Respond to 2 Colleagues discussion 1-2 paragraphs for each Colleague

Read through your colleagues’ posts and respond to two or more of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

· Provide an insight that you gained about systems thinking and how that could impact your own practices or practices at the organization you identified.

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· Present a contrasting perspective or approach to systems thinking than was presented by your colleague, with an explanation as to why it might better serve the organization.

· Compare your findings at the organization you identified with those of your colleague.

 

 

1st Colleague to respond to:

My current organization is with the federal government. I work for the Internal Revenue Service.  The poor systems thinking that I observed in Accounts Management department was “Todays problems come from yesterday’s solutions (Senge,2006). Covid-19 prompted a lot decisions and changes in the department. A decision that I would like to discuss is the issuance of balance due notices. The tax deadline was extended to July 15th. A decision was made to halt balance due notices to after the date. The balance due notices are computer generated. The balance due notices went out to taxpayers who had balance after the due date and notices went out to taxpayers who made a payment to clear the balance. Taxpayers were charged interest and penalties on accounts where the payment could have well been received but have not posted to the account. The decision to send computer generated notices out caused an influx of calls to the Account Management regarding balances, payment arrangements, payment verifications, penalty, and interest abatements.

Managers makers who made the decision on the processing of the mail, sending out the computer -generated notices, and no adjustments to programming were using yesterday’s thinking. I understand why the processing of the mail being halted for safety and health reasons. I have no problem with the decision to take extra precautions with the mail. The decision to send out the computer -generated notices without adjustments in programming created problems for today. The call volume increased, the wait time increased, and the mailed in taxpayer inquiry increased.

I think there might have been a different outcome if managers understood the principle of the parts of the whole fit together. I think the decision making should have included managers, program analysts, and the IT department. If the above mentioned all came together to make the decisions, they would have been able to see the problems from all angles and would have been able to anticipate the unintended consequence. The outcome would have been different because with the diverse group, they would have created solutions to include manpower for the mail, change in processes to separate or process payments separately, programming to suppress notices and penalties. The pandemic caused the problem so it’s not like the organization can look at solutions to other problems in the past (Senge, 2006). The organization can continue to try different solutions to the problems.

References:

Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.

 

 

2nd Colleague to respond to:

Thinking and Organizational Disabilities

A brief description of an organization with which you are familiar and the example of poor systems thinking you observe

One of the most accurate business facts and one of the most baffling is when major organizations face challenges within an organization, and often fail to respond effectively. Due to applying weak systems of thinking these major companies suddenly are not able to compete against competitors who are equipped with new products, or strategies. They face the issues of watching sales and profits drastically decrease, and they are not able to retain employees. Some companies never make it back, but some, fortunately, manage to recover most likely after daunting actions of downsizing and restructuring. The organization that comes to mind when I think of applying poor systems of thinking would be Firestone. Firestone Tire at one point was leading in the tire industry. The failure did not happen because they did not want to make the change, but they applied weak systems of thinking which did not allow them to act appropriately.

An explanation of the core issues that you think led to this systems failure, including whether managers were using “yesterday’s thinking”

Like most management ideas, systems thinking is not a miracle cure for corporate problems. Before embracing it, you need to keep in mind both the strengths and weaknesses of systems thinking. The big strength is its effectiveness at finding problems. The big weakness is that it is difficult to do successfully. In a small startup, it may be easy to get a systems overview of the problem because everyone is on one small team (Aronson, 1999). As the company grows, things become much more complex, making it hard to get a systems overview that takes in everything. Departments, branches, and projects start to silo, which makes gathering all the information difficult. Another weakness is that systems thinking is not a good tool for tackling a crisis. If, say, a person suffers a heart attack, systems thinking about lifestyle, diet and medication changes is important but only after the crisis passes. Likewise, systems thinking is not the best tool when your business is in emergency mode.

A different or better outcome if managers had understood the principle of the “parts of the whole fit together” (Justify your response.)

Thus far, according to Atwater, & Pittman (2006),  it was stated that “understanding why systems behave the way they do is particularly important in today’s businesses, which have evolved into multi-minded, multipurpose, complex social systems” (p. 275). Moreover, Atwater, & Pittman (2006), also confirmed  “two types of  thinking from a different perspective, analytical thinking helps people understand what the parts do and how they work, while synthetic thinking explains why the parts do what they do” (p. 275). However, if a manager understood the principle of the “parts of the whole fit together” this could improve employee morale, which can increase loyalty. There are other benefits of knowing how this come together as a whole would increase productivity due to saving commuting time. Cost savings if you do not need office space for every employee. In the event of a terrorist attack, having a widely dispersed workforce can reduce the disruptions. Less oversight of your employees and potential for security lapses.

 

References:

Aaronson, D. (1999). Systems Thinking. Retrieved from http://www.thinking.net/Systems_Thinking/systems_thinking.html.

 

Atwater, J. B., & Pittman, P. H. (2006). Facilitating Systemic Thinking in Business Classes. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 4(2), 273–292.

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