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Über dieses Buch

This expanded second edition of the 2014 textbook features dedicated sections on action and observation, so that the reader can combine the use of the developed theoretical basis with practical guidelines for deployment. It also includes a focus on selection and use of a dedicated modeling paradigm – fuzzy cognitive mapping – to facilitate use of the proposed multi-methodology. The end goal of the text is a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to structuring and assessing complex problems, including a dedicated discussion of thinking, acting, and observing complex problems. The multi-methodology developed is scientifically grounded in systems theory and its accompanying principles, while the process emphasizes the nonlinear nature of all complex problem-solving endeavors. The authors’ clear and consistent chapter structure facilitates the book’s use in the classroom.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

A Frame of Reference for Systemic Decision Making

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The first step in addressing a problem is recognizing you have one. It is with this notion in mind that the authors begin their discussion. This chapter begins with the fundamental tenet of systemic decision making, which we term the TAO approach, a general approach for increasing our understanding about problems that is invoked throughout the text. Then, a discussion of systems errors is presented.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 2. Problems and Messes

Abstract
As problems have grown more complex, the methods we use to address them must evolve as well. Machine age problems, consisting of simple systems, have traditionally been addressed using a primarily technical perspective. Despite their increased complexity, in systems age problems, a predominantly technical perspective continues to be used at the expense of other complementary perspectives. This myopic approach has often been unsuccessful in solving these problems. The development of multiple perspectives requires those faced with addressing complex problems to include additional perspectives in order to achieve increased understanding. This includes the integration of hard and soft perspectives to ensure that, in addition to a technical perspective, the equally important organizational, political, and human perspectives have been included. The application of multiple perspectives offers a more inclusive framework through which complex problems may be addressed. The integration of technical, organizational, political, and human perspectives widens the aperture through which a problem is viewed, which then increases the likelihood of correctly addressing these complex problems. Embracing these complementary perspectives, guidance is given on how to begin to structure our mess into a number of discrete problems for analysis.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 3. Systemic Thinking

Abstract
As machine age problems have given way to systems age messes, the underlying complexity associated with understanding these situations has increased exponentially. Accordingly, the methods we use to address these situations must evolve as well. Unfortunately, however, many antiquated methods for dealing with situations remain prominent. The underlying paradigm for solving problems with many prominent approaches such as systems engineering and operations research can be characterized as systematic thinking. While quite appropriate for machine age problems, it lacks the theoretical rigor and systemic perspective necessary to deal with systems age messes. Thus, a new paradigm of systemic thinking, conceptually founded in systems theory, is necessary. This chapter provides a brief historical background on the development of systems approaches, contrasts systems approaches, and their underlying paradigm with systemic thinking, and introduces practical guidelines for the deployment of a systemic thinking approach that will provide the foundation for the remainder of this book.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 4. Systems Theory

Abstract
In the last chapter, you were introduced to a systemic thinking methodology, one that is very different from the traditional, systematic methods for dealing with problems. The construct for systemic thinking is holistic, using both reductionism (i.e., to deconstruct problems and messes into understandable elements) and constructivism (i.e., to rebuild problems and messes to understand the whole). This unique systemic perspective, focused on the use of both reductionism and constructivism, and which underlies all aspects of systemic thinking, is built upon a science-based foundation labeled systems theory.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 5. Complex Systems Modeling

Abstract
Modeling is a necessary mechanism for understanding complex phenomena such as the messes this book is designed to help with. This chapter compares methods available for complex systems modeling. A method is then recommended for use in addressing messes. A framework for the development and use of such a model and an accompanying simulation is then presented. This framework is demonstrated on an example problem, with an eye toward using this approach to first think about, then act on, and finally observe our mess systemically.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Thinking Systemically

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. The Who of Systemic Thinking

Abstract
The main focus of the who question of systemic thinking is on the stakeholders associated with our mess. This chapter discusses our approach for the analysis and management of stakeholders. This introduction provides a brief background of stakeholder analysis and an introduction to our approach to stakeholder analysis and management, which is then followed by a detailed discussion of each of these steps. Finally, a framework for stakeholder analysis and management is presented and demonstrated.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 7. The What of Systemic Thinking

Abstract
The main focus of the what question of systemic thinking is on the articulation and organization of the objectives of the problem that we are trying to gain increased understanding of. Given that a mess is a system of problems as we described it in Chap. 2, we take the occasion in this chapter to dissect a given problem into its basic elements in order to gain further insight regarding its parent mess. This chapter builds on the stakeholder analysis undertaken in the previous chapter. The chapter begins by discussing the anatomy of a problem. Then, the importance of objectives is discussed. Next, we address objective articulation. We then distinguish between fundamental and means objectives and discuss how to organize them to increase our understanding. Finally, a framework for addressing the what question is presented and this framework is demonstrated on the real estate problem introduced in Chap. 6.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 8. The Why of Systemic Thinking

Abstract
The previous chapters in this section have addressed: (1) the who question through a discussion of problem stakeholders, their analysis, and management; and (2) the what question by decomposing our mess and constituent problems into its objectives and organizing them. In this chapter, we will address the why question through an analysis of motivation and how each problem has a unique model of motivation and feedback between and among the stakeholders. This chapter discusses motivation, its 20 major theories, and how we can incorporate motivation into our systemic thinking. A framework for assessing motivation is provided, and this framework is demonstrated on our example real estate problem.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 9. The Where of Systemic Thinking

Abstract
The previous chapters in this section have addressed: (1) the who question through a discussion of problem stakeholders, their analysis and management; (2) the what question by deconstructing a mess and its constituent problems into relevant elements such as fundamental and means objectives; and (3) the why question through an analysis of motivation and how each problem has a unique model of motivation and feedback between and among its stakeholders. This chapter will answer the where question. This where we refer to is not associated with physical location and geographical coordinates, but with the circumstances, factors, conditions, values and patterns that surround the problem, and the boundaries that separate the problem from its environment.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 10. The How of Systemic Thinking

Abstract
The previous chapters in this section have addressed the who, the what, the why, and the where questions associated with messes and their constituent problems. This chapter will address the how question. When we refer to how, we are interested in the specific means used in the attainment of specific, purposeful goals. The means are the mechanisms utilized in moving from the current problem state toward a new desired state where the goals and associated objectives have been satisfied. Mechanisms produce the effects that, when taken in concert, move a mess from the current state to the desired state.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 11. The When of Systemic Thinking

Abstract
The when question of systemic thinking attempts to determine the appropriate time for interacting with our mess in an effort to increase our understanding about it. Recalling the TAO of systemic thinking, we must think before we act on (and observe) our mess. The understanding gained from our thinking informs when (and if) we decide to intervene in our mess. In order to discern the appropriate time for action, we explore two criteria of our messes, its maturity and its stability. These two criteria will first be explored by investigating life cycles and their relevance to the maturity of our mess. We will then explore the phenomena of evolution, as it pertains to both biological systems and to purposeful systems. Then, we will discuss entropy as it relates to evolution. Finally, we develop a framework to address the when as it applies to any efforts at intervention in our mess.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Acting Systemically

Frontmatter

Chapter 12. Systemic Action

Abstract
We have come a long way together. The assumption at this point is that the reader has read through the first eleven chapters of this book and understands how to analyze a singular problem from each of the six perspectives presented in Chaps. 611. Now we are ready to take action. To this end, this chapter addresses putting the pieces back together (i.e., mess reconstruction) in order to understand our mess systemically. Two meta-perspectives, the what is and the what ought-to-be, are proposed to represent our current and idealized states. Generation of these meta-perspectives is demonstrated on the real estate example we have carried throughout the text.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 13. Anatomy of a Decision

Abstract
By now we all know that our mess is composed of multiple problems which all interact in some capacity. This mess can be thought of in terms of its actual state and its desired state. We also know that if the desired and actual states are the same, we have no decision to make as we do not have a problem. If, however, there is a delta between the two, we need to invoke a decision process in an attempt to bridge the gap. This involves creating a model of our mess utilizing the actual state of our system as best we know (as we have done in Chaps. 612). This modeled state, along with a desired state, feeds into a decision process. The output of this decision process is a decision or set of decisions which provide feedback through action (and the result of our action) to our mess and its constituent problems. This set of relationships is shown in Fig. 13.1. This chapter aims to elaborate on the decision process element in Fig. 13.1. We first begin with discussing some basics of decision analysis and decision science. We then proceed to discuss the decision process and how we can execute it. This leads to a framework for action in our mess.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 14. Decision Implementation

Abstract
Once we’ve decided on a course of action, we must implement it. This requires human intervention in some capacity, even if it’s initializing a computer algorithm or turning on a machine. In inserting a human into our process, we create an opportunity for human error. This chapter discusses the classification, management, and prevention of these errors as it focuses on decision implementation.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Observing Systemically

Frontmatter

Chapter 15. Observation

Abstract
Observation is the central method by and through which human beings engage with the real-world. Observation is the source of virtually all empirical evidence for science. In this chapter, we will be underscoring the inevitable impact of the observer’s role in the process of observation. The central point we wish to emphasize is that the human observer impacts each and every observation during the systemic decision making process. This is crucial as we wish to avoid committing a Type I and Type II error. We will discuss the process of observation and suggest a model for understanding observation and will also be describing how empirical observations are subject to the theories and ideas possessed by the observer. Additional sections will describe a model for situations where technological systems are employed as part of the observation process, the role of measurement during observations, and how bias and heuristics affect observations.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 16. Systemic Learning

Abstract
If you have followed this book from the beginning, you will note that we have provided you with a systemic frame of reference (Part I), exposed you to the Who, What, Why, When, How, and Where of systemic thinking (Part II), and have discussed the course of action selection and implementation (Chaps. 1214 in Part III). This chapter will address learning and the individual, group, organizational, and inter-organizational aspects of learning in an effort to further enforce the thoughts on observation from the previous chapter.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 17. Ford Pinto Case Study

Abstract
This text has discussed a real estate-focused case study throughout in disparate pieces. The aim of this chapter is to provide a cradle-to-grave case study which illustrate the entire multimethodology developed in the text. The case study focuses on the Ford Pinto and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Chapter 18. Conclusion

Abstract
Well, we have finished a long journey through a wide variety of topics we felt would be useful to you in understanding the landscape associated with complex decision making. Our take on decision making utilizes systemic thinking as the prime motivation for the decision making methods and techniques we have described in the previous 17 chapters. However, this is not simple decision making, but decision making associated with ill-structured, wicked situations where multiple problems are presented as messes. Hence, the title of the book: Systemic Decision Making: Fundamentals for Addressing Problems and Messes. Hopefully, each of you has been able to take away the following key points.
Patrick T. Hester, Kevin MacG. Adams

Backmatter

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