New Paradigms of Systems Thinking

Published: 2021-09-11 03:10:07
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New Paradigm of Systems Thinking

Albert Einstein said: "Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results" (Einstein, 2011, p. 1). Hence, to effect change or transformation organizations must challenge previous actions and thinking. An organizations leaders may understand this concept but they may become stuck in a rut of complacency, "get trapped by the status quo... become myopic, accepting their current reality as the reality" (Morgan, 2007, p. 90). Although possessing "common, generic characteristics," organizations may vary in size, structure, and operating processes," requiring various systems thinking perspectives to operate efficiently (Scott & Davis, 2010, p. 1). Organizational leaders may know a change, or paradigm shift is necessary because of the changing environment but may not know where to look for alternatives to common systems thinking paradigms--open, natural, and rational. Often these common systems thinking paradigms may not support the type of transformation they want to create (Scott & Davis, 2010, p. 2). However, generating organizational transformation requires that leaders must be "prepared to challenge and change the basic rules of the game at both strategic and operational levels" and that employees believe the change will benefit them (Morgan, 2010, p. 9).

Current Systems Thinking Perspectives

According to Scott and Davis (2011) "rational, natural, and open system conceptions... are three influential perspectives [with] competing definitions... of organizations... which have shaped and continue to govern our understanding of organizations" (p. 2).

Organizations replicating the rational systems thinking paradigms are "highly formalized... oriented to the pursuit of specific goals... with maximum efficiency" (see Appendix 1); (Scott & Davis, 2010, p. 34, 35). Goulder (1959, as quoted in Scott & Davis, 2010) states "the rational model implies a "mechanical" model, in that it views the organization as a structure of manipulable parts, each of which is separately modifiable with a view to enhancing the efficiency of the whole... individual organizational elements are seen as subject to successful and planned modification enactable by deliberate decision" (Scott & Davis, 2010, p. 38).

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