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Abstracting and Engaging: Two Modes of Systems Thinking Education


  • José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón

    () (School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham TW20 0EX, United Kingdom)


This paper presents two modes of systems thinking education to help make sense of previous and future experiences in this field as well as in soft operational research in general. Using Abbott's ideas on professional knowledge I present these modes as based on either (1) abstracting or (2) engaging. The former emphasises the value of systems thinking in helping people understand abstractions to deal with complex situations. The latter focuses on using abstractions to facilitate students' engagement with complex situations in areas outside operational research including sustainability and project management. I present each mode based on my experience in a higher education setting in the UK, and I highlight key elements and possibilities for these modes that could inform future developments in systems thinking and operational research education.

Suggested Citation

  • José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón, 2011. "Abstracting and Engaging: Two Modes of Systems Thinking Education," INFORMS Transactions on Education, INFORMS, vol. 12(1), pages 43-54, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orited:v:12:y:2011:i:1:p:43-54

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