miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2011

Comentarios del Prof. Ockie Bosch sobre Responsabilidad Social

El sistemista australiano Ockie J. H. BOSCH (B.Sc. M.Sc D.Sc.), es experto en Ecología Cuantitativa y Administración Vegetal.

Es vicepresidente de la International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) y miembro de la International Academy of Systems and Cybernetics Sciences (IASCYS).

Se desempeña como docente en la School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

de la University of Queensland, Australia.)

IASCYS & Social Responsibility

Dear Academicians

In our own work to establish Learning Laboratories for managing complex issues on a global scale, it has become very clear that “there are always humans behind the decisions and their actions. Thus, “social responsibility is a part of responsibility as a general concept”.

Recent years have seen a growing recognition of and attention to developing human capacity as a key leverage for sustainable economic, social, and ecological development. However, recent literature on the success of external actors and agencies in implementing effective change in (especially) developing countries shows poor outcomes across the board (Umaña 2002; Land et al. 2009; Thomas and Amadei 2010). Fresh and radically different approaches to interventions and capacity building, based on Systems approaches and complexity management, are emerging as promising breakthrough outcomes. The world-wide establishment of Learning Laboratories for dealing with complex issues (as part of the UNESCO/MAB Global LLab NET) is a demonstration case for these approaches (Work of me and my team in Integrative Systems at the University of Queensland). Our work has been adopted by UNESCO/MAB as a pilot and model for potential extension to all the Biosphere Reserves around the world (more than 560), and is also being extended by my Group at UQ to any complex issue facing different countries, businesses, groups, etc. All these LLabs form the Global LLab NET, which is meeting once a year to share their own experiences and reflections on strategies being implemented to achieve identified goals (ranging from enhancing pro-poor tourism in Cambodia; balancing agricultural production economics and biodiversity in China; to improving the social responsibility of business in various countries and developing sustainable management of Biosphere Reserves around the world). This annual meeting is combined with the annual conference of the Australia and New Zealand Systems Society (ANZSYS) and every three years with the ISSS annual conference. The first of these fully combined conferences will be held in 2013. This is part of the efforts we are making towards global learning through sharing of experiences with systemic interventions and bringing systems scientists and practitioners together in one venue.

Instead of pushing corporations to be socially responsible to "save the planet", you can argue that empowering human and community development (which, by definition, embodies social responsibility) is actually good for the long-term bottom line”. Thus, education/capacity building to educate future generations of citizens (local, national and global citizens) to manage information and make socially responsible decisions is of very high priority. We have found that capacity building in systems approaches for decision makers and managers help to ensure their involvement in the establishment and maintenance of Learning Laboratories for Managing Complex Issues. As Matjaz has said “People involved in the IRDO institute for development of social responsibility do not like the limitation to 'corporate', because all organizations are decisive tools for the humankind's fate”. Social responsibility goes far wider than the business world, and includes all managers and decision makers from all walks of life (environmental, sustainability, poverty alleviation, agriculture, health systems, governance, etc.).

I agree with Pierre that “talk about education of social responsibility”, one talks about “education towards a holistic behaviour”. “Social responsibility is linked with systemic behaviour”. However, when it comes to the education of social responsibility and its direct link with systems, the different areas or “walks of life” often have different capacity building needs. This creates a significant pedagogical challenge in that current university education tends to be focused on discipline specific teaching which has no room for a wider systems approach. To address this problem we need innovative curriculum designs and learning environments that address academic paradigms as well as industry requirements, or more specific, address the different approaches towards social responsibility (that would vary from ethical, moral, operating sustainable, democracy and “cultural values such as justice (/trust) integrity, and valuing diversity”.

In relation to the call for “a team to work on the challenges and opportunities of global education, with particular reference to online modalities”: I would be most happy to collaborate and provide inputs towards building up such a team. As Vice President of the ISSS with the portfolio Systems education and Coimmunication, I am currently working with various people in developing a growing Systems Education Network of systems educators in University schools/departments and individuals in order to

- create an active group of systems scientists from around the world that could collaborate in activities such as the development of teaching material, sharing of knowledge and tools, addressing the different needs for systems education and overcoming the challenges of maintaining a Systems Education Network.

- create and nurture educational systems that serve human needs while also protecting our resources (intellectual, aesthetic, moral, cultural and natural resources) for future generations

I am happy to extend this network to include/integrate the concept of social responsibility into the mission of this network. If I have the support of the IASCYS members, I can initiate this “marriage” of ideas at the next ISSS conference in July. I need your advice on this matter and also how to make a marriage that will actually not end in a divorce!

These were just a few thoughts from my side. I am also enthusiastic about a workshop and the possibility to contribute towards a book as suggested by Matjaz and Pierre. I do believe that one of the best ways to think about this book, is to develop it as a text book that could be used by various fields in Universities, but also for capacity building courses in the workplace. Social responsibility is talked about a lot within our own University – while training in systems approaches remains to be regarded as a technical subject suitable for engineers, scientists, quantitative ecologists and mathematicians and hence beyond the reach of other disciplines. This is changing slowly through me getting more grey hair, but having an alternative way to bring systems into curricula through the concept of social responsibility seems like an excellent opportunity.

The future growth of systems and social responsibility education will depend on how well systems educators around the world are able to relate systems thinking to topical issues and complex challenges that managers and decision-makers are facing today.

Maybe, by focusing on social responsibility, which has to be linked to systems (the “technical subject suitable for engineers”), we as systems scientists can “infiltrate” the educational world without anyone realizing that we have done so! – and in that way make a very useful contribution to society

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