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May 31, 2023

What is systems thinking?

April 10, 2023
Find out what it is for, how it works, and why it’s so important for businesses.

Systems thinking is fundamental to understanding complex environments and proposing solutions to the challenges of our time. Changes in thinking and practice are fundamental, and understanding them is the first step toward systemic practice.

Everything is interconnected in one way or another, as our society has organized itself in a systematic way. This observation has caused systems thinking in organizations to gain prominence in the business world.

A system is a set of components that interact in an organized way – one part influences the other in a reciprocal way. These systems also relate to one another. For example, departments in business work in an interrelated way and need to be aligned if the organization is to achieve its long-term goals and objectives.

What is systems thinking?

Systems thinking is the ability to understand facts not only in their own right but as they relate to other relevant people and instances. By practicing systems thinking, we are able to grasp the implications of an event for those directly or indirectly involved.

Systems thinking considers several aspects in order to carry out certain actions assertively and effectively, working together towards a single purpose and prioritizing what is good for the company as a whole. Such a “systemic view” is important for considering and enacting improvements.

Professionals who can see the relationships between different departments make decisions based on what is best for the company as a whole, anticipating the possible consequences of each choice for the different sectors and deciding which path will best direct the organization toward its goals.

In other words, systems thinking engenders a global perspective, which doesn’t distinguish sectors or treat processes individually.

The discipline seeks to understand structural elements via complex models. Interpreting reality systemically means seeing circles of influence instead of straight lines. Tracing the flows of influence reveals patterns that repeat themselves over and over again, for better or for worse – you can make a flowchart to have a better understanding of the flows of influence.

Systems thinking in organizations is the opposite of linear thinking – a line of reasoning which considers companies as assembly lines: taking one step after the other, with sectors working more or less independently, resulting in the final product.

Differences between systems thinking and linear thinking

Systems thinking allows teams to look at problems as a whole, understanding the impacts which each action may cause. Alterations within a certain company sector often affect other sectors, and once this is understood by all collaborators, problems can be properly resolved as soon as they arise.

Linear thinking, on the other hand, focuses on just one task at a time and solving a specific problem, often disregarding the latter’s impact elsewhere.

Why is systems thinking important?

Posted by ACASA on May 31, 2023 at 07:45 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)