System Thinking in comparison to Traditional Approach

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System Thinking in comparison to Traditional Approach:

The way in which people understand the complexities around themselves is called system thinking. Moreover, it is about breaking down these complexities in simpler solutions or finding ways out in order to solve the problems in less time. Playing chess could be compared with this type of approach, due to the fact that the skills of playing chess can only be improved after regular practice

On the other hand, the visual and diagrammatic approach is not used in reductionists approach. In this way the problems are broken down by management from bigger complexity level to comparatively smaller complexity level. The problem is further divided into smaller parts until the problem is solved.

For solving bigger problems by breaking them down in smaller problems is called system thinking. For this purpose, the techniques like visual aids and diagrams are used for better understanding of the solution. Whereas, the name reductionist approach reflects the breaking down of bigger problems into smaller parts, in order to solve the complexity level. For example, if we have a query like 20 X11 then we can solve it as 10 X11 and 10 X11=110 and 10 X11=110 the adding both the answers would give the same result as 20 X11. This is not the approach used for system thinking, it is been considered that if the problem is broken down into smaller problems many of important points could be missed along with emerging of new problems, using the reductionist approach from a bigger perspective could be a problem. This is due to the fact that, in reductionist approach, every problem broken down is considered to be separate problem, this is the biggest flaw considered in reductionist approach (, 2013). Because when the problem is of bigger complexity level then the risk of making every sub component independent of each other could further increase the complexity level. Therefore, in such scenarios system approach provides the best solution by making the problem easier and deducing accurate results out of it. Thus, system approach is preferred over reductionist approach. This is claimed because it would be impossible to judge the personality of any individual by studying its individual genes, whereas, if the personality is judged as a whole could better depict the personality characteristics of any individual.


Features of System Thinking:

The features of system thinking could better portray the importance and advantage of this approach. More importantly, this approach uses visual aids, making problem more easier to be visualized. This is due to the fact that many details are hard to be read, understood and interpreted by the attendees, whereas, by viewing these details could leave a mark on their memory regarding the problem statement (, 2014). It is important to see the problems from a bigger perspective for problems having bigger complexities. System approach is a problem simplifier or improver agent instead of typical problem solving technique.

This approach facilitates every employee to communicate with each other, under one roof and present their idea towards solving problem. These complexities cannot be resolved verbally; they require proper attention and documentation. This brings up the whole situation of the problem, in front of the employees. When the problem is seen on the bigger spectrum then every issue related to that problem is also upraised and presented clearly.

Fig-1 Systems approach used by University of Vermont

However, system approach facilitates with maximum problem solving but for using this technique, highly skilled staff is required. The requirement of the skilled staff is important for this purpose, due to the fact that, whatever, is the nature of the problem, the staff could handle it in a more professional and logical way. This skilled staff, using latest technology could better use this approach for solving problem.


System Thinking Approach and its Uses:

The system thinking approach received critical feedback from many managers in the beginning, when it was introduced as a concept in the scientific world. This happened because the concept and its execution were completely new and the managers were not used of these type of procedures. Whereas, with the passage of time, many advancements has forced people to consider other approaches over system approach but even then system approach has an edge over other traditional approaches (, 2013). Along with these types of approaches, skilled minds are required for better solving these problems.

The solution of the problem not only depends on the systematic approach but also the sub-divided components for developing the solution of the whole problem. This shows that this approach is useful when the complexities are judged with all the sub-divided components. The system approach could be better understood in comparison with reduction approach. Such as in the biology, when we are required to study the environment, we can break it in smaller parts like plants, flowers etc and then every part is analyzed and reported on the basis of which the deduction on environment is conducted.

Management is used to solve problems through mathematical and logical approach but when the complexity increases then the management uses diagrammatic approach. These diagrams are used to present the phenomenon in a simpler way. However, the work force would be motivated to understand these diagrams and once they would, then next time they would come up with new ideas for solving problems.

In cases, when management is unable to solve the problem, even after using System approach then it must be the problem that the management is looking at the problem from different perspective. When the problem is of recurring nature the system thinking approach proves to be useful as it gives the overview of the picture from a bigger perspective (, 2014). In this approach the sub-division of problem into sub-components, makes it simpler to be solved by the management. Till this time only one flaw is indicated this could be overcome after proper training of staff.


System Approach and its Evaluation through Different Diagrams:

System thinking approach uses different visual aids and tables; it has its own benefits and disadvantages. The diagrammatic approach uses the input and output of data in the diagrams for solving the problem. This input and out depicts the initialization of the problem and execution of the solution. The problem statement is taken as a input and the diagrammatic layout is considered to be the system and the output is the end result of the situation. The diagram helps to see the bigger picture as a whole and allows the better analysis of the problem.



Figure 2 an input output diagram of systems approach to management

Types of Diagram:

System Mapping:

It is another type of diagram, where management needs to study the complexities of sub-components along with the overlapping relations among them. A simple look can give the impression of being more difficult and can give the impression that the problem is more difficult then it seems (System Approach to Management, 2012). It uses different type of visual aids and icons for giving better understanding of the problem.

Influence Diagrams:

It presents the complexity in intuitive form. Using graphical aid, flowing of elements is all used in this type of diagrams. Also, using arrows is of great importance as it portrays the relationship among entities. Further, the influences used within the diagrams are Probabilistic influence, Value influence and Structural influence.


References, (2013).What is system approach? definition and meaning. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May. 2014]., (2014).Systems approach in science and engineering. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May. 2014]., (2013).System Approach. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May. 2014]., (2014).Basic Concepts of the Systems Approach. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May. 2014].

System Approach to MaAnagment, (2012).System Approach to Managment. 34. NewYork, p.2.