Systems thinking and its foundation in the field of system dynamics

1. Introduction

Systems thought has its foundation in the field of system kineticss, founded in 1956 by professor Jay Forrester. Professor Forrester recognized the demand for a better manner of proving new thoughts about societal systems, in the same manner we can prove thoughts in technology. Systems believing allows people to do their apprehension of societal systems expressed and better them in the same manner that people can utilize technology rules to do explicit and better their apprehension of mechanical systems.

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The attack of systems believing is basically different from that of traditional signifiers of analysis. Traditional analysis focuses on the dividing the single pieces of what is being studied ; in fact, the word “ analysis ” really comes from the root intending “ to interrupt into constitutional parts. ” Systems thought, in contrast, focuses on how the thing being studied interacts with the other components of the system, a set of elements that interact to bring forth behaviour of which it is a portion. This means that alternatively of insulating smaller and smaller parts of the system being studied, systems believing plants by spread outing its position to take into history larger and larger Numberss of interactions as an issue is being studied. This consequences in sometimes strikingly different decisions than those generated by traditional signifiers of analysis, particularly when what is being studied is dynamically complex or has a great trade of feedback from other beginnings, internal or external.

The character of systems believing makes it highly effectual on the most hard types of jobs to work out: those affecting complex issues, those that depend a great trade dependance on the yesteryear or on the actions of others, and those stemming from uneffective coordination among those involved. Examples of countries in which systems believing has proven its value include:

Complex jobs that involve assisting many histrions see the “ large image ” and non merely their portion of it

Recuring jobs or those that have been made worse by past efforts to repair them

Issues where an action affects ( or is affected by ) the environment environing the issue, either the natural environment or the competitory environment

Problems whose solutions are non obvious

So many of import jobs that plague us today are complex, involve multiple histrions, and are at least partially the consequence of past actions that were taken to relieve them. Covering with such jobs is notoriously hard and the consequences of conventional solutions are frequently hapless plenty to make disheartenment about the chances of of all time efficaciously turn toing them. One of the cardinal benefits of systems believing is its ability to cover efficaciously with merely these types of jobs and to raise our believing to the degree at which we create the consequences we want as persons and organisations even in those hard state of affairss marked by complexness, great Numberss of interactions, and the absence or ineffectualness of instantly evident solutions.

2. Application of systems believing in the work country
( The system “ As is ” )
2.1 What is a systems believing

At a really basic degree, a system is merely a set of mutualist constituents interacting to accomplish a common specified end. Systems are such a omnipresent portion of our lives that we frequently fail to acknowledge that we are active participants in many systems throughout the twenty-four hours. When we get up in the forenoon, we are dependent on our family systems ( e.g. , plumbing, lighting, airing ) to work swimmingly ; when we send our kids off to school, we are participants in the school system ; and when we get on the main road and commute to work, we are participants ( and sometimes victims ) of our transit system.

At work, we find ourselves engaged at the same time in several systems at different degrees. We might describe to work in a slightly self-contained puting such as the intensive attention unit ( ICU ) or runing room ( OR ) , what human factors practicians refer to as microsystems, yet the larger system is the infirmary itself, which, in bend, is likely to be merely one installation in yet a larger wellness attention system or web, which in itself is merely one of the togss that make up the cloth of our broader and rather diffuse national wellness attention system. The cardinal point is that we need to acknowledge and understand the operation of the many systems that we are portion of and how policies and actions in one portion of the overall system can impact the safety, quality, and efficiency of other parts of the system.

Systems believing offers you a powerful new position, a specialised linguistic communication, and a set of tools that you can utilize to turn to the most obstinate jobs in your mundane life and work. Systems thought is a manner of understanding world that emphasizes the relationships among a system ‘s parts, instead than the parts themselves. Based on a field of survey known as system kineticss, systems believing has a practical value that rests on a solid theoretical foundation. Ecological systems and human societal systems are populating systems ; human-made systems such as autos and rinsing machines are nonliving systems. Most systems minds focus their attending on populating systems, particularly human societal systems. However, many systems minds are besides interested in how human societal systems affect the larger ecological systems in our planet.

Systems have several specifying features:

 Every system has a intent within a larger system. Example: The intent of the technology undertakings section in my organisation is to bring forth new thoughts and characteristics for the organisation.

All of a system ‘s parts must be present for the system to transport out its purpose optimally. Example: The contract direction system in my organisation consists of people, equipment, and procedures. If you removed any one of these constituents, this system could no longer map.

 A system ‘s parts must be arranged in a specific manner for the system to transport out its intent. Example: If you rearranged the describing relationships in technology section so that the caput of outage subdivision studies to the entry-level Project Manager, the section would probably hold problem transporting out its intent.

Systems alteration in response to feedback. The word feedback plays a cardinal function in systems believing. Feedback is information that returns to its original sender such that it influences that sender ‘s subsequent actions. Example: Suppose you turn excessively aggressively while driving your auto around a curve. Ocular cues ( you see a letter box hotfooting toward you ) would state you that you were turning excessively aggressively. These cues constitute feedback that prompts you to alter what you ‘re making ( yank the maneuvering wheel in the other way slightly ) so you can set your auto back on class.

Systems maintain their stableness by doing accommodations based on feedback. Example: Your organic structure temperature by and large hovers around 98.6 grades Fahrenheit. If you get excessively hot, your organic structure produces perspiration, which cools you back down.

It emphasizes wholes instead than parts, and stresses the function of interconnections-including the function we each drama in the systems at work in our lives.

It emphasizes round feedback ( for illustration, A leads to B, which leads to C, which leads back to A ) instead than linear cause and consequence ( A leads to B, which leads to C, which leads to D and so on ) .

It contains particular nomenclature that describes system behaviour, such as reenforcing procedure ( a feedback flow that generates exponential growing or prostration ) and equilibrating procedure ( a feedback flow that controls alteration and helps a system maintain stableness ) .

2.2 Systems Thinking as a Set of Tools

The field of systems believing has generated a wide array of tools that let you ( 1 ) diagrammatically picture your apprehension of a peculiar system ‘s construction and behaviour, ( 2 ) communicate with others about your apprehensions, and ( 3 ) design high-leverage intercessions for debatable system behaviour.

These tools include causal cringles, behaviour over clip graphs, stock and flow diagrams, and systems archetypes all of which Lashkar-e-Taiba you picture your apprehension of a system to computing machine simulation theoretical accounts and direction “ flight simulators, ” which help you to prove the possible impact of your intercessions. Whether you consider systems believing largely a new position, a particular linguistic communication, or a set of tools, it has a power and a possible that, one time you ‘ve been introduced, are difficult to defy. The more you learn about this challenging field, the more you ‘ll desire to cognize!

2.3 Outage section ‘s safety system “ As is ”

The current safety systems that we utilizing in my section are really much reactive systems, with a really minimal period of clip woking for Eskom I have realized that preventive steps for incidents are merely put in topographic point after an happening of an accident. The system believing attack is presently non applied within the outage section particularly on the safety side, and this is non merely non applied by my section, but the 80 to nighty per centum of the organision. Upon to my experience within the organisation I have observed that most preventive systems are being applied merely when/after an incident has occurred and the system ‘s attack is the same over an over once more. This attack is non merely applied repeatatively, but besides it is a reactive attack. Where the incident will be analysed on the country where incidents took topographic point ( Observatios ) , Investigations/findings, larning points, incidents causes ( Direct Cause, Root Cause & A ; Contributory Causes ) , Barrier Analysis and Recommendations.

Where as systems believing stairss back or up and acquire a bigger image of the state of affairs, and so contemplate the legion win/win mutualities required to optimise the assorted systems needed in a Entire Safety Culture. This is systems believing for safety. It is relevant for assorted facets of safety direction and safety betterment. The undermentioned rules emanate from such a position, and run counter to some traditional attacks to safety and wellness direction.

There is non one root cause: Systems minds do non seek to happen one root cause of an incident or hurt. Small-scale and independent believing leads to a hunt for one individual cause of a bad luck. And, some confer withing houses market flow charts and computing machine plans to assist us analyse an incident in order to happen the root cause.

At hazard behaviour contributes to nighty five per centum or more of most hurts, whether knowing or unwilled. But does this intend a peculiar persons at hazard behaviour is the root cause of the hurt? If you raise your chopper higher to acquire a bigger image of the state of affairs, youll doubtless happen a figure of other factors lending to the most relevant at hazard behaviour.

Injury is caused by environment, behaviour, and individual factors: The factors that cause a close girl or hurt can be classified into three spheres: environment ( including tools, equipment, and clime of the work puting ) , individual ( including attitudes, beliefs, and personalities of the persons involved ) , and behaviour ( including the safe and at-risk patterns of relevant persons ) . Factors within and between these three spheres are synergistic, dynamic, and mutual. A alteration in a factor within one sphere influences other factors in that sphere, and finally has impact on factors within the other two spheres. For illustration, alterations in an environmental factor affect peoples behaviours and attitudes ; and behavior alteration normally consequences in some alteration in the environment.

When people choose to alter their behaviour, they adjust their attitudes and beliefs ( individual factors ) to be consistent with their actions. This alteration in attitude can act upon more behavior alteration and so more attitude alteration. This spiraling of behaviour act uponing attitude, and so attitude act uponing behavior reflects the mutual mutuality between our outward actions and our inward feelings. And, an initial alteration in behaviour or attitude can be sparked by an environmental factor. Thus, systems believing requires a consideration of synergistic variables within two human spheres ( individual and behaviour ) operating within a peculiar set of environmental factors.

The direction system of an organisation is one environmental factor that has dramatic impact on the human factors of individual and behaviour. But, the true affect of the direction system might non be evident without a comprehensive measuring system. For illustration, a top-down autocratic attack to direction ( as in safety is a status of employment ) might act upon certain behaviour to happen in certain state of affairss, but the negative individual factors affected by such a direction manner might act upon contrary behaviours in state of affairss where people can non be held accountable to a supervisor for their actions. And, such negative individual provinces might suppress feelings of personal ownership, committedness, and trueness needed to ease long-run entire engagement in a safety procedure.

Assess safety with steps of environment, behaviour, and individual factors: The systems perspective reflected in the synergistic spheres of environment, behaviour, and individual leads logically to the basic rule that a safety measuring system include steps of factors within each of these domains.The environment and behaviour spheres can be consistently assessed with periodic audits of environmental conditions and work patterns. And, perceptual experience and attitude studies can be utile barometers of individual factors. The point here is that systems believing means our ongoing proactive step of organisational safety must include an rating of environment, behaviour, and individual factors. The traditional reactive steps of safety ( such as figure of recordable hurts or work compensation costs ) have small diagnostic.Value with respect to understanding or altering the system variables that are doing the results, whether desirable or unwanted.

Systems believing for safety enables a clear apprehension that outcome steps can be influenced by a figure of factors unrelated to safety betterment. For this ground, keeping people accountable for Numberss of hurts instead than for finishing certain proactive processs for hurt bar can make more injury than good. In such state of affairss, the system puts force per unit area on people to cover up their hurts, and even their close girls. The consequence might be a lessening in negative result Numberss, at least over the short tally, but what about the bigger image? Might such a state of affairs lessening peoples belief that they can truly command safety? Could such system force per unit area to conceal hurts lead to reduced personal motive to carry through the proactive activities needed to forestall hurts?

With systems believing you will reply yes to both of these inquiries. In this instance, you will see behavior-based and person-based factors potentially influenced by direction system factors focused on cut downing the Numberss. In some environments employees are disciplined ( really punished ) for being injured, or at least made to experience abashed. Other companies offer wagess if employees avoid hurt and maintain the Numberss down. Some even add peer force per unit area to the state of affairs with the eventuality that all employees lose their wages when one individual reports an hurt. Systems believing enables us to understand the jobs with these sorts of plans.

Injury probe is fact happening, non fault determination: Systems minds see the false belief in penalty and wages plans based on hurts. They view such reactive efforts to cut down the result Numberss from a broader position. They realize that hurt bar requires a focal point on proactive activities upriver from an hurt. For illustration, because its critical to look into minor hurts and close girls, system minds attempt to take any facets of their environment that could suppress the coverage of safety-related incidents ( including punishments for hurts and wagess for non holding hurts ) . They besides add factors to ease the coverage and investigation of close girls, first-aid instances, and minor hurts — incidents that are non typically recorded but could be enlightening sing the bar of more serious hurts.

Obviously, hurt probe must be seen as happening facts to forestall more hurts. If factors or eventualities in the system advance a fault-finding position toward hurt probe, so information critical to forestalling hurts could be stifled. It ‘s been proved experience that the fault-finding position normally begins with undue focal point on result instead than procedure when measuring safety success.

Feedback directs and motivates. The best rating Numberss provide feedback we can utilize to better the relevant procedure. When feedback follows our actions, it is a effect that affirms or contradicts our behaviour. Positive ( supportive ) feedback tells us we are right and motivates us to maintain making what were making. In contrast, negative ( disciplinary ) feedback informs us of a error and motivates us to halt a peculiar behaviour and seek another attack. Sometimes supportive or disciplinary feedback follows our behaviour of course, as when we hit a nail with a cock, drive a golf ball with a five Fe, or cook a delightful repast. Each of these illustrations is really a response-consequence system which allows us to set our behaviour on consecutive tests harmonizing to the constitutional feedback.

When we change our behaviour as a map of natural feedback, the effect becomes an activator for the following behaviour. In this manner, feedback both motivates and directs behavior in a spiraling system of behaviours bring forthing effects that provide information for uninterrupted betterment. Rarely if of all time does safe behaviour have a constitutional feedback system to back up and direct it. In other words, when we take the excess clip and incommodiousness to protect ourselves or others from a possible hurt, we normally do non have a natural effect to actuate us to go on. With systems believing, nevertheless, we see the bigger image and recognize that someday person in the work system will derive straight from the protection. Thus, systems minds dont need immediate speedy holes to maintain them safe. They understand that cause and consequence is non needfully immediate nor additive. Taking the clip to be safe today, for illustration, can assist develop a personal wont that could pay off personal dividends in the hereafter, or it could learn others by illustration and protect them now or subsequently from hurt.

Systems minds realize the particular demand to add excess feedback to actuate and trip safe behaviour. They understand that the natural feedback from convenience, comfort, or a faster result normally competes with the wholly safe manner to make something. Thus, systems minds look for ways to back up safe behaviour and correct at hazard behaviour.

2.4 Departmental ‘s silo operation

“ I hope finance people will pick-up this mistake ”
Procument /Commercial Department
“ We are comptrollers non Engineers ”
“ We are Engineers non safety people ”
Safety & A ; Risk Management Department
“ Outage Department will execute their ain reviews this clip ”
Engineering Undertakings Department
Outage Management Department
Major Care
Finance Department
Engineering Depaertment
“ Travel this undertaking to Outage Department ”
“ Quality section will make works walk down for us ”
“ I am happy this fatal incident was non in my section ”
Quality Department
3. Stairss taken to the system “ as it should be ”

3.1 Creative & A ; proactive Approach to Safety

As it has been mentioned antecedently on the system “ As is ” in my section, now we traveling into the system “ As it should be ” seting more focal point on proactive safety systems. Creating and prolonging safety in the workplace is a common end for all companies, although one that few accomplish. It is possible, though, so why does this end elude so many companies? One issue is that of the position quo reiterating itself the relationship and response to safety is typically one of reaction-prevention alternatively of proactive-prevention. Until the rhythm is reversed, companies will go on the unneeded and frustrating battle for a safer working environment. “ Prevention frequently turns out to be reaction in camouflage ” . ( Geoffrey Gioja )

Safety direction has evolved over the old ages from one of no formal relationships, processs or procedures around safety, to a reaction-based manner to the current reaction-prevention based theoretical account. The first alteration was provoked by the 1940s transition of the Worker Compensation Act, which for the first clip held companies financially apt for hurts on the occupation. As a consequence, companies became more proactive and safety public presentation improved.Nearly 30 old ages subsequently, the OSHA Act an industry-wide direction focal point on conformity was enacted arousing a new moving ridge of reaction. While the 1950s saw an awaking of a desire to concentrate on at-risk behavior alternatively of merely the risky conditions, the OSHA Act and the resulting conformity

focal point pushed that attack aside until subsequently. Many of the workplace alterations that have since transpired, including systems that are characterized as proactive, are

normally more preventive in nature. These are positive alterations stairss in the right way that should non be minimized. However, there is more work to be done. There is demand for a echt reaction and committedness to an injury-free


History tends to reiterate itself at organisations: react, prevent ; react, prevent. Analyzing the day-to-day direction of safety reveals that on good yearss, bar prevails, but on bad yearss, reaction takes over. Our best directors will oftenshift to prevention mode even when things go incorrect. Even so, much of the attempts to forestall incidents are based on a desire to avoid the effects of those incidents. In fact, employees and supervisors are most frequently more concerned about forestalling the organisational effects of a first-aid hurt, for illustration, than they are about forestalling a firstaid incident itself. As said above, “ Prevention frequently turns out to be reaction in camouflage. ”

The following measure to a system of safety direction is goal-oriented, based on these ideals:

A shared committedness to the complete riddance of workplace hurt

Authentic leading battle in the safety attempt

Following organisations can concentrate on:

Transforming safety from a precedence to a valuesbased head set

 Developing a civilization of echt concern about safety, instead than the company ‘s regulations and conformity

Making an environment in which the person ‘s intrinsic values are respected, alternatively of being regarded chiefly for their instrumental value.

3.2 A Shared Committedness to the Elimination of Injury

While most companies we encounter are committed to safety, comparatively few are committed to extinguishing hurt in the workplace. Many companies do, in fact, adopt a zero-injury focal point. However, when questioned, the overpowering bulk of persons in those organisations do non genuinely believe this is a feasible end. “ Eliminating Injury ” in these instances is simply the company codification for “ making the best we can ” , which fosters a demotivated environment in which people think they are working toward something that they do non really believe is come-at-able. The company ‘s safety civilization and public presentation are so compromised by what it says is possible poetries what it really believes is possible.

When committedness is established, there can be no uncertainty in the heads of directors, supervisors and workers that safety is non and ne’er will be a Numberss game. Without this clearly spoken and widely believed committedness, people will non hold a topographic point to stand upon to bridge the spread between reaction and bar. One of the trials of whether safety is unfeignedly held as a value is direction ‘s attack ( toward attitude ) about off-the-job hurt. If leading is seen as being unconcerned or less than genuine in their speech production about safety off the occupation, they will be perceived as less than sincere about their professed concern for safety on the occupation. Safety is a value non a scheme.

3.3 Authentic Leadership Engagement

A shared end, across the company, to the riddance of hurt is a necessary measure to enterprise transmutation. Traditional safety environments stifle workers from showing concerns and voicing what ‘s “ non popular ” for fright of revenge. It is critical to make a civilization in which people are encouraged to talk openly and candidly, instead than fear being punished. The committedness to this civilization must pervade the full organisation both old and new employees.

Once established, the safety vision, committedness, and procedure require nurturing. Even the most strongly spoken, exhaustively integrated, echt committednesss of course devolve toward a “ look into the box ” attack when non monitored. It is the duty of each degree of the organisation to regularly re-engage people in the safety enterprise. Once these conditions are established ( and so systematically renewed ) , direction can concentrate on the issues and chances, which will non be in short supply. It is of import for direction and employees to join forces on ways to back up each other in run intoing the challenges that accompany any genuinely originative project.

3.4 From a Priority to a Value

Safety as a value is a simple statement, but one that is non ever as easy executed as one would presume. Safety as a value and figure one precedence is a common end of many directors ; nevertheless, it can take to troubles because it requires transforming the behaviour and beliefs of leading, single employees and the general civilization.

A typical position by hourly employees is that production ( agendas, productiveness and cost ) are the existent precedences. Leadership must alter this perceptual experience by systematically handling safety as a value that places human safety above production.

The manner in which directors speak about their committedness to safety must aline with their actions. Disregard for this challenge undermines even the most sincere attempt. Management ‘s undertaking is to guarantee that the safety civilization has transformed, and continually reenforce unfastened communicating and reliable relationships. To be effectual, direction must rapidly convey to the surface perceptual experiences that are a barrier to recognizing the committedness to extinguish hurt and greet employee ‘s positions and sentiments with an unfastened ear. They must be eager to pull off and alter the environment.

3.5 Judgment and Choice V. Conformity

In an injury-free environment, direction must be willing to acknowledge compliance-based safety procedures and processs, while stretching their thought and beliefs beyond the regulations. While we will non take the clip here to dig into the bounds of conformity as a footing for safety direction, suffice it to state that it is necessary and should be enforced, but it does non vouch sound judgement and pick. Conformity does non necessitate that people be safe it simply requires that they give the visual aspect of being safe. Bing “ lawfully safe ” is a hapless and potentially unsafe replacement for transforming a civilization into 1 that embraces and believes in safety.

3.6 Respecting Peoples for Their Intrinsic Value

Treating people with echt regard and concern is one of the most effectual ways to assist make an injury-free environment. Low morale, feelings of discourtesy and loss of self-respect, and ‘quality of life ‘ issues are all indexs of discontented workers, which can take to careless work wonts. An environment in which persons are seen chiefly in footings of their instrumental worth, such as their value as a worker alternatively of their value as a human being, does non arouse the safest, most productive work. An environment in which morale is high, and employees feel dignified and respected, bask a high ‘quality of life ‘ at work, and experience recognized chiefly for their intrinsic worth, will arouse the maximal part and capacity from employees.

3.7 Recommendation

When companies experience enterprise transmutation, extraordinary consequences happen. Through our work we see employees tackle their intrinsic value in service of extinguishing hurt on their occupation. When direction and employees systematically take the high route and create environments in which people know they are valued and cared about, they are more likely to give more to their work, by working harder, better and more safely. The minute the civilization transforms into a values-based environment alternatively of a scheme, existent and permanent alteration can happen. Breakthrough consequences are non produced merely by traveling after the consequences, but by making the right things.

4. Casual Loop Diagram

Fact happening & A ; Not blame happening
Authentic Leadership Engagement from direction
Entire Safety Culture
Net income & A ; Sustainable Production
Precedence to a Value of Safety
Proper PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment )
Safety Improvement
Injury free administration
Un safe acts/Substance maltreatment
loss of adult male power
Negative people / fright of revenge
Creative & A ; proactive Approach to Safety
No proper PPE
No Priority to a Value of Safety
Safety officer non making works orbsevation
Loss of colleqeus and household members
No Authentic Leadership Engagement from direction
Starvation and poverty/Crime/Jail/Birth rate
Fatality/Production Loss/Loss of repute

5. Conlusion

Systems believing offer us a powerful new position, a specialised linguistic communication, and a set of tools that we can utilize to turn to the most obstinate jobs in our mundane life and work. Systems thought is a manner of understanding world that emphasizes the relationships among a system ‘s parts, instead than the parts themselves.

Why is systems believing valuable? Because it can assist an organisation design smart, digesting solutions to jobs. In its simplest sense, systems believing gives us a more accurate image of world, so that we can work with a system ‘s natural forces in order to accomplish the consequences we desire. It besides encourages us to believe about jobs and solutions with an oculus toward the long position, for illustration ; how might a peculiar solution we sing to play out over the long tally. And what unintended effects might it hold?

What precisely is a system? A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and mutualist constituents that form a complex and incorporate whole. Systems are everyplace for illustration, the Finance section in your organisation, the circulatory system in your organic structure, the predator/prey relationships in nature, the ignition system in your auto, and so on. Ecological systems and human societal systems are populating systems ; human-made systems such as autos and rinsing machines are nonliving systems. Most systems minds focus their attending on populating systems, particularly human societal systems. However, many systems minds are besides interested in how human societal systems affect the larger ecological systems in our planet.

Systems believing is a position because it helps us see the events and forms in our lives in a new visible radiation and respond to them in higher purchase ways. For illustration, say a fire breaks out in your town. This is an event. If you respond to it merely by seting the fire out, you ‘re responding. ( That is, you have done nil to forestall new fires. ) If you respond by seting out the fire and analyzing where fires tend to interrupt out in your town, you ‘d be paying attending to forms.

For illustration, you might detect that certain vicinities seem to endure more fires than others. If you locate more fire Stationss in those countries, you ‘re accommodating. ( You still have n’t done anything to forestall new fires. ) Now suppose you look for the system such as smoke-detector distribution and edifice stuffs used that influence the forms of neighborhood-fire eruptions. If you build new fire-alarm systems and set up fire and safety codifications, you ‘re making alteration. Finally, you ‘re making something to forestall new fires!


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