Comparative analysis of systems thinking and Goldratt's thinking processes: Task analysis for enhancing organizational knowledge management

Philip F. Musa, James R. Burns, Mario G. Beruvides

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The focus in this research is on the effectiveness of two problem solving or task analysis methodologies in order to enhance the management of knowledge in organizations. The two methodologies are systems thinking [32] and Goldratt's thinking processes [13] [14] Rationally, since knowledge management emphasizes streamlining activities at the organization-wide level and discourages sub-optimization, it seems logical to borrow from systems thinking and Goldratt's thinking processes since they are explicitly based on an organization-wide perspective. One of the goals of the research is to investigate the effectiveness of the two theories in managing task domains when controlling for individual differences. The synergies between the two theories are also investigated. In this research, knowledge management centers more on humans rather than on computers. A background overview of knowledge and knowledge management is first presented. Within the context of knowledge management, the subject of task analysis or problem solving is then presented. Fundamentally, knowledge management has to do with the creation of explicit processes that enhance knowledge and learning throughout the organization. Maintaining this perspective, knowledge management is defined as "the systematic, explicit, and deliberate building, renewal, and application of knowledge to maximize the enterprise's knowledge-related effectiveness and returns from its knowledge asset" [20]. Since organizations are often made of workgroups or teams, and the workgroups are, in turn, made up of individuals, when we speak of organizational learning or knowledge management, aggregation necessarily has to be preceded by analysis at the individual level. Using masters degree students as subjects, several hypotheses are generated and tested. The results of the study are presented and analyzed. It is believed that the results of this study will be helpful for managers to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the two task analysis methods investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPICMET
EditorsD.F. Kocaoglu, T.R. Anderson
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)1890843067, 9781890843069
StatePublished - 2001
EventTechnology Management in the Knowledge ERA (PICMET) - Portland, OR, United States
Duration: Jul 29 2001Aug 2 2001

Publication series



ConferenceTechnology Management in the Knowledge ERA (PICMET)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPortland, OR


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