2008/07/17 09:05 David Hawk, "The Business Educators Dilemma: Teaching Analytics to those who Strive to Manage Systems", ISSS

ISSS Madison 2008, 52nd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the ISSS web site by David Ing.

Intro by Gary Metcalf

David Hawk, Former dean of New Jersey Institute of Technology, Management, and professor of Architecture


Major dilemma:

  • Much of what we teach is analytics, need systemics, but continue to teach analytics

Hope, but it's a bit tough

  • Possibilty time lag
  • Maybe reduction from 20 years to 2 to 3 years, from when you say something to when it has meaning

Confused education, came together in systems science in the mid-1970s

Engineering, architecture, planning, then systems in an business school

Bipolar teaching:  management and architecture

At school of management, became dean as a last ditch effort

  • Say teaching innovation, but not innovative
  • Human resouces low

In 2+ years, got 11 faculty (including tenured) to move on

  • Hired 5 new professors better than self
  • Started 5 new degree programs

Some faculty are against systems science

  • Don't know what it is, but it's dead

Now, back to a lower profile

Lecture to China State Owned Enterprise:  From Core Competences to Innovative Edges:  Why China should avoid the American model of development

Lecture on the Leibniz society:  A Faustian Dilemma: On Tolerating the Intolerable

  • Good questions

Lecture: Why we get the leaders we deserve

Am on the terrorists' watch list

Issues of interest

The end of science (Horgan, out of print)?  Science that was to replace religion became a religion, which is doing itself, because we're posing hypothesis that can't be tested

Preference for complexity

  • Like Kurt Lewin, but most people prefer Yogi Berra

Have been looking at the problem of systems science, and delay

  • Proposal to implementation, or even experimentation

Looking for differences that make a difference

Humans do like to be regulated

Human do like to be managed

Humans prefer being educated (being told assumptions) rather than learning (questioning assumptions)

Systems scientists have a problem, with the immortality management

  • Becker, denial of death:  people given a death certificate at birth
  • Most evil in the world is due to people's immortality management
  • Working on a second book when he died
  • Dilemma that we have to deal with

History of systems

  • 1971 Environment Impact Statements (EIS in U.S.), learned that they're a bad thing to do, although they're a good idea
  • Left country
  • 1974 entered a systems science program
  • 1975 in Sweden, found that Swedes were going to import the EIS, tried rationality which didn't work, then tried humour which worked

1977 3-volumes, Environmental Project:  Analytic Solutions in Search of Synthetic Problems

  • Using the problem to solve the problem, which makes things worse
  • Humourous study on how funny the U.S.
  • Interview the people who wrote the EPA
  • Funding by U.S. and Sweden, EPA withdrew, because inclusion of companies that were evil, and scope too comprehensive
  • Water quality act:  If trying to control a complex situation that no one will understand, need 1000 page document that no one will understand
  • Swedes write 25 pages
  • Enemy is central government and central management in companies
  • Conclusion:  U.S. is dirty, and will get dirtier
  • Constitutional system
  • Report went to OECD, Swedes used it to keep U.S. out of Europe
  • Banned from environmental research

1994, given $1M grant to initiate Energy Star homes, because dissertation was right

  • Anti-regulatory approach to get people to do the right thing
  • Founding builders, developers willing to do the right thing, but consumers weren't
  • Third year of project, gave back $333 people, as funded by air quality, and didn't include water and soil people

1986 conference at NJIT, invited neo-cons to give lectures on the future of warfare and the humanity

  • Some years later, they ended up in power:  Richard Pearl
  • Time lag isn't always good

Presidential candidate held a meeting at facility in Iowa

1991 organized an alternative meeting to Davos

  • Banned from WEF
  • Then asked to come to discuss a systems approach to international research
  • They thought it was too difficult, got 3 CEOs to study, whereas own study had 60 CEOs

2004:  Working with a 1.2 million person firm to do something different, moving from government to private

Cracks in 20th century management systems, and growing anger, that hasn't peack

House of business is intact, but there's something wrong with the orientation

Business is too closely associated to the American model, and Harvard

  • Strategy and strategy formulation as the root to most problems

Trying to shift from strategic thinking to relationship forming

Don't use strategy as a good, but instead strategy is deceit, which is originally definition

  • e.g. CEO giving talks:  different from customers, shareholders, .... all on different themes
  • Upsetting to business teachers

Differences that make a difference

Take people to interesting or controversial companies, instead of American companies

VW Resende plant in Brazil

  • No VW employers
  • Suppliers assemble the part
  • Feedback is quite direct
  • If car passes inspection, everyone is paid
  • If there's a mistake, no one gets paid
  • Raised the quality so much, shipped cars to Germany 
  • So successful that they didn't do anything again

Largest building on the world

Sol company in Finland

  • No managers
  • Employees loyal
  • Considered a crackpot

Students are hungry for systems thinking and systems approaches, but the faculty aren't prepared to deal with this

Experts council in Beijing, they decide who are the leaders of companies, mayors

  • Chairman Mao's right hand man
  • Like Lao-Tzu
  • Debate: general of army, secretary of part
  • Suspended lunch, battle over Chinese wine
  • Anarchism or fascism as a better form
  • They argued for control and regulation
  • Chairman did a drawing:  of course, natural regulation is best (self-management, self-control), but because in this world there are idiots, something stronger is sometimes required


  • Putting money where my mouth is
  • Facility built without models or plans
  • Workmen were upset, as they've never built anything but 2 story boxes
  • Said at least there's no old structure
  • So put on old home in the middle to build around
  • Cost 40% less to construct

See movie:  Good night and good luck


What way forward?

  • As soon a got fired, 3 New York billionaires came to build a new city, in Newark
  • They now own 25% of downtown Newark, and will give New Jersey a city
  • Hired an idiot architect who thought all buildings should be white, trying to shift to light
  • Using at alternative materials, look at what Shimizu, who have been bringing wilderness back to the city

Having cited some interesting examples, why do others not emulate?

  • Nature of humans not to do it
  • Make fun of protection and security
  • Security mostly to hide the bad, not the good
  • Good examples are disruptive
  • Ego-centricity
  • Like working with companies that don't use patents
  • Teaching executive students, someone will be angry