MANAGEMT 7115NA - Systems Thinking for Management

Ngee Ann Academy - Quadmester 1 - 2017

Many of today's complex challenges cannot be tackled with the narrowly-focused, unconnected thinking of the past. Managers must make decisions and take action in complex environments in which finance, economics, markets, people and nature are interconnected and interdependent. In addition, this `messy? interconnectedness blurs the boundaries between organisations, communities and fields of expertise ? nothing is neat and tidy. This course will introduce you to the world of systems and systems thinking. We will consider the merits of looking at wholes, rather than unconnected parts, and we will explore ways in which managers can make use of the nature of systems, even in complex, unpredictable environments, to influence outcomes in a more profound way than can be achieved with `linear? or `mechanistic? thinking

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MANAGEMT 7115NA
    Course Systems Thinking for Management
    Coordinating Unit Business School
    Term Quadmester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Ngee Ann Academy
    Units 3
    Course Description Many of today's complex challenges cannot be tackled with the narrowly-focused, unconnected thinking of the past. Managers must make decisions and take action in complex environments in which finance, economics, markets, people and nature are interconnected and interdependent. In addition, this `messy? interconnectedness blurs the boundaries between organisations, communities and fields of expertise ? nothing is neat and tidy. This course will introduce you to the world of systems and systems thinking. We will consider the merits of looking at wholes, rather than unconnected parts, and we will explore ways in which managers can make use of the nature of systems, even in complex, unpredictable environments, to influence outcomes in a more profound way than can be achieved with `linear? or `mechanistic? thinking
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Alex Gorod


    Alex Gorod is the Founder and Managing Member of Systemic Net LLC, and a Partner at Social Media Risk LLC in New York.

    Alex is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York and the University of Adelaide. He is a recipient of the Fabrycky-Blanchard Award for Excellence in Systems Engineering Research, and the Robert Crooks Stanley Doctoral Fellowship in Engineering Management. His research has appeared in the International Journal of Project Management, IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE Systems Journal, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Transportation Research Record, and Entrepreneurship Research Journal, among others.

    Alex holds a PhD in Engineering Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.



    Dr. Alex Gorod

    Email: alex.gorod@adelaide.edu.au

    Skype: alex_gorod
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes


    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1.      Apply concepts of systems thinking and complexity to real life management challenges.

    2.      Identify underlying root causes rather than the symptoms of a problem;

    3.      Analyse positive and negative systems feedback and explain the role of feedback in system dynamics;

    4.      Identify and explain the operation of systems archetypes;

    5.      Explain the characteristics and behaviour of complex, adaptive systems, and the implications for the role of management; and

    6.      Explain the nature and role of leverage points for systemic interventions.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,3,4
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2,3,4
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1,5,6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1,5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1,5
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources

    1. “Case Studies in System of Systems, Enterprises, and Complex Systems Engineering” editors Gorod, A., B. White, V. Ireland, J. Gandhi, and B. Sauser. New York, NY: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis. 2014 ISBN: 978-1-4665-0239-0



    2. "Systems Thinking, Systems Practice: Includes a 30-Year Retrospective" Peter Checkland, John Wiley & Sons, 1999 ISBN: 978-0-471-98606-5



    3. "Thinking in Systems: A Primer" Donella H. Meadows, Green Publishing, 2008, ISBN: 978-1603580557



    4. "The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization" Peter M. Senge, Random House, 2006, ISBN: 0-385-51725-4



    5. "Systems Thinking: Coping with 21st Century Problems" John Boardman and Brian Sauser, CRC Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-4200-5491-0



    6. "Systemic Thinking: Building Maps for Worlds of Systems" John Boardman and Brian Sauser, John Wiley & Sons, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-118-37646-1


    Additional readings that are relevant to each lecture/session will be provided before classes and/or posted on MyUni.
    Online Learning
    MyUni is the University of Adelaide’s online learning environment. It is used to support traditional face-to-face lectures, tutorials and workshops at the University. MyUni provides access to various features including announcements, course materials, discussion boards and assessments for each course of study (see: https://myuni.adelaide.edu.au).
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.

    Workload

    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary


    Assessment 1

    Assessment 1: Essay/report (Individual)
    Weighting: 20%
    Due Dates: 7 February, 2017
    Submission Details: Online through MyUni

    Task:
    Part A. Please provide three examples of a complex situation in management. What in your opinion makes these situations complex?

    Part B. Please explain the difference between complex and complicated.

    Scope:
    The objective of these questions is for the participant to consider the theoretical material supplied and attempt to apply it to a real life example, if possible. Therefore evidence of having read and understood the material is important. Arguments and assertions should be based on the research articles listed, the important ones of which are encompassed in the notes. This assignment will assess your understanding of the course topics.

    Length and Presentation:
    1500 words (max).

    Given the word limit on these questions, assessment will reward content included. There will be penalties for exceeding the word limit. Quotations do not count in the words counted. Please ensure you add page numbers to your assignment and it is advisable to add your name in the footer or header.



    Assessment 2

    Assessment 2: Essay/report (Individual)
    Weighting: 20%
    Due Dates: 28 February, 2017
    Submission Details: Online through MyUni

    Task:
    Part A. George Box famously said that: "All models are wrong, but some are useful". Do you agree with his statement? Please explain.

    Part B. What is the difference between “errors of commission” and “errors of omission” as related to management? Please provide an example of each.

    Scope:
    The objective of these questions is for the participant to consider the theoretical material supplied and attempt to apply it to a real life example, if possible. Therefore evidence of having read and understood the material is important. Arguments and assertions should be based on the research articles listed, the important ones of which are encompassed in the notes. This assignment will assess your understanding of the course topics.

    Length and Presentation:
    1500 words (max).

    Given the word limit on these questions, assessment will reward content included. There will be penalties for exceeding the word limit. Quotations do not count in the words counted. Please ensure you add page numbers to your assignment and it is advisable to add your name in the footer or header.



    Assessment 3

    Assessment 3: Case study presentation (Individual)
    Weighting: 20%
    Due Dates: 17 February, 2017
    Submission Details: In Class

    Task:
    Individual presentation covering the following:
    Identity a SoS;
    Use five distinguishing characteristics to describe it;
    Identify examples of and describe External Factors, which could influence the SoS;
    Identify the Governing Body;
    Describe the Feedback process between the SoS and the Governing Body;
    Identify examples of and describe Constraints affecting the Governing body’s decision making process.

    Scope:
    The objective of this 15 minute presentation is to demonstrate your analysis of an identified System of Systems case utilizing principal theories presented in class.

    Length and Presentation:
    15 minutes. Please be advised that references are mandatory to show your understanding of the subject matter. No more than 10 power point slides are permitted. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.



    Assessment 4

    Assessment 4: Final report (Group)
    Weighting: 30%
    Due Dates: 14 March, 2017
    Submission Details: Online through MyUni. Send one copy for the group ensuring all group member names are clear.

    Task:
    Create a case study report for an approved system as instructed below, implementing the theoretical material you have covered. Groups should be of three-four people. To add additional team members, you need to seek special approval stating reasons. This assignment is intended to be the practical application of theory. As you may be using material in this report which was developed by others, it is important to note what was your contribution and what was the contribution of others.

     
    The paper should have the following headings with the following specifications:

    =================================================

    Abstract
    - 200 words or less

    Introduction
    - Briefly describe the complex system under consideration
    - What problem is this complex system addressing for what organization, program or activity
    - Define the percieved process, situation or problem presented in the case

    Background information
    - Context for the complex system and your case
    - Definitions that apply to the process, situation or problem: advanced terminology or jargon, explain what each word means in your study, concisely and clearly
    - Relevant theories/research and prior development regarding the complex system and your specific case

    Complex System Description
    - Root Definition (RD)
    - History and Development
    - Rich Picture/SystemiGram
    - Sponsors/Customers, Industry Sector, Companies involved, Country, Budget
    - Mission/Purpose/Goals/Objectives
    - Principals Characteristics
    - Settings/Structure/Boundaries
    - External Factors
    - Governing Constraints
    - Constituent Systems/Components (new/legacy, scope)

    System Analysis
    - Analysis and Analytical Findings
    - Activities/Problems/Conflicts
    - Timeframe/Sequence of events
    - Methods and Tools used
    - Lessons Learned
    - Best Practices
    - Steps and conditions for replicating the complex system elsewhere

    Conclusion
    - Summary of the case and your findings/reccomendations

    Questions for discussion
     - PLease provide 2-5 questions that are based on this case and could be used for a discussion in a classroom environment

    References

    =====================================================

    Scope:
    The Case Study Paper is expected to reflect the following:

    1. Describe a complex system;
    2. Present a real life process, situation or problem;
    3. Offer adequate and detailed information to assess the process, situation or problem by the case reader;
    4. Present an objective view of the process, situation or problem;
    5. Offers relevant questions for further discussion;
    6. Be cogent;
    7. Satisfactorily explain the basis for its conclusions.


    Length and Presentation:
    Minimum length:
    4 people – 15,000 words

    The paper should follow the style guide of the IEEE(see Template for Transactions Section at: http://www/ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/authors/authors_journals.html


    Assessment 5

    Assessment 5: Class Contribution
    Weighting: 10%
    Due Cates: Ongoing in class

    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.

    Submission

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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