MANAGEMT 7115 - Systems Thinking for Management

North Terrace Campus - Trimester 2 - 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 7115
    Course Systems Thinking for Management
    Coordinating Unit Business School
    Term Trimester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Restrictions Available to Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Master of Business Administration students only - other students must first meet with program director for enrolment approval
    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: Dr Sam Wells

    Dr Sam Wells  BA (Hons), D. Phil. Oxon.

    In addition to his roles as senior lecturer and MBA Academic Director in the Business School, Sam Wells is a consultant adviser to CEO’s and executive teams on shaping an organisation’s human environment.

    Sam graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1978 with 1st Class Honours in History.  As South Australia’s 1979 Rhodes Scholar, he went on to the University of Oxford, where he completed his doctorate in 1983.  Sam’s doctoral thesis focused on ideas of the monastic life reflected in the letters of a circle of monastic writers in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries – an interesting introduction to the systems and complexities of “organisation”!

    After a year lecturing and tutoring in History at the University of Adelaide, Sam embarked on a career in private enterprise.  Over the next 18 years, he worked for SA-based organisations – from brewing to plastics, banking to agribusiness.  He developed expertise in operational industrial relations, human resource management and occupational health and safety, before moving into senior executive roles.

    Sam’s consulting and research interests include:

    · The management of
    the human environment within organisations in a way that enables all
    individuals ‘to be everything they are’.

    ·The challenge of
    creating enduring organisational success by honouring and building on the
    values and aspirations held by employees in ‘real life’;

    ·The dynamics of the
    paradigm shift to organisational and community sustainability.

     

    CONTACT DETAILS:
    Dr Sam Wells
    The University of Adelaide Business School
    Room 1027, Level 10, 10 Pulteney Street
    The University of Adelaide
    South Australia   5005
    Telephone: 8303 8336
    Mobile:   0419819 959
    sam.wells@adelaide.edu.au

    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 & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The core learning in this course is undertaken face-to-face in weekly classes.

    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    You could expect to spend in the order of 100 hours of study time to
    complete the course (including time for attending classes, reading and doing
    assignments) – this is just a guide to assist you in engaging appropriately
    with the course requirements.

    Learning Activities Summary
    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from MyUni.
  • 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 TASK COLLABORATIVE / INDIVIDUAL WEIGHTING WORD COUNT / TIME

    Learning Journal




    Individual 30% Max 300 words each week
    Individual Assignment Individual 40% Max 2500 words




    Group project




    Collaborative 30% Max 3000 words




    Assessment Related Requirements
    Specific requirements for each assignment are outlined in Appendix A and will be discussed
    further in class and/or via MyUni.

    A copy of the Postgraduate Programs:
    Communication Skills Guide will have been given to you at the beginning of your program. This guide will assist you to structure your assignments. A copy of the guide can also be downloaded from:
    http://www.business.adelaide.edu.au/current/mba/download/2009MBACommSkillsGuide.pdf

    This publication also provides guidelines on a range of other important communication skills including writing essays and management reports, making oral presentations etc.  In preparing any written piece of assessment for your postgraduate studies it is important to draw on the relevant ‘literature’ to support critical analysis. Also essential is to reference the literature used. Correct referencing is
    important because it identifies the source of the ideas and arguments that you present, and sometimes the source of the actual words you use, and helps to avoid the problem of plagiarism (see below)

    The Harvard system is widely used in the Business School. Guidelines for the use of this style of referencing can be found in the Communication Skills Guide.

    Assessment Detail
    LearningJournal (30%)
    You are expected to reflect regularly on learnings, insights and connections between ideas from the course workshops, and also to reflect on your life outside the workshops, seen through the lens of your systems learnings.  Your reflections should be captured in an electronic journal. 
    You should make a journal entry at least once a week, but you can make entries more often if you wish – total entries for each week should be up to 300 words.

    Individual Assignment (40%)
    In no more than 2500 words, describe one of the systems archetypes, how it operates in your workplace, what its impact is, and a systems-based solution that will prevent the archetype doing lasting damage to your organisation.

    Group Project (30%)
    No more than 3000 words:
    · Indentify a well-publicized State or
    Federal Government policy;
    · Research its background, context and
    content;
    · Undertake a critical analysis of the
    policy from a systems perspective;
    · Recommend improvements or
    alternatives to the policy, also from a systems perspective. 
    Remember, this is not about political ideology, but about systemic effectiveness.

    Submission
    All text based assignments and group project presentations must be submitted via MyUni.
    Please refer to step by step instructions:
    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/myuni/tutorials/content/Assignment_-_Submit_an_Assignment__as_a_student_.html

    There are a few points to note about the submission of assignments:

    §  Assignment Submission: Assignments should not be emailed, except by special arrangement, but should be lodged via the MyUni Course site. Assignments may be processed via TURNITIN which is an online plagiarism prevention tool.

    §  Cover Sheet: Please submit, separate to your assignment, the appropriate University of Adelaide Assessment Cover Sheet. Note that the declaration on any electronically submitted assignment will be deemed to have the same authority as a signed declaration.

    §  Backup Copy of Assignments: You are advised to keep a copy of your assignments in case the
    submitted copy goes missing.

    §  Extensions of Time: Any request for an extension of time for the submission of an assignment should be made well before the due date of the assignment.

    §  Failure to submit: Failure to submit an assignment on time or by the agreed extension deadline may result in penalties.

    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
  • 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.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.