Perceptions vs Holistic View: Elephant perceived by six blind men




Analytic Thinking vs. Holistic Thinking

Analytic thinking

is a cognitive style that is characterized by logical reasoning and involves understanding a system by thinking about its parts and how they work together to produce larger-scale effects. Analytic thinkers believe that events are the products of individuals and their attributes. They have a narrow focus on objects in the foreground and tend to disentangle phenomena from the contexts in which they are embedded.

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Holistic thinking

is characterized by dialectical reasoning and involves understanding a system by sensing its large-scale patterns and reacting to them. Holistic thinkers believe that events are the products of external forces and situations. They tend to give broad attention to context, relationships, and background elements in visual scenes.

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 Researchers observed different patterns of perceiving and thinking in different societies. Westerners tend to think more analytically and East Asians tend to think more holistically.

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If you look at something from one point of view only, you can see very little of it.

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Holistic Thinking and Systems Thinking

In business Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book and organizations Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book, holistic thinking is often used synonymously with systems thinking. Systems thinking is your ability to things as a whole (or holistically) including the many different types of relationships between the many elements in a complex system.



Yet, 'holistic thinking' is a wider concept that involves perceiving a system through sensing its large-scale patterns.

Systems thinking is often focussed on problem solving Download PowerPoint presentation, pdf e-book through understanding elements of the system and their interconnections.

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This is, definitely, a valuable perspective to assist organisations improve performance. However, adopting other conceptions of holism may open up new perspectives which may also be very valuable.

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For instance, when applied in social situations, holistic thinking involves sensitivity, intuition and tact.



Systems and Wholeness

"I shall proceed from the simple to the complex. But in war more than in any other subject we must begin by looking at the nature of the whole; for here more than elsewhere the part and the whole must always be thought of together." ~ Carl Von Clausewitz

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The concept of "wholeness" is very important in general system analysis. The system must be viewed as a whole and modified only through changes in its parts.

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Before modifications of the parts can be made for the overall benefit of the system, a thorough knowledge of how each part functions and the interrelationships among the parts must be present.

Value Chain Management and Value System Analysis

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Your firm's value chain links to the value chains of upstream suppliers and downstream buyers. The result is a larger stream of activities known as the value system.

Making breakthrough improvements in your value chain requires out of the box, cross-functional, systems thinking.  You have to see the value creation process across the entire flow of work, not just single points.  >>>





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