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Paperback Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture Book

ISBN: 0750671637

ISBN13: 9780750671637

Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture

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Book Overview

In a nutshell, this book is about systems. This book is written for those thinkers and practitioners who have come to realize that while the whole is becoming more and more interdependent parts display choice and behave independently, and that paradoxes are the most potent challenge of emergent realities. With a practical orientation and yet a profound theoretical depth, the book offers an operational handle on the whole by introducing an elaborate...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Successful Integration of Systems Thinking "Camps"

Gharajedaghi's 2nd edition has accomplished an incredible feat - he has successfully integrated and synthesized the systems dynamics of Forrester with the systems thinking and interactive design of Ackoff. Jamshid connects Holistic thinking, operational thinking, socio-cultural models/conceptions, and interactive design into a complementary whole. Our organization has learned and is using Jamshid's methodology and it is fundamentally changing the way in which we see the world and the organizations that will be able to compete in this new "flat" world. If you're ready to escape the confines of linear thinking and classical science and management approaches to organizational problems, then this is your book. This book is written conceptually, not linearly, and challenges any reader who is used to over-simplified, mainstream books yet it is not an overly technical read that would be approachable only to high-level engineers and systems scientists. Those not having approached systems thinking before might be better off simultaneously working through Senge's Fifth Discipline and Ackoff's Best as primers. Be prepared to read it slowly and repeatedly - the ideas are profound when considered carefully and openly and might challenge many core assumptions. Having met Jamshid on several occasions, I have found him to be one of the brighest men to grace our world with a significant contribution to share - he very well may have the current "best" answer to organizational design for our times. To dismiss him as simply an "Ackoff disciple" or another guru trying to sell his services is shortsighted. Linear, prescriptive books become best-sellers that catapult authors into 5-digit fee days - Jamshid's 2nd edition isn't the stuff of best-sellers, but rather for "best-thinkers."

An important book of theory for systems practitioners

This is a book for people who want to know the why of systems theory and the how of systems practice. In addition to chapters on those two subjects, it also includes actual examples of organization designs the author and his colleagues have created with their clients. Imagine a theory expansive enough to guide the redesign of a nation, an organization, a work unit, a product, a service, or a process. This is what Gharajedaghi has done.Gharajedaghi's contributions are particularly useful and challenging to practitioners of quality management. Systems practice (design) produces unique solutions to entire sets of problems that can't be solved one at a time. It produces solutions dependent on the context or situation rather than attempting to replicate "best practices" across settings. (Deming's admonition against copying holds true here.) Gharajedaghi emphasizes that function (what the organization, product, or process is supposed to do or produce), structure (the component parts or work groups and their relationships--what Gharajedaghi calls the architecture), and processes (for governance, engagement, learning, throughput, and conflict management) must be considered and designed simultaneously for compatability. Quality management practices address function and processes, but offer no guidance for structure.The book is not an easy read: the concepts are substantive, and the theory is relatively complex. But the text is clear and the language spare, with few wasted words.Gharajedaghi has contributed an important book, one to be read, re-read, studied, translated, tested, and challenged by those who would tackle the large and complex problems of social system organization and operation.

A profound piece of work, from one of the great thinkers!

If you had to own only one "systems thinking book". This would be the one! Not a wasted page or word. Every page takes you through some of the the most comprehensive ideas contained in systems thinking of the last 40 years. I echo the other reviews. Obviously Mr. Gharajedaghi and Dr. Ackoff have taken advantage of their time teaching together and synergized sytems thinking to the next level. A masterpiece, that takes at least 4 reads to truly appreciate the depth of content contained within.

Must have for all consultants!

This is an absolutely amazing book that should be required reading for all consultants (technical and business). I work in the computer industry and have amassed a large library of reference material and books on nearly every subject from project management to technical tomes (databases, operating systems, networking, programming, etc.) This book goes to the top of the list as one of the most influential works that I have read in the past 25 years. Regardless of what your areas of expertise are (technical or business) I strongly recommend that you purchase this book and make the time to read it from cover-to-cover.

A conceptual and operational tour de force!

In a world drowning in a lot of mostly useless information, at last this outstanding yet accessible work from one of the leading social systems thinkers, educators and practitioners, one who not only makes coherent and comprehensive sense of the complexity and apparent chaos characterizing our new realities, but provides us with the operational principles and methodology for managing change and creatively co-designing a desired future, both in business creation and transformation toward an order of magnitude improvement in the pursuit and performance of multiple concurrent ends, as well as in community and national development. Outlined systematically in this work by Gharajedaghi, is a conceptual and operational methodology that is indeed applicable to any type of social system, whether a business corporation, government institution, community or nation. It is a vehicle for understanding and learning how to do more with less, and achieving not only higher levels of economic performance, but also quality of life, learning and development for the members of our organizations and communities, who are after all, the true 'ends' which our productive efforts should serve. Here you will not find simplistic 12 step programmes and gimmicks clothed in the latest buzzword terminology but which bring no true understanding of social systems and their dynamics, but a meaningful, comprehensive understanding of how social systems work and how they can be participatively transformed to serve our human purposes and needs. The author deals not only with economic variables, but also those pertaining to power (participation; beauty, (that which excites and inspires people); human values (culture); and knowledge (our pursuit of truth and understanding), and how they collectively and interactively, define the nature of a society or business. Visible also is his own compassion and appreciation for people's efforts to create a better world, an understanding that has allowed him to create a truly human systems approach, and one which inspires others to have the courage to do what so far, only the 'gutsy few' have done. This work, in moving from systems philosophy and theory, to a method for understanding and designing social systems, explained in accessible language and concepts which make sense of what otherwise must seem complex and obscure, is about learning to do, learning to learn, and learning to be - a way to understand and create truely multidimensional organizational and societal development, not the tunnel-visioned fixation on financial performance to the detriment of all else. This bootstrapping integration of theory and practice in one congruent and consistent methodology, is something which no systems methodology has thus far achieved in comparable depth and breadth, placing effectiveness ('doing the right things'- or ENDS)in primacy over the single-minded pursuit of efficiency ('doing it right'- or MEANS), the latter in
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