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Course Learning Reflection – The Value of Systems Thinking

Course Learning Reflection – The Value of Systems Thinking

The course has focused on key components of a learning organization. As shown by the objectives in every unit, there are five components of a learning organization: personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, team learning, and systems thinking. Systems thinking emerges as the most vital element of a learning organization that glues the rest of the elements together. A learning organization innovates, adapts, and learns to survive the ever-changing environment.

One of the videos in Unit 8 resources, “The Value of Systems Thinking” by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, highlights why systems thinking is vital in every aspect of life. The narrator mentions the pitfalls of overreliance on traditional thinking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017). For instance, consumers have been over-relying on anti-bacterial products such as soap and antibiotics, ignoring the reality that bacteria may have become tolerant. The highlight is connected to unit one’s objectives, which analyze the end-game of systems thinking. Another connection between the video and course objectives is improving a system while limiting unintended consequences. Here, the narrator states that some positive policy actions may lead to unintended consequences (Leerapan et al., 2021). For instance, a retail store may introduce discounts to its products to attract customers but end up scaring high-end customers who may doubt the quality of cheaper products. The concept closely relates to Unit 3’s beer game analogy, where the consequences of an action go against the intended goal.

The narrator avers that there is no such thing as the truth. Instead of sticking to a traditional approach that might be redundant, the narrator emphasizes the need for observing, building, and testing a theory in that order (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017). Solving complex problems through science aligns with Unit 8’s objective, which analyzes dynamic complex events (Senge, 2006). For instance, a city seeking to build a road to lower traffic faces the risk of that road attracting more people to that suburb. By applying systems thinking, the city may build settlements elsewhere and let people move there, subsequently lowering road traffic.

In summary, systems thinking is a vital component of a learning organization. The discipline aligns the other disciplines, namely, shared vision, team learning, mental models, and personal mastery, to support a learning organization. Systems thinking will alleviate the weakness of relying on traditional ideas that may no longer be true. Also, systems thinking helps reduce the probability of occurrence of unintended consequences. Another component of systems thinking that enhances learning is the observation, building, and testing of theory to address complex problems.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017, October 26). The value of systems thinking [Video]. YouTube.

Leerapan, B., Kaewkamjornchai, P., Atun, R., & Jalali, M. S. (2021). How systems respond to policies: intended and unintended consequences of COVID-19 lockdown policies in Thailand. Health Policy and Planning.

Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Doubleday.


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The Value of Systems Thinking

The Value of Systems Thinking

For this final Discussion Board, review the Objectives in each of our course Units (Units 1-7). Then, watch the videos in Unit 8’s Readings and Resources.
Connect our course learnings to either of the videos. What connections can you make between the Unit Objectives and the video you chose? Be specific, supporting your post with examples and making at least two connections. If applicable, include any personal work experience.

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