Discussion: Shared Practice: Systems Thinking And Constraint Management

Discussion: Shared Practice: Systems Thinking and Constraint Management

[T]he market is not truly free if whole categories of costs—the loss of resources, the loss of cultural diversity, and ecological diversity—are not recognized and valued.

Shireman, W. (1999, p 461).

Where are a manager’s priorities—are they to the bottom line or to a complex set of stakeholders? The notion that businesses can both earn a profit and protect and enhance the natural environment was a radical one when William Shireman and others proposed it in the 1990s. In “Business Strategies for Sustainable Profits: Systems Thinking in Practice,” Shireman (1999) makes a case for this approach through the analysis of three global companies.

In the years since Shireman wrote this article, consider whether his argument still holds. Think of your own experiences and of an organization with which you are familiar. Consider whether the organization could adopt a “win-win” systems solution, such as that Shireman promotes. Consider any constraints and how they could be overcome.

By Day 3, post the following:

A brief description of the organization you selected and whether it has adopted a systems solution

An explanation of whether Shireman’s systems approach would be successful for the organization you selected, and why

An assessment of whether you think Shireman’s argument is relevant in today’s business environment (Justify your response.)