Systemic Management Practice in Organisations

Assists managers, HR/OD consultants and executive coaches to synthesise their methods and techniques to create a more transformational impact on the wider organisational system. They enhance their approach through coherent interventions which fit the organisational context and their professional values.

Comments from participants

What is it?

Systemic Practice focuses on organisational patterns of thinking and interaction and the development of one's 'systemic eye' to observe and work effectively with these patterns. This helps to create focus, be centred and authentic, and make wise choices to enhance organisational life. It is synonymous with 'relational practice' which means taking account of the context and relationships in our work and how we relate to ourselves, our purpose, and others, and their purpose/s. Here the term 'organisational' refers to systems of organisation which may be the company or business entity / the group / yourself - depending on where we want to draw the line around the system in which we need to intervene. The patterns of thinking and interaction show in people's identity, relational and cultural stories which are enacted in conversations. So, when taking a systemic approach, it is important to tune into the movement of the language of interaction. Systemic practice helps us hone our ability in doing this - becoming reflexive practitioners with skills in dialogical communication.

Systemic Practice, what are the theoretical underpinnings?

It is rooted in postmodern theory, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, systemic family therapy, sociology, communications theorists. As it is a contemporary field it has drawn on others of its time since 1950's – Humanistic, Gestalt, Jungian - so some of the terminology may sound familiar. It is also connected to Systems Thinking in that 'thinking in systems' is a necessary mindset and ability for Systemic practice and, when thinking in systems, we perceive the organisational world as a web of interconnecting systems of relationships and conversations. Systemic Practice is not a 'one size fits all' it enables each person in a unique way linked to the context/s in which they work, the professionals they are and wish to become given the added value they envision contributing to the workplace, as the comments from participants indicate.

Learning Systemic Practice, how does this happen?

It is inquiry based learning and different from traditional forms of instruction which can lead to passivity. The method is more active, it emphasizes constructivist ideas of learning where knowledge is built from the experience and process of the group analysing and critiquing problem defined situations and experimenting with methods and techniques which become contextually specific in order to achieve useful outcomes. There are no 'off the shelf' generalised solutions. Acquiring Systemic Practise is all about usefulness hence we ask the question "what did we create and how ?" in order to acknowledge and amplify what worked. This process mirrors the way complex organisms evolve and adapt. Our role as facilitators is to facilitate this.

View our Systemic Practice Core Principles