ERIC Number: EJ873328
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Learning to Think Systemically: What Does It Take?
Zulauf, Carol Ann
Learning Organization, v14 n6 p489-498 2007
Purpose: The purpose of this action research is to gain insight into how people learn to think systemically. An examination of the themes that emerged from this action research will be undertaken. Design/methodology/approach: An action research approach was adopted which involved the collection and reading of 120 journals that were kept by graduate students in their systems thinking course. Findings: A theory of practice identified and supported three significant areas in systems thinking: how the structure of the system influences the behavior of its members; the consequences of decisions on other parts of the system and a shift from blaming to seeing how one is contributing to the situation; and insights gleaned from actually learning to think systemically: meta-learning of systems thinking. Research limitations/implications: The positive implications that emerged from this action research indicate that, once students are introduced to systems thinking theory, tools and application, they are able to link their decision-making abilities to consequences; see the delays in a system; move away from blaming external "others" and look to see how they are contributing to an issue or problem. Limitations include other areas that could have been included: challenges, stories, and questions that emerged from the action research. Data from other groups would also be warranted. Practical implications: The paper shows that systems thinking can be taught...that the benefits are being realized on different levels! Originality/value: This action research presents one of the first attempts to actually gather data on how people learn to think systemically and to begin to categorize the themes and patterns that emerged from the data.
Descriptors: Graduate Students, Action Research, Periodicals, Thinking Skills, Systems Approach, Theories, Decision Making Skills, Classification, Data Analysis, Data Collection
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A