An analysis of systemic thinking in decision-making processes in the municipalities within the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Ntuli, Mbuyiseni Goodlife.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the understanding, application and effectiveness of systemic thinking in decision-making processes in the municipalities within the province of KwaZulu-Natal. This study was based on the premised that the success or failure of the municipality is, among other factors, the product of the decision-making processes of its leadership-politicians, administrators and relations between them. These relations derive not only from conflict or cooperation, but also from the power and influence each side wields over strategic decision-making processes. A mixed method approach was used to collect data from 61 municipalities within the province of KwaZulu-Natal to test a plethora of theoretical paradigms of different erudite scholars on the discourse of systemic thinking in decision-making processes. A sample size of 183 senior managers from the population of 305 senior managers was chosen through the stratified random sampling techniques. The participants were Chief Financial Officers, Director Corporate Services and Municipal Managers. A response rate of 83% was attained. The key results indicated that the majority of respondents (88.1%) do not believe that the conventional ways of thinking are still relevant in resolving management challenges in municipalities, and the majority of the respondents (89.4%) believe that systemic thinking would be a better approach in managing the municipalities. This study contributes to the existing theory of systemic thinking in decision-making processes in the municipalities within South Africa, as a whole. The conclusions made out of this study, is that, there is a need for a development of a user-friendly manual on systemic thinking that will empower senior managers in municipalities with relevant systemic thinking skills and expertise, and this study further recommended that institutions of higher learning must incorporate systemic thinking in their management or leadership curriculum.