Mastering systems thinking in practice
Mastering systems thinking in practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Mastering systems thinking in practice

Week 2: Systems thinking and complexity

Introduction

In Week 1 it was claimed that systems thinking respects complexity and makes that complexity manageable by taking a broader perspective. This week you will explore these claims in more detail by focusing on the differences between messy and difficult situations, hard and soft complexity and systemic (holistic) and systematic (reductionist) thinking and practice that shape how we perceive and react to complexity in the situations we face. In essence any situation will consist of complicatedness (entities infinitely joined), complexity (people with perspectives on the entities and how they join together), and conflict (contrasting viewpoints/perspectives on situations). Systems thinking is about distinguishing a system of interest within messy and complex situations. As with Week 1 there are several reflective activities which will enrich your learning if you are able to do them fully.

First, watch the following video which examines what it means to understand the world in which we live.

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • explain the notion of perceived complexity within situations through the frames of messes and difficulties, emotional and rational reactions and systemic and systematic thinking.
Skip Your course resources
MSTP_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371