Systems theory is most
helpful in discovering the root causes of complex problems.
This is complicated because the root causes of problems are seldom
obvious and therefore attention becomes focused on problem
The challenge in root cause problem solving is to distinguish
between problem symptoms and problem causes. Defining
a problem in terms of its symptoms obscures the real cause and
leads to symptomatic solutions that often produce short term
results but fail to correct the basic
Problem symptoms are created by structural relationships among
system components. Understanding these relationships helps
discover the cause of the problem and locate the points of leverage where patterns of behavior originate
and can be changed.
System structure produces behavior and only by
changing this structure can sustainable change be made.