Systems Thinking

Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture


  • Jamshid Gharajedaghi, President and CEO of Interact, former director of The Busch Center, the research arm of the Systems Sciences Department, and Adjunct Professor of Systems Sciences at The Wharton School, University of Pennyslvania, President and CEO, InteractDesign, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

In a global market economy, a viable business cannot be locked into a single form or function anymore. Rather, success is contingent upon a self-renewing capacity to spontaneously create structures, functions, and processes responsive to a fluctuating business landscape. Now in its third edition, Systems Thinking synthesizes systems theory and interactive design, providing an operational methodology for defining problems and designing solutions in an environment increasingly characterized by chaos and complexity.

The current edition has been updated to include all new chapters on self-organizing systems, Holistic, Operational, and Design thinking. Gharajedaghi covers recent crises in financial systems and job markets, the housing bubble, and environment, assessing their impact on systems thinking. A companion website to accompany the book is available at

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Senior executives; Chief Information/Operating Officers and other executives charged with systems management and process improvement. Secondary market: IT/MBA students and academics.


Book information

  • Published: June 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-385915-0


Einstein once wrote, "Without changing our pattern of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we created with our current patterns of thought." Jamshid develops a pattern of thought that will yield solutions to those problems.-Russell Ackoff, Professor Emeritus, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Gharajedaghi challenged us to think backwards from an ideal competitive position instead of forwards from our existing position with all its constraints. The result was bolder thinking about change. Jamshid forces a realistic assessment of a company’s strengths and weaknesses, an idealistic view of what it could be, and creates the path from point A to point B.-Bill Tiefel, President, Marriott Lodging

Gharajedaghi was perfect! He had passion and brilliance. He could challenge our traditional thinking and make us see our actions and opportunities from a different perspective.-William G. Poist, President and CEO, Commonwealth Energy System

"This volume on business management explores the development of complex systems and advocates for iterative design principles as a foundational philosophy for dealing with complex, chaotic systems. The volume discusses system theory and changes to traditional paradigms in light of emerging technologies and business methodologies and explores case studies from industry leaders that showcase these systems philosophies."--SciTech Book News

Table of Contents

Part I: Systems Philosophy: The Name of the Devil

Chapter 1: How the Game Is Evolving

Part II Systems Theory: The Nature of the Beast

Chapter 2: Systems Principles

Chapter 3: Socio-cultural Systems

Chapter 4: Socio-cultural System 2

Part III: Systems Methodology: Logic of the Madness

Chapter 5: Holistic Thinking

Chapter 6: Operational Thinking

Chapter 7: Design Thinking

Chapter 8: Design Thinking (2), Formulation of mess

Chapter 9: Designing thinking (3), Business Architecture

Part IV: Systems Practice: The Gutsy Few

Chapter 10: Oneida Nation

Chapter 11: Butterworth Health System

Chapter 12: Marriott Corporation

Chapter 13; Commonwealth Energy

Chapter 14: Carrier Corporation