A study of "Theory U" and its application to a complex Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force problem
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The more an organization develops complex systems to perform increasingly complex tasks, the more challenging problems become and increasingly difficult to solve. This thesis recommends to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) a better framework to solve these complex, multisystem problems through systems thinking and a new approach to this way of thinking, called Theory U. This thesis describes the types of problems that require managers to change their approach to problem solving. In addition, the social science literature on systems thinking and Theory U is described and applied to a specific JMSDF complex aviation maintenance case. These theories provide a way for JMSDF leaders and managers to continue to re-conceptualize their approach toward complex, dynamic problems. While the usual management tools used by JMSDF focus on technical ways to solve complex problems, these theories support the creation of a learning organization by developing worker capabilities to solve increasingly complex problems. To cope with these increasingly complex problems, JMSDF may need to provide training to implement systems thinking and Theory U concepts in many of its organizations.
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