- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co; 1 edition (3 November 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 160358580X
- ISBN-13: 978-1603585804
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Systems Thinking for Social Change Paperback – 3 Nov 2015
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'David Peter Stroh has been a pioneer in the effort to bring principles of systems into the service of those striving for constructive social change. (I took a course from him overÂ thirty years ago.) Many books tell you how to engage in systems thinking but not how to apply it. This is a very useful exception. Peter draws on many years of professional engagement with the important problems of our society. Of course reading his book won't let you banish all those problems. But it will help you focus your effort where you can have the best impact, and it will show you how to enlist others in the effort.ï¿½?--Dennis Meadows, coauthor,Â Limits to Growth, andÂ former director, Institute for Policy and Social Science ResearchÂ
About the Author
David Peter Stroh is a founding partner of Bridgeway Partners (www.bridgewaypartners.com) and a founding director of www.appliedsystemsthinking.com. He was also one of the founders of Innovation Associates, the consulting firm whose pioneering work in the area of organizational learning formed the basis for fellow cofounder Peter Senge's management classic The Fifth Discipline. David is internationally recognized for his work in enabling people to apply systems thinking to achieve breakthroughs around chronic, complex problems and to develop strategies that improve system-wide performance over time.
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David Stroh applies system thinking paradigm on how to address pressing social issues. The book gives some concrete guidelines on how to unfold a complex solution to resolve social problems like mass incarceration, homelessness, and universal pre-school program. The narrative supposedly walks a reader through “systems thinking” framework. Yet, the author lacks strong writing skills, and he can’t keep a reader interested throughout the book. Stroh has a couple of useful examples, which kind of explore system thinking. At the same time, this exploration misses the essence of those projects. To make it perfect, he needs to give more instances with essential info. Diagrams (figures) are difficult to understand. He doesn’t reveal how to create it. He says that main stakeholders, sometimes given key variables, should build these cause and effect diagrams. That sounds as an effective technique in the brainstorming process. How to perfect those diagrams at the late stages? How will the validity of cause and effect diagrams be checked? What if a diagram is biased?
The book is semi-useful, so you can find beneficial info on system thinking, but not comprehensive. This book will be helpful for social advocates and community organizers.
Now what I didn't like. When compared to Peter Senge or Donella Meadows books it is apparent that there are not insights into emergent properties nor an appreciation for exponential functions. Perhaps being stripped of math also strips it of tangible understanding of system dynamics.
Also the book felt very much like more rationalism will give us more results. The book seemed to focus on business results. There was a focus on getting people to see how they harm the system instead of help it. I reject all this as lower level thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. It seemed like it was just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Read anything by Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, Donella Meadows, Clare W Graves, or Don Beck for post-rational solutions to our current problems. I fear these great people are misunderstood because their visions are not accessible by rational minds.
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