Managing Dynamic Complexity: Opportunities for Systems Thinking in Graduate Management Education

V. R. Kannan, Utah State University
J. B. Atwater
A. A. Stephens


Competition and the time pressure to respond are adding to the challenges faced by business leaders. Managers are increasingly faced with decision-making scenarios characterised by significant dynamic complexity. While Systems Thinking (ST) tools exist to help prepare managers deal with dynamic complexity, it is not clear whether managers are in fact aware of or incorporating ST in making complex decisions. Results of a survey of faculty at the leading graduate schools of management in the USA suggest that opportunities exist to expand the awareness of ST both among faculty and the managers they are preparing. Moreover, they demonstrate a need to distinguish thinking about systems from thinking systemically.