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Systems, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2017)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Examining the Use of Systemic Approach for Adoption of Systems Thinking in Organizations
Systems 2017, 5(3), 43; doi:10.3390/systems5030043
Received: 8 April 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 28 June 2017
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Abstract
The need for systems thinking (ST) in organizations is being increasingly felt, and sustained effort towards nurturing ST in organizations is still rare. Some companies that tried it earlier were not so successful. One of the reasons for this problem is that the
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The need for systems thinking (ST) in organizations is being increasingly felt, and sustained effort towards nurturing ST in organizations is still rare. Some companies that tried it earlier were not so successful. One of the reasons for this problem is that the implementation is done more with a reductionist mindset rather than a systemic mindset. It is no doubt challenging for managers so accustomed to reductionist thinking to cultivate the habits of systems thinking. This paper examines the use of a systemic approach for the successful adoption of systems thinking in organizations. The systemic approach needs a good system model for the systematic guidance of the implementation. The systemic model used in this study is a spirit, mind, and body model (SMB)—a holistic model taken from the spiritual lore which emphasizes the need for the alignment of spirit, mind, and body in order to achieve human excellence. We extended this model for use in an organizational context, and defined the systems of the spirit, systems of the mind, and systems of the body for an organization. Systems of the spirit are related to the leadership system, systems of the mind to the learning and change management systems, and systems of the body to the supporting systems such as tools and technology. We used such a model earlier to explain the suboptimal results in the implementation of capability maturity models (CMM) in software companies in India. In this paper, we used this model to explain the rather unsatisfactory results in the implementation of ST in companies like Ford and the satisfactory results in the implementation of “work out” at GE. “Work out” is a five-step process in which ST is a prominent step. We argued whether “work out” can be a good warm-up step that can prepare the organization for successful ST implementation. The study shows that the SMB framework is helpful in conducting an intelligent discourse about the implementation of ST-like initiatives in companies and has excellent potential for use as a guide for ST implementation in organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership for Sustainable Socio-Ecological Systems)
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Open AccessArticle A Systems-Based Framework for Design and Analysis of an R and D Structure
Systems 2017, 5(3), 44; doi:10.3390/systems5030044
Received: 11 April 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
A critical challenge for managerial effectiveness and competitive advantage in research and development (R and D) organizations is developing an appropriate structural configuration. However, in finding an appropriate structural configuration, R and D managers are faced with unprecedented levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, and
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A critical challenge for managerial effectiveness and competitive advantage in research and development (R and D) organizations is developing an appropriate structural configuration. However, in finding an appropriate structural configuration, R and D managers are faced with unprecedented levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, and accelerating complexity, coupled with demands for increased productivity. This paper develops a systems-based framework to support rigorous design, analysis, and transformation of the structure for R and D organizations. The framework development includes: (1) a review of the literature for the nature and role of the structure in R and D management; (2) setting of the R and D structure problem from a systems perspective; (3) establishing a systems view of R and D structure; (4) articulation of a systems-based framework for R and D structure drawing on management cybernetics and systems theory; and (5) an application of the framework to design the structure for a multidisciplinary R and D center. The paper concludes with implications and utility of the framework for practicing R and D managers challenged with structuring an R and D organization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ontology-Based Big Data Management
Systems 2017, 5(3), 45; doi:10.3390/systems5030045
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Big data management is no longer an issue for large enterprises only; it has also become a challenge for small and middle-sized enterprises, too. Today, enterprises have to handle business data and processes of increasing complexity that are almost entirely electronic in nature,
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Big data management is no longer an issue for large enterprises only; it has also become a challenge for small and middle-sized enterprises, too. Today, enterprises have to handle business data and processes of increasing complexity that are almost entirely electronic in nature, regardless of enterprises’ size. Enterprises’ information systems need functions based on specific technologies to be able to reduce and interpret the complexity of business data and processes. This paper pursues the question: how can state-of-the-art information systems be improved by the use of semantic technologies, and particularly ontologies? For this purpose, three use cases of information systems that could be improved are described, and approaches based on semantic technologies and ontologies are proposed. The selected use cases relate to data integration, data quality, and business process integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Approaches and Tools for Managing Complexity)
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Open AccessArticle A Method for Simplification of Complex Group Causal Loop Diagrams Based on Endogenisation, Encapsulation and Order-Oriented Reduction
Systems 2017, 5(3), 46; doi:10.3390/systems5030046
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Growing complexity represents an issue that can be identified in various disciplines. In system dynamics, causal loop diagrams are used for capturing dynamic nature of modelled systems. Increasing complexity of developed diagrams is associated with the tendency to include more variables into a
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Growing complexity represents an issue that can be identified in various disciplines. In system dynamics, causal loop diagrams are used for capturing dynamic nature of modelled systems. Increasing complexity of developed diagrams is associated with the tendency to include more variables into a model and thus make it more realistic and improve its value. This is even multiplied during group modelling workshops where several perspectives are articulated, shared and complex diagrams developed. This process easily generates complex diagrams that are difficult or even impossible to be comprehended by individuals. As there is a lack of available methods that would help users to cope with growing complexity, this manuscript suggests an original method. The proposed method systematically helps to simplify the complex causal loop diagrams. It is based on three activities iteratively applied during particular steps: endogenisation, encapsulation and order-oriented reduction. Two case studies are used to explain method details, prove its applicability and highlight added value. Case studies include the simplification of both original group causal loop diagram, and group diagram adapted from a study already published in a prestigious journal. Although the presented method has its own limitations, meaningfulness of its application in practice is verified. The method can help to cope with the complexity in any domain, in which causal loop diagrams are used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Approaches and Tools for Managing Complexity)
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Open AccessArticle On Using Ilities of Non-Functional Properties for Subsystems and Components
Systems 2017, 5(3), 47; doi:10.3390/systems5030047
Received: 25 April 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 23 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
The use of ilities for systems engineering of subsystems and components is investigated. Prior work on ilities has emphasized or restricted their application to system level, non-functional properties. The premise of this work is that ilities can be applied with benefit, and in
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The use of ilities for systems engineering of subsystems and components is investigated. Prior work on ilities has emphasized or restricted their application to system level, non-functional properties. The premise of this work is that ilities can be applied with benefit, and in some cases out of necessity, to lower levels of systems as well. The veracity of this premise is established by providing examples that demonstrate how some ilities are passed and used as a non-functional property of electrical and structural subsystems in aircraft. It is further demonstrated that flowing ilities down to the subsystem level is not only a useful practice for systems engineers, it can also be an essential step to ensure that customer needs are actually met by the system under design or service. Systems engineers often lack the detailed knowledge of the subsystems or components required to translate ilities into functional requirements. Thus, the system ilities are passed down and translated from non-functional to functional requirements by subject matter experts. We first discuss the definition, characteristics and scope of ilities. Then, we formulate the application of ilities at a subsystem level. Next, we show aircraft engineering examples for ilities applications. The application process is formalized with diagrams, and ilities’ relation to system architecture engineering is discussed. The work concludes with a summary and suggestions for future work. Full article
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