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									                                      Freda M. Ateyeh
                                   Student No. 040610
                                        T306 – TMA1

     Managing Complexity
     “A System Approach”
             ( T306 )
First Tutor Marked Assignment – TMA01
             Tutor Name
         Dr. Haiel Fakhoury

            Student Name
          Freda M. Ateyeh
         Registration Number
                                                                    Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                 Student No. 040610
                                                                      T306 – TMA1

Question 1 – (55% marks)
Based on the notes you were asked to make your learning Album of your study of
Block 1, attempt the following:

A) Draw & discuss the influence diagram expressing the different components
affecting the development of diagramming skills at different stages of an
From the attached influence diagram we can see that the different components
affecting the development of diagramming skills at different stages of an
investigation are creativity; connectivity; communication and constraints. In order
to choose which diagram to use depend on the stage of investigation that the user
are in. For example in the creativity phase there are no rules for using diagrams,
therefore, I can innovate since there are no constraints on my thinking, I can
express emotions, I have freedom to use whatever conventions are sufficient to
allow my to recover the ideas in the diagram at a later stage.

The connectivity phase in an investigation enable the user to make whatever
connections are helpful to understand a situation or to change it, this phase
develops the diagramming skills in a way to reflect the user ways of seeing
situations, reflect and share experiences and develop the diagramming skills as a
tools for thought.

The development of diagramming skills in the communication phase enable the
user ideas to be shared and communicated with others, diagrams developed in this
phase need to be structured and to use recognizable conventions.

From looking at the attached influence diagram and seeing the arrows we can see
that the creativity phase has an influence on the connectivity phase in which this
                                                                      Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                   Student No. 040610
                                                                        T306 – TMA1

phase influence the communication phase which at the end had an influence on the
development of diagramming ability in an investigation stage.

Also the constraints phase has an influence on the communication phase,
connectivity phase and creativity phase in a way that if there are constraints in a
situation at any stage this will affect the other phases and will affect the
development phase.

Again the connectivity phase also has an influence on the communication phase
since if there is or are not tools for thought, ways of seeing the situation or sharing
experience this for sure will increase or decrease communication and will have a
reflection on the development of diagramming ability and skills.

* attached is an influence diagram to express the different components
affecting the development of diagramming skills at different stages of an
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

B) List the different diagrams used for Understanding, Connectivity, and diagrams
used for further analysis and model building. Discuss the key feature and role of
two diagrams from each category in brief.

1. Diagrams used for Understanding are: Rich Picture & Spray diagram
Rich Picture: are used for gathering information about a complex situation, the
idea of using pictures to think about issues is common to several problem solving
or creative thinking methods because our intuitive consciousness communicates
more easily in impressions and symbols than in words, rich pictures are drawn at
the pre-analysis stages, before we know clearly which parts of the situation should
best be regarded as process and which as a structure. It is an attempt to assemble
everything that might be relevant to a complex situation. Rich pictures require us
to make pictorial representations of each of the elements in the situation.

Spray Diagram: are used for representing the structure of an arguments, to
encapsulate the relationships between the ideas of others or for note taking, it is a
fast technique for getting ideas down without being concern by details of structure
and can indicate groupings between ideas of thoughts. Spray diagrams rely on
there being logical connections between the elements and linear relationships
between the core idea and the detail so they tend to be more useful when we want
a straightforward understanding of a situation,

2. Diagrams used for Connectivity are: Systems maps, Influence diagrams,
Multiple Cause diagrams, and Relationship diagrams.
System Maps: a snapshot that allows the user to structure features of a situation
in a number of different ways. The allow us to find simple ways of thinking about
multi-faceted situations by ordering features in hierarchies of systems with
subsystems embedded in them. The role of system maps is to clarify thoughts at an
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

early stage of analysis, decide upon structural elements for a more detailed
diagram, and decide upon the level of our system of interest. The element or sub-
system in the systems map is contained in a circle and a line is drawn round a
group of sub-systems to show that the things outside the line are part of the
environment while those inside the line are part of the system.

Multiple Cause diagrams: allow exploring the origins of particular events or
effects “to explore why a given event happened or why a certain class of events
tends to occur”, this is effective where particular effects seem to recur, even when
their most obvious causes have been removed. It also let us explore unexpected
effects such as when a well-intentioned intervention seems to have exactly the
opposite effect to what was intended. Multiple Cause diagrams can be derived
from an influence diagram.

3. Diagrams used for Further analysis and model building are: Sign Graph
diagrams, Input-Output diagrams, Decision Sequence diagrams.

Sign Graph diagrams: are used to represent and investigate the relationships
between variables in a given situation and in particular to identify positive and
negative feedback loops driving the system’s behavior, it is good for thinking
about the effects of changes and in particular of interventions in systems, it is
often drawn to establish the structure of planned quantitative models and can be
developed from a multiple cause diagram.

Input-Output diagrams: are used to define and determine the outputs from a
physical or abstract transformation process given the inputs and the resources
needed for the transformation process or vice versa. They can be used to describe
any purposeful activity and the input is always an entity not an activity.
                                                                      Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                   Student No. 040610
                                                                        T306 – TMA1

C)   Explain the difference between hard & soft complexity through suitable
illustration and draw the diagram for showing the differences.
Complexity is not just a matter of there being different factors and interactions of
uncertainty concerning some of them, of a multitude of combinations and
permutation of possible decisions and events to allow for, evaluate and select, it is
not a technical or computational matter, complexity is generated by the different
constructions that can be place on those factors and it arises from the different
perspectives within which they can be interpreted and the degree of emotional
involvement people have in the situation.
The first aspect of complexity is the rational factors that tend to involve
technical or computational complexity and is called hard complexity. The
second aspect includes the way people view and interact with the situation
and when the descriptions of events is ambiguous and have a high degree of
emotional involvement and this is the soft complexity.             The figure below
illustrates the distinctions and similarities of hard and soft complexity.
                                                                         Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                      Student No. 040610
                                                                           T306 – TMA1

HARD COMPLEXITY                           SOFT COMPLEXITY

Computational difficulty                  Emotional involvement
Complicated mathematical tasks            Smaller-scale “personal problems”
Range of possibilities is enormous        Complexity arises from the variety of
                                          different constructions put on the facts
Limited timescale and applications        Description of complexity is ambiguous
Difficulties, being well-defined and more Elements of soft complexity either don’t
situations involve hard complexity        exist or can easily be resolved
There may be some complications           There is inconsistency and openness to
associated with interpretation of the     different interpretations
                                          Information    might     be     sufficient   but
                                          incomplete and irrelevant or misleading
Know what the problem is, what needs to Not sure what the problem is and don’t
be done, and what would be a solution     know what needs to be known

* A table to show the differences between hard & soft complexity
                                                                    Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                 Student No. 040610
                                                                      T306 – TMA1

D) While using suitable examples discuss the concepts of “systematic” & “systemic”
thinking and actions.
Systemic thinking is a simple thinking technique for gaining systemic insights into
complex situations and problems. If we want different outcomes from a situation,
we have to change the system that underpins the situation in such a way that it
delivers different outputs.    In other words, we have to deal with things
systemically, we can’t deal with the parts of situation in isolation but we have to
deal with them in concert with both the elements of a situation and how they
interact with one another.

An example on this is when a public utility had just been privatized and was
attracting highly critical media attention because of the pricing policies it was
force to take to retain revenues in the face of changed legislation. The repeating
pattern (performance-limiting problem) across the issues it faced, was found to be
the difficulty in treating different customer groups fairly. For example, low usage
customers weren’t happy to be subsidizing high-usage customers by paying a high
service charge, while high usage customers weren’t happy to be subsidizing low
usage customers by paying a high usage rate.

The potential solution was to treat (charge) each of parties involved differently
based on their usage and automatically change their deal to the most favorable one
for them if those needs changed. This allows the utility to divide its customers int
usage categories and charge lower usage customers a lower fixed charge with a
higher usage rate, and higher usage customers a higher fixed charge with a lower
usage rate and customers were billed according to the usage category they fall into
for that billing period.
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

Systematic thinking is a model used that simulates our natural thinking pattern
when we are working out how to do something, it enable the user to present
information logically and efficiently and makes the user aware of the stages they
go through in their thought processes and were they are at in their thinking.
Systematic thinking is more prevalent in reductionist thinking where situations are
broken down into parts and mostly simple, linear cause and effect relationships

An example on systematic thinking is when a school principle noticed that some
students in his school are behaving in a bad way in the classes even treating the
teachers in a bad manner, this created a big problem in the classes and the level of
education in the school was dropping down since the other well behaved students
were busy arguing what was happening, also the teachers were not satisfied and
started not to give their full effort in teaching the students. The solution that the
principle took to solve the situation was identifying the students who were
responsible for this behavior and suspend them from coming to school for 3 days.

This solution was a reductionist approach to the issue at the school since the
principle only addressed a small part of the problem by finding the responsible
student and suspending them, he did not look behind the reasons for the student
behavior in treating the teachers in a bad way since from the beginning they might
be the ones who were treating the student in a bad way.

As a conclusion, emphasizing the parts has been called mechanistic, reductionist
and emphasis on the whole has been called holistic, organismic or ecological, the
holistic perspective has become known as “systemic” and the way of thinking it
implies as “systems thinking”. Systems thinking is “contextual” thinking; and
since explaining things in their context means explaining them in relation to their
environment, therefore all systems thinking is environmental thinking.
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

E) Discuss the examples to explain “purposeful” and purposive” behavior.

We as observes ascribe a purpose to what we or others do, but how particular
actions, or activities are construed will differ from observer to observer because of
the different perspectives that we have. Even if we do not ascribe purposes to our
actions another observer may infer our purposes by observing our action and their
outcomes so that in their eyes we implicitly have a purpose to our actions,
therefore, ascribing purpose is an important process in taking a systems approach
to managing complexity. Purposeful behaviour is a behaviour that is willed –
there is some sense of voluntary action, on the other hand purposive behaviour is a
behaviour to which an observer can attribute purpose.

An example of purposeful behaviour is when I volunteer to help a friend of mine
who is a rich business man and own many companies and who is nominating
himself for parliament elections, this is done by arranging for meetings with
people, help in getting all permissions needed for the campaign, dog promotion for
him, do posters and flyers for the campaign. Since I volunteered by my self this
demonstrate willed action by my and for me as an observer this is considered a
purposeful behaviour.     Hence this might be seen by others as a purposive
behaviour and that in helping my friend I am looking for a position in his company

An example of purposive behaviour is when I were on my way home at night after
work and I saw a group of teenagers surrounding a boy who was on the floor
crying with blood all over him, the impression that I took was that the teenagers
was kicking and hitting the boy. This was a purposive behaviour from me because
I thought that they were kicking him but when I checked I found out that they
were helping him because he fall on the floor, this show my attribution of purpose
since I am outside the context of what was happening.
                                                               Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                            Student No. 040610
                                                                 T306 – TMA1

 Question 2 – ( 35% marks)
A) Draw one diagram each for „Sensing‟, „Understanding‟ and „Decision making &
Action‟ for CSA case.

Hard copies of diagrams will be given to the tutor with a print out copy of
the TMA.
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

B) Summarize the learning while applying SUDA to this case.

In applying SUDA we go through sensing phase which is about exploring beneath
the surface, it is about absorbing all there is to sense about the situation, it means
perceiving, experiencing, becoming aware of the issue, and becoming aware of
different views on the issue and recognizing the conflict and controversy in the
situation.   The understanding phase is about finding ways to represent the
situation; in order to understand it, in order to communicate this understanding,
and in order to identify courses of action that may improve the situation. Deciding
phase could be described as the bridge between the understanding and acting
phases, when we believe we have a clear enough understanding of what is going
on to feel ready to do something about it. While acting phase is about living the
theory we have developed, it is about putting it into practice.

I experience the CSA case study as a complex situation since there is difficulty in
identifying anything that could be described as the key issue, it seems to be a
tangle of interrelated key issues. I tried to make sense of the case using systems
thinking and found a system of interest within it which is “Sustainable Living For
Lone Children”, in my opinion the case is a mess since it is made up from a
network of problems and opportunities that are described differently by different
people engaged in the situation such as the government, people, CSA staff, etc.
Also the CSA situation was affected by external conditions that cause
dissatisfaction and whether or not the Child Support Agency has reached the target
or satisfied the people will depend upon the perspective of each observer.

In the CSA case SUDA helped me to be aware of the whole issue which is the
financial support to the children of lone parents and a qualifying child is one for
whom child maintenance is payable who has one or both parents who do not live
in the same household. The CSA will start with applications from people who
                                                                   Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                Student No. 040610
                                                                     T306 – TMA1

were not receiving income support, family credit or disability working allowance.
Also SUDA helped me to see the different perspective since I have no previous
ideas of the case, it was like observing the situation through the understandascope
which gave me new understandings. For example there is the Social security
department perspective in the lone parents’ families’ situation in which it was
delivering benefits to those families and that the amount that it was recouping was
falling, therefore SSD had a special interest in the case. Other example is the
people who were not receiving income support, family credit or disability
allowance and which were interested in receiving the maintenance pay. Since there
was lot of people who were not satisfied with the agency performance, the
government perspective was that the Child Support Agency should operate in a
good operational way with good customer service and qualified staff.

The understanding phase of SUDA gave me a bigger picture or understanding of
the case study, the Child Support Agency target was to deal with two million
families and the number of lone parents being paid regular maintenance could
increase by 200 000, which would lead to fall in the number receiving income
support.   I learned what does parent with care and absent parent mean, I
understand that there was different ways to enforce parents to cooperate with the
agency such as deductions from earning, court orders, liability orders, and
imprisonment, also I learned that the agency performance was against target
because of the inadequate staff training, failure to answer letters, and delays in
solving or processing the maintenance. Another big problem was the failure of the
computer system which worth 600 million pound at the heart of the agency
operation just four years after it was built.

Again the CSA announced some responsibility in its performance and changes
were made such as the introduction of interest payments in cases where the CSA
had collected maintenance but not passed it to the parent with care within 28 day,
                                                                    Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                 Student No. 040610
                                                                      T306 – TMA1

and the reduction in time before compensation. Also it planned to build a new IT
system that can handle upwards of 13 million payments each year, this is with the
new computer system being build by EDS.

By reading the case and through the years the agency decided and modified some
of the practices and changes the targets and by this it was described as “human

As a result for applying SUD to the case study I learned to adopt new teqniques
such as to be open and sensitive to all kinds of information about any situation and
to impressions, intuitions and hunches including other people’s, to be able to see
the situation from all kinds of points of view in addition to my own and not letting
my theories and assumptions tell me how I ought to see the situation. Also and
while drawing diagrams for each phase of SUDA for the CSA case it helped me to
understand and analyze the case and to communicate with others about that
                                                                    Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                 Student No. 040610
                                                                      T306 – TMA1

C) Propose the actions based on the learning above.

Based on my learning through the SUDA process I think some actions can by
made such as enhance the Child Support Agency performance to meet it targets
and to deliver the services required, this can be done through having the staff
trained to do the job in a better way and to motivate them for example with
promotions and awards, this will encourage them to work harder.            also the
management of the CSA needs to enhance the employees moral, staff were under
relentless pressure from the families side who say they cannot and should not have
to pay and from their bosses who wants to get things right.

The work procedures need to be changed with the support of technology, the
agency was criticized for delays, failure to answer letters, insufficient of out-of-
date information, arithmetical errors, use of incorrect mortgage rates and making
too much allowance for self-employed parents’ expenses this can be improved by
having new data base system with employees trained on using the system.

The media coverage was limited, the agency needs to point out to people through
the media on its establishments, goals, work procedures and even interviews with
satisfied people could help. The agency needs to reform the system in order to
ensure that more children see the benefit of regular maintenance.

Governmental departments were not supporting the agency 100% and this is seen
in the parliamentary commissioner for administration report in which he criticized
the CSA, so the agency needs to find other sources to support its performance and
to help it in reaching the targets.
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

Questions 3 – (10% marks)

Discuss the concepts of „Systems Dynamics‟ and „Critical Systems Thinking‟ as
systems method.

System Dynamics is a field of study that Jay Forrester founded at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s. System Dynamics is an
aspect of systems theory as a method for understanding the dynamic behavior of
complex systems; it deals with internal feedback loops and time delays that affect
the behaviour of the entire system. System dynamics focuses on the flow of
feedback (information that is transmitted and returned) that occurs throughout the
parts of a system and the system behaviors that result from those flows. System
dynamicists study reinforcing process – feedback flows that generate exponential
growth or collapse – and balancing processes – feedback flows that help a system
maintain stability.

Furthermore, system dynamics is related to studying the impact of delay on
systemic behavior, specifically, what are the implications when a cause takes a
long time to exert its effect and when cause and effect are physically far apart? An
example is that when an organization raise prices of its products beyond the
comfort level of its customers, it may take a while for customers to get fed up and
stop buying, if it takes a long time for the organization to notice this feedback, it
may not realize that customer buying habits are connected to the price hike it
instituted “way back when.” The field of system dynamics gave rise to and serves
as the bedrock for the field of systems thinking.

The initial stages in making an SD model involve the description of the system,
identification of elements and relationships followed by the construction of a
                                                                     Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                                  Student No. 040610
                                                                       T306 – TMA1

causal loop diagram, SD has also developed its own modeling language and

Critical System Thinking (CST) is regarded as a systems approach to research and
intervention in complex situations. Fundamentally, critical thinking is a form of
judgment, specifically purposeful and reflective judgment. Using critical system
thinking one makes decision or solves the problem of judging what to believe or
what to do, but does so in a reflective way. That is by giving due consideration to
the evidence, the context of judgement, the relevant criteria for making that
judgment well, the applicable methods or techniques for forming that judgment,
and the applicable theoretical and constructs for understanding the nature of the
situation and the question at hand.

CST is a debate within the Systems research community around three themes.
* Critical awareness is a process that involves boundary critique by considering in
formalized ways the question of where and by whom boundary judgements around
a system of interest are made, this involves examining and re-examining taken-for-
granted assumptions, along with the conditions that give rise to them.

* Improvement or emancipation, development or desired change – is defined
temporarily and locally, taking issues of power into account. Critical awareness is
required to surface different view points in any attempts at purposeful action.

* Methodological pluralism- uses a variety of systems methods that are flexible,
dynamic and locally decidable, the role of the systems practitioner is to work with
stakeholders and to facilitate their capacity to select and use relevant methods,
taking issues of power into account.
                                                            Freda M. Ateyeh
                                                         Student No. 040610
                                                              T306 – TMA1


    T2551: System thinking and practice: A Primer
    T2552: Systems thinking and practice: Diagramming
    T306 material “Managing Complexity” – Block 1
      (Juggling with complexity: Searching for system)
    Different Internet Websites
    Tutorial Classes

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