Systems Thinking – A Definition

Systems Thinking is an aid to reviewing the entirety of a complex socio-technical problem.  It employs a variety of techniques:

It can be used as a “front end” analysis to arrive at a clearer formulation of the problem.  In such work it can help isolate myths and identify vested interests.

I normally apply the method in business to:

  • improve high level operational business processes, 
  • define operational strategy improvements
  • refine the requirements of project, 

I have tutored OU systems courses for 30 years and uses some of this theory and principles in many of his assignments. 

Systems Thinking Course

A day long introductory course, draws upon OU experience and my personal practical experience and lays the foundation by covering the language and key techniques of Systems Thinking in the first half and then in the second half examples of their application, including Group work. 

The 2 syllabi linked in this paragraph show duration 5 days, which is for the Middle East option.  The schedule can be completed in 3 days in the UK.  An extended 3 day course currently being delivered is Organisational Benefits of Systems Thinking  The participants will be introduced to several useful analytical tools and an awareness of how and when to use them.  For those who wish to take it further we offer Analytical Management Techniques.

OU course details can be found on and the course numbers will take you quickly to the requisite detail.  Some courses may no longer be supported.

System Thinking also forms part of the MBA (Business) and MBA/MSc (Technology Management) courses. 

Free Management Info

Our assignments use a method developed both academically and in actual practice.  The methodology is summarised in our Service Information Template which is available on request by email to without obligation.  There will be no follow-up unless you request one.