The purpose of this special issue is to explore past, present, and particularly future uses of systems theory in economics and business research and practice. As the theory of systems, in its various manifestations, continues to develop and to be applied across multiple disciplines, it is proving ever more useful in illuminating and solving diverse problems. In turn, feedback from the different applications of general systems theory is helping to further develop systems theory and its cognates. On the one hand, observing the past and present of systems theory from some perspectives, it would seem still to be on the periphery of contemporary economics and business research and practice, if not languishing out of favour. On the other hand, observing the development of systems theory and its uses from other perspectives, there appears to be a growing awareness of its power, potential, and absolute necessity, especially as widespread awareness increases regarding the complex interdependencies and dynamics of national and international society, economics, and business.
For this issue, we encourage submissions of theoretical and empirical papers, meta-analytic reviews, and narrative literature reviews on new developments in the theory of systems; its relationship to other approaches to learning, knowing, problem-solving, and practicing; and the consequent new uses of systems theory and its cognates in economics and business.
The following are illustrative topics that are consistent with the spirit of the special issue, but other topics may be suitable as well, as long as they relate to the use of systems theory and its cognates and applications in economics and business:
- History of the development of systems theory and its practical uses in economics and business
- Contemporary developments in systems theory and/or any of its cognates such as structural-functionalism, autopoiesis, cybernetics, social systems theory, complex adaptive systems, etc., and their relevant use in economics and business
- Applications or uses of systems theory such as systems engineering, system dynamics, viable system models, management cybernetics, soft systems methodology, systems thinking, learning organizations, etc.
- Conceptual map or ordering of interrelationships between systems theory and its cognates and applications, and the implications for use in economics and business
- Relationship of general systems theory and other approaches to learning, knowing, and problem-solving, including the scientific method and philosophical hermeneutics
- Assessment of contemporary impact and future prospects for systems theory and its cognates and applications, including prescriptions for advancing its widespread use in economics and business
- Identification and impact of long-term reinforcing feedback processes in social, political, economic, and business history, including observations of normative implications for current practice
- The phenomena of dispersed and exploding knowledge, market mechanisms, complex adaptive systems, and the necessary use of systems theory and especially system dynamics in economics and business
- Use of systems theory in nation building and the development of emerging countries
- Implications of systems theory on macroeconomic theories, various theories of political economy, as well as national and multi-national economic policy
- How systems theory helps explain and address the current global financial crisis, and how it may help illuminate ways to prevent future crises
- What systems theory says about the development of economic policies and practices for long-term prosperity
- The use of systems theory and its implications upon various theories of the firm
- Environmental issues, management for competitive and sustainable business success, and the use of systems theory
- Use of systems theory and its cognates and applications to drive individual and organizational learning, development of intellectual capital, and value creation in the global, knowledge age economy
- Organizational theory, design, behaviour, development and change, and the use of systems theory and its cognates and applications
- Dynamic vs. episodic strategic leadership and management approaches using systems theory, especially open, social, and adaptive systems concepts
- The use of general systems theory in the process of developing management theories and in synthesizing a comprehensive theory of management
- Education strategies and methods for increasing the widespread and skillful use of systems theory and its cognates and applications in economics and business
Deadline for submission: 28 February 2011