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Michael C. Jackson

In this RSD12-Loughborough keynote, Jackson argues that critical systems thinking has achieved four major things in its 40 years of existence:

  • A thorough critique of the variety of systems approaches and methodologies, pointing to the theoretical and practical strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Establishing the argument for pluralism in systems thinking. This has helped end the ‘paradigm wars’ that plagued systems thinking in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Enhancement of the practical orientation in systems thinking, particularly by developing guidance for and engaging in multi-methodological practice.
  • Ensuring that issues of marginalization, disadvantage, empowerment, and emancipation are always to the fore.

Michael C. Jackson is Emeritus Professor at the University of Hull and MD of Systems Research Ltd. He graduated from Oxford University, gained an MA from Lancaster University and a PhD from Hull, and has worked in the civil service, in academia and as a consultant. Between 1999 and 2011, Mike was Dean of Hull University Business School, leading it to triple-crown accreditation. Mike has been President of the International Federation for Systems Research and the International Society for the Systems Sciences. He was editor-in-chief of Systems Research and Behavioral Science for 26 years. In 2011 Mike was awarded an OBE for services to higher education and business. In 2017 he received the Beale Medal of the UK Operational Research Society for “a sustained contribution over many years to the theory, practice, and philosophy of Operational Research.” In 2022 he received the Pioneer Award of the International Council on Systems Engineering for “the development of the foundations of systems engineering as author, educator and intellectual leader in systems thinking.” Mike is known as a key figure in the development of ‘critical systems thinking’ – a topic on which he has published ten books and over 150 articles. His latest book, Critical Systems Thinking and the Management of Complexity, was published by Wiley in 2019.

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Citation Data

Author(s): Michael Jackson
Year: 2023
Title: Critical Systems Thinking
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Loughborough, UK | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 15 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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