This paper proposes a new model for organizations that live in a dynamic, complex environment. The model proposes to represent a new theory of the organization, one that starts with the fact that organizations are not metaphors of living systems but are living systems. As such, they have the potential to take advantage of those facets of living organisms that have proven efficacious throughout evolution. By that we mean that evolutionary survival has repeatedly shown that complexity in the form of variety, selectivity and adaptation have been the hallmarks of successful organisms throughout evolution, especially when their environment was changing and threatening. What organizational form will have the best capability to support their workforce and coevolve with a rapidly changing, uncertain and highly complex world? This paper proposes a model of an organization that is designed to answer this question. To be successful in the new world requires Knowledge Workers to have new competencies, competencies that promote collaboration, understanding and the integration of action. These competencies, discussed here under multidimensionality, include knowledge management, learning, critical thinking, risk management, systems thinking, complexity thinking, information literacy, relationship network management and knowing.
We have proposed that the work on emotional, social and multiple intelligence has missed a key form of human intelligence that we have called “systems intelligence.” By “systems intelligence” we mean “intelligent behaviour in the context of complex systems involving interaction and feedback. A subject acting with Systems Intelligence engages successfully and productively with the holistic feedback mechanisms of her environment. She perceives herself as part of the whole, the influence of the whole upon herself as well as her own influence upon the whole. By observing her own interdependence in the feedback intensive environment, she is able to act intelligently”. As the phrase suggests, systems intelligence relates to systems. As is customary in systems approaches, systems for us are complex wholes, the functioning of which depends on its parts and the interaction between those parts. Like Salovey and Mayer, we focus upon intelligence as something that “guides one’s thinking and action”.
Read also: Systems Intelligence
This thesis deals, in a variety of ways, with one overarching analytical question: how to analyze, from a sociological point of view, the importance of scientific knowledge in contemporary disputes on the fate of threatened nature in ‘world risk society’? Immediately, this question conjures a number of issues. On the side of society, it refers to what is by now a taken-for-granted part of Euro-American public knowledge: the world is facing a number of serious global environmental threats, where scientists play pivotal roles in defining the parameters of public and political action. Climate change is simply the latest addition to a long list of potential natural calamities. On the side of sociology, reference is made to what is arguably the most important contribution so far to understanding this global predicament: Ulrich Beck’s well-known Zeitdiagnosis of the world risk society. More than anyone, Beck has been responsible for bringing global environmental concern into the mainstream of sociology, giving rise to important research agendas. This thesis is indebted to his groundbreaking sociological work.
Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge provide educators with a rationale for incorporating three core skill sets in the classroom — understanding self, other, and the larger systems within which we operate—and show why these competencies are needed to help students navigate a fast-paced world of increasing distraction and growing interconnectedness. The book also offers examples of model educational programs that include these competencies in their curriculum, and shares best practices for introducing them in schools.
The habits of a systems thinker are helping educators bring a coherent overall framework to a field that has had many pioneers in various school settings. We are now witnessing that seeing the big picture, identifying circles of causality, understanding how the structure of a system produces its behavior, and recognizing the benefits of looking at problems from different perspectives can help educators focus on deeper thinking skills across virtually all curricula and ages. The key to this progression is offering developmentally appropriate tools that enable students to articulate and hone their systems intelligence.
Read also: Daniel Coleman: What are the Habits of a Systems Thinker?
Peter Senge: Education, Systems Thinking and Our Careers
The way I see it, philosophy should serve human flourishing. To this effect, philosophy should break away from its academic and scholarly boundaries, take seriously its Socratic origins, and develop communicative strategies that work in the contemporary context. Philosophy is the art of thinking and its chief instrument is reason. Each human being possesses the potential for thinking and for insight. Accordingly, philosophy should strengthen that capacity. Philosophy aims to contribute to the creation of a better life as a result of an individual’s improved thinking. Thus understood, philosophy is more an activity than a discipline. Indeed, in my opinion philosophy should insist on personal, context-sensitive, multi-methodological, multi-layered and polyphonic dialogue with people. Connectivity and relatedness are of the essence. Philosophy thus conceived operates across paradigms and covers existentially, pragmatically and humanly fundamental aspects of life with energy, excitement, a sense of integration and a feel for the relevant.