Systems Thinking is the study of the process in which the social systems coordinate among themselves and motivate one another to perform better. It primarily focuses on the individual components and their interaction with one another within a particular system for producing a behavior along with conducting a specific task (Friedman & Allen, 2010).
The Systems Theory is the interrelation of numerous branches of studies that helps in analyzing the complexity of the systems mostly within the organizations with respect to the nature, attributes, and in-depth aspects related to its individual components. The wholeness of the study of the systems specifies the uniqueness of the theory. The proper investigation of the problems along with that of the intervention strategies also forms a significant part of the theory (Friedman & Allen, 2010). The systems theory had originated during the 1920s, when biologists had observed that the complexities of the organisms have the tendency to increase with the increase in the level of development (Gharajedaghi, 2011).
After the origin of the Systems Thinking in the year 1920, it was divided into open and closed categories in the year 1940 by Von Bertalanffy based on its relationship with the environment. Bigelow and Wiener understood its significance in the field of control engineering during the same period, which was followed by the emergence of General Systems Theory and systems thinking as an academic subject in 1950. During 1960, the application of the study was also experimented in the field of social systems. A new term ‘mess’ was introduced from the same study by Ackoff in the period of 1970 and 1980, wherein the aspect of Soft Systems and Systems Design also evolved. Within 1980 and 1990, the study contributed largely to the advent of the systems archetypes and the activity field referred as the Whole Systems (Gharajedaghi, 2011).
Max Weber used the systems thinking in the field of social organization stating that the society is a complex system, where the components are the individuals residing therein. Therefore, the systems thinking play a tremendous role in the functioning of those individuals and in their coordination within the society. The interference of any kind of external power into the regular functioning like the government policies and the influence of the political heads spoils the environment (Friedman & Allen, 2010).
Organization within the society have the focus has been relating to the perspectives of Durkheim regarding the systems thinking, which in spite of being complex, maintained an overall consistency over a period. The main force influencing the society is the human resource that is labor. The functioning within a society is largely dependent on labor and their division in all fields of work. The overall maintenance of the human resource with the complex system of society is easily understandable from the approach of the systems thinking (Friedman & Allen, 2010).
In case of the individuals, the historical events of the systems thinking has a large impact, as the involvement of one of the most important aspects that is the feedback, which goes completely void in the absence of an individual. The individual in the process of feedback needs to participate in the entire system adhering to its norms to comply with the functioning within the community. The systems thinking also create an invisible boundary that controls the movement of the individual within the system’s boundary (Friedman & Allen, 2010).
The Systems Thinking proves to be of great advantage in the workplace, as it creates a de-stabilization of organizations, but in a positive manner. It also helps largely in dealing with the varied complexities of workplace like concentrating on the individual components of the entire organizational system. The systems thinking also help in motivating the officials at the higher levels to manage their own task effectively, leading to a change in the organizational structure and increasing performance largely (Morgan, 2005). The prime disadvantage of the systems thinking is that the overall analysis of the systems does not include the practices of the organization and the improvement of the workplace. The concept of ‘structure produces behavior’ results to the proper understanding of the learning process within the workplace, which also proves to be a major limitation of the systems thinking (Caldwell, 2012).
The Systems thinking does not constrict its focus only on the individual components separately. It analyses the systems and its problems on an overall basis and provides the solutions covering the workings of the entire system (Aronson, 1998). Additionally, there is a requirement of implementation of systems thinking in the complex process of learning at various field of life like in the organizations, which requires the components, and the entire system needs to be analyzed properly (Caldwell, 2012).
Systems thinking and its theories are prominently used since its emergence in varied fields of operations starting from the biological context, social context, even to that of the engineering field. There is no area, where the Systems thinking have not spread its exposure, and it has the potential to be of significant use even in the future.
Caldwell, R. (2012). Systems thinking, organizational change and agency: a practice theory critique of Senge's learning organization. Journal of Change Management, 1–20.
Friedman, B. & Allen, K. N. (2010). Systems theory. Frameworks for Clinical Practice, 3-20.
Morgan, P. (2005). The idea and practice of systems thinking and their relevance for capacity development. European Centre for Development Policy Management, 2-30.
Gharajedaghi, J. (2011). Systems thinking: managing chaos and complexity: a platform for designing business architecture. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Aronson. D. (1998). Overview of systems thinking. Article, 1-3.
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