Discussion: social change and systems thinking


Systems thinking is a useful tool for addressing complex problems. It encourages change agents to broadly examine a problem as a whole rather than narrowly focusing on specific parts of the problem in isolation. In this week’s Learning Resources, you will read about Stroh’s (2015) systems thinking framework. Social change agents can use the framework to meet four challenges of change: motivation (why should we change?), collaboration (why should we work together), focus (what should we do?), and learning (why bother?). When framing a message about a problem, it is important to address the challenges of change from a systems approach rather than a conventional approach.

In this Discussion, you will critique how well an author framed a message about socioeconomic mixing. You will also consider how the author integrated Stroh’s challenges of change and the resulting impact on the message.

Stroh, D. P. (2015). Systems thinking for social change: A practical guide to solving complex problems, avoiding unintended consequences, and achieving lasting results. Chelsea Green Publishing.

  • Read the sample communication on p. 38 of the Connecting Race and Place of the Volmert et al. (2016) article. Given what you learned last week about message framing, consider how well the author framed the message about socioeconomic mixing.
  • Review the Learning Resources on systems thinking. Pay particular attention to the four challenges of change (motivation, collaboration, focus, and learning) in Stroh’s (2015) systems thinking framework.
  • Identify at least one challenge of change that the author integrated into the Connecting Race and Place sample communication. Then, consider whether the author used a systems approach or conventional approach to meet the challenge of change and how the approach affects the messaging. 

 Post a critique of the Connecting Race and Place sample communication on p. 38 of the Volmert et al. (2016) article in the Learning Resources. Be sure to address how well the authors framed the messaging about socioeconomic mixing. Then, describe at least one of the four challenges of change from Stroh’s (2015) systems thinking framework that the author integrated into the messaging. Explain whether the author used a systems approach or a conventional approach to meet the challenge of change and how the approach affects the messaging. Be specific. 

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