What is Systems Thinking?

Cite this article as:"What is Systems Thinking?," in The Business Professor, updated April 24, 2020, last accessed October 20, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/what-is-systems-thinking/.

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What is Systems Thinking?

Traditional thinking assumes that the parts of an organization are independent of the whole. Systems thinking recognizes that organizations are intricate systems of interconnected parts – each of which has an effect and relationship to others.

There are two types of system:

  • Closed system – Closed systems function independently of the external environment.
  • Open system – Open systems continuously exchange information, material, and resources with the environment.

System openness is generally understood to be a relative state. That is, it can change. This is particularly true within organizations.

There are also sub-systems within a system that have smaller purposes within a larger system. As such, there are various levels of systems operating independently.

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