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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LUBS5385M Systems Thinking and Consulting Practice

15 creditsClass Size: 135

Module manager: Matthew Davis

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module focuses on the theoretical foundations and practical applications of socio-technical systems thinking across a wide range of problem domains, which may include: IT systems, pro-environmental behaviour, workspace design, tele-health, safety, resilience and crowds. The module will include examples and case studies. It will include a formative group activity over a number of weeks to analyse a business problem or event using a socio-technical framework to generate practical recommendations. The module is assessed by an unseen exam.


The aim of this module is to introduce students to key ideas, theories and concepts in the domain of systems thinking. The module aims to use practical tasks, group case study analysis, discussion and case examples to support students in applying a socio-technical systems framework to a variety of application domains. The module also aims to provide an insight into how organizational practice and consulting can be improved with systems thinking. This module offers students the opportunity to develop skills in applying systems thinking to contemporary business problems, contributing to stage 1 of the QOccPsych, for eligible students.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
- Critically evaluate the key ideas, theories and concepts in the domain of systems thinking
- Synthesize human factors, psychology, management and technical aspects of complex systems
- Apply a systems framework to evaluate practical business challenges, systems or events
- Critically evaluate how organizational practice and consulting can be improved with systems thinking

Skills outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
Subject specific
- Apply systems theory as part of consulting practice, to diagnose a range of problems

- Work effectively as a member of a multidisciplinary team


Indicative content:

- Socio-Technical Systems Thinking
- New Technology and Organizational Change
- Human Error and Safety Culture
- Pro-Environmental Behaviour
- Workspace Design
- Crowd Behaviour and Management
- Tele-health and Scenarios Planning
- Information in the Workplace
- Organizational Resilience
- Benefits of a Systems Framework for Organizational Practice and Consulting

The module is delivered using lectures, seminars and group working activities. Key ideas, academic theory and case examples are delivered using a mix of lectures, online resources, readings and discussion tasks. The interactive seminars enable application of the core academic ideas, introduction of case studies, discussion and interactive tasks. The seminars are designed to deepen students' understanding of the topics. A revision workshop helps students to prepare for the exam and provides an opportunity for questions and feedback on module themes and exam requirements. Three workshops provide an opportunity for formative feedback on the group activity and dedicated class-time to work collaboratively on the case study.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours111.00
Total Contact hours39.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The contact hours will include in-person interactive seminars and discussions, and interactive case study examples. The non-contact hours will comprise students’ private study and independent learning, including: subject matter readings; preparation for the discussions and case studies; research and collaboration for the group activity; independent research and preparation for the exam; and additional private study to further their own knowledge and understanding of the topics.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Progress issues will be addressed informally during the seminars.
- Students are welcome to meet with the module leader during office hours to gain feedback and discuss queries.
- The revision workshop provides an opportunity to ask questions, gain feedback and discuss the exam format and structure.
- The online Questions and Feedback forum will be used to answer questions relating to module topics and the exam, enabling students to raise issues with both staff and other students on the module.
- The group activity provides opportunity for formative feedback.
- The end of semester unseen examination will provide final summative assessment

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Resit will be 100% by an assessed 2000 word assignment.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:16:22


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