Critical Systems Thinking: A Practitioner's Guide

Mike Jackson (Dr)
19 June 2024

RRP: £31.15; Hardback: ‎ 256 pp; Publisher: ‎ Wiley; ISBN 978-1394203574

Understand the full range of systems approaches and how to use them with this innovative overview.

Leaders and managers face increasing complexity and uncertainty because technical, organizational, socio-cultural, political, and environmental issues have become intensely interconnected. Systems thinking is recognized as the essential competence for managing complexity. As the demand for systems thinking grows, however, the fragmentation of the field into different methodologies has become a potential liability. Critical systems thinking (CST) shows how this diversity can be a strength rather than a weakness by revealing how different systems methodologies address various aspects of complexity and how they can be used in combination to resolve the messiest of wicked problems.

Critical Systems Thinking offers, in a single volume, an account of the value of systems thinking and CST in the modern world, an explanation of the pragmatic philosophy and expansion in mindset necessary to embrace CST, and detailed instructions on how to undertake critical systems practice (CSP) using the variety of systems approaches to navigate multi-dimensional complexity.

Readers will find:

  • An accessible introduction to systems thinking and CST.
  • A description and critique of the best-known systems methodologies.
  • A guide to the mindset changes, the steps required, and the toolkit necessary to undertake successful CSP.
  • Case studies and examples of CSP.
  • A discussion of the nature of systemic leadership.

Critical Systems Thinking is ideal for leaders and managers in government, business, the public sector, the professions, and beyond who want to understand the potential of systems thinking and use it in their work. It is essential for systems researchers and practitioners who want a deeper understanding of the field.