MANAGEMT 7115 - Systems Thinking for Management

North Terrace Campus - Trimester 2 - 2016

The course information on this page is being finalised for 2016. Please check again before classes commence.

Today's complex problems and challenges can no longer be tackled with the narrowly-focused, unconnected thinking of the past. Leaders must make important decisions in complex environments in which finance, economics, people and nature are all highly interconnected. To make things even more challenging, complex problems also transcend the jurisdictions and capacities of different organisations, government departments or companies. The challenges are great, but before you decide that it has become too difficult to be a new era leader, all it requires is to open yourself to new ways of thinking and acting in the interest of our society's future. This course contributes to the development of new era leaders by equipping students with knowledge and skills in the art of systems design and interconnected thinking. It introduces concepts, theories, and cutting edge tools for understanding the multidimensional character of complex systems, how to identify leverage points for systemic interventions and how to develop strategic or master plans that will have long lasting effects. Group projects provide unique learning opportunities to gain firsthand experience integrating different areas of interest and learning throughout the MBA program, to develop effective solutions for managing the complex issues that face our organisations and our society.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MANAGEMT 7115
    Course Systems Thinking for Management
    Coordinating Unit Business School
    Term Trimester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Course Description Today's complex problems and challenges can no longer be tackled with the narrowly-focused, unconnected thinking of the past. Leaders must make important decisions in complex environments in which finance, economics, people and nature are all highly interconnected. To make things even more challenging, complex problems also transcend the jurisdictions and capacities of different organisations, government departments or companies.

    The challenges are great, but before you decide that it has become too difficult to be a new era leader, all it requires is to open yourself to new ways of thinking and acting in the interest of our society's future.

    This course contributes to the development of new era leaders by equipping students with knowledge and skills in the art of systems design and interconnected thinking. It introduces concepts, theories, and cutting edge tools for understanding the multidimensional character of complex systems, how to identify leverage points for systemic interventions and how to develop strategic or master plans that will have long lasting effects. Group projects provide unique learning opportunities to gain firsthand experience integrating different areas of interest and learning throughout the MBA program, to develop effective solutions for managing the complex issues that face our organisations and our society.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Sam Wells

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course students should be able to:
    1. Understand that issues facing the world are complex and multi-dimensional, straddle many different factors and involve diverse multi-stakeholder systems;
    2. Understand the context in which the problems arise (culture, political systems, values) and how disciplines or areas of interest fit into the whole;
    3. Understand how different disciplines are interconnected and interdependent;
    4. Obtain skills to address the underlying root causes rather than the symptoms of a problem;
    5. Identify positive and negative feedback across components of a system;
    6. Obtain skills to address problems that appear to be intractable;
    7. Understand how the changing nature of the world impacts upon the way in which people and organisations make decisions;
    8. Identify key leverage points for systemic interventions and to interpret their managerial implications in diverse application areas; and
    9. Apply, through a real life project, concepts of systems thinking and some cutting edge tools in understanding and effectively managing complex problems in various areas and contexts.
    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • 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

    No information currently available.

    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.

    This is the 3nd year that this course is offered at The University of Adelaide (UA). We had also taught several systems thinking courses at The University of Queensland (UQ) and below are just some of the comments from previous students at UQ:

    • “Systems Thinking [ST] was a great course and gave me a lot of insight.”
    • “I believe a course like this should be a core course in all disciplines and degrees.”
    • “We wanted to thank the teaching staff and the University of Queensland itself for making this course essential to our career as it has really improved the way we perceive the world.”
    • “I’ve definitely taken out of this course a tool for life. ST can be applied in almost any context.”
    • “One of my favourite courses throughout my whole degree, very relevant and applicable.”
    • “The whole course was well-designed and wonderfully accessible for external modes of study, and combined with prompt/supportive correspondence, I learnt AND enjoyed more than I anticipated.”
    • “This is one of the most useful courses ever taught at UQ.”
    • “I have benefited significantly from this course.”
    • “I find this course as mind boggling and intellectually stimulating.”
    • “I’m now applying it [ST] in all areas of my life.”

    Feedback on this course from the Adelaide MBA class in Trimester 2 2014:
    • I found the Systems Thinking concepts presented during this course to be a real eye-opener.
    • It was a great relief to see that that there was a rational approach to dealing with complex, non-technical issues by understanding, visualising and making use of the complexity rather than hiding or ignoring it.
    • I enjoyed the course a lot and I am now equipped with some new tools which I can apply into the workplace, as a project manager.
    • The opportunity to learn about systems thinking and apply the ELLab process in the development of this group project has been a value skill that believe I can now utilise to apply system thinking to tackle complex problems in my future working life
    • This course has been very valuable on raising my awareness and understanding and gaining new knowledge of the discipline of Systems Thinking and has provided me with the methodologies, tools and skills to be able to apply this at a significantly more effective level and address more complex issues.
    • Systems thinking is obviously important, as most problems in business or in life are more complex than simple cause and effect problem solving can solve for the long term.
    • The key learning for me from completing Systems Thinking is the extent to which it can be applied.
    • This subject reinforces the need to look past the superficial issues that may be visible for all to see, and find the underlying cause that can be remedied to reduce reoccurrence.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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