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January 28, 2024

A Definition of Systems Thinking: A Systems Approach

Ross D. Arnold*, Jon P. Wade
Stevens Institute, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030,USA
 

Abstract and Figures

This paper proposes a definition of systems thinking for use in various disciplines, with particular emphasis on developing and assessing systems thinking educational efforts. The definition was derived from a review of the systems thinking literature combined with the application of systems thinking to itself. Many definitions of systems thinking can be found throughout the systems community, but critical components of a singular definition can be distilled from the literature. This researcher considered these components individually and holistically and then proposed a new definition of systems thinking that integrates these components. The definition was tested for fidelity against a System Test and against three widely accepted system archetypes. Systems thinking is widely believed to be critical in handling the world's complexity in the coming decades; however, it still resides in the educational margins. A complete definition is required for this essential skill to receive mainstream educational attention. Such a definition has not yet been established. This research attempts to rectify this deficiency by providing such a definition.
The System Test
 
The System Test
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Comparison of Systems Thinking Definitions
 
Comparison of Systems Thinking Definitions
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Posted by ACASA on January 28, 2024 at 07:09 PM in Systems Articles | Permalink | Comments (0)