Systemic Business Community

A salon discussing research into systemics and business

Welcome to the Systemic Business Community

The Systemic Business Community is a loose network of business researchers and reflective practitioners, who share a foundation in a systemic approach to business.

The four founders of this community were David Hawk, Minna Takala, Ian Simmonds and David Ing.  We don’t meet physically as often as we did at the origins, because we’re not all in the New York / New Jersey area simultaneouly.  Along the way, we’ve picked up some friends with similar interests, including Annaleena Parhankangas, Marianne Kosits and Gary Metcalf.

What do we mean by a systemic approach to business?

We might have chosen to use the term “systems approach”, but have chosen the term “systemic approach” in the hope of reducing ambiguity in today’s ubiquity of information systems.

On the broadest level, the systems approach belongs to a whole class of approaches to managing and planning our human affairs with the intent that we as a living species conduct ourselves properly in this world. Everyone adopts at least one such approach during his/her life, even if he/she is a recluse, an agnostic, a nihilist.

The systems approach is, therefore, only one approach to the way in which humans should respond to reality; but it is a “grand” approach, by which I mean “large”, “gigantic,” or “comprehensive”. It is one of the approaches based on the fundamental principle that all aspects of the human world should be tied together in one grand rational scheme ….

Source: C. West Churchman, The Systems Approach and its Enemies, Basic Books, 1979, p. 8.

The community shares an understanding of general systems theory, social systems science, learning organizations and information systems, applied to the design of, and coordination within, business enterprises.

This online community was founded by a small group of geographically-dispersed individuals who discovered similar interests at annual meetings of the International Society for the System Sciences. We then arranged to meet a few times each year in private dialogues, expanding their knowledge of theory and practice through an appreciation for creative, divergent thinking.

How does an individual participate in the community?

Some number of curious individuals — co-workers, acquaintances, students — have expressed interest in these dialogues.  There is the challenge of a “learning curve” of systemic concepts and vocabulary.
This community is a slightly more tightly-coupled unit of the Special Integration Group on Systems Applications in Business and Industry of the International Society for the System Sciences. We thrive on the broader perspective — beyond just business — of the ISSS. Looking at those web sites, you may find an appropriate entry point.

How is the website maintained?

The web pages and forums are maintained on a voluntary basis. This is intended as a not-for-profit venture, where education and research is shared peer-to-peer. You get as much as you give. (The founders are happily otherwise employed, thank you.)