This assessment is designed to apply the knowledge and skills developed by the students in evaluating the role of systems thinking in global and local sustainability challenges. The topic for your paper is:
'Systems thinking is critical in developing solutions to sustainability challenges.
To what extent do you agree with this statement, and why? Draw on one of the following wicked problems to illustrate your answer:
• Achieving energy security in Australian manufacturing
• Australia's aging workforce
Relevance of Systems Thinking in the Business World
The concept of sustainability has become an important one within the particular cannon of the present day business world and it is seen that the diverse business enterprises are taking the help of new innovative strategies for the purpose of attainment of this particular end (Holmes and Noel, 2015, p.245). The process of globalization and the use of innovative business strategies by the diverse business enterprises had greatly increased the competition within the field of business and this particular factor has adversely affected the prospects of the diverse business enterprises in the present times (Arnold and Wade, 2015, pp. 669-678). One of the major repercussions of this particular process is the fact that the customers are having increased number of options at their disposal and this in turn affects the process of attainment of sustainability by the business enterprises in a significant manner (Haines, 2016, pp.101-124). It is in this particular context that the concept of system thinking has gained prominence within the cannon of the business world and the diverse business enterprises are increasingly taking the help of this particular concept for the purpose of attaining a significant amount of sustainable competitive leverage (Peters, 2014, p.51). This essay will discuss about the relevance of the concept of system thinking for the purpose of attaining sustainability within the business world. The will at the same time discuss about the manner in which this particular concept can be used for the resolution of the major wicked problem, namely, the problem of Australia’s ageing workplace.
The concept of systems thinking has become especially important in the particular context of the increasing complexity of the structure of the business enterprises (Davis et al., 2017, pp. 171-180). It is significant to note that the various business enterprises are composed of the various systems of the entities and the entire work performed by a particular business enterprise depends on the conglomeration of these different entities or systems (Davis et al., 2017, pp. 171-180). Furthermore, many experts are of the viewpoint that the effectiveness of a particular business enterprise depends on the extent to which the concerned enterprise is being able to integrate the different systems that are a part of their organization (Onat et al., 2017, p.706). Moreover, it is seen that these diverse systems are concerned with the management or handling of diverse kinds of functions and thus the effectiveness as well as the efficiency of any organization depends of these systems or entities (Onat et al., 2017, p.706). In this particular context, the concept of system thinking has also gained a significant amount of prominence. The process of system thinking is associated with the analysis of the manner in which the different entities or the systems of a particular business enterprise are interrelated to each other and also the manner in which they could be effectively used to enhance the individual effectiveness of these different systems (Williams et al., 2017, pp. 866-881). Many experts are of the viewpoint that the system approach is drastically different from the various traditional approaches and in the present times it is being used not only for the process of the business but also for the audit of the business environment as well (Williams et al., 2017, pp. 866-881).
Benefits of System Thinking for Sustainability
The major benefit that the process of systems thinking provides to the various business enterprises of the present times is the fact that they help the concerned enterprises to attain a certain level of sustainability (Clayton and Radcliffe, 2015, pp. 67-91). This is important since because of the fact that the landscape of the present business world is very different from the one of the earlier times and in addition to this the bargaining power of the customers or the buyers has at the same time increased in a significant manner (Clayton and Radcliffe, 2015, pp. 67-91). Furthermore, at the same time it is seen that new business enterprises are emerging in the field of business almost on a daily basis and this has increased the level of competition within the business world in a substantial manner (Abson et al., 2017, pp. 30-39). It is a reflection of this particular fact that the major focus of the various business enterprises of the present times is to attain to a significant amount of sustainability which is likely to help them for the process of their business (Abson et al., 2017, pp. 30-39). This provides the required opportunity to the business enterprises not only to reach out to a much larger customer base but at the same time the opportunity to earn a much larger amount of profit or revenue as well. The process of system thinking by increasing the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of each of the systems which in turn conglomerate to form the entire organization itself helps the business enterprises to attain this particular end (Doppelt, 2017, pp. 54-71).
It is significant to note that the process of systems thinking is likely to help the various organizations to not only attain the required growth but at the same time to attain the three pillars of the sustainability model as well, namely, economic, environmental and the social goals (Clayton and Radcliffe, 2015, pp. 67-91). As already mentioned the major focus of the organizations of the present times is to earn a higher amount of profit but at the same time they need to add value or contribute in a positive manner towards the cause of the environment as well. This is important not only from the perspective of the business ethics but at the same time from the perspective of the planet as well. It is precisely here that the concept of systems thinking enables the various organizations to attain not only sustainability but at the same time to fulfill its three major objectives as well through increasing the efficiency and the effectiveness of each of the system of the organization.
Wicked Problem of Australia's Aging Workforce
Wicked problems are the ones which are very difficult or for that matter almost impossible to solve because of the incomplete, changing requirement or inadequate resources. However, at the same time it needs to be said that these problems not only take a toll on the financial resources of an organization but at the same time on the other kind of resources as well. One of the major wicked problems that the business enterprises of the nation of Australia are facing at the current moment is the problem of the ageing workforce (Valentinov, Hielscher and Pies, 2015, pp. 491-501). It is significant to note that the majority of the workforce of the various business enterprises of the nation of Australia are on the older side, that is, belongs to the age bracket of 40-59 years of age (Valentinov, Hielscher and Pies, 2015, pp. 491-501). This particular fact acts both as advantage as well as disadvantage for the various business enterprises which form an integral part of the nation. The major advantage of this particular aspect is the fact that it provides the various business enterprises of the Australian nation with the much needed professional experience that they require within the framework of their workplaces (Adams et al., 2016, pp. 180-205). The ageing workforce also provide the much needed mentoring as well coaching that the fresh candidates who have just the business enterprises need in order to understand the things or the work roles that they are required to perform within the workplace that they have joined (Adams et al., 2016, pp. 180-205). In addition to these, the ageing workforce of the business enterprises also provide the much needed assistance during the handling of the diverse kinds of critical tasks and other kind of complicated works.
There are various disadvantages of the ageing workplace population that the various business enterprises of the nation of Australia have. For example, one of the major problems that the various business enterprises of the nation of Australia face is the fact that they often tend to slow the pace of productivity of the concerned business enterprise (Bocken, Rana and Short, 2015, pp.67-81). It is significant to note that the working speed of the people who are on the greater side of the age is not as fast as the ones who are younger in comparison to them (Bocken, Rana and Short, 2015, pp.67-81). This has a considerable impact not on the individual performance of the employees but at the same time on the overall organizational productivity as well. Another significant problem that the majority of the business enterprises face because of the ageing workplace population of their business enterprise is the fact that these employees generally depend on the traditional systems or strategies for the dispensation of their job roles (Bocken, Rana and Short, 2015, pp.67-81). Thus, it can be said that the ageing workplace population of the nation of Australia is hindering the organizations to attain a significant amount of sustainability but at the same time is deterring them to fulfill the economic, social and the environmental obligations that are required of them.
Application of Systems Thinking to Address Wicked Problem
The constantly changing landscape of the business world requires the use of latest innovative strategies for the dispensation of job roles (Domegan et al., 2016, pp.1123-1144). This has various kinds of benefits firstly these innovative strategies help the concerned individuals to dispense their job roles in a much better manner (Domegan et al., 2016, pp.1123-1144). Secondly, they at the same time help the concerned employees to not only improve their individual performances but at the same time the overall organizational performance as well (Gahan et al., 2017, pp. 511-523). This is important since it helps the concerned organizations to attain a sustainable amount of competitive advantage which in turn helps these business enterprises to not only improve their prospects but at the same time to earn a much larger amount of profit as well (Radford et al., 2018, pp. 39-54). Furthermore, the nature of the present day business world has become such that the various employees constantly need new skills for the dispensation of their job roles and taking this particular fact into effective consideration the various educational institutions of the present times are trying to provide these new skill sets to the students (Biggs, 2018, p.10). Thus, it can be said that the fresh candidates have a much higher skill set as well as knowledge in comparison to the experienced ones. Furthermore, in order to provide these skill sets as well as the information to the employees the concerned organization would have to arrange for various kinds of training programs. It is significant to note that these training programs take a significant of time, capital and other resources of the concerned organization and thus it is not always feasible for the business enterprises to provide these kinds of training programs to the employees (Gray, 2018, p.388).
The problem of ageing workplace pollution has become one of the major wicked problems for the various business enterprises of the nation of Australia which need to resolve on an urgent basis to derive the maximum benefits from their business (Connell, Nankervis and Burgess, 2015, pp.257-264). One possible solution for the resolution or the mitigation of this particular problem that the various business enterprises of the nation of Australia are facing at the current moment can be effective use of the concept of systems thinking. Taking the help of the process of system thinking the various business enterprises of the nation of Australia can actually segregate not only the different employees but also the diverse HRM systems within their enterprise and this is likely to help the enterprises the understand the effectiveness of each of the employees and also the HRM systems (Connell, Nankervis and Burgess, 2015, pp.257-264). This is important since it will help the concerned enterprise to understand the value that the ageing population of their workplace are providing to the enterprise and then take the required action which will be beneficial not only for the individual employees but at the same time for the entire organization itself. Furthermore, the segregation of the different employees of the organization on the basis of not only their age but also the value that they contribute to the concerned organization is very important since it is likely to help the concerned organization to understand in an effective manner the employees that they need to get rid of and the ones that they need to retain within the framework of their organization. The retention of the employees who are likely to provide a positive value to the organization is important since this will help the concerned organization to not only improve their performance level but at the same time will help them in a significant manner to gain sustainability as well.
To conclude, the concept of sustainability has emerged as one of the most important ones within the framework of the modern day business world and is generally considered to be one of the major factors that determine the fate of a business enterprise to a large extent. The process of system thinking is thus increasingly being used by the various business enterprises of the present times to not only improve the effectiveness of each of the systems which form an integral part of their overall organization but at the same time to gain a significant amount of sustainability as well. Furthermore, it is seen that the various business enterprises of the present times are increasingly taking the help of the concept of system thinks for the resolution of the diverse kinds of problems which they face. One of the major problems that the majority of the business enterprises of the nation of Australia are facing at the current moment is the problem of the ageing workforce population. It is significant to note that this particular problem is affecting not only the prospects of the organizations but at the same time their organizational performance as well in a significant manner. The use of the process of systems thinking can help the various organizations to not only resolve this particular problem but at the same time can help the various organizations to gain a significant amount of sustainability as well.
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