United Kingdom, Hull

Systems Approaches to Management

when 21 July 2014 - 31 July 2014
duration 2 weeks
credits 5 ECTS
fee GBP 895

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to utilize the basic concepts and tools of systems thinking and system dynamics in order to study an organizational or social process through the development, and use of a system dynamics model.

Students will be able to propose and consolidate organizational and social change by learning and applying systemic-based approaches. Systems methodologies are particularly useful when there is a need to appreciate the 'bigger picture' rather than focus down on just one part of the issue.

The main distinctive features is the introduction of theories and frameworks for exploring problem situations and mixing methods, pioneered by the Centre for Systems Studies in HUBS. Hull Business School is re-known worldwide for its work on advancing and applying systems thinking tools.

No previous knowledge of systems thinking is required. General understanding of management and business principles is desirable.

Course topics and subtopics:

1. Intervention processes
1.1 Concepts and basic elements
1.1.1 Problem situations and complexity handling
1.1.2 Problem solving components: context, content and process
1.2 General description of intervention process
1.2.1 Intervention process stages
1.2.2 Participants of an intervention process

2. Types of Intervention
2.1 Typology of situations under study and intervention approaches
2.2 Research as an intervention process
2.3 Consultancy processes as intervention processes

3. Systems methodologies for intervention
3.1 General description of systems methodologies (choose two): Soft Systems
Methodology (SSM), Viable System Model (VSM), Critical Systems Heuristics
(CSH) and Interactive Management (IM)
3.2 Systems methodologies and intervention processes
3.3 Systems methodologies selection
3.4 Related methods and tools

4. System Dynamics : Antecedents and foundations
4.1 System Dynamics evolution: Electronic systems – industrial systems – urban
systems – global systems.
4.2 Counterintuitive behavior, causality, endogenous and exogenous variables.
4.3 Event – pattern – structure – behavior.
4.4 Positive and negative relations between variables, feedback cycles and their
associated behaviour.
4.5 Behaviors associated to the fundamental cycles: Exponential growth, goal
seeking, S-shaped growth, oscillation, growth and collapse.

5. Contemporary phenomena seen as dynamic systems.
5.1 Dynamic modeling for population issues.
5.2 Dynamic modeling for inventories.
5.3 Dynamic modeling for epidemics and innovation processes.
5.4 Dynamic modeling for supply chains.
5.5 Dynamic modeling for drugs abuse.
5.6 Dynamic modeling for societal problems related to the stages of recollection, agriculture and industrialization.

Course leader


Target group

Advanced undergraduate students from Business / Management / Economics background, and advanced undergraduate or postgraduate students from other disciplines.

Course aim

The aims of the module are to provide students with:
1. An overview of representative systems methodologies, their different paradigmatic assumptions and the systems thinking skills that they emphasize;
2. An understanding of their main purposes, strengths and weaknesses in the context of action research projects;
3. Experience of applying a range of system methodologies;
4. An ability to simulate, validate and evaluate diverse scenarios in the situations being studied, using specific system dynamics software.

It is expected that the students will develop collaboratively different simulation models in order to cover the different stages involved in the System Dynamics modeling process.

Credits info

This module of the summer school programme carries 5 ECTS.
It should be combined with a preceeding module (see 26128 for further details).
Stduents who successfully complete both modules can achieve a total of 10 ECTS for the International Management Summer School programme (260130).

Fee info

GBP 895: This is an all inclusive fee for a TWO-week programme.
It includes the cost of accommodation, bus pass for the duration of the course, breakfast and evening meals, welcome events and meals during events of the social programme, airport collection service* (subject to T&C - please contact us for further details).

GBP 1695: This is an all-inclusive fee if the course is taken as part of a FOUR-week summer school programme.

We recommend that the students take this course as part of the overall summer programme as the course is designed to build on the elements and topics covered in the preceeding modules (see 26128). Also, taking both modules together results in a saving of 95.00 GBP on the fee for the whole programme, which otherwise would cost 1790.00 GBP.


Each individual scholarship offers a 50% fee waiver:
Two Week Programme: 447.50 (GBP)
Four Week Programme: 847.50 (GBP)
Fee reductions for group bookings (capped at 3 per institution):
200.00 or 400.00 GBP discount per student on 2 or 4 week course r