From an open access edition 2015 Conference on Systems Engineering Research https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/procedia-computer-science/vol/44/suppl/C
A Definition of Systems Thinking: A Systems Approach
Ross D.Arnold Jon P.Wade Stevens Institute, Castle Point on Hudson Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA
Available online 16 March 2015.
This paper proposes a definition of systems thinking for use in a wide variety of disciplines, with particular emphasis on the development and assessment of systems thinking educational efforts. The definition was derived from a review of the systems thinking literature combined with the application of systems thinking to itself. Many different definitions of systems thinking can be found throughout the systems community, but key components of a singular definition can be distilled from the literature. This researcher considered these components both individually and holistically, then proposed a new definition of systems thinking that integrates these components as a system. The definition was tested for fidelity against a System Test and against three widely accepted system archetypes. Systems thinking is widely believed to be critical in handling the complexity facing the world in the coming decades; however, it still resides in the educational margins. In order for this important skill to receive mainstream educational attention, a complete definition is required. Such a definition has not yet been established. This research is an attempt to rectify this deficiency by providing such a definition.