System Thinking: Strategic Planning


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This TMA has one question with three sub sections. You should answer them all. The questions in this assignment are all about different aspects of the process of exploring a complex situation.

Question 1 (100% marks)

You are strongly advised to use the AOU e-library to locate additional relevant resources which can support your analysis and argument. This will earn you extra points.

a) Read through the attached article “System Thinking: Strategic Planning”. As you read through the article create one spray diagram to summarize the case content respecting the conventions, and techniques. It is advised that students submit hand drawn diagrams as opposed to computer generated ones. Photocopies of diagrams should not be accepted. Reflect on your diagram with no more than 150 words (15% marks).

b) Based on what you learned in T205A – T552 Diagraming, identify the main system of interest in the article and create one system map diagram showing all the components of such system. Pay special attention to the groupings and the hierarchy of the different components. Reflect on your diagram with no more than 150 words (15% marks).
c) Using an essay format of no more than 2000 words, and based on what you learned in T205A- T551 primer, and in concept files 02 and 03 and based on the ideas put forth by Batra, Kaushik, and Kalia in the attached article, tackle the following ideas:

1- Describe the principles of systems’ thinking, as discussed in the article and based on what you learned in T551 primer and contrast its principles to those of strategic management as described in the article (Word count 650; 20 Marks).

2- Analyze the effectiveness of the systems thinking principles for management by explaining the steps for applying the holistic thinking principles (5 Marks, 150 words), and assessing their impact on the following aspects of organizational life:
• Motivation (15 Marks) 300 words
 (What is motivation, its importance and impact, focusing on how applying the systems approach to management can aid in this regards, justify your argument).
• Communication (10 Marks) 300 words
 (Importance of good communication, and the impact of active listening, assessing the relations if any between systems thinking and active listening)
• Conflict (15 Marks) 300 words
 (Its nature and sources, its impact, and ways for resolving it; with a focus on whether applying the systems approach can have any bearing on conflict resolution; justify your answer).
• Analyze how systems thinking can help in the case of mental models which have self-sealing impact (5 Marks) 250 words.
(2000 words) (70 marks) (Please see guidance below)
General Mark’s deductions of 20% as follows
• PT3 Form (failure to use the PT3 completely filled) (deduct up to 5% marks)
• TMA Presentation and Structure, and word count (untidy, work way below or above the word count, no display of word count) (deduct up to 5% marks)
• Referencing and in-text citation (poor referencing and in-text citation, without plagiarism, (deduct up to 10% marks).

TMA Guidance to students
(a) Note that the submission for this question requires your rough spray diagrams, and a condensed or tided up version. You should do your best to follow the conventions for the spray diagram as explained in T552. It is also important that the diagram communicates to your tutor, so make sure the writing is legible and not too small. However, don’t redraw your initial rough spray diagrams just to tidy them up; we want to see what you drew as you worked. You need to identify the main idea of the article and include it within your central topic, and then identify the most important points and include them within the subtopics blobs then branch out as explained in T552 appendix (A1.1.)

(b) Here you are required to draw a system map diagram, which shows all the components of your articulated system of interest. When drawing your diagram pay attention to the grouping and the hierarchy; show up to three levels of hierarchy. Your tutor’s feedback will be helpful in clarifying to you any misconceptions you might have about drawing the diagram and it will also help in assessing your diagramming skills.

(c) Here you are required to draw back on concepts learned in T551 and Concept file 02 in order to analyze the questions. Please remember that for each section you need to provide a clear theoretical discussion, and then explain how those concepts are related to the case on hand. Again you are strongly advised to use your own words to discuss the concepts as you understood them. Do not copy material from the books or the case since it will have a negative impact on your grade, and very importantly do not get consumed in a purely theoretical and descriptive analysis without assessing how the systems thinking principles can be applied. Make sure to respect the word count as it is an indicator to you of the depth of analysis required. Please remember that failure to paraphrase, and to reference will also lead to failing the TMA.

Please remember that your work should be structured in an essay format with a clear introduction, then possibly different subsections (as needed) to assess each idea and a conclusion.
The introduction should set out the topic of the discussion clearly. For each of the body paragraphs/sub-sections you need to provide a clear theoretical discussion which explains how the relevant course concepts are related to the article on hand. The conclusion should summarize your findings and reflect on your learning. You should not write in the first person (i.e. I think), the third person is more appropriate for college level writing (i.e. we can conclude), but in any case it is preferable to avoid both styles and to state your argument (i.e. instead of saying “this essay will tackle the motivation and the systems thinking approach”, you can start with a statement about systems thinking in organizations). Similarly in your conclusion you should not use “it could be concluded”, rather simply restate the main points and your findings.
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