Systems Thinking and Personality Types LO22541

Wed, 1 Sep 1999 11:34:25 +530

Replying to LO22513 --

This is related to LO22502

Bill Braun wrote:

> After pondering the question Chuck posed and reading some of the responses
> to date, I'd like to build on his question with a trio of friendly
> rejoinders. One, what difference does it make? Two, if we find that one
> type is better disposed toward ST, what do we do with everyone else?
> Three, isn't the question antithetical to ST in the first place?

I find this 'trio of friendly rejoinders' very interesting, as interesting
as the initial question Chuck has posed. I find several questions are
being posed in various applied disciplines somewhat similar to the one
Chuck has posed. This seems to relate to a quest for reducing the effort
required in achieving some special results. If indeed a special 'type' of
personality better disposed to 'systems thinking' is found, may be some
difficult 'system problems' can be presented to them and a superior
'systems solution' can be expected. If indeed such a superior solution is
produced, it will be a definite contribution to improve some practical
situation. Therefore, the quest itself is quite legitimate in my humble

It is a different issue that we do not always seem to be able to identify
such special 'types', and even if we seem to do sometimes, they do not
seem to produce such special results we expect from them without some
additional effort.

As to the relationship with systems thinking, it is worth noting that one
of the well-known systems thinkers, Dr. Russell L. Ackoff, has been
working on personality typing for several years. I had the opportunity to
review one of his recent monographs on this subject. The review itself
appeared in Systems Research:

Dash,D. P. (1999). Review of Russell Ackoff^s
Exploring Personality: An Intellectual
Odyssey, Systems Research and Behavioral
Science, 16. pp. 395-397.

In the review, I concluded that the vocabulary of classical science has
been used in studying personality. Ackoff himself has used it. However,
the vocabulary of 'soft systems thinking' (of which Ackoff himself is an
architect) can be used to study personality from a different perspective.
It seems, in some parts of the monograph Ackoff has used this vocabulary,
although not very explicitly, to develop his thoughts on personality

If there is an interest on this, we might discuss this a little more to
explore what difference the vocabulary of 'soft systems thinking' makes to
the study of personality.



Prof. D. P. Dash
Xavier Institute of Management
Bhubaneswar 751013


"DP DASH" <>

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