Dealing with Complex Systems: Some Educational Issues

  • Walter W. Buchanan (Texas A&M University)


The aim in this paper is to explore the major issues involved in handling complex systems in university education. The plan is to question of how problems are related to different methodologies. A discussion will include some guidelines for selecting the most appropriate methodology for a given problematic situation. This will be followed by the presentation of a comparative view of three methodologies and some suggestions and a proposed set of topics for university educators. The subject matter is viewed from a Systems Thinking perspective, concentrating on the application of three selected methodolo-gies. First, different approaches to complexity concept and complexity management within the body of General Systems Theory and Systems Thinking are reviewed. This is followed by a critical discussion on problem-context relationship and selection of the appropriate methodology for handling complexity at hand, and a comparative view of three popular methodologies (Soft Cybernetics, System Dynamics and Science of Complexity). The paper is concluded by an elaboration of the selected methodologies in the context of university level education and some suggestions for educators.

Keywords: systems thinking|complexity management|system dynamics|soft cybernetics|science of complexity

How to Cite:

Buchanan, W. W., (2020) “Dealing with Complex Systems: Some Educational Issues”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 36(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2020