Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Systems is "globalized thinking" and it is applied to many disciplines today. Just today, I saw a comment that was "systemic" in its paradigm. Systemic thinking bothers me in some ways...as it ends up becoming an "enmeshed identity" that hinders the "outsider" from bringing change, impacting the whole, or offering their "part", as the "whole" has already been identified, with everyone's "place" pre-determined.

The comment in this article said something to the effect that roachs, ants, etc. have their function, and though they are not higher state beings, they do serve a purpose to the overall 'ecology". This "wholism' emphasis is the focus, not just of our biological or ecological systems, but also our political realms in systems thinking. And sometimes I think it leads to a "type" of Aryanism, a certain breed of person is 'better than another'. It is breeding ground for in-group and out-group mentality.

I do not think that systems is innately "evil" but systems approaches to local communities can diminish and de-value the individual to only a function, especially if the person is not informed as to the system's goals or focus. And the system sometimes may "loose out" on someone that could benefit the organization or system, if there had been an open vision, instead of a tightly defined one.

As I was driving home tonight, I thought about the individual within the system. It is like being in a foreign country and not knowing the language, customs, or the traffic. Imagine a person trying to make decisions about crossing a street and not being able to read the signs. Instead of bringing a benefit, or at least not being a distraction, he becomes an obstacle and a danger to himself and others.

This is why leadership is responsible to inform and give vision and help the 'team to remain fcused on the goal of the group, or organization (system). If this uninformed person senses that he is "in the way" or making problems for others, there is self recrimination that is really not his responsibility, but bad leadership. This is inhumane and cruel, as it brings a message of insignificance or de-valuing of the person. And it gives away leadership's attitude toward this person as "just a roach" in the system (even when the "roach" has a function as in our ecological system, it is the message that is the important thing to watch, as it appeals to pride in leadership and hinders morale in the "roach"..)

Globalization calls for us to be informed about many issues, which no one person can handle. As I was listening to the discussion on NPR concerning policy of piracy, The ones discussing policy were concerned about a certain "issue", I thought about how important it is to be a part and an informed part of the whole. This benefits everyone's part, as all roles are "working on the same problem, or within the same paradigm, etc.).

Vision can hinder dynamic and change, if the vision is too tightly defined. This is a "funnel approach to leadership. My husband and I had an experience that seemed to be a "funnel approach" to "dynamic" when a friend applied for the buisness chairmanship at our local university. I was talking with my husband over dinner about it, and I wondered out loud what would have happend to our university if he had been hired. He had been a VP and an international negotiator for Hewlitt Packard for many years. I just wondered what would have happened....

I think that systemic thinking sometimes limits humans from seeing others as human beings, and relates to them as "roles". Of course, it is good for a false sense of superiority in hierarchial organizing, but it really hinders relationships and can bring a de-moralization to many that may feel that they are just a role or function, and not a significant part that is valued and important. And inevitably, it hinders the whole, as the "roach" is needed for the whole to "win the game. Are leaders telling their "roaches" that they are "just a roach", by their attitude and actions?

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