Systems Concepts in Action: A Practitioner's Toolkit

By Bob Williams; Richard Hummelbrunner | Go to book overview

10
CYNEFIN

“How” ‘are’ we framing the situation: as simple, complicated, complex, or
chaotic?

What are the implications of this framing for how we manage a situation?

What are appropriate ways of managing a situation on the basis of this
framing?


WHAT IS CYNEFIN?

Management theory and practice in the past few decades have often factionalized into two distinct camps. There are those who seek to treat all situations as if they were simple irrespective of the actual nature of the situation (e.g., results-based management, management by objectives). Then there are those who regard everything as complex, notably those influenced by complexity theory.

More recently, a third way has evolved: those who argue that managing everything as if it were simple is ineffective, and managing everything as if it were complex is inefficient. Cynefin is an example of this more recent trend.

Developed by David Snowden and Cynthia Kurtz when they were at the IBM’s Institute of Knowledge Management, Cynefin identifies four behaviors a situation can display: simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic. This terminology is not new; the systems literature has used it for decades. However,

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Systems Concepts in Action: A Practitioner's Toolkit
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • About Systems, Thinking Systemically, and Being Systemic 16
  • Part One- Describing and Analyzing Situations 29
  • 1- Causal Loop Diagrams 31
  • 2- System Dynamics 45
  • 3- Social Network Analysis 60
  • 4- Outcome Mapping 75
  • 5- Process Monitoring of Impacts 92
  • 6- Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing 108
  • Part Two- Changing and Managing Situations 121
  • 7- Strategic Area Assessment 123
  • 8- The Cde Model 136
  • 9- Assumption-Based Planning 153
  • 10- Cynefin 163
  • 11- Solution Focus 184
  • 12- Viable System Model 199
  • Part Three- Learning about Situations 215
  • 13- Cultural Historical Activity Theory 217
  • 14- Soft Systems Methodology 241
  • 15- Dialectical Methods of Inquiry 262
  • 16- Scenario Technique 273
  • 17- Systemic Questioning 284
  • 18- Circular Dialogues 292
  • 19- Critical Systems Heuristics 303
  • Index 321
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