Title: Systems thinking capacity: implications and challenges for complex system governance development

Authors: Raed M. Jaradat; Charles B. Keating

Addresses: Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University, 260P McCain Engineering Building, P.O. Box 9542, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA ' Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, National Centers for System of Systems Engineering, Old Dominion University, 2101 Engineering Systems Building, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA

Abstract: This paper explores systems thinking in relationship to complex system governance (CSG) development. The capacity to engage in systems thinking is considered to be a cornerstone to advancing CSG. Our current exploration is focused on three primary objectives. First, an introduction is provided to place systems thinking within the larger context of CSG development. The concept of systems thinking capacity is advanced as an enabler for CSG development effectiveness. Second, we articulate the foundations of systems thinking by presenting multiple viewpoints of systems thinking and synthesise a set of common themes, explore distinctions between 'hard' and 'soft' systems thinking, and provide a set of characteristics that define a range of individual capacity to engage in systems thinking. Third, we explore the contributions that systems thinking make to CSG development. Emphasis is placed on identification of developmental areas that enhance practitioner capabilities for engaging CSG. The paper concludes by examining the challenges for deployment of systems thinking as a critical element of CSG development. This examination identifies considerations for practitioners deploying systems thinking in support of CSG development.

Keywords: systems thinking; complex system governance; CSG; complex systems; complexity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSE.2016.076130

International Journal of System of Systems Engineering, 2016 Vol.7 No.1/2/3, pp.75 - 94

Received: 09 May 2015
Accepted: 05 Aug 2015

Published online: 26 Apr 2016 *

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