Week 1 Essay
To identify system errors we must first define what a system is. A system, when used in management terms, can be described as an organizational structure or processes within an industry. There are two main ways of approaching a system, Traditional Thinking and Systems Thinking. Traditional thinking is approaching the system as individual parts; addressing each part as its own entity. Systems Thinking is focusing on the organization from a systematic approach. This means looking at the organization as a whole, and not individual parts (Reed). Col. George Reed defined the systems approach in three steps: identifying a system, explaining the behavior or properties of the whole system, and explaining the behavior or properties of the role(s) or function(s) of the whole system. Each of these steps helps to identify system errors within an organization.
Pulling from my experience working for an automotive retailer for several years, I was able to identity two system errors; Setting unrealistic goals and Inefficiency. In the following paragraphs, I will define and discuss these identified system errors and how the errors could be resolved using system thinking.
The first of the system errors identified is Unrealistic goals. During my time at the dealership I had the opportunity to observe many “goal” setting meetings. The store and employee goals were appointed by top management at the beginning of each month based off of what they perceived as “realistic producing numbers”. Employees were expected to sell twice as many vehicles with half of the staff. In John Seddon’s article “Think Outside-in””, he defines this type of thinking as “Top-down”. “Top-down” thinking is where top management looks at the system only from the top-level management perspective; trying to cut costs (less employees) but increase productivity (sell more vehicles). This particular approach doesn’t consider the challenges of the sales-staff in meeting such unrealistic...