Origins of Systems Thinking LO23968

From: Ron Short (
Date: 02/12/00

Replying to LO23925 --

Hi Steve. Your email was forwarded to me via Dick Webster and I'm pleased
to respond because of the importance and relevance of your task. In my
view in the future leaders will manage systemic patterns---less

The commonly held "father of systems thinking" is Ludwig Von Bertallanfy,
General Systems Theory. An excellent biography about him and his ideas is
Uncommon Senseby Davidson.

I've been into systems thinking for most of my career, but primarily from
the standpoint of here-and-now systems operating. Most of my thought is
derived from the human systems thinking taken from Structural Family
Therapy by Salvador Minuchin (Families and Family Therapy)and then
applying the ideas to organizations --(family therapists are the leaders
in the application of systems thinking in my view). I have two articles
on applying these ideas to OD in Consultation: An International Journal.
One in Vol. 4, #2 Summer '85 and I believe the second is in the Fall of
the same journal. The origins of this thought I suppose would be Gergory
Bateson at the philosophical level and Murray Bowen at the practical
level, Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. An excellent overview is by
Michael Kerr, Chapter 7 in Handbook of Family Therapy by Gurman and

I also have recently completed a book that intends to put simplified tools
of systems thinking and interpersonal learning into the heads and hands of
the learners in organizations. Its title is Learning in Relationship.
You could order a copy from me via email. I also would send you a copy of
my two above articles at cost if you send me your address.

Hope this is helpful.

Ronald Short
13807 SE 51st Pl.
Bellevue, WA 98006
(425) 641-7246


Ron Short <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.