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The Concept of Holistic, System-Oriented Management

Management teachings and education are characterized by a confusing multiplicity of scientific theories and methods. Most of them stress one aspect of management, and few seem to be related. Managers confront a "jungle" of management ideas.

The St. Gallen school of holistic, for system-oriented management, on which the SGMI Institute of Management St. Gallen is based, cuts through the confusion.

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The St. Gallen Management model makes sense of management practice by capturing a wide range of management concerns in a clear framework. Holistic means that it captures and orders all the vital aspects of management. The model's wide perspective protects against narrow, one-sided views. The model highlights apparent contradictions between various points of view and allows managers to reconcile the many polarities between management theory and management practice.

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The systems perspective is a world view. Systems thinking deepens the desire for holistic management theory. A system is nothing more than a whole made up of parts. It spotlights the relationships among the parts and the relation between the system and its context. In the systems view of management, the tension between stability and innovation is especially important. Managers who wish to keep things the way they are typically seek stability, but they also need the dynamism that comes with innovation. According to Schumpeter, the dynamism that comes with radical innovation can come at a price: "creative destruction." Every economic development flows from the process of the creative destruction: the factors of production are again and again arranged by the destruction of old structures so that re-organization can take place. To realize the advantages of dynamism, managers need superior, well thought-out ways of dealing with uncertainty. Paradoxically, in times of ever-accelerating external change, the partially calculable dynamic of transformation is one of the only constants.

Only the Combination of Theory and Practice Leads to Proficiency

The tension between theory and practice is part of the management world. Managers must resolve this tension. Why? Because theory without practice is empty and impracticable, and practice without a theoretical basis is fragile and unreliable. For managers, basic theoretical knowledge is vital, but insufficient. It must be enriched with practical experience. In practice, the characteristics of each case are unique, and abstract theories are insufficient. The way a manager deals with the theory and practice makes the difference (among other qualities) between a good and bad manager. This ability can be developed: the manager must learn to judge situations, how existing knowledge can be brought to practice, and supplemented. Only then is it possible, on the basis of solid knowledge, to find distinctive innovations.

As a business school, building on this concept, SGMI does not aim merely to deliver knowledge. Theory is a springboard, enriched by practical experience. The sum of theory and experience helps participants sharpen their judgment and ability, and develop themselves further from a new, higher platform. Only by combining theory and practice is it possible to create in the fast-changing world, can executive development programs build a long-lasing impact.

The St. Gallen Management Model

What started in the early 1970s has developed into a renowned management approach: the St. Gallen Management Model. Recent economic history shows how valuable it is. This Model of holistic company management, not based on short-term profit maximization, offers pragmatic orientation and implementation support. Naturally, the St. Gallen Management Model isn't static. Several St. Gallen business providers are developing it. SGMI is working at the foremost front, where it helps advance the model further and develop new models that are as much intended to serve practice as to develop theory.

Literature about the St. Gallen Management Model:


Hans Ulrich,
Gesammelte Schriften:
Die Unternehmung als produktives soziales System
ISBN: 3-258-06291-9


Hans Ulrich,
Gesammelte Schriften:
Das St. Galler Management-Modell
ISBN: 3-258-06291-9


Hans Ulrich,
Gesammelte Schriften:
Anleitung zum ganzheitlichen Denken und Handeln
ISBN: 3-258-06291-9


Hans Ulrich,
Gesammelte Schriften:
Management: Aufsätze 1970-1981
ISBN: 3-258-06291-9


Hans Ulrich,
Gesammelte Schriften:
Management: Aufsätze 1981-1998
ISBN: 3-258-06291-9


Studienausgabe Systemorientiertes Management:
Das Werk von Hans Ulrich
ISBN: 3-258-06359-1

Bleicher Knut_Das Konzept Integriertes Management_10

Knut Bleicher,
Das Konzept integriertes Management

Rüegg-Stürm Johannes_Das neue St. Galler Management-Modell

Johannes Rüegg-Stürm,
Das neue St. Galler Management-Modell
ISBN: 3-258-06629-9

Brauchlin Emil_Hauser Peter_ Integriertes Managemenet in der Praxis

Emil Brauchlin, Peter Hauser,
Integriertes Management in der Praxis
ISBN: 3-593-37436-6


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