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The Delusion of Individual Initiative Within a System

6 October, 2015 - 10:24

When an individual or subunit within an organization is not meeting performance standards, the traditional response by the individual or subunit is to “work harder.” Sometimes this works; often it does not. When this does not work, Senge points out that often the system is the problem, rather than the individual or individuals who are working within the system. Specifically, he states,

The systems perspective tells us that we must look beyond individual mistakes or bad luck to understand important problems…We must look into the underlying structures which shape individual actions and create the conditions where types of events become likely. 1