Title: Systemic analysis of a drug trafficking mess

Authors: Nicholas J. Sapiano; Patrick T. Hester

Addresses: Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA ' Department of Management and Accountancy, University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville, NC 28804, USA

Abstract: In an effort to combat drug trafficking at the federal level, the USA faces an unenviable task. Trying to address this situation involves consideration of drug production, importation and consumption. The think-act-observe (TAO) approach of Hester and Adams (2017) provides a systems theory-based multi-methodology for addressing these and other complex, interconnected problems. After an articulation of the constituent problems of the mess and their collective stakeholders, the problems are individually subjected to systemic analysis in the think stage; further, the production problem analysis is reported in detail as a case study. These problem-level analyses are then integrated and utilised in the act stage to analyse the systemic impact of potential mess interventions. Recommendations for future action are provided in support of the observation stage. Problem owners can then move forward in an effort to resolve the mess in a manner satisfactory to all affected parties.

Keywords: systemic thinking; systems analysis; drug trafficking; systems theory; wicked problems; mess.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSE.2019.102837

International Journal of System of Systems Engineering, 2019 Vol.9 No.3, pp.277 - 306

Received: 25 Apr 2018
Accepted: 05 Oct 2018

Published online: 03 Oct 2019 *

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