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Systems Patterns

Systems Patterns

Designing the right systems patterns is essential for developing systems thinking in an organization or a team. One of the elements to be evaluated when developing systems thinking is the causal loop. A causal loop is a diagram that visualizes how different variables in a system are interrelated (Whitney et al., 2015). This is an important tool for understanding the structure and pattern of an organization’s systems. In team development, it is important to identify the system loops to understand the components that make up the team system. The causal loop can be used as a tool to improve the organizational system in a way that improves its effectiveness.

Balancing and reinforcing loops is the equivalent of setting the building blocks of an organization’s systems. Balancing loops is a process of bringing components of the organization’s system to the desired state. Reinforcing loops is a process of maintaining components of an organization’s systems in the desired state (Ellis et al., 2013). Understanding how to balance and reinforce loops is important in team development. This process helps to develop the team components that enhance team performance and eliminate those that negatively affect performance.

Archetype patterns are mental patterns that shape human behavior. These are patterns of thought that affect how people experience life and interact with their environments (Ellis et al., 2013). In the organizational setting, archetype patterns affect the thinking of the employees and their effectiveness in a team setting. Understanding archetype patterns is important because it influences the organization of teams. Promoting the right archetype patterns can help to develop dynamic teams that have a diversity of thought.


Ellis, K., Gregory, A. J., Mears-Young, B. R., & Ragsdell, G. (Eds.). (2013). Critical Issues in Systems Theory and Practice. Springer Science & Business Media.

Whitney, K., Bradley, J. M., Baugh, D. E., & Jr, C. W. C. (2015). Systems theory as a foundation for governance of complex systems. International Journal of System of Systems Engineering, 6(1-2), 15-32.


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Systems Patterns

For this discussion:

Systems Patterns

Systems Patterns

  • Summarize your understanding of the causal loops, the balancing and reinforcing loops, and the archetype patterns.
  • Describe the value of these and the use of these predictable patterns for a team improvement conversation.
  • Why are they valuable to help teams see dynamics that are counterintuitive?


Discussion Participation Scoring Guide.

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