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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois Leadership Competencies: Organization Level: Systems Thinking

Significant accomplishments achieved within organizations are the result of teams interacting together. Leaders must navigate systems and influence people when they do not have interpersonal relationships with all others. This LibGuide provides resources

What is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a way of viewing an organization holistically, and being able to examine and connect the linking parts. By examining your organization systemically, you will be able to create efficient processes and avoid practices with unintended, and potentially negative, outcomes. 

A great leader creates sustainable standard processes for ongoing tasks and organizes the work of others in a systemic and consistent manner, including defining people's roles to avoid overlapping responsibilities or ambiguous functions.


Articles on Systems Thinking

These articles offer an overview of systems thinking in organizations, and explain why this skill is vital for organizational growth in our fast-paced and constantly changing world. One of the articles also gives practical advice on how to make your organization successful in the long run by introducing and implementing systems thinking.

Systems Thinking: A Cautionary Tale (Cats in Borneo)

Books on Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking