February 20, 2018
From Mechanistic to Social Systemic Thinking
"Each of us has a theory of reality, a concept of the nature of the world which is referred to as our worldview. Our worldview is the cement that holds our culture together; we absorb it by osmosis in the process of acculturation. We are currently in the early stages of a tremendous change in the dominant worldview—a shift in age as large in its implications as the movement from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to the Machine Age. In order to understand the change we are experiencing we need to look more closely at the philosophies and ideas that have shaped our current view of the world and the shift in thinking that is required as we move from the Machine Age into the Systems Age. To understand the challenges we face requires a historical perspective that traces the evolution of Western thought from the Middle Ages to the present."
January 23, 2018
Corruption: Its Nature, Causes, and Cures
Russell L. Ackoff, Raul Carvajal, Thomas A. Cowan, Ali Geranmayeh, Aron Katsenelinboigen and Sanjay Sharan
Busch Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Table of Contents:
- The meaning of corruption
- The Causes of corruption: A review of the literature
- The causes of corruption: A synthetic view
- On prevention and cure: A review of the literature
- On prevention and cure: A synthetic view
November 05, 2014
On Business School's Allleged Education
Russell L. Ackoff
Keynote Speech at the Hull University Business School, 2005
When I retired from Wharton as a member of the regular faculty and became emeritus I was asked to reflect on the value of a business school education. I endeared myself to the faculty by identifying what I thought to be the three most important values of such an education.
- First, it equips students with a vocabulary that enables them to talk with authority about subjects they do not understand.
- Second, it inculcates them with principles of management and organization that have demonstrated their ability to withstand any amount of disconfirming evidence.
- Third, and this is what makes business school education worthwhile —it provides a ticket of admission to a job that provides a chance to learn what should have been learned in business school but wasn’t.
To read the speech, download the following file: Download UK TALK 05
February 20, 2014
GRADUATE EDUCATION – An Idealized Design
Russell L. Ackoff notes 3/3/2006
Education, as previously noted, involves subjects and practices. A subject is a body of information, knowledge and/or understanding that can be learned by reading and listening to relevant material and, in some cases, by engaging in exercises. Examples of subjects are history, literature, logic, mathematics, and economics. Practices, on the other hand, are activities that can only be leaned by engaging in them. Such learning can be significantly supplemented and consolidated by reading and listening. Examples are the practices of medicine, law, and architecture.
The importance of the distinction between subjects and practices becomes apparent when we take the position that graduate education should be exclusively directed at practices, even the practice of teaching or conducting research on subjects. It is this characteristic of graduate education, as we see it that dictates many of the properties it ought to have. It is also this characteristic that differentiates it from undergraduate education.
please click the link to read more Download Ackoff -- Graduate design
January 08, 2014
Thinking About the Future
By Russell L. Ackoff
This is the transcript of the talk given by late Russell Ackoff at the Tällberg (Sweden) Forum 2005:
"I am not the right person to have been assigned the topic, “Thinking about the Future.” I am a presentologist, not a futurologist.
So much time is currently spent in worrying about the future that the present is allowed to go to hell. Unless we correct some of the world’s current systemic deficiencies now, the future is condemned to be as disappointing as the present.
My preoccupation is with where we would ideally like to be right now. Knowing this, we can act now so as constantly to reduce the gap between where we are and where we want to be. Then, to a large extent, the future is created by what we do now. Now is the only time in which we can act."
To download the transcript click on: Download Ackoff's Tallberg talk DOC copy 1
October 13, 2013
A Major Mistake that Managers Make
Full Transcript of the Talk given by Russell L. Ackoff at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.
All through school we are taught that making a mistake is a bad thing. We are downgraded for them. When we graduate and enter the real world and the organizations that occupy it, the aversion to mistakes continues. As a result one tries either to avoid them or, if one is made, to conceal it or transfer blame to another.
We pay a high price for this because one can only learn from mistakes; by identifying and correcting them .
To read the transcript, Download Ackoff: A major mistake that managers make.
July 19, 2013
On Organizational Learning as Dealt With By Chris Argyris and Russ Ackoff
By Russ Ackoff
In 1999, as a result of inquiries made by his clients, colleagues and students, Dr. Ackoff wrote the attached memo. In this memo he explains the differences between Chris Argyris and himself on the subject of organizational learning.
To read the memo download the attached pdf file.
October 20, 2011
Philosophical Speculations On Systems Design
C. West Churchman
This working paper was written in 1973, Center for Research in Management Science, University of California, Berkeley. The original paper is kept at the archives of the Russell Lincoln Ackoff Systems Thinking Library at the Organizational Dynamics Graduate Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania.
To download the paper click on the link: Download Philosophical Speculations on Systems Design -West Churchman
April 02, 2011
A conversation between Russell Ackoff and Edward Deming
This is the unedited transcript of the only conversation between Ackoff and Deming, as moderated by Clare Crawford Mason. This transcript reveals the views of two pre-eminent thinkers in systems thinking. They discuss the relevancy and the application of a systems worldview to intractable problems and societal ills.
The conversation took place in l992 and was edited and released as Volume 21 of The Deming Library series in l993. It is called "A Theory of a System for Educators and Managers" It is available from CC-M Productions and includes a second DVD with discussion/teaching guides for it and the rest of the Deming Library at The CC-M website @ www.managementwisdom.com
Drs. Deming and Ackoff explain why systems theory is essential knowledge for managing an organization in a world of change and uncertainty. Dr. Ackoff discusses synthesis as a necessary logic for understanding why a system behaves the way it does. He contrasts synthesis with analysis, which is useful for understanding how an organization and its units operate. Analysis is synonymous with thinking in the traditions of Western cultures.
Dr. Ackoff was fond of saying the East is learning scientific thinking more rapidly than the West is learning systems thinking. The combination of the two is the next leap forward in ability to manage and predict change and complexity.
To read this transcript download the attached PDF file.
November 10, 2010
On business school’s alleged education
By Late Russell L. Ackoff
The talk was given in 2005, to the students and faculty at the University of Hull - Business School
Cottingham Rd, Hull, North Humberside HU601482 347 500, United Kingdom.
A pdf file is attached. Download UK TALK 05