933112 Introduction to systemic thinking for organic farming: Theories and methods with examples from organic farming

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Manderscheid, Maximilian , Klimek, Milena , Winkler, Greta
Offered in
Sommersemester 2019
Languages of instruction


In this course we introduce systems thinking and scenario techniques. Students will learn about the importance and potentials of a system to understand and manage complex real world problems. A holistic perspective can help to avoid long-term and follow-up problems as well as sudden surprises. Furthermore it is a necessary supplement to disciplinary and reductionist approaches in science and management.
We introduce in the history of system theory as well as basic concepts of systems: Wholeness, emergence, hierarchies, structures of communication and control, feedback etc. Using scenario techniques we show how systems thinking can be applied to achieve a better understanding of organic agriculture.
The course follows a real world organic case study to apply system thinking and scenario techniques.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

By the end of this course students will be expected to be able to:
•Explain what systems theory is, when and why it can usefully be applied
•Identify and creatively describe and analyse systems in organic agriculture and their everyday
surroundings (e.g. in news stories).
•Use a case study of an organic agriculture system and identify several of its sub-systems
•View organic agriculture as a dynamic system consisting of several sub-systems
•Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the case system
•Apply the learned systems thinking knowledge to develop different scenarios (according to scenario techniques) for the organic case
•Operate with key English terminologies
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.