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Managing and Engineering Complex Technological Systems by Shuki Stauber, Avigdor Zonnenshain

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Chapter 3.4

Systems Engineering and Academia

3.4.1 “Applying Holistic Thinking”

An interview with Prof. Joseph Kasser

As a field in its infancy that has yet to complete its evolution and is in the process of defining itself, it is only natural for systems engineering to be perceived differently by different people. Even now, some see systems engineering as a profession, at the base of which lies the development and implementation of engineering processes, and thus, only those who have training as engineers can practice it. The other end of the spectrum is occupied by those who do not see systems engineering as a profession at all, but rather as a collection of tools that helps the formulation of thought processes for more efficient problem solving (problems which are not necessarily related to engineering). As such, systems engineering can potentially help anyone, not just engineers.

One of the loudest voices siding with this approach is that of Prof. Joseph Kasser. An electronics engineer by training, he turned to systems engineering later in his career. Today, he is a prominent researcher and lecturer on systematic and holistic thinking.

We have conversed with him about his perception of the field.

The General Approach

Prof. Joe Kasser's words suggest that his perception is comprised of three concentric circles: the largest circle is holistic thinking. It is a way of thinking that sees the system from various perspectives: not just from within, but from without as well. ...

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