Undertake a critical evaluation making effective use of evidence and sources

Undertake a critical evaluation making effective use of evidence and sources

Task: “Systems thinking essentially seeks to understand phenomena as a whole formed by the interaction of parts.” (Stacey, 2011)

Critically appraise the above statement in relation to changing ideas of strategic thinking and explain how it exists within a selected company’s approach to strategic management.

To develop a good essay you must use these key themes to develop the analysis, namely:

1.Approaches to Strategic Thinking

2.Systems Thinking

3.Complexity Perspective: New Ways of Thinking About Strategy?

4.Complex Adaptive Systems: Modelling Complexity

5.The Practice Perspective

Organisational examples can be used to illustrate the themes covered in the essay. However, the essay is not a case study, it is a theoretical paper.

Remember that a critical study aims to provide a balanced analysis of differing perspectives, and points of view, before drawing the argument to a coherent conclusion.

Required: A word processed essay with referencing to literature. The essay will be 3,000 (+/- 10%) words (inclusive of appendices, NOT inclusive of references).

In order to complete this activity you need to undertake three principal tasks:

(1) Utilize academic research using literature from journals, books, etc.

(2) Undertake a critical evaluation making effective use of evidence and sources

(3) Present findings in an appropriate format (ensure that Harvard referencing is used)


(i) Introduction to the assignment describing scope, objectives, methods of investigation etc. a. Clear structure to the essay providing the course of the analysis b. The essay should display a coherent introduction; analysis & conclusion

(ii) Identification of key areas a. The main themes Approaches to Straetgy, Systems Thinking, Complexity, Adaptive systems and Strategy as Practice principles need to be clearly addressed within the structure of the essay b. Establishing the traditional ideas of strategy as a basis to work from can help structure the analysis. Impacts of systems thinking should be brought in to illustrate the themes covered, notably Adaptive Systems and The Practice Perspective c. The links between the main themes must be explored and critically understood in the stronger pieces of work d. The shift from thinking of individual actions to systems as a collective activity must be addressed in order to answer the set question e. Essays should avoid unnecessary description of the themes, particularly the activities covered in Soft Systems Methodology and Strategy as Practice thinking

(iii) Application of theory a. Clear awareness of the relevant authors in developing the analysis of the main themes e.g. Checkland, Whittington, Jarzabkowski, Mintzberg, Wilson, etc.

(iv) Structured analysis a. The essay needs to display a coherent analysis drawing the themes together in order to explore the question in a relevant way b. The essay is not meant to be separate sections that should be left to the conclusion to link. Weaker essays will fall into this pattern

(v) Creativity of thought a. The essay needs to display a clear analysis drawing on the main theory being explored to display the comfort with the ideas being covered b. Examples from organisations can be effective in illustrating the thought of the analysis

(vi) Presentation of document including clarity of expression and referencing. a. The essay must be clearly set out and well written b. Avoidance of confusing arguments and messy content e.g. overly long sentences c. Consistent Harvard referencing is essential to support the analysis

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