The desired output can be in the form of services and products. The systems thinking approach induces the detailed analysis of each aspect of the action plan that is formulated to achieve the desired results. Therefore the management needs to consider the critical success factors and the impact of the external environment upon the operations. The systems theory brings stability in the operations of an organization which otherwise can be chaotic as the business environment, both internal and external are constantly changing. In a typical case study by Rubenstein-Montano, et al.
(2001, p. 122), it was found that the systems approach actually established that there was adequate link between the different components of an organization by establishing linear relationships between different organizational units and their functions. This certainly confirms that the main objective of systems thinking is to provide a mathematical or a logical solution for understanding the complex behaviour of business environment so that adequate guidance can be generated to meet desired organizational and social goals (Donella, 2008, p. 55). 4.2 The importance of system thinking in management There are a number of instances where system thinking has been used to achieve several management processes.
Most of the circumstances go a long way to prove that in the current situation of trying to address challenges affecting learning process in online distance education using the soft system methodology in the context of Saudi Arabia, system thinking can be employed to achieve this goal. Jamshid (2005, p. 24) noted for example that systems thinking approach has grown into wide spread use because it helps management to solve complex problems more effectively and efficiently.
Seddon (2008, p. 53) agreed to this context of argument and noted that the reason system thinking leads to efficiency and effectiveness is that it motivates most organizations develop a sense of urgency to solve problems quickly. Because the solutions to identified system problems are not tackled individually but as a unit, it is always possible to find a one-off means by which problems will be solved (Donella, 2008, p. 143). This is where much time is saved because managers do not have to approach the problems from a disintegrated perspective.
This notwithstanding, Skyttner (2006, p. 53) warned that if managers and employers do not take the right attitude towards system thinking, it will be very difficult to yield this benefit.
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