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Synopsis

When breakdowns occur in organizational life, the tendency is to blame them on the personalities, motivations, and abilities of the individuals involved or on the specific characteristics of one’s organization. Barry Oshry demonstrates how everyday breakdowns stem from our failure to see how human systems shape our feelings about ourselves and our relationships with other individuals and groups. He shows how we can transform “system blindness” into system sight, enabling us to live and work together in productive partnership. Based on Oshry’s 30+ years of studying human interaction in social system life, Seeing Systems is profound in its implications while being easily accessible. In addition to illustrative cases and solid systems theory, the book is populated with pinballs; talking body parts; mysterious “swimmers”; amebocytes, slugs, and earthworms; dances of blind reflex; and tunnels of limited options. The result is a unique foundation for revolutionizing our understanding of system life. This new edition is revised throughout and features an extensive new section on having the wisdom and courage to face and work with the reality of uncertainty, a hopeful antidote to today’s righteous battles of certainty versus certainty. The new epilogue describes how Oshry is currently using theater, blogs, and podcasts to extend his multipronged revolution aimed at transforming system blindness into system sight.

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