Does Senge's View of Systems Thinking Go Far Enough?

Five Disciplines > Forum Log in

Does Senge's View of Systems Thinking Go Far Enough?
Gerard Leigh, Business Consultant, United Kingdom

In the 5th Discipline Senge outlines his views on systems thinking, when in reality this is only one dimension of the systems thinking concepts.
I have come across many people who have read the 5th Discipline who think they have a good understanding of systems thinking. Now I think Sengeís work has a place at most forums about learning and organisational behavior, but I also think that his success has given many people a slanted view of systems thinking. Much of the work by Beer, Checkland etc etc whilst well known in the inner circles of systems thinking tends to be pushed to one side - or not discussed at all.
What are people's view? Has Senge given the systems thinking world a slanted view on what exactly systems thinking is... And what it's not?

The 5th Discipline is Only a Part of System Thinking
F.H.J. Janssen, Consultant, Netherlands
As always there's more about the truth than we can see as one human. Everyone's opinion, insight, knowledge, etc., can only be a part of the whole. Therefore it's obvious that Peter Senge also saw only part of the whole (in this case 'system thinking'). If it was all there is, it would imply Peter is the almighty and thereís nothing else to learn. And that's not true, as you know. Behind every truth is always a bigger reality. Itís up to us to discover it.
I understand your point of view and also think that many people think they read it all and know what itís all about. So my opinion is that NOT Peter, but WE gave him the mark of a slanted view on System Thinking. I never heard him say that he knew it all. We guessed he did and placed him in a position he never wanted to embrace.

Peter Sengeīs Slanted View of System Thinking
Jaime Fernandez V., Professor, Chile
Gerard, you mention two names - I gather new authors - Beer and Checkland. However I couldnít find any info on them. Could you please provide full names and titles or other sources to read about them? Thanks.
Regarding Sengeís contribution, I agree: he didnít say everything that was to be said. When he first came out - Doubleday, 1990 - we were all ignorants and he became a leader! 25 years later, our profession has come a long way, with many new views, applications, authors, articles, books. And... be sure: it will continue to grow. The Gral System Theory is (in Kuhnīs words) a paradigmatic change thatís gaining grounds in education, politics, economics, environment and so on. We have a long way to go yet. I think the same was said of S. Freud 50 years after he gave birth to psychoanalysis; everybody thought he was not precise enough. Thatīs the way knowledge grows.

Beer and Checkland
Gerard Leigh, Business Consultant, United Kingdom
Hi Jaime - Search for Peter Checkland Soft Systems Methodology and Stafford Beer on his Viable Systems Model. If you mail me an email address I can send you a few papers on each.


    Do you wish to study further? You can learn more from the summary, forum, discussions, lessons, courses, training, instructions, expert tips, best practices and education sources. Register.  

Special Interest Group Leader
Gerard Leigh
Business Consultant

More on Five Disciplines
Best Practices

Expert Tips


About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2016 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.1 - Last updated: 27-10-2016. All names tm by their owners.