LDRS 802 Concept Map

Brief Overview

Choose a human system to explore, preferably a work or community organization with which you are actively involved. Using the course readings as guidelines, create a map or model of the system and write a 3-4 page paper (APA format required) describing the map/model. Your paper will address these overarching questions:

How does this system work? What are the connections and relationships among the different elements of the system? What are the boundaries of the system map/model? What are some issues or problems stemming from the current system structure?

This project is due at the end of Module 4 and should be submitted in Blackboard via the appropriate “Assignment Upload Link” no later than 10pm March 15. It is worth 200 points and will be assessed using the Rubric For Concept Map Project, located in the Course Documents & Resources area.

Relationship to Course Outcomes

Below are the course outcomes for LDRS 802. Those highlighted in red are the outcomes directly related to this assignment:

  1. Ascertain implications for leadership practice from useful theory: Students are introduced to the capability to pull out and draw conclusions from research findings and to construct recommendations for practice based on their synthesis and application of useful organizational learning and systems thinking literature.
  2. Critical analysis of systems & learning concepts: Students will become skilled at differentiating concepts and terms associated with “systems” and “learning”, e.g. systems thinking, social systems, organizational learning, knowledge creation, change v. adaption, etc. and their relationship to broader leadership implications.
  3. Critique scholarship and identify new directions to shape innovative practices: Students learn how to review and analyze organizational learning and systems thinking research, exploring the accepted wisdom regarding rigor, relevance, and value added to inform innovative practices.

Practically apply theories and practices of organizational learning and systems thinking in contemporary organizations: Students will define and map the systems of a current organization and will identify opportunities for change. They will devise an implementation plan for leaders within the organization to address the change opportunity via accepted organizational learning models

Using CMAP

You can access a free, downloadable software package (CMapTools) to create your concept map for this assignment. It can be downloaded at the following URL: http://cmap.ihmc.us/download/. This program is simple and easy to use. Once you have developed the visual diagram of the map, save it and export it into a

.jpg file. It can then be readily inserted into a Word document. To view a YouTube video that further explains Concept Maps, can be found at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Js_9-ek7o

There are a variety of ways in which you can approach the design of a concept map/model of an organization- related system of interest. Four common ways include:

  1. Causal loop diagrams (these focus on the “balancing” and “reinforcing” behaviors of a system). Some examples are presented at:
    1. http://systemsandus.com/2012/08/15/learn-to-read-clds/;
    1. http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/SystemsThinking/GuidelinesforDrawingCausalLoopDiagram s.pdf
    1. Anderson, V. & Johnson, L. (1997). Systems thinking basics: From concepts to causal loops.

Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications. (previews available on Amazon.com)

  • Stock and flow diagrams (these are more formalized causal loop diagrams). See Meadows (2008), Chapters 1 and 2; an additional resource can be found at:
  • Banathy’s 3-lens approach (just that—different “snapshots” of a system in separate presentations) See supplemental article by Walton (2004). Apply this approach in a simplified fashion by creating the following three views of your system:
    • A description of the purposes, inputs, outputs, customers, suppliers, partners, and embedding of the system.
    • A description of the functions of the system and how they relate to each other (their structure)
    • A description of the core flow of events when the system is operating.
  • Freeform map (no predefined guidelines). One example of a larger network system here.

For your concept map you can choose from these four approaches, or choose a different approach if you are more experienced in creating concept maps. Be creative!

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