Sei sulla pagina 1di 34

C11 SL

Systems Thinking and Analysis

Helen Mackenzie
Umit S Bititci
Professor of Business Performance
School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University

Engineer… Manager… Consultant… Academic
Management Performance
Organisation Measurement
as a System & Management

Research focus
Business Performance
Competitive /
High Value Business
Strategies Value Chains Systems

Research Portfolio… &

Collaboration KE Portfolio…
150 + papers… £22m in research grants… 34 KTPs since 1987… Consultancy
21 PhDs… serve on advisory boards assignments… Short and Long Courses
Antecedents of
Umit’s research in organisational
to performance Do we really need performance 2013
measurement and Hi performing companies are
performance measures...?
management more concerned with change, PMM as a
culture andPM
Culture social system 2010
PMM at organisational Managerial
Management Style
ProcessExtended Practices 2010
Performance business processes
Teaming Implementing
Team Environment PMM
Measurement Leadingtimeline 2006
Measures Aligned to v.
Process (not functions) a key
2001 PMM in
unit of analysis
measurement 1998
a key constraint Team
1997 Monitoring
System Integration Advanced Performance
1995 Measurement Systems
1990 Integrated Performance
Measurement Systems

Course Objective

To… introduce the theories and principles behind systems

thinking, modelling and analysis

To equip the participants with the methods,

tools and techniques for modelling, analysing,
improving and designing technical and social
systems in a variety of organisations, including
industrial, commercial and public sector.
Learning Outcomes
On completion of the course the student will be able to:
• Discuss and critically evaluate various organisational and engineering
systems across a variety of organisations, including industrial, commercial
and public sector.
• Model, analyze and design various organisational and engineering systems
across a range of organisations.
• Carry out systems based forms of organisational analysis and intervention
in a complex organisational problem situation.
Lecture location and timing
Lectures and workshops are scheduled for Thursdays afternoons in the second
semester. The lecture workshop sessions will be held in room EF 26.

Indicative timetable is as follows…

TOPIC Introduction Common Systems Modelling Systems Architecting Social Systems

Models Systems
• Introduction • Generic systems • Modelling Hard • Understanding • Understanding
• What is a system? models Systems innovation as a and analysing
• Open v closed • Viable Systems • SSADM and IDEF system social systems –
systems Model • Modelling soft systems Guest Lecture by
• Problems and • Class Exercise • Ritch picture John Raven
complexity • Causal loop mapping
• Understanding • Deming’s system of • Role of systems • Architecting • Group
systems? profound knowledge thinking in creating systems – Guest presentations
• Systems structure • Theory of collaborative lecture
• System of systems Constraints organisations of the
• Class exercise • Class Exercise future - Guest Lectures
Studying for the course
Systems thinking is a “live” subject and one that you need to experience.
Consequently, attendance and participation in the discussions is important.

Course materials will be posted on Vision in advance of the relevant session.

Reflect on your own experiences - work; school; home or social.

Engaging with the subject in this way will help you to understand various
underlying concepts and models.
A cross disciplinary subject covering virtually all disciplines of science,
engineering and social sciences. A recommended reading list is provided on

The field is rich with many articles some of which will be provided as course
materials for background reading.

It is strongly recommended that you conduct further reading to support and

reinforce your knowledge of the subject. Many references to articles can be
found at the end of each paper/article that will be provided to you in your
course materials.
50% learning diary – as a guideline a 2000 - 3000 word summary
of your learning across the course…include reflections on each
day of class. Ensure you communicate your feelings, confusions,
key insights… it should cover presentation of group work

50% group project – in up to 8 groups of 3 to 5

people select a complex system with a
problem… analyze the system using both hard
and soft systems techniques… develop your
solutions… report back at the presentation.

Group Project
• Working in groups of 3 to 5 using the knowledge gained throughout this course
• Conduct a critical review of selected system.
• Your review should include hard and soft systems analysis of the chosen
• The choice of system/problem is entirely up to you. However, refrain from
using too simple systems.
• You will be provided with the cover page that contains the assessment criteria
• The word count of your group report should not exceed a maximum of 5,000
words including tables, figures and references.
• Deadline for submission of the reports will be week 10 of the course, i.e. group
presentation day.
What is a System?
A systems is a collection of interacting
parts/components/actors in which the interactions
result in system-level properties and behaviours
not attributable to sum of individual parts

Class Exercise
Lets think about different kinds of systems
a car, a human body, a company, a society
N2 Charts are a good way of simply representing parts of a
system and their interaction





Stuff flows clockwise

Emergence is the systems properties that are
caused by the interactions and relationship
between elements rather than by the elements

Weak emergence – the behaviour of the system can be

explained, modelled, predicted . E.g. engineered systems

Strong emergence – the behaviour of the system is more

difficult to explain, model or predict
Hard v Soft Systems
• Engineering paradigm • Social paradigm

• Well defined high integrity • Parts are autonomous agents with

components with predictable high variety for change with
behaviours unpredictable behaviours

• Parts connected through well- • Parts connected through loosely

understood interaction patterns defined dynamic web of relationships,
power structures, shared interests and
• Feedback is used to compensate for values
deviation by adjusting technical
control parameters. • Feedback is used to compensate for
deviation through influence,
motivations, persuasion. Social
Open and Closed Systems
Systems Problems

Tame problem – problems that can be defined and solved. Problems that
have a right answer. E.g. most engineering problems.

Messy problem – problems that are poorly that do not have a single right
answer. Good enough solution. Most real-world problems are compromises.

Wicked problem – when there is always a looser and a winner…. Problems

that cannot be solved… but must be managed.

What makes systems complex

• Number of parts
• Number of connections
• Dynamic relationship between parts
• Non linear interactions
• Varying responses – predictability of response

Technical complexity – intrinsic properties of the system as above

Perceived complexity – How stakeholders see a system… it may be

a simple system but they it appears complex because they do not
understand the rules
Simple – Complex – Complicated

plex = woven together… cannot be unwoven easily… need to
be understood as a whole… human being is a complex system

plic = folded together… can be un folded and re-folded… can be
studied and understood in bits… motorbike is a complicated

 zaitchik

A system has…

A system exists within a wider
A system has
context or environment containing
a purpose
collaborative or competing systems
A system has A system has
A system interacts (is a function parts/actors
changed by and changes)
with its environment System A system has
A system has multiple a structure
internal and external
feedback loops A system has
A system may be distinct, a boundary
close-coupled, fluid and
dynamic with its A system has
environment performance
A system is usually part A system has behaviour =
of a wider system - emergent properties
system of systems
Geosystem Solar system

Ecosystem Atmosphere
Societal /
System UK / Europe

Industry Automotive Industry

Enterprise Ford, VW, BMW, Toyota, etc
Project Car
Engine, gearbox, doors, body, chassis, etc
/ artefact
National economic system…
Barlow diagram representing systems within a system
A general systems model
Systems thinking example

Store inert liquid

Mix inert liquid to make
explosive… in the factory
Store explosive liquid
Improve the system
Plasticize explosive liquid to
make dynamite… factory
Store dynamite
Transport/deliver dynamite
Systems thinking example

Store inert liquid

Mix inert liquid to make
explosive… in the factory
Store explosive liquid
Plasticize explosive liquid to
make dynamite… factory Expensive to store
Expensive to move
Store dynamite

Transport/deliver dynamite Terrorism
Slow process
Store dynamite
Employ qualified people to
administer dynamite on the rock
Rock on the ground
Process rock….
For example… ICI

Store inert liquid

Store inert liquid ICI
Mix inert liquid to make
explosive… in the factory
Store explosive liquid
Plasticize explosive liquid to
make dynamite… factory
Store dynamite
Make explosive in the MMU at

Transport/deliver dynamite the customers site
Store dynamite Qualified ICI people administers
Employ qualified people to explosive on the rock face
administer dynamite on the rock Rock on the ground
Rock on the ground Process rock….
Process rock….
Class Exercise
Use slides 21, 22 and 23 to describe different systems

• Car
• House
• Mobile phone
• Guitar
• Hi Fi
• Anything else you wish