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© 2009

Systems Thinkers

Textbook

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 1-8
  3. Early Cybernetics

    1. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 11-17
    2. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 19-26
    3. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 27-34
    4. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 35-43
    5. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 45-53
  4. General Systems Theory

    1. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 57-65
    2. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 67-75
    3. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 77-86
    4. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 87-95
  5. System Dynamics

    1. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 99-108
    2. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 109-118
    3. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 119-128
  6. Soft and Critical Systems

    1. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 131-138
    2. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 139-147
    3. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 149-157
    4. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 159-167
    5. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 169-176
  7. Later Cybernetics

    1. Magnus Ramage, Karen Shipp
      Pages 179-187

About this book

Introduction

Systems Thinkers presents a biographical history of the field of systems thinking, by examining the life and work of thirty of its major thinkers. It discusses each thinker’s key contributions, the way this contribution was expressed in practice and the relationship between their life and ideas. This discussion is supported by an extract from the thinker’s own writing, to give a flavour of their work and to give readers a sense of which thinkers are most relevant to their own interests.

Systems thinking is necessarily interdisciplinary, so that the thinkers selected come from a wide range of areas – biology, management, physiology, anthropology, chemistry, public policy, sociology and environmental studies among others. Some are core innovators in systems ideas; some have been primarily practitioners who also advanced and popularised systems ideas; others are well-known figures who drew heavily upon systems thinking although it was not their primary discipline. A significant aim of the book is to broaden and deepen the reader’s interest in systems writers, providing an appetising ‘taster’ for each of the 30 thinkers, so that the reader is encouraged to go on to study the published works of the thinkers themselves.

Keywords

Biographical History Cybernetics Niklas Luhmann Systems Ideas Systems Thinkers biology complexity environment management physiology systems theory

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

Bibliographic information

Reviews

From the reviews: “Ramage and Shipp wrote this book as a textbook for a course in the UK’s Open University. … This work examines 30 major figures from all disciplines. The authors describe each figure in terms of how their work fits the ‘systems thinking’ pattern … . This book is suitable for its stated purpose as a resource tool for a course in a specialized academic discipline. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, and faculty.” (C. G. Wood, Choice, Vol. 47 (9), May, 2010)