In a recent paper written by Luoma et al (Luoma, J., Hamalainen, RP. And Saarinen, E. (2011) Acting with systems intelligence: integrating complex responsive processes with the systems perspective, Journal of the Operational Research Society, 62: 3-11.), the authors argue that there is very little disagreement between systems thinking and complex responsive processes of relating, the body of theories set out in this blog. What’s more, the authors put forward the idea that a complex responsive process approach could be integrated within their own method, which they term ‘systems intelligence’.
Systems intelligence (SI), according to the authors, is when a subject engages ‘successfully and productively with holistic feedback mechanisms of her environment.’ SI is exhibited by an individual operating in ‘systems settings’, and is influenced both by the positive psychology literature and by systems thinking. Thus SI ‘looks for positive opportunities and personal improvement actions’. According to the authors a system does not have to be an abstract ‘thing’ with a boundary. It might be ‘the context’, ‘the situation’, or ‘the environment’, amounting to ‘an integrated whole on a time axis in the process of becoming’. ‘System’ for the authors, is a meaningful unit of analysis worthy of attention, which calls out intelligent engagement. The authors claim a ‘liberal, broad and general interpretation of the notion of a ‘system’’, and not one that necessarily conceives of the subject in any way ‘outside’ the system. The broad notion of system is a helpful conceptual tool and human beings are natural systematisers: indeed, being able to systematise makes us human, according to the authors. Continue reading