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Faculty and Research


Systemic Thinking and Action Learning

Areas of Expertise

At the UCT Graduate School of Business, the foundation for a new type of business school is being laid. The School has developed teaching excellence through its application of SYSTAL (Systems Thinking Action Learning) that very few business schools internationally can match.

A holistic management interpretation

Despite the fact that the prevailing Anglo-Saxon approach to management has added insight and value to understanding the functioning of markets and companies – it champions too narrow a focus for what is now needed in business.

Fresh thinking in the areas of transformative learning and personal development are integrated into the curricula of many of the GSB's programmes that go beyond the Anglo-Saxon model. These learning processes and holistic management approaches are globally recognised as being at the vanguard of management education and play a key role in assisting individuals to operate more successfully in complex environments and in creating sustainable organisations.

A more holistic model sees functional management techniques as just one of four areas of equal importance that learning must address. The other three are  systemic management approaches (such as ethical management, ecological management,sustainable development and communities of practice), values and culture, and personal development.

It is only by pulling the four elements together that an individual can develop into a responsible manager who is able to pilot a company for sustainable performance. A holistic model demands that organisations satisfy the needs of more stakeholders than just its shareholders.