The systems nature of grand challenges, such as climate change, has impeded their resolution. Systems problems need systems solutions. Systems thinking has had a long history in management studies, but lost favour because the very complexity of systems meant that systems theories were difficult to apply. Management theorists opted for theories that offered greater certainty, but such pursuits not only meant that management theorists failed to understand the nature of grand challenges, they may have even contributed to such problems. However, there is renewed interest in systems perspectives. A substantial amount of resources is now being invested in changing systems or improving their resilience. Researchers, policy makers, and executives are now realizing the importance of interconnections among actors and levels of analysis and the dynamic nature of systems. Only now are researchers realizing the long history of systems theory and the opportunity to build on classical works. Yet, in doing so, the different perspectives of systems and systems theory come more fully into view.
This PDW will aim to honour past approaches to systems thinking and then to showcase some recent efforts to renew systems approaches in the context of grand challenges in organizational research.No registration for the PDW is needed.