings an expression similar to that of the Sheriff Brody in the film, Jaws, when he turns from the shark to say, "We need a bigger boat." Indeed we do.
Ackoff corrects our commonly held view that a system is the sum of its parts. Instead a system is the product of the interactions of those parts: "…the essential properties that define any system are properties of the whole which none of the parts have." Ackoff likes to cite the automobile's essential property is to transport us from place to place, a property that no single part of the car can perform, i.e., once a system is dismantled, it loses its essential characteristic even if we retain its parts.
Ackoff zeroed in on the need for understanding (of a system or anything else) in "Mechanisms, organisms and social systems":
"One can survive without understanding, but not thrive. Without understanding one cannot control causes; only treat effect, suppress symptoms. With understanding one can design and create the future ... people in an age of accelerating change, increasing uncertainty, and growing complexity often respond by acquiring more information and knowledge, but not understanding."
To Read the Post, Click on the following URL: Applying Ackoff's rules of system interdependency, Part I
February 25, 2015
To Combat Terrorism, a Systems Approach is Vital
From July, 2002
Russell L. Ackoff is an emeritus professor at Wharton and a leading proponent of systems theory. He recently attended a meeting where economists and other experts were weighing the chances of terrorist attacks crippling the U.S. economic system. That discussion surprised Ackoff. “Why should terrorists attack the U.S. economic system?” he wondered. “They don’t have to; CEOs are already doing a fine job of that.”
To read the article, please click on the following URL: To Combat Terrorism, a Systems Approach is Vital