SYSTEMS THINKING (Critical) 1)2)

M.C. JACKSON, who introduces this concept, describes as follows the "five pillars" on which it is built:

- Critical awareness, which "… concerns understanding the strengths and weaknesses and the theoretical underpinnings of available systems methods, techniques and methodologies. Critical systems thinking is relentless in its pursuit of appropriate means of interrogation and in using these on the various systems approaches… Another form of critical awareness comes from closely examining the assumptions and values entering into actually existing systems designs or any proposals for a systems design "…

- Social awareness which "… should make users of systems methodologies contemplate the consequences of the use of the employed approach… Social awareness also involve recognizing that there are certain organizations and societal pressures which lead to certain systems theories and methodologies being popular for guiding interventions at particular times".

- Complementarism at the methodological level: "This requires a methodology (or perhaps a meta-methodology) which respects all of the other features of critical systems thinking" (FLOOD and JACKSON attempt to create such a meta-methodology, called "Total System Intervention" – 1991 a).

- Complementarism at the theoretical level: "This requires an equal commitment to the complementary and informed development of all varieties of systems approach…

Further, the claim of anyone theoretical rationality, whether functionalist, structuralist, interpretive or emancipatory, to absorb all others, should be resisted"

- Human emancipation, seeking "… to achieve for all individuals the maximum development of their potential" (JACKSON, 1993, p.124-5)

These views, while somewhat ideologically tainted, are certainly important in order to avoid… ideological distorsions in name of systems thinking.

For a quite complete description of Critical Systems Thinking see Chapter 7 in M.C. JACKSON (1992, p.183-212)

1) general information

2) methodology or model

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