This page lists academic institutions and research centers engaged in systems thinking and practice, and where available, those institutions who offer systems education programs.
The Organization Systems Renewal® program (OSR) of Bainbridge Graduate Institute in Seattle, Washington, is one of the foremost programs in the world offering graduate study in systems thinking, design and leadership. OSR is this year’s President’s Pick for our Academic Affiliates Program.
OSR offers a graduate course of study that brings a distinct systemic approach to issues of adaptive leadership in organization contexts. By considering issues of individual and collective transformation from the perspective of complex adaptive and living systems theory, OSR provides a pragmatic learning focus on interrelatedness and the development of systems thinking habits and competencies. Principles such as interdependence, context, boundaries, feedback, structure, and mental models are placed in a context of leadership skill development. Students learn how to see systems and apply systems thinking tools in their everyday contexts to better address the many complex challenges found in their family, community, and organizational systems. Some of the skills OSR graduates learn to master include: being able to identify and explain concepts and principles of systems theory and how it is distinguished from the linear, mechanistic worldviews; gain new insights into complex and recurring issues by using systems thinking perspectives, habits, and tools; learning to see systems, make them visible, and identify leverage points for systemic organizational change; and experiencing how to embody a systemic consciousness in their daily ways of being in the various real-world systems of which they are a part. For further information, click here.
Systems Design and Complexity Management Alliance, Business School, The University of Adelaide, Australia
We are living in a complex and ever changing world Policy makers, managers and leaders today are expected to cope with increasing complexity, change, and diversity. Complex environmental, socio-economic, business-finance, infrastructure and planning and sustainability problems tend to transcend the jurisdictions and capacities of any single organisation, or profession. Managing such complexities requires stepping outside our collective 'comfort zone', developing new ways of thinking and acting in the interest of our future.
There are a multitude of difficult, long-term global challenges ahead, almost all of which are coupled with our most pressing national concerns. It has therefore become crucial for the future managers and leaders to find new ways of thinking that are systems design-led to deal with complex problems in a systemic, integrated and collaborative fashion - that is, working together in identifying and dealing with root causes of issues rather than focusing on short-term fixes. Systems thinking offers a holistic and integrative way of appreciating all the major dimensions of a complex problem and enables the formation of effective and long-term management strategies (systemic interventions).
Teaching includes systems courses and advanced modules in a newly designed cutting edge MBA that has a systems foundation; introductory systems courses at both undergraduate and graduate level that are open to all students from all Faculties (from 2014). Research focus on establishing and institutionalising Evolutionary Learning Laboratories for dealing with complex issues, ranging from business, social, and environment to organisational, defence and aero-space and corporate functioning. In the area of leadership development much effort is put into one of the main leverage points for a societal change towards new ways of thinking, namely "Starting with the Young". Cybernetics and systems gaming and competitions in high schools and first year university students are used to develop a strong awareness of the interconnected nature of any system, while the research focuses on how successful these mechanisms are in instilling those attributes that will help creating leadership capabilities to shift away from traditional linear thinking to systems thinking and addressing the root causes of problems, rather than the symptoms with quick fixes. For further information, click here.
United Kingdom (UK)
The Centre for Systems Studies is an international centre of excellence for groundbreaking applied research on systems thinking and practice. CSS continues the distinctive research into systems theory and practice which has been undertaken at Hull for over twenty-five years, and is unique in its interdisciplinary research agenda of critical systems thinking. Members of the centre hold expertise in most of the major strands of systems thinking, including general system theory, operational research, cybernetics, soft systems thinking and complexity theory. CSS has strong links with the International Society for the Systems Sciences and the United Kingdom Systems Society. Systems Research and Behavioural Science, the official journal of the International Federation for Systems Research and the leading systems journal, is also edited by members of the CSS. For further information, click here.
United States of America (USA)
Saybrook University offers accredited masters and doctoral degrees in areas such as, Organizational Systems, Mind-Body Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Human Science, and General Psychology. For further information, click here.
External Systems Education Conferences
2007 Symposia Series on System Science and Health
Webcast/podcast sponsored by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other components of NIH.