Systems Thinking book cover

Systems Thinking

Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture

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

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

Paperback, 376 Pages

Published: June 2011

Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann

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


  • 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



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