During this course students interested in adding a dimension to their critical thinking and business design skills will have the opportunity to develop the systems thinking skill sets that will accelerate their ability to diagnose and shift performance of complex systems. General managers and strategy consultants use systems-thinking skills to examine the interconnectedness of business processes, information and decision-policy structures, and judge how a change in any one area might affect the performance of an entire system over time. Students will learn a new way of communicating with others and benefit from learning to utilize a systems-design approach for facilitating discussions aimed at developing new mental models of complex business systems. In this course, students will utilize business simulations to design new managerial policies aimed at improving performance and testing alternative business scenarios. The course is highly participatory, relying on workshops, simulations, and interaction with classmates and guest speakers to complement readings, cases, and exercises. Throughout the course, special emphasis is placed on communicating with others in order to build a shared understanding of business processes, decisions, and business performance insights.


Academic course objectives


·         Use systems mapping techniques and simulations to isolate and describe the often intangible elements and interconnections that affect the performance dynamics of a business

·         Explore the competitive structure of a company’s operating structures and information flows, in addition to those of its customers, competitors, and suppliers

·         Assess and quantify the behavior of a complete system by identifying the critical variables, constraints, and policy decisions that reinforce business growth or performance decline

·         Utilize archetypes to identify common business-mode failures and explore the applications of strategic mapping techniques across many industries and job functions

·         Practice how to create desirable business dynamics by acting upon the system at specific points of leverage


Elements of the course grade


Class and workshop contributions                  50%

Final systems design project case                   50%



Link to GBUS 8430 Web site: