Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Enhancing systemic thinking by sharing experiences of reading literary fiction using causal mapping

    Abuabara, Leila, Paucar-Caceres, Alberto ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4690-561X, Werner-Masters, Katarzyna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4874-516X and Simonini T. Villas Boas, Daniela (2023) Enhancing systemic thinking by sharing experiences of reading literary fiction using causal mapping. Journal of the Operational Research Society. ISSN 0160-5682

    Published Version
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (2MB) | Preview


    Great works of literary fiction seem to mirror life and its complexity. This paper claims that engaging in reading fiction can be beneficial for OR practitioners as it enhances systems thinking and understanding of complex human affairs. Using the experience of reading a fiction book, we applied Causal Mapping (CM) to Reading Labs, where participants read and share their views of fiction literature to appreciate the complexity of multiple and differing reading perspectives. The approach we adopt hinges on the relationship between literature and OR, two disciplines which belong to different fields of knowledge (humanities and science, respectively), but when examined in more detail, connect in meaningful ways. We explore this connection to identify potential gains of increasing systemic thinking awareness in the reading groups’ context. The findings of this interdisciplinary study show that use of CM (i) enhances systemic thinking by producing a synthesis and shared views on what was meaningful and useful; and (ii) translates the subjectivity produced by the shared reading experience into new actions strengthened by systemic thinking awareness. These results should be of interest to Soft/OR practitioners using CM and systems practitioners working on encouraging the use of systems thinking in systemic interventions.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.


    Repository staff only

    Edit record Edit record