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Systems thinking

Systems thinking involves the use of various techniques to study systems of many kinds. It includes studying things in a holistic way, rather than purely reductionist techniques. It aims to gain insights into the whole by understanding the linkages, interactions and processes between the elements that comprise the whole "system".

Systems thinkers consider that:

For further details see complex system

Table of contents
1 Why use systems thinking techniques?
2 What is a system?
3 Methodologies
4 Applications
5 See also
6 Bibliography
7 External links

Why use systems thinking techniques?

Systems thinkers are particularly interested in studying systems because changing a system frequently leads to counterintuitive system responses. For example feedback loops may operate to either keep the organization in check or unbalance it.

What is a system?

Systems thinking techniques may be used to study any kind of system -- natural, scientific, human, or conceptual.


Systems thinking often involves considering a "system" in different ways:
Rather than trying to improve the braking system on a car by looking in great detail at the composition of the brake pads (reductionist), the boundary of the braking system may be extended to include not only the components of the car, but the driver, the road and the weather, and considering the interactions between them.

Looking at something as a series of conceptual systems according to multiple viewpoints. A supermarket could be considered as a "profit making system" from the perspective of management, an "employment system" from the perspective of the staff, and a "shopping system" -- or perhaps an "entertainment system" -- from the perspective of the customers. As a result of such thinking, new insights may be gained into how the supermarket works, why it has problems, or how changes made to one such system may impact on the others.


Systems thinking uses a variety of techniques that may be divided into:


Systems thinking is increasingly being used to tackle a wide variety of subjects in fields such as
management, computing, and the environment.

See also


External links