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Wednesday, July 12
 

14:00

WORKSHOP: 3182 The Boundary Triage, its Objects and Heuristics: Developing Critical Systemic Leadership for the Networked World
This workshop introduces and invites you to engage with the Boundary Triage, its Objects and Embodied Cognition heuristics as a personalised continuing leadership development tool for the networked world.
In an increasingly socially networked world dependent on social technologies, leadership and continuing leadership development is of continuing importance. Increased information from our environment on many levels is demanding from us to be more critical of the information that we receive and how we communicate, despite the many platforms and media available to us to communicate.
Grounded theoretically in General Systems Theory, Critical Systems Thinking and Cybernetics, and supported by psychosocial and physio-psychological we will explore interactively the Boundary Triage, its Objects and the Embodied Cognition Heuristics. The workshop aims to provide an innovative, engaging, simple, easy to remember, employable, and transferrable continuing critical systemic leadership development tool – potentially an androrithm (an algorithm for the evolution of Man) – focussing on the key system concept ‘Boundary’.

Presenters/Facilitators
avatar for Delia Pembrey MacNamara

Delia Pembrey MacNamara

SIG Chair: Science, Spirituality and Systems Science, International Society for the System Sciences
Vice President Memberships and Public Relations (2013-2019), International Society for the Systems SciencesSIG Chair: Science, Spirituality and Systems Science (See below for information)Consistently ahead of her time, Delia's Enterprise 2.0 training programs for business began in... Read More →


Wednesday July 12, 2017 14:00 - 15:30
3rd Floor, Room SR 124, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

16:00

3014 Critical Systems Thinking and Engaged Community Operations Research in Action: An Application to Promote Peace Among Urban and Rural Communities
The relationship between systems thinking and Community Operational Research (COR) has been controversial. This paper shows how the simultaneous use of systems thinking and COR can be used to learn across research community boundaries in order to improve the lives and collaboration among people of marginalized communities. It has been argued that COR’s practice has a common concern: the meaningful engagement of one or more communities. Moreover, it has been pointed out that COR practitioners have been concerned with generating social improvement as well as designing new methodologies, methods, techniques and processes of engagement. In this paper we describe a research inquiry guided by critical systems thinking and COR in which members from different local and marginalized communities, collaborating with external researchers, conceived and developed a peace program that has been implemented in hundreds of schools and more than thirty cities, and that has affected the lives of the families and communities in which it has operated. This research program has fostered a culture of peace in social contexts in which cultures of violence used to prevail. The paper presents qualitative as well as quantitative evidence of the impact of the research inquiry. We show that the key elements to achieve these results have been the engagement of local communities and the use of critical systems thinking. The communities have participated in the understanding of the problematic situations to be addressed, as well as in the conception and design of alternatives to create meaningful improvements in these situations. This intervention has taken advantage of diverse systemic problem structuring methods (interactive planning, soft systems methodology, causal loop diagramming, etc.) and has used critical systems thinking, boundary critique, and critical systems heuristics. The combination of these methodologies and methods has allowed marginalized groups to express their ideas in safe and constructive environments. The continuous use of boundary critique during 14 years has allowed the communities to redefine the peace program several times, to question our understanding of what we mean by an engaged community, to increase people's participation, to address the complexity of the problematic situations, and to prevent less than fully responsible actions in these situations. The paper shows how the use of critical systems thinking and engaged COR can prevent some ethical research problems such as researchers' self-deception, groupthink, ignoring vital information, giving too much importance to the participants' self-interests, interpreting situations from inaccurate and narrow perspectives, and uncritical deference to authority.

Wednesday July 12, 2017 16:00 - 16:30
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

16:30

3024 Developing a Systemic Evaluation Methodology: an Approach Towards Social Program Evaluation
Evaluation is commonly seen as a systematic process to determine merit, worth, value or significance. When engaging in program evaluation, evaluators use research methods to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs adapted to the political and organizational environment surrounding them. However, aside from having a systematic character, evaluation has at its core a systemic and a critical character as well, as it is based on the establishment of judgments and the inclusion of stakeholders, both of which inevitably affect what will be seen as an improvement. Critical in terms of not taking for granted predefined assumptions about the evaluation and systemic in terms of a dynamic attitude towards the establishment of what and who should be considered in the evaluation and the acknowledgment the existing relationships of those involved in the evaluation. Thus, the systems theory of boundary critique (about how to explore value and boundary judgements) is relevant. For this reason, we seek to propose a methodological development for conducting social program evaluations. Our methodological proposal, seeks to contribute at a theoretical and a practical level as we not only seek to present a methodology that can be widely applied in the realm of social program evaluation through a practical case but we also seek to contribute to enriching the literature that links systems thinking practice and evaluation, focusing primarily in the contributions that critical systems thinking can make to the practice of evaluation. We examine different stages of the evaluation process and show how boundary critique can be used in each one. A practical example will be provided of an evaluation of a program for teaching alternative conflict resolution techniques to children in vulnerable areas of Bogota, Colombia.

Wednesday July 12, 2017 16:30 - 17:00
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

17:00

3049 From 'Systematic' to 'Systemic' Research and Policy Analysis – Progressing the Application of Systems Approaches to Policy Evaluations at a European Union Research Agency (Eurofound)
This study explores the relevance and applicability of using systems approaches to enhance policy evaluation projects conducted by Eurofound(European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) aa an exploratory case study in 'action research' mode.

This European Union (EU) agency is mandated to support European policymakers in their endeavours to improve the working and living conditions in Europe, by providing “scientifically sound and unbiased, high quality information” .

The key question of this exploration was: How can evaluation of relevant policies be accomplished as part of Eurofound’s role, and give justice to the complexities of the policies assessed and multiple perspectives and stakes involved?

The overall aim of this research was to investigate the effectiveness of current approaches and methods in policy evaluation activities of complex social policies and phenomena undertaken by Eurofound, and to test the ‘systemic desirability and cultural feasibility’ (Checkland, 1990) of moving beyond a ‘first-order science’ research tradition within Eurofound to advance opportunities for applying systems concepts and approaches in these activities.

Methodology

The action research consisted in a specially designed systemic enquiry designed by the author, and conducted jointly with research staff of the agency as they engaged in the implementation of Eurofound policy analysis (research) project consisting of a series of analyses and workshops using different systems approaches (elements of SSM and CSH). This systemic enquiry was applied to a selected case study: a then current Eurofound research project ‘Delivering public services: a greater role for the private sector? Hospital services’ (Eurofound, 2015a, p. 39). This project aimed to analyse the ‘implications of privatisation for access, quality and effectiveness of services’ in the hospital sector across EU Member States. This situation features a number of ‘complex’ characteristics. To test the usefulness and applicability of selected systems approaches was the aim of the action research implemented in this case study.

Conclusions

The experience from this action research applied to the ‘hospital services’ case has shown that the standard approach is not always sufficient for a deeper understanding of a situation to be researched at the start of a project, and can usefully be complemented and enhanced by systems approaches.

The experience and validation interviews with researchers in Eurofound suggested that there could be real value for research and policy evaluation projects in Eurofound to embed systemic inquiry streams into the overall project design, under some conditions:

For projects with wide and fuzzy scope (boundary explorations to inform research questions);
Where new territory is explored (exploratory social learning and scoping);
In complex policy situations with diverse and multiple stakeholders (interrelationships and multiple perspectives).
Whilst it would be ‘systemically desirable’ to broaden a systemic approach to researching similar policies with shared characteristics, there are institutional barriers to the ‘cultural feasibility’, as the mainstream way of conducting research continues to dominate and imposes important constraints to such opportunities. These consist in short research project cycle times, and pressures to deliver results fast, leaving little time and scope for reflexivity and exploratory methods. Additionally, introducing systems approaches into policy evaluation projects exposes paradigmatic and epistemic tensions. The default way of doing research and evaluation projects ‘systematically’ sits uncomfortably with systemic approaches, which implicitly challenge the conventional way of framing and approaching research inquiries. This experience resonates with Argyris’ and Schön’s ‘theory of action’, in which there is a gap between a ‘theory in use’ (the ‘normal’ ways things are done in organisations) compared to ‘espoused theory’ (what is claimed to be done in rhetoric), (Argyris and Schön (1974, 1978, 1996), Argyris (1990). What Eurofound states in its work programme is one thing (‘to assess policies and practices’) (‘espoused theory’), however, in practice it currently falls short of this ambition, as the standard approaches for normal research projects continue to be used (for example standard case study methodology).

In order to move forward from this, a ‘shift’ will be needed. As suggested by Argyris and Schön, this calls for ‘double-loop’ learning to bring about transformational change in the organisational and academic culture in research organisations like Eurofound, and to dissolve the contradictions and ‘organisational defensive routines’. This will require time, and finding and engaging further ‘allies’ across the organisation to pursue this aim. Opportunities exist at several levels:

Transfer the experiences from the ‘hospital services’ project to other projects and researchers, through internal conversations about these experiences.
Raise this discussion in the ‘official discourse’ in the organisation, to increase interest in ‘reflexivity’ and give it legitimacy within the ‘projectified world’ of the organisation.
Future research methodology developments might provide space to enhance the methodological frameworks of the agency.
Further explorations could be conducted within the context of agencies' networks, to explore further how systemic approaches could be used by other agencies to enhance their scientific processes for policy areas with systemic and complex characteristics, such as inter-relationships, multiple perspectives and boundary judgements.

Wednesday July 12, 2017 17:00 - 17:30
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

17:30

3031 Green Decision Making: Sustainable Transport and Systemic Planning (SP)
The generic framework for planning and decision support set out in this paper is the outcome of the research work carried out in recent years in the international research project SUSTAIN concerning national sustainable transport planning. In the paper focus is on sustainable transport and infrastructure assessment and on the methodology and process of systemic planning (SP).

SP theory development has interchanged with practical application and testing of the SP approach in a large number of cases. The word systemic in SP indicates that complex planning problems and provision of decision support in today’s strategic planning needs a focus on what may be addressed as systemic insights in balance with more conventional, systematically-based findings where causal linkages can be modelled and made use of. In practice this means that SP is based on a study-specific combination of hard (quantitative) and soft (qualitative) operations research (OR) methods; especially the latter have a function as regards knowledge generation that relates to obtaining systemic insights. Furthermore, SP applies a process that drives group-based learning forward. The group should be formed with the different stakeholder interests as regards the outcome represented by different group members. The process is guided by a facilitator and is assisted by an analyst, with the analyst providing ongoing, interactive modelling. This collective (man/machine) learning aims to lead to a final decision (or decision recommendation) about the best alternative or course of action for the actual strategic planning problem. The flexibility of SP makes it adaptable to different problem types.

The paper is disposed as follows: After the Introduction about green decision making, Section 2 presents five SP-perspectives, where each perspective is grounded in a particular research approach that serves a particular function in the SP framework. The following Section 3 describes the SP modelling toolbox consisting of 2 x 7 soft and hard OR methods. Based on the previous sections, Section 4 describes the ‘SP-wheel’, which is the process-driver behind an iterative group-based learning cycle, intended to provide decision support for the actual decision making. The SP-wheel consists of 8 steps which produce knowledge that is intended to accumulate as final decision support. In the following Section 5 findings from a number of conducted case studies are applied to illuminate various aspects of the individual steps in the SP-wheel. A final Section 6 presents findings and perspective.

A more comprehensive treatment of the SP framework presented in the paper and the ideas behind the framework is available as a free E-book download from the author’s ResearchGate page: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Steen_Leleur GREEN DECISION MAKING – How Systemic Planning can support Strategic Decision Making for Sustainable Transport Development, Tech. Univ. of Denmark, Department of Management Engineering, April 2017.

Wednesday July 12, 2017 17:30 - 18:00
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria
 
Thursday, July 13
 

14:00

3042 Organisational Structuring: A Systems Approach
How to structure organizations is an issue that has always been relevant. In today’s complex world, new ways of refining organizations are required so that they can respond quickly to the demands of the environment. The system approach allows one to visualize an organization from a holistic perspective under different scenarios.

There are certain terms and distinctions that must be taken into account in the following discourse on systemic context: structure, methodologies, approach, paradigm, metaphor, model, and vision. In order to improve an organization, it is necessary to identify systems methodologies that can structure each type of organization. It is also important to provide organizational skills that allows one to structure organizations appropriately. To determine the effectiveness of structuring, one must know how to measure the impact of organizational structuring.

The operation of an organization requires the participation of all organizational actors: observer, facilitator, and participants. The methodologies explored in this paper have not only been tested in Colombian organizations, consultancies, seminars, and courses, but they have also been applied to various sectors of the economy. These applications have made it possible to observe the benefits of Interactive structuring process (ISP).

The use of isolated methodologies is insufficient for achieving organizational structuring. Holistic structuring brings coherence and clarity with regards to strategy, processes, actors, and information. The complementarity of methodologies is an interactive process that allows one to achieve the best organization. By coordinating important factors such as strategies, objectives, processes, values, and organizational information, it is possible to build a more interactive structure.

The first order of business will entail the defining of key terms associated with structuring methodology. Secondly, we will examine what types of views and perspectives are being adopted by organizations. Thirdly, we will turn our attention to the systemic approach and the importance of evaluating methodology. Fourthly, we will determine the best model to be used in each approach to a given situation. Lastly, we will observe the chosen methodology in action.

Organizational learning is defined as the process by which knowledge emerges from the interaction between the organization, methodologies, and its users in a research-action relationship, with respect to the environment. The design, diagnosis, and organizational redesign arises from a process that is repeated and improved upon through comparisons. It is through this process by which Meta methodologies are generated and aligned.

Presenters/Facilitators

Thursday July 13, 2017 14:00 - 14:30

14:30

3172 The Future of the Peruvian Natural Gas Through the Study of the Power of Influence of Stakeholders: Alternate Scenarios using Social Network Analysis with a Soft Systems Approach
The work aims to study alternative scenarios that could occur in the future of the management of Peruvian natural gas, as a consequence of the synergy of actions of the diverse stakeholders that are involved in their management within the Peruvian reality.

Natural gas (NG) is becoming the central energy source on various economies around the world, replacing oil and coal and complementing the hydroelectric power supply, mainly because of its price in international markets and also because of its low level of pollution for human populations, the flora fauna and wildlife in general.

To address this issue, this paper, firstly, introduces the reader to the problematic situation of NG in the Peruvian case, mentioning the stakeholders involved on it and investigating their particular worldviews (weltanschauung) and objectives in relation to the problematic situation of NG, considering the level of power of influence from one stakeholders over others involved in the problematic situation, on issues concerned to strategic decisions related to NG. This implies, firstly, that these stakeholders are identified

Then, the paper shows possible alternate scenarios in relation to the future of NG, doing an analysis of probable courses of action of these scenarios considering the specific weight that each stakeholder has over others, in order to define these courses of action. For doing that, an analysis of the level of power from one stakeholder over other ones and the goals that of each them seeks around the NG are analyzed.

Following the scenarios methodology, four potential scenarios for the future development of NG are established, considering two axes: the level of exploration of NG Peruvian reserves on one side (axis 1) and the expansion of the use of the Peruvian NG at the internal and external markets level (axis 2). From these axes, four scenarios were defined that could be taken into account for the use of social network analysis (SNA) in order to define possible alternate scenarios on the future of Peruvian NG.

In order to do so, SNA is used to see the level of relationships with positive synergy (contribution, alliances) or not (opposition, lack of collaboration) among the stakeholders. SNA will also be used to consider how the level of power exercised by each stakeholder can influence over others, to conduct the whole sector to one of the delineated scenarios, to finally raise the probabilities of which scenario can occurs, based on the intentions and objectives of the stakeholders, expressed in their relevant systems and root definitions.

Finally the conclusions of the case are made, the learning points obtained from the development of the present work and comments on future developments concerning the issue and the approach applied are mentioned.

Thursday July 13, 2017 14:30 - 15:00

15:00

3171 Thinking-Activity Scheme as a Communication Bridge Between Systems Thinking and Systems Practice
Exploring ways to co-organize systems thinking and systems practice we discuss the answer of Russian systems thinking which was developed by the Moscow Methodological Circle (MMC).

MMC was organized in USSR in the year of J. Stalin’s death (1953) and was led for more than forty years by G. P. Shchedrovitsky (1929–1994). Now it exists as the “Methodological Movement” and a few institutions associated with it.

MMC developed “methodological thinking”, which was characterised by the following general features and principles:

1) holism and reflexivity in relation to the other approaches and types of thinking (in science, designs, engineering, socio-cultural and law studies, etc.);

2) practical orientation (connections thinking-activity, which used systems approach as the means for organizing processes of resolving complex problems by multi-professional and transdisciplinary teams, etc.);

3) reflectivity as practical orientation of thinking to itself, its capability to re-construct and re-direct itself;

4) the “methodological turn” from thinking about systems as objects to the process of systems thinking.

The shift from objects to thinking which was mentioned above characterises MMC from the very beginning of its activity. It corresponds to the shift of interest from “systems sciences” to “systems rationality” – as discussed in holistic systems thinking approach. This methodological turn has allowed MMC to formulate original vision of problems of the systems approach: not to investigate “systemic objects”, but to conceptualise and resolve “systemic situations” as a form of work with complex problems.

Now MMC systems methodology has three basic components which are the foundations of System-Thinking-Activity Approach (STA-Approach):

1) systems thinking (as “methodological thinking” described above);

2) Thinking-Activity Scheme (“scheme” in MMC is a diagram linked to the certain model as its meaning) and moderation technologies;

3) Systemic 3D-Methodology.

In Thinking-Activity Scheme (published in 1983) thinking and activity are represented in the form of different “layers” (“Pure Thinking” and “Thinking-Action”), divided by a “Thinking-Communication” layer. Links between three layers of Thinking-Activity Scheme are mediated by Reflection and Understanding processes. “Thinking-Communication” layer in Thinking-Activity Scheme provides collectivity of Thinking-Activity and allows to govern it by the means of moderation technologies. We use them in order to apply STA-Approach to systemic situations from practice. Moderation technologies are considered as the mode of communicative management supporting adhocratic type of interaction and deliberative communication, i.e. the “horizontal” and not-alienating interaction in multi-professional teams providing collectively-distributed thinking and multi-positional organization of resolving systemic situations which bear in themselves complex problems.

Systemic 3D-Methodology is the principle to think in the space of two “orthogonal” planes:

1) Object-Ontological plane with schemes and objects of practical theory;

2) Organizational-Activity plane with schemes organizing multi-professional communications and methods, forms and instruments of transdisciplinary thinking.

Methodological schemes are specific MMC instruments – intellectual constructions, which can co-organize Object-Ontological and Organizational-Activity planes of 3D-Methodology as complete reflexive 3D-space and be used as instruments on both planes. Using Thinking-Activity Scheme in this function with the help of moderation technologies allows to bridge systems thinking and systems practice in moderated forms of events organization (seminars, “round tables”, transdisciplinary conferences like ISSS etc.) and in process forms of workflow organization: project groups, foresight, Organizational-Activity Games (OAG), strategic sessions, staff games, civil juries, wisdom councils, etc.

Now Thinking-Activity Scheme has implemented in consulting, education, city®ional development, public policy, public expertise procedures, organizing of public-political communications, conflict resolving and mediation procedures. In future it will be useful in international relations, cross-cultural interactions, global problems resolving, etc.

Presenters/Facilitators
DV

Dr. Viacheslav G. Maracha

Leading Research Fellow, The Russian Academy of National Economy and Civil Service


Thursday July 13, 2017 15:00 - 15:30

16:00

3175 From Communities of Practice to Boundary Critique: An Extended Approach
In the critical systems thinking (CST) literature, particularly in the theory of boundary critique, the process of marginalisation has been studied mainly taking into account those elements (issues, values, and agents) that are not fully included or excluded of a social design (Midgley, 2000). Taking this theory into account, this paper presents an extension of the theory of boundary critique by using elements of the social learning theory proposed by Wenger’s (1998, 2000, 2010b): Communities of Practice (CoP). In doing so, the proposal includes the idea of considering the marginalisation process as one described by different forms of participation and non-participation that build the participants identity and their concerns. To achieve this, this paper is organised as follows. The first section presents the main aspects of the CST research approach and the systemic intervention bases to establish the context of the discussions about marginalisation process. The second section presents the main aspects of the CoP framework. The third section presents the proposal of an extended version of the marginalisation process, applying some CoP concepts. We conclude by presenting a practical example of implementation of this extended approach and discussing the implications of this approach for CST research.

Thursday July 13, 2017 16:00 - 16:30
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

16:30

3181 The Boundary Triage, Its Objects and Heuristics: A Synopsis of the development of a Critical Systemic Leadership Development Toolbox for a Networked World
Since 2004 the arrival of online social media technologies (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) combined with personal digital technologies (such as smart phones, tablets and laptops) that connect to the internet have seen business deconstructed and communication mediums proliferate. The past 10 years has seen a considerable change from businesses constraining the use of social technologies to the current status of encouraging more engagement from the overall supply chain and developing new technologies to harness this collective capacity for organisational goals. Coupled with a generation that grew up with ‘always on’ global connection via digital combined and a generation with clear boundaries, the class of the ‘boundaryless’ meets the ‘bounded’ has come with both exciting new innovations and opportunities and, at the same time, increased risks, threats, security and uncertainty. Business leaders are calling this the VUCA era, a term coined by the US defence force meaning ‘Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous'.
‘Leadership’ within this VUCA environment has been identified as a key organisational success factor that needs to be addressed, specifically leadership development at all levels. Yet despite a plethora of leadership literature over the past 60 years, leadership development has changed little. Systems thinking has been hailed as the new way of thinking and working, with Systemic Leadership, as the next operandum for leaders. Yet what is 'systemic leadership'?

The theme for the 61st Meeting of the International Society for Systems Sciences (Vienna) is “From Science to Systemic Solutions: Systems Science for Everyone.” This paper aims to provide a leadership development toolbox for ‘everyone’ to explore systems sciences and potentially develop systemic solutions critically using the idea of ‘embodied cognition’, cybernetics and critical systems thinking. This paper is a synopsis of my PhD research which investigates ‘Systemic Leadership for the networked world’. My mission is to develop a critical systemic leadership toolbox that encourages the critique of multiple systems and systemic thinking, while being easy to remember, employ and transfer to others with just one word – ‘Boundary’.

‘Boundary’ is word that is familiar and, at the same time, it is a key – if not ‘the key’ – concept in Systems Science. I present the core elements of the Boundary Triage (an axio-onto-epistemological symbolic representation of Boundary), its Objects and heuristics, designed using a critical systems thinking approach, from the perspective of embodied cognition. This paper summarises the pragmatic and practical aspects of the Boundary Triage toolbox to develop critical systemic leadership skills in a collective, connected and networked world.

Presenters/Facilitators
avatar for Delia Pembrey MacNamara

Delia Pembrey MacNamara

SIG Chair: Science, Spirituality and Systems Science, International Society for the System Sciences
Vice President Memberships and Public Relations (2013-2019), International Society for the Systems SciencesSIG Chair: Science, Spirituality and Systems Science (See below for information)Consistently ahead of her time, Delia's Enterprise 2.0 training programs for business began in... Read More →


Thursday July 13, 2017 16:30 - 17:00
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

17:00

3019 A Systemic Integration Approach to Designing Interagency Responses to Wicked Problems
Wicked problems are open-ended, highly interdependent issues that cross agency, stakeholder, jurisdictional, political and geopolitical boundaries. This confounds governments because policies and budgets tend to be aligned within these boundaries and not across them, making it difficult to bring the appropriate talent, knowledge and assets into an interagency approach to tackling whatever wicked problem is at hand. This paper describes the development and implementation of a Systemic Intervention approach to designing government interagency meta-organizations to address specific wicked problems.

Many governments realize the need for a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to tackling large complex issues, and have employed various methods to achieve interagency and other private/public partnerships. One approach is to employ experts (sometimes called Czars) who are in charge of specific policies and can coordinate input from across government and private entities. Other organizational approaches have focused on forming high-level committees and task forces made up of representation from stakeholder organizations. These approaches are intended to increase cross-government information sharing, identify best-practices, and generate reports that include recommendations to policy makers. However, the formation of these vehicles can be ad hoc and not designed holistically to handle the complexity of wicked problems where interdependencies abound and the perspectives and values of agencies and other stakeholders can often be in conflict. Other complaints about forming these ad hoc groups include the slow, long-term process required to build trust; one agency typically takes the lead, creating problematic power relationships when their own inevitably partial perspective starts to override the perspectives of other agencies; difficulties of reaching agreement on crosscutting agendas; too many meetings; inaction in the face of the above difficulties; and missed opportunities.

The research described in this paper was conducted to develop and evaluate a new Systemic Intervention approach to designing interagency organizations. It is a multi-method approach that combines the viable system model (VSM) as the organizational design instrument with participatory problem structuring methods and boundary critique. The idea is to create interagency meta-organizations that are specifically aligned to the particular wicked problem they are charged with addressing. The VSM offers a valuable method for creating such interagency meta-organizations because it allows agencies to remain autonomous, while also being part of a larger complex systemic organization. It also offers ways to build adaptive mechanisms for dealing with the rapidly changing dynamics of wicked problems, and establishes protocols for interagency coordination and information sharing. In contrast, problem structuring methods facilitate the engagement of multiple agency stakeholders to structure and formulate an expanded and shared understanding of the wicked problem (which is then seen as the “environment” within the VSM), and boundary critique helps the participants to understand and address power relations when boundary decisions are being made.

This Systemic Intervention approach was evaluated through an action research project called Crime on the Urban Edge (CUE). CUE has been focused on designing an interagency as a complex adaptive system for countering illicit drug trafficking by transnational organized crime, U.S. urban gangs, and their potential for systemic interaction. This is a wicked problem that crosses local/national/international agency divides. Although the action research was conducted in the specific context of CUE, the idea was to generate transferable knowledge about how the same or similar methods could be used for designing interagency meta-organizations more generally to better address wicked problems (e.g. urban sustainability, climate change adaption, terrorism, the energy/food/water nexus, migration issues, etc.). Preliminary results and lessons learned from the analysis of this action research will be discussed.

Thursday July 13, 2017 17:00 - 17:30
4th Floor, Room SR 384, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria