Coping and intervention in Complex System

It is fundamental when undertaking systemic transformation to avoid costly mistakes that can be detrimental to viability and sustainability.

System failure does not stem from cause and effect relationship but from pathology of the system as a whole. If the individual or their organization is incapable of associating effects with their causes , then learning and adaptation is not possible and both will go on repeating the same error. System governance is a continuous cycle due to systemic external and internal conditions requiring effective adaptation.


According to Doerner (cf Doerner 1992) six classes mistake people are prone to make  in coping with and intervening in complex systems:

  • Class I: The perception and description of system objective is too narrow. It is imperative to clearly define the system  in order to understand the system and its emerging behaviour
  • Class II: The situation analysis of a system focuses on quantitative data and static aspects  without considering dynamics and causal relationship. Systemic transformation requires thorough system architecture  and dynamic analysis
  • Class III: Intervention in a complex system irreversibly focuses on single favorite aspect. This can be overcome by means of relevant transparent teams to address problems and adaptation adopting Team Syntegrity to filter-out bias
  • Class IV: Blindness of side effects. This can be overcome by adopting Causal Loop diagrams to identify cause and effect relationship and more important identify emerging patterns of behavior.
  • Class V: The intervention is a complex system are first to weak and then too strong. System dynamics modelling can be used to evaluate efficacy of intervention. Systemic cockpit is also fundamental to evaluate systemic systemic state, achievements of its goals and via feedback its efficacy.
  • Class VI : The intervention in complex system is dominated by authoritative behavior that overestimates level of understanding of the system. This can be overcome by means of adopting Viable System Model as a governance approach for design and diagnosis furthermore Team Syntegrity tend to diminish authoritative behavior.

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IT Transformation consultant specifically within SAP space with strong interest in System Thinking and Cybernetics Management.

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