Abstract for: What attitudes, behaviours and beliefs are associated with systems thinking competency?

This study aims to take a behavioural lens to explore what systems thinking ‘looks like’ when practiced (well), what attitudes and beliefs define and underpin it and whether behavioural science frameworks, like the COM-B (Capability, Opportunity, Motivation - Behaviour), can help us to better understand and formulate systems thinking as a competency. To answer the research question, both a mixed method literature review will be conducted, and juxtaposed with practice perspectives from students, educators as well as expert practitioners. These perspectives will be collected via semi structured interviews that explore how systems thinking can be observed, assessed and embedded in a workplace setting using behaviour change frameworks for analysis. Besides the theoretical contribution of approaching embedding systems thinking from a behaviour change perspective, this research seeks to provide more clarity to the human resource and organisational development function of organisations to “build to spec” when designing organisational frameworks and equipping management with appropriate expectations when it decides to embrace complexity by taking a systems approach. This work is just starting, and the authors invite attendees of the ISDC 2023 in Chicago to contribute their perspectives and experiences to this research. We also value any feedback at this stage.