how it can help solve people management problems. What THREE key points you would make in your talk and why?

Question 4(AC1.4)
You are asked to make a 30-minute presentation at a local CIPD branch meeting. The subject is a critical evaluation of systemic thinking and how it can help solve people management problems. What THREE key points you would make in your talk and why?

(Some pointers):

  • Avoid too much theory
  • A bit on the definition ie what is systemic thinking
  • Some on the issues/problems that system thinking can help us overcome
  • Justify your points

(From Study Guide)

Working inclusively and collaboratively within and across organisational boundaries; embracing difference and using diversity to improve organisational performance; building trust, sharing knowledge, experience and skills; promoting positive attitudes and collaboration. 22 ©Watson Martin 2022 When we talk about systemic thinking the best analogy of how this works in practice is to consider a car. The engine alone does not drive the car but is connected to other key parts such as electrics and fuel management, gear box, clutch and handbrake, as examples.

Every single component in a car is a system of its own, that, if it is not working, will impact on the other parts of the car from working, and overall, the car will not work effectively, if at all. For example, if the clutch cable breaks you cannot change gear, and if the brakes fail, then the car will not stop. Systemic thinking is similar to the workings of a car, but in HR practices, if the reward system is not working then this will impact the performance system; if the performance system is not working then the development system will not work, and so on. . Organisation Design and Development practitioners use models of systemic thinking as part of their work.

Differentiating between the two specialisms, organisation design is building a car (to use our earlier example) and organisational development is adding the fuel. Look at the diagram below. This is the Black box theory model or AMO model. Figure 3: Black Box Thinking (Purcell et al, 2003) Here you can see around the edges the parts of the HR system (the car components) – job security, which is linked to career opportunity. This means that employees require job security before they will think about anything else at work. Providing this job security is the first component in the system. Secondly is career opportunity and this component is linked to performance appraisal, which is where most career opportunities are identified.

So, as you can see from the arrows, that performance appraisal is linked to career opportunities but it is also linked to training and development. Again, it is likely that development needs come from an appraisal, hence the two-way link, shown by the arrows. Starting on the vertical column on the left we can see that team working comes from job challenges and job autonomy, and 23 ©Watson Martin 2022 vice versus, with job challenges and job autonomy linking to pay satisfaction.

Pay satisfaction links to recruitment and on to training and development. You can see in the model that all the systems (components) link to the AMO model in the second to left column. The ‘fuel’ to get the systems working is involvement and communication, which are also linked to team working. This is where organisational development comes into play in ensuring that the systems get the right fuel, otherwise it is pointless to have good systems that do not work. All the components and the fuel provide AMO (the ability, motivation and opportunity) to achieve performance outcomes.