McWhinney mode of change



The current report focuses on the subject of problem solving in work place. The report focuses on understanding complex problems and how these can be solved. The study has several activities which help in identifying and analyzing a complex problem in different context.

Topic 1 Introduction to complex problem solving

Activity 1a Identifying complex problems (Real life Complex Problems)

Complex Problems

Complex problem are the issues which cannot be resolved by opting simple logical procedures. Solving these problems require abstract reasoning. A person has to apply the abstract reasoning considering multiple frames of reference (, 2012).

Identified complex problems (brief details)Deciding upon a doctor for treatment during a health issueTo improve the operational efficiency of the organisationOpening up a new plant for manufacturingPredicting the consumer forecasts
Characteristics of the problems


Unable to decide on the parameters on which to judge, inability to analyse the available information regarding doctorsPoor performance in achieving the organisational objectivesArranging supplies, timely completion of activities within the allocated budgetInaccurate forecasting, unable to meet the customer demands, shortage of raw materials


Why these problems are considered complex rather than simple?For a disease or health issue there are several doctors available, however there is no means by which a person is able to assess the skill and has to opt on the basis of word of mouth or judgmentTo enhance the operational efficiency, it is important that overall working culture is to be improved. This is quite a complex and long term processOpening a manufacturing plant involves completing the project in time and within the allocated budget. This requires completion of all the defined activities in time.The demand pattern of the customers is not fixed.

It would be difficult to define the variables which affect the customer demands.

Selection of statistical model would be done using simulation and is susceptible to human error

 Activity 1b Identifying complex problems in your organisation

The problems identified are in connection with Humanitarian Supply Chain Management

Identified complex problems (brief details)


Lack of Funds for managing the operationsLack of soft skills in social workerProviding Transport services in disaster environmentIrregular demand patterns
Characteristics of the problems


Organisational Activities are affected like payment of salaries to the workers.

As a result of lack of funds, some of the social campaigns may be stopped

The social services offered are not able to meet the expectation of the stakeholders.

Unable to meet the demands of the consumer

Unable to reach to disaster location.

Unable to provide timely services


Unable to meet the consumer demands

Delay in providing care services


Why these problems are considered complex rather than simple?The problem is complex as the organisation needs to raise funds for its operation. Funds come in the form of donation and a donor could not be forced to give donationThe social workers or care workers do not have the required skills. Imparting the required skills is not easy as it involves cost as well as an efficient trainerFor providing social services in a disaster zone, it is important to reach to the location. For reaching to a disaster location transportation is required which is difficult to findThe resources of the organisation are limited but due to the increase demand it becomes difficult to provide support to multiple projects

Topic 2 Systems thinking technology and organisational change

Activity 2 Summarise your understanding of systems thinking

System dynamics is the investigation of complex frameworks, including such human frameworks as families, organizations, urban areas, and countries. On the off chance that one look profoundly into any framework and investigate the connections between individuals, one will discover limitless complexity. In a systems approach to deal with an issue, one begins by understanding that there is no natural end to a system (Senge, 2006). There is no such thing as a complete hypothesis. The mission is to take a look at an issue all the more exhaustively. The resolutions originate from reconsidering how we manage complexity.

System dynamics approach of solving complex problem is just like learning a piano. A starter pianist can be trained for some rhythms and beats and cannot be expected to play perfect. However with passage of time, a pi                                  anist learns perfection.  Same approach is used for solving complex problems. An individual become confident of solving complex problems with passage of time as he gains more experience

System dynamic recommends that parts of our mind manage multifaceted complex problems in much superior manner to our ordinary, reluctant, waking mindfulness. The way to instructing individuals in systems approach is to utilize a formative procedure – to reproduce what the piano player experiences. In the long run the professional piano player can essentially take a gander at a bit of music, which to our eyes is pitifully perplexing, and retain it with his reluctant mindfulness. He may in any case need to practice it, however his capacity to manage intricacy has extended.

Compatibility has created inside his own cognizance between his reluctant mindfulness and a more programmed level of awareness fit for managing much more prominent complex problems. Researchers of complex systems have never clarified how, out of the hundreds that attempt and fall flat, a few people can marvellously lead complex organizations. We can’t clarify these victories (other than as incredibly good fortunes), since we accept the only way individuals can ace frameworks is through a self-conscious,, discerning procedure of investigation.

Individuals who succeed in taking care of complexity are working in a natural space we don’t much consider in our educational hypotheses. Just through the reconciliation of that instinctive space with the typical, balanced mindfulness domain we would be able to rise above modeling. In our work with business administrators, we begin with basic models that are just inside the individual’s capacity to get a handle on (Senge, 2006)

We utilize these until officials no more need to consider them in particular, and after that we venture up to more complex models. Just tolerating the intricacy is a noteworthy stride toward building up that instinctive sense. However, it is exceptionally troublesome for business officials to acknowledge that intricacy in light of the fact that a number of them have to consider them to be being in control. To acknowledge it implies they should perceive two things at a gut level: 1) that everything is interconnected, and 2) that they are never going to make sense of that interconnectedness.

Topic 3 Models of problem solving

Activity 3 Summarise your ideas on the Model of problem solving

In the given scenario, McWhinney model of problem solving is to be done. This model refers to solving and identifying the different views across the world and how to react on the problems solving tools, techniques and practices. The model comprises of four phases: unitary, mythic, sensory and social. Unitary phase in any organisation mainly defines the framework, policies, principles, theories, design, assumptions, clarification etc.  Mythic means the organisation vision, ideas, opportunities, dreams, metaphors etc. Sensory refers to action, behaviours, resource, experience etc of the employees and employers and social phase refers to values, feelings, purpose etc.

Figure 1 Model of McWhinney

Model of McWhinney(Source: model of McWhinney, 2016)

Every individual has their own perspective and preferences and the preferences and views are not changed mostly. Distinction in the reality preference can be identified when any preference is looked beneath the surface. Some individual preferred the unitary reality to be in comfort with tools and techniques while some may prefer the social or other reality for their comfort. McWhinney”s model offers that complex problem solving is based on the different perspectives (McWhinney, 1997).

McWhinney describes six modes of change that depend on the problem solving of the individual. Each mode has complete path of change, capable of making and executing the solution. In each mode the solution is made using the tools and techniques of one phase to impact the situation in second phase. Problems are defined in single mode, two mode or more mode depending upon the inter parts.  The summarise form of McWhinney’s mode of change:

McWhinney mode of changeFigure 2 Modes of change

(Source: McWhinney mode of change, 2016)

McWhinney also finds and explain the directional method associated with each mode of change. In easy cases, problems may be solved by using two directional method of one mode of change to create a simple solution.  The different mode of change is analytic, assertive, influential, evaluative, inventive and emergent. This mode helps the organisation in problem solution. The combination of taking the two models give a mode of change. In analytic mode the directional method would be unitary to sensory that includes design and from sensory to unitary includes test of the model. In this way the two models combines and give the mode with the directional method (, 1997). Some of the directional method are:  in assertive mode, directional method is to establish and inspire the problem, in influential mode the directional method would be to persuade and convert the problem, in evaluative mode the directional method would be value and allocate the problem, in inventive mode the directional method would be induce and realise the problem and last in emergent mode directional method would be to evoke and facilitate the problem.  The tools that are applied in problem solving are:  action plans, causes and effect, SWOT, visioning, simple modelling, value synergizing, dialogue, storytelling, brain storming, resource allocation, mind mapping, search conference etc are some of the tools and technique that the organisation could applied in getting the solution to the problems.

Topic 4 Different approaches to problem solving

Activity 4 Innovative and unusual models

  • Identify three approaches to problem solving that are generally used within your organisation or sector.

Cause and effect analysis is been considered to be the most common approach and is generally used in organizations for solving their workplace issues. The approach helps in identifying the problems occurred in the organization; identifying the aspect being involved, what is the problem, and when and where it occurred. Another activity is to find out the factors which are being involved in the problems. It may be equipments, materials, people, and external forces and so on. Along with this Swot analysis is also an important tool which is been used to direct the strategy at the highest level. It is a business analytical technique that organization performs for each of its products, services and markets to achieve future growth. It involves identifying the strength and weakness of the organization (Russ & Wallace, 2013). Another techniques being used by the organisation is interviews and questionnaire approach which provides with an opportunity to learn an individual’s career choices, preferences and reactions to different kinds of work.

  • Explore and critically evaluate at least three of the approaches not commonly used in your organisation

It has been found that the Brainstorming is not been used by the organization. It enables to associate metadata such as information category, search and recovery of information. It enables to insert the brainstorming elements in the organization and connect them to data directly for better efficiency. Mind mapping is another approach which should be used in organization for better efficiency. This is a diagram which is used to represent concepts, ideas, tasks or other items linked to a central theme. This approach is easy to create, easy to expand, easy to filter. The techniques even help in bringing visualization, creativity, collaborative methods which could be used in organization (Proctor, 2014). Force field analysis is also important for organization. Force field analysis is a very useful decision making techniques which should be used by the organization. It is very useful to make a decision and communicate to the organization.

  • Write up your findings in a summary report

With the help of the evaluation it has been seen that, organization makes use of the cause and effect analysis, swot analysis, interviews and questionnaires techniques to solve various problems in organization. Organization identifies the problems and provides the solution to solve the problems. If organization also use brainstorming activities, mind mapping activities, force field analysis to solve the problems, then organization efficiency can be increased and this a very effective approach to solve the problems. Without effective decisions action cannot be done properly and resources can’t use properly. All that approaches are very helpful in planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating and communicating. If organization takes correct decision, it provides opportunities of growth and success. It also increases the commitment of the people towards the setting goals (Russ & Wallace, 2013).

  • Reflect critically on all this work and check your report against the assessment criteria for Theme A.

In my opinion, organization should use the above mentioned all approaches for improving overall productivity and efficiency by creating a helpful atmosphere for employees. An organization can easily identify the problems and solve them very effectively. Swot analysis highlights the opportunity according to organization strength. This is also used in developing a strategy objective. It is also helpful in brainstorming; there is opportunity to verify statements. It helps in examining the internal and external factors to achieve the objectives. It helps in enabling unusual and non-conformist issues for discussion.

Topic 5 Identification of a complex problem to work on

Activity 5:  Choosing your problem 

Initial analysis of the problem

Summary of the problem:

Meeting the organisation objectives requires enhancing the operational efficiency of an organisation which is been considered as a critical task.  The major issues being identified at the workplace is to improve the operational efficiency of the organisation. It has been commonly found that the higher authorities face various issues in enhancing the efficiencies due to the diversified working environment which needs to be modified as per the requirements.

Different realities
Placing yourself in each view of reality, list the key issues:

Unitary: With respect to this approach, the operational efficiency is been hampered due to the various aspects such as policies, rules, principles being levied within the organisational framework. These factors limit the work force which also impacts the performances of the employees along with the efficiencies.

Sensory: This approach is concerned with behaviours, actions, resources, facts, etc. which influences the employees to either work dedicatedly or compete their task just as a job. It is very much important to fulfil the requirements of these aspects to improve the efficiencies of the operation of an organisation (Pickett, 2015).

Mythic: This approach includes the vision, inspiration, ideas, opportunities, etc. as lacking in this would impact the efficiencies directly.

Social: This is the most important aspect as it has been usually seen that the operational efficiencies are impacted due to the lacking in motivation, diversified values and perceptions, appreciation, etc. which make an individual to work towards the organisational goals.

What is the dominant team perspective?

In accordance to the team perspective, it has been seen that the social approach is the most critical issues related to the complex problem of workplace. As per the present case, eh issues of improving the operational efficiency is been hampered due to the social issues at the workplace.

What is the dominant organisation perspective?

On the basis of the organisational perspective, it has been found that the unitary approach of McWhinney model acquires critical issues as it states the regulations being levied within the workplace. As per the perspectives of the organisation, the complex problem to improve the operational efficiency of the organisation could be impacted extensively.

Internal context of the problem

Identify the key issues regarding:the organisation’s superordinate goals (values, beliefs, aspiration)

Organisation strategy:  The major issue found in the organisational strategy is the lack of proper planning, development of the strategy for the operational activities. The issues related to the strategic planning are the lack of innovative ideas and creativity towards the business.

Organisation structure: An organisational structure is been considered to be the most important aspect which requires having a systematic flow of authorities and duties over the business. The lack of communication and coordination among the higher and the lower level of employees is the major issues in this respect.

Organisation systems: The organisational system mainly consists of the systematic flow of the overall planning of goals and values. There is a major issue of effective execution of the strategies and planning which leads to the failure in the desired outcome.

Organisation skills: It is very much difficult to acquire the accurate skills that could match the set values and goals that to be achieved for the success of the organisation (FARMER, 2012).

Organisation staff: The major issue within the staff of the organisation is the lack of motivation and mutual understanding which leads to the decline in the operational efficiencies. It is very much important to motivate the staff members effectively.

Organisation style: The key issues in the organisation styles regarding the values and goals of the business are the manners in which actions are been taken and the behaviours being identified towards any of the critical, situation.

External context of the problem

Identify the key issues regarding:

Technical environment: Adoption of the new technological advancements could be ineffective and uncertain within the staff members. It is very important to make sure about the effectiveness of the technology being used within the organisation.

Economic environment: The major issues related to the economic environment are the fluctuation of financial aspects such as interest rates, exchange rates, etc.

Social environment: The changes in the preferences, taste, market trends, choices, etc, is been identified as the most crucial issues in this types of environment.

Political environment: The political environment includes the key issues of acquiring various legislative constraints to the organisation and lays an effective impact on the same. The issues being related to the political environment are the rules and regulation levied by the governmental bodies on various activities of an organisation (Pickett, 2015).

National environment: It is very much important for the organisations to be well established among the local market so that to gain the desired results out of it. It has been found that there are various barriers at the national level which limits the organisation to expand its operations effectively.

Global environment: The legislations and regulation being levied at the global levels raises various issues for the organisation and restrict in expanding the business to the great extent.

Problem as part of a system

Identify the key activities/parts/people of the organisation that are affected by this problem

There are various aspects which are been affected by this problem within an organisational framework. It has been generally seen that the inefficiency of operations at the workplace impacts the productivity, profitability and the interests of stakeholders and thus could even lead to severe losses.

Identify the key activities/parts/people of the organisation that affect this problem

The higher authorities and the rules and regulation being implied by them could affect this problem. It has been even identified that the problem would be largely affected by the working environment being provided to the employee at the workplace. In terms of activities which could affect the problem are the operational activities which could contribute in the modification of the problem. Even the employees would affect the problem by putting the relevant efforts in the same.

Identify key activities/parts/people beyond the organisation that are affected by this problem

There are various activities or people that are being affected by the problem of improving the operational inefficiency beyond the organisational framework. Some of the important people such as suppliers, customers, investors, etc. would be largely affected by the problem as if the operational inefficiency is not improved it would be a critical aspect to meet the expectations of these external belongings of the business.

Identify key activities/parts/people beyond the organisation that affect this problem

The main part that could affect this problem beyond the organisation is the governmental bodies as with the changes in organisational legislations or reforms for the business.

If not already indicated, identify briefly how the problem involves ‘unpredictable and unknown features’ and is related to ‘new or previously unrecognised or unadvised goals’

In context to the current problem, it has been found that the most unpredictable features  being involved in it is the risk identification by the higher authorities which could lay an impact over business to the great extent.


Books and journals:

FARMER, L., 2012. Technology and Change Processes in Knowledge Systems. Recent Advances in Communications, Circuits and Technological Innovation, p.93.

Fischer, Andreas; Greiff, Samuel; and Funke, Joachim (2012) “The Process of Solving Complex Problems,” The Journal of Problem Solving: Vol. 4: Iss. 1, Article 3.

McWhinney, W. (1997) Paths of change:strategic choices for organizations and society. Rev. edition. London: Sage

McWhinney, W.Webber, J.B., Smith, D.M., and Novokowsky, B.J (1997) Creating paths of change: managing issues and resolving problems in organisations. 2nd edition. London: Sage

Pickett, M.C., 2015. Integrating Complexity and Creativity in Adult Online Learning Environments. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice,15(7), p.97.

Proctor, T. (2014) Creative problem solving for managers: developing skills for decision making and innovation. 4th edition. London: Routledge

Russ, S., & Wallace, C. (2013). Creative Problem Solving. The Therapeutic Powers of Play: 20 Core Agents of Change, 213.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: the art and practice of the learning organization, 2nd Edition, London: Random House Business.

David Marks

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