The paper "Systems Thinking Is Critical in Developing Solutions to Sustainability Challenges" is a perfect example of business coursework. Sustainability has been an area of increased interest in present-day society. Individuals and businesses alike are trying to found ways of making the world better through sustainable initiatives. The increased attention in the area of sustainability is largely attributed to the emergence of many wicked problems that cause havoc to humans, plants, animals and the environment as a whole. Thomas defines a wicked problem as an issue that is difficult or impossible to solve because of the complexities involved, such as due to the contradictory, incomplete, differing opinions and persistent change in the requirements (par.
11). Pollution of oceans is one of the wicked problems that the world is grappling with today. Increased industrialization in different parts of the world has resulted in increased pollution of the oceanic water. The high rate of pollution of the oceanic waters is interfering with the aquatic life that depends on waters as their home. Systems thinking are widely recognized as one of the approaches to addressing sustainability issues, such as the pollution of the oceanic waters (Mingers 19).
However, the suitability of systems thinking in solving sustainability challenges remains a debatable issue as there are some people who do not believe this concept as a solution to sustainability challenges. This essay discusses the value of systems thinking in developing solutions to pollution of oceanic waters. System Thinking Concept System thinking has emerged as one of the approaches being sought as a solution to addressing sustainability issues. The academic literature is currently full of theoretical frameworks that adopt systems thinking as a problem-solving approach.
Despite the fact that this concept has been around for many years, it is still not well understood. Different scholars define the framework differently. Maani and Cavana define system thinking as the processes involved in understanding how things that make up a system influence each other in a system (32). Boardman and Sauser define system thinking as a problem-solving approach that focuses on the interdependence between things that makes up a system with the aim of understanding the changing pattern (6). This definition is trying to imply that a system thinker is that person who analyzes a complex problem by looking at the behavioral patterns for some time instead of just focusing on a specific issue.
Therefore, based on the two definitions, the common denominator is that system thinkers are broad-minded individuals who try to see things beyond broadly instead of just focusing on the context in which they are embedded (Vidas, and Johan Schei 36). Examples of system thinking include the ecosystem were different elements that make up the system, such as air, water, plants, animals, and living organisms interact to ensure survival.
However, in an organization, systems comprise of structures, people and processes that work in jointly and influence each other to ensure the good health of an organization. Boardman and Sauser advise that to solve wicked problems amicably, it is important to adopt a system thinking approach rather than linearly (11). Systems thinking are highly recommended for use in problem-solving because it ensures that an organization or a person’ s behavior is modeled in such a way that brings it in line with the sustainability law.
To others, systems thinking have become a popular approach used in solving complex problems since it enhances the understanding of the practitioners of the problem being solved and operates by uniting environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability. Consequently, this allows the society to solve the complex problems that face society and making the environment healthy and suitable for human and animals, as well as plants. Jackson conquers with the argument and proceeds to suggest that systems thinking are a very important approach to problem-solving, especially in the present-day society because it allows for easy solving of complex problems than other methods (43).
Besides, the author argues that systems thinking are a suitable model for problem-solving since it enables individuals and organizations to assess the current situations and happenings and use them in predicting what might happen in the future so that the right actions to minimize adverse consequences are taken right away something that Jackson represents in the form of a causal loop diagram. The diagram below (fig 1) shows a diagrammatic representation of the systems thinking approach to problem-solving.
Boardman, John and Brian Sauser. Systems Thinking: Coping with 21st Century Problems. London: CRC Press, 2008. Print.
Center for Biological Diversity. Ocean Plastics Pollution: A Global Tragedy for Our Oceans and Sea Life. Web. 6 April 2016 http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/
Jackson, Michael C. Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers. Wiley, Chichester, 2003. Print.
Kim, Sunmin. Can Systems Thinking Actually Solve Sustainability Challenges? Part 1, The Diagnosis, 2012. Web. 5 April 2016 http://erb.umich.edu/erbperspective/2012/06/04/systems-thinking-part-1/
Maani, Kambiz E., and Robert Y. Cavana. Systems Thinking, System Dynamics: Managing Change And Complexity. Prentice Hall, Auckland, NZ, 2007. Print.
Maani, Kambiz E., and Vandana Maharaj. Links between systems thinking and complex decision making" System Dynamics Review, 20. 1 (n.d): pp. 21-48. Print.
Mingers, John. Realising Systems Thinking: Knowledge And Action In Management Science. Springer, New York, USA, 2006. Print.
Smith, Tanzi. Using Critical Systems Thinking To Foster An Integrated Approach To Sustainability: A Proposal For Development Practitioners. Environment Development And Sustainability, 13. 1 (2011): 1-17. Print.
Thomas, John B. “Ocean Health as a Wicked Problem.” Huffington Post 14 April 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-b-thomas/ocean-health-as-a-wicked-_b_4770052.html
Vidas, Davor and Peter Johan Schei. The World Ocean in Globalisation: Climate Change, Sustainable Fisheries, Biodiversity, Shipping, Regional Issues. New York, NY: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2011. Print.