Volume 2, Issue 3, 2002
Knowing How to Manage
A Philosophy of Management
This article presents an overview of systems thinking from the mid-20th Century to the present. Systems thinking is presented as an interdisciplinary approach to managing complexity in organisations. It is characterised as holistic, dialogical and pluralistic. The philosophical interpretation of the practice of systemic
intervention is increasingly important to understanding the reflexive and ethical nature of this approach to management. The article assesses the prospects of systems thinking becoming a mature philosophy of management by focusing on the quality of relationships that it facilitates. A number of outstanding philosophical questions requiring further research are identified in conclusion.