The Systems Research Team met in Linz, Austria, this past April for the 2014 IFSR (International Federation for Systems Research) Conversation. The team worked together to explore questions related to the question, "What distinguishes Systems Research from other forms of research?" Stay tuned for publication of the team's outcomes and be sure to check out the IFSR website at http://www.ifsr.org/.
My "go-to" expert for questions about Human Resource Management for the last ten or more years has been Pete Loomis, SPHR. We started a networking group that meets on Friday mornings at a coffeehouse on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo to discuss the challenges and opportunities for businesses in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Pete publishes a monthly newsletter, HR Notes. It concisely updates HR professionals about current issues, which significantly impact their organizations. The beauty of Pete's newsletter is it is one page and alerts his clients to pressing issues requiring timely attention. See a recent issue of Pete's HR Notes here:
This valuable tool is available at the Loomis Associates website at:
http://www.loomishr.com/index.html. To receive HR Notes monthly, you can sign up on the site.
Research never ends. There's always another stone to turn and occasionally a gem is unearthed. Since my research and writing stands on the shoulders of pioneers like Joseph E. McGrath, finding this jewel is a splendid surprise. McGrath (1927-2007) was a forward thinking social psychologist who focused on small group research and taught at the University of Illinois. I was drawn to his work because he envisioned research "post-positivism" (he taught a seminar exploring the assumptions of traditional scientific approaches to research) and advocated for group development research using complexity theory (my area of interest).
Apparently, he also had a sense of humor as a poet, writing what he considered "doggerel." Here is his perspective of maturing as an academic advisor.
Growing From Advisor Into Mentor
In early years I thought my job
Was keeping standards high
'Twas rigor that I sought to teach
With criticism wry
But later on I learned anew
The truth of feedback's fate:
That many barrels of vinegar
Does not one thought create
That snips of sugar, sagely used
Can motivate anew
That praise, like yeast, can leaven
The intellectual brew
I also learned that students
(Like our kids, by now all grown)
Had lives to live, and dreams to dream
Relationships to hone
That they were folks who needed
Their autonomy to claim
That "study" was a part of life
But not the whole damn game
But most of all I came to see
That what they most required
Was the surge of capability
That self-confidence inspired.
So what I best could do for them
Was not to scorn nor flatter
But rather to convince them that
Their own ideas matter.
Indeed, McGrath was a revered mentor to many fine minds in the field of social psychology. Many graduate students would be so lucky to have academic advisors with this attitude.
Interested in curating the conditions for a thrivable planet? Come join the Thrivable Planet Tribe meeting at the 57th ISSS Conference - here's your invitation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXcf4S0tBFg ISSS 57 - Curating Conditions for a Thrivable Planet www.youtube.com A message from Alexander Laszlo, President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Our new brochure is available for download. Click on the About EEI tab, go to the bottom of the page, and click to download the brochure. If you have any questions, use the form on the Contact Us page to send us an email. We'll answer your inquiries within 48 hours. Thanks for your interest!
NEW INFORMATION for The 57th World Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. You are warmly invited to join us in a unique experience that will contribute significantly to making systems thinking more mainstream around the world. The 57th Annual ISSS World Conference will provide you with an opportunity to showcase advances in systemic sustainability initiatives from around the world with hands-on experience in the UNESCO Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve and at Hai Phong City, the first city in the world to be managed using an integral systems approach.
NEW: Information for travel and visa applications, Tourist information, Accommodation and Registration fees have all been added to the conference web pages. Either use the Quickpaths links to the right of this page or for further information, PLEASE CLICK HERE!
For more information about ISSS, please go to: http://isss.org/world/
To learn more about the integral systems approach used for managing this event, please go to the International Federation for Systems Research (IFSR) site at: http://www.ifsr.org/node/8
The proceedings can be viewed at: http://ifsr.ocg.at/world/files/$12e$Magdalena-2012-proc.pdf
This message about opportunities to explore sustainability and systems thinking is from my colleague, Gerald Midgley.
PhD in Systems Thinking and Sustainability Engineering
University of Hull (UK) and University of Melbourne (Australia) Joint Degree
The Centre for Systems Studies in the Business School at the University of Hull and the School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne welcome applications for admission to a ground-breaking, joint PhD programme, supervised across the two institutions.
While engineers and scientists often focus on technical solutions to sustainability problems, it is common knowledge that unforeseen issues can arise. Engineers do not always anticipate negative community reactions to their designs, and can find themselves embroiled in conflicts over their technologies.
The Universities of Hull and Melbourne are collaborating on a research programme to see whether a new approach to sustainability engineering - a systems approach - can prevent these kinds of problems from arising. A systems approach asks engineers, scientists, stakeholders and local communities to work together to look at the bigger picture; explore different perspectives on the sustainability issues being tackled; appreciate the potential interactions between ecological, social, economic and technological aspirations; and collaborate to design new ways forward, with technical fixes being only part of the solution.
The Centre for Systems Studies in the Business School at the University of Hull is widely recognised in the systems research community as a world leader in systems thinking to address complex social and environmental issues. The University of Melbourne is ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement as the top University in the Southern Hemisphere. Its School of Engineering is making a cutting edge contribution to sustainability on an Australian continent where issues of drought and climate change loom large.
The collaboration between these two institutions offers a unique and exciting environment in which to study for a PhD and make a substantial contribution to systems thinking for sustainability engineering. Applicants must meet the entry requirements of both the Universities of Hull and Melbourne, and the PhD will be jointly supervised and jointly awarded.
Applicants will have either Hull or Melbourne as their 'primary' institution, which means their fees will be paid to that institution, and they will spend more than half their time there. Students with Hull as their primary institution will spend their first year in the UK, where they will undertake research training, gain a deeper appreciation of the literature relevant to their research, and further develop their research proposal. They will then spend their second year in Melbourne undertaking fieldwork or an in-depth study on a sustainability issue of their choice, before returning to Hull to finish writing up in their third year. Applicants wishing to undertake systemic action research projects, quantitative studies, qualitative research and/or purely theoretical explorations are all encouraged to apply.
Please see the Hull University Business School guidelines for completing a PhD application:
The application form is a generic one for all the University of Hull's PhD programmes, so please specify 'Hull/Melbourne PhD on Systems Thinking and Sustainability Engineering' in the box asking which programme you are interested in.
The University of Hull and the Hull University Business School are both currently advertising competitive scholarships, with a deadline of 11 January 2013. If your studies are dependent on receiving one of these scholarships, you must apply for the PhD programme before, or at the same time as, the scholarships. If you are intending to be funded by a body outside the University of Hull, there is no deadline for applications.
Links to the scholarships can be found below:
7 University Scholarships:
4 Business School Scholarships:
Professor Gerald Midgley
Director of the Centre for Systems Studies
Graduate Research Director for the Business School
Leader of the 'Connected Communities' Interdisciplinary Research Theme for the University
T +44 (0)1482 463316
Hull University Business School
University of Hull
Hull, HU6 7RX, UK
Thank you, Len for your recommendation. Indeed, Margaret Mead is a role model. She was the first woman President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS, formerly the Society for General Systems Research, SGSR), holding the office from 1972-3. I have been reading about her path through systems thinking, starting with her autobiography, Blackberry Winter (1972). As you mention, Len, Margaret was a strong advocate for systems thinking, as well as an authority in anthropology. Like many authorities, she had her critics. Derek Freeman (1983) attempted to discredit her work after her death, but Paul Shankman (2009) delved deeply into Freeman's critique and found it biased and flawed (The Trashing of Margaret Mead). As I move through the literature about her, I found Mary Catherine Bateson's (1984) memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, With a Daughter's Eye, moving and insightful. Donella Meadows is another role model who has greatly contributed to our understanding of systems sciences. While both these women serve as standard-bearers and the WSS project will profile them as such, the focus will be on women currently contributing to the field. Should you have other recommendations for women you think should be part of the research, please contact me privately, thus honoring the privacy of those you choose to nominate. If you don't have my email address, please use the contact form and I will contact you. As always, thanks so much for your input.
In September, I introduced a project (see New Projects) in this blog called "Women in the Systems Sciences." During these past few months, I have been exploring ideas related to this subject with several colleagues. Most expressed support for research into the contributions made by women to the Systems Sciences Body of Knowledge (BoK). Several conversations noted that the voices of women are underrepresented in this field. As these discussions continue and the project develops, the need for a space devoted to engaging dialogue and reporting progress became evident. In this space, you will discover the evolution of the project. Check back often.
Wiley-Blackwell has just published the Special Issue of Systems Research and Behavioral Science, edited by Jennifer Wilby. You will find my article, A Complex Adaptive Systems View of Resilience in a Project Team, available for download here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.2153
Mary Edson, Ph.D., SHRM SCP, SPHR, is an organizational strategist who works with managers, project leaders, and teams to overcome adversity by building adaptive capacity and sustainable systems. She conducted her doctoral research at Saybrook University in San Francisco, CA. Her research paper reviewing the results of this study received the Sir Geoffrey Vickers Award at the 55th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences at the University of Hull, U.K. For more about Mary's work as an organizational strategist, go to Leadership Strategies at www.maryedson.com
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