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    ST4S39-V1 STRATEGIC SYSTEMS THINKING Assignment:  Summative Essay assignment 1 Task: “Systems thinking essentially seeks to understand phenomena as a whole formed by the interaction of parts.” (Stacey, 2011)  Critically appraise the above statement in relation to changing ideas of strategic thinking and explain how it exists within YOUR Company’s approach to strategic management . Student : Evance Baron Mtikama Enrollment Number : 74107227 Studying : MBA Tutor : Christodoulos Kakouris Date of Submission : 27th January, 2019    INTRODUCTION This paper critically appraises the statement by Stacey, (2011) in relation to changing ideas of strategic thinking which states that “Systems thinking essentially seeks to understand phenomena as a whole formed by the interaction of parts.” The objective of the appraisal is to evaluate with evidence, the validity and relevance of the statement made by Stacey, (2011). In addition, the paper also appraises the existence of Strategic thinking at Management Sciences for Health. The appraisal is done through analysis of strategic systems thinking literature in the following areas: Approaches to Strategy; Systems Thinking; Complexity Perspective; Complex Adaptive Systems and Practice Perspective. Management Sciences for Health Strategic Plan was reviewed to ascertain the availability of deliberate strategies. Interviews were also conducted in order to obtain emergent strategies that emanated from implementation of deliberate strategies. Approaches to Strategic Thinking Researchers in strategy have used different approaches to strategy formulation. They have expressed the approaches in different classifications and given different names such as perspectives, schools of thought, models and frameworks instead of ‘approach’, though essentially, conveying the sam e meaning, Mishra, et al. (2017). Mintzberg, et al. (1999) in his schools of thought and their strategic approaches came up with the following strategic approaches: Dynamic capabilities strategic approach or Fit strategic approach as per Mintzberg, et al. (1999) explains that strategy tries to    achieve a match, or fit, between the internal and external such as Strength and Weaknesses and opportunities and threats respectively. This approach has been supported by many authors such as Gilbert et al. (1988), Whittington, (1993), Chaffee, (1985) and McKiernan, (1997). Soft techniques approach or Planning strategic approach according to Mintzberg, et al. (1999), emphasizes that strategy should be developed, formalized and implemented as per clear long term plan. This approach was also backed up by Näsi, (1995), Gilbert, et al. (1988), Whittington, (1993), Chafee (1965), Luoma, (2014), Faulkner and Campbell, (2003), and Hutzschenreuter and kleindienst, (2006). Strategic maneuvering or positioning strategic approach as explained in Mintzberg, et al. (1999) the firm will try to put itself within the setting of its industry where competition occurs and looks at ways to improve its strategic position within that industry. This approach was also analysed by Elfring and Volberda, (1994), Karlöf, (1987), Näsi, (1995), Gilbert, et. al. (1988), Richardson, (1994), McKiernan,(1997), Whittington, (1993) and Luoma, (2014). Entrepreneurship strategic approach, which is the mix of planning, deliberate and emergent strategic approach as per Mintzberg, et al. (1999), indicates that strategy comes from the mind of the leader of organization which provides long term direction and vision of the organization. The formation of strategy depends deeply on instinct, wisdom, judgment, insight and experience of the leader. This approach is like an entrepreneur whose success of the business largely depends on his wisdom. Constructivist strategic approach according to Mintzberg, et al. (1999,) states that the strategy is anxious with analysis of how people perceive patterns and processes information. This is also similar to the mix approach for the strategy comes from the mind of the strategist. The critique of Constructivist    approach and mix approach is that when the leader or strategist dies, then the sustainability of the strategy is jeopardized. Chaos and evolutionary theory strategic approach or Emergent strategic approach is learned over time according to Mintzberg, et al. (1999) and that formulation and implementation of strategy is done concurrently and cannot be distinguished. A number of authors support this type of approach such as McKiernan, (1997), Whittington, (1993), Richardson, (1994), Luoma, (2014), Faulkner and Campbell, (2003) . Stakeholders’  strategic approach according to Mintzberg, et al. (1999) is that development of strategy is through a process whereby negotiations between management of the company and external stakeholders takes place. This is vital for the acceptance of the project by external stakeholders, contrary to this resistance to change may affect new projects. This strategic approach was also supported by, Gilbert, et. al.(1988), Richardson, (1994) and Chaffee (1985). Cultural strategic approach is formed based on understandings, organizational corporate culture and beliefs shared by staff members of the organization. Finally reactive strategic approach is an approach whereby the organization responds to challenges imposed by the external environment through by adapting to the environment. The critique of approaches to strategic thinking developed by Mintzberg, et al. (1999) is that his own descriptions of the nature of strategy formation and prescriptions were based on trial and experience. He also argues that if the environment is unprecedented, a strategy cannot be formulated without trial and experience and is not necessary to make a strategy when environments are predictable, Ansoff, (1991). Mintzberg, et al. (1999) also proposed that responsibility of strategy formulation should be only under chief executive officer which was quashed by Andrews, (1987). Management Sciences for    Health develops a five year strategic plan for implementation of activities, MSH Strategic Plan 2015- 2020. It also positions itself to be attractive to health non-governmental organizations sector, MSH publicity policy, 2010. This is the best fit to planning strategic approach by Mintzberg, et al. (1999) and other authors: Näsi, (1995),Gilbert, et. al.(1988), Whittington, (1993), Chafee, (1965) and Luoma, (2014). Systems Thinking The systems thinking srcinated from the study of general systems in biological systems according to Von Bertalanffy, (1972). This theory has been applied in a number of disciplines such as psychology, Medicine, economics, business management, engineering and arts, Ackoff, (1994). According to National Cancer Institute, (2007), the knowledge generated from the study of complex systems in various disciplines mentioned above, led to the development of Systems Thinking. System is a grouping of a number of elements whereby individual elements of the whole, influences each other and also influences the conduct of the whole, Rapoport, (1986). Due to this influence, it is a good approach to understand and emphasize the relationship among parts of the system than understanding parts themselves, Sterman, (2000). According to Blunden, (2005), for a person to understand the system, you need to conduct an analysis of inter-linkages and relationships of individual parts. Systems thinking, advocates for full understanding on why the problem or elements occurs hence the analysis of the part in the whole, Caldwell, (2012). Systems thinking is a framework for problem solving whereby the problem is looked at entirely, Hall,(1999) by discovering patterns that lead to understanding of the problem . It should be noted that in systems thinking, there are
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