The Impact of Leadership in Applying Systems Thinking to Organizations


  • Brian Roy Martens Sonoma State University, CA USA


systems thinking, leadership, new sciences


Leadership plays a key role in bringing systems thinking into organizations and can foster or inhibit systems ideas being adopted. When leadership influences people to take a new look at the organization as a system, the people within the organization begin to see their relationships differently. They pay attention to how every thought and action affects everything in the organization and in their lives. Like the natural world, people start to look and think with a broader and deeper vision and realize how they depend on the relationships around them.

            This paper focuses on the impact leadership is having on systems thinking in organizations, inspired by what the new sciences are finding out about systems and the impact of systems thinking in schools. Thinking systemically is a process that can begin at any point or level in an organization and is a much larger idea than I originally thought. Systems thinking is a natural way to look at the world and all the relationships and interconnectedness that are involved in its functioning.

Data were gathered from current practitioners and consultants who have an understanding of systems thinking and the impact it can have on organizations. These individuals bring their own skills and talents in the application of systems thinking to the clients and organizations they work with and show that thinking systemically can bring a new awareness, energy, and vitality to the work.

Author Biography

Brian Roy Martens, Sonoma State University, CA USA

MA of Psychology in Organization Development



How to Cite

Martens, B. R. (2011). The Impact of Leadership in Applying Systems Thinking to Organizations. Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2011, Hull, UK, 55(1). Retrieved from