Centre for Systems Studies

Systems Thinking


Director:  Professor Yasmin Merali

The Centre for Systems Studies is Hull University Business School’s nexus for inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research on complex socio-economic systems.  As an international centre of excellence for ground breaking research on systems thinking and practice the Centre has strong links with other research institutes and with practitioners in public, private and third-sector organisations.

The Centre’s fundamental and applied research is concerned with advancing the understanding of systems and systemic phenomena in complex socio-economic systems at all scales – from the emergence of local community action and business ecosystems through to the impact of global policy interventions.  This work is critical for addressing complex problem situations and anticipating the (often unintended) consequences of interventions, and for designing structures, actions and strategies for innovation, resilience and sustainability in dynamic contexts.

The increasingly networked world and the digital economy present novel challenges and opportunities to business and society.  The Centre hosts research meetings, seminars and workshops for academics and practitioners to explore and address these challenges and opportunities.

Research Students

Name Title
AL HADHRAMI, Mouza M Research Field: Volunteering from autopoietic perspectives with the spectrum of systems thinking studies
HOBBS, Catherine Research Field: Systems thinking and local governance
JOSHI, Richa A Complexity Perspective on Mergers, Acquisitions, and International Joint Ventures
LEWIS, Ellen D. Gendered Systemic Intervention: Systems Thinking and Gender Equality in International Development
MACNAMARA, Delia Pembrey Systemic Leadership in a Networked World: A Focus on 'Boundary'
POUR MOHAMMAD, Salimeh A viable system perspective to Knowledge Sharing and Network Analysis 
PRETEL WILSON, Manuel The Foundation of Systems Practice: Grounding Multi-Methodological Systemic Interventions
RAJAGOPALAN, Raghav Immersive Systemic Knowing: Investigating a Critical Moment

Research Specialisms

Members of staff have cutting-edge theoretical and methodological expertise in

  • systemic intervention
  • problem structuring and dialogue methods
  • systemic action research
  • a range of systems methodologies
  • critical systems thinking
  • cybernetics
  • complexity theory
  • participative information systems design
  • information systems for persuasion
  • lean systems
  • service science
  • systemic evaluation
  • community operational research
  • systems philosophy
  • transdisciplinarity
  • the unity of science
  • general system theory


The school has a proud heritage in this field, undertaking groundbreaking fundamental and applied research on systems thinking and practice within its internationally recognised Centre for Systems Studies. Application areas include

  • systemic leadership
  • wicked policy problems
  • strategy; innovation; efficiency
  • sustainability
  • service management
  • high performing firms and employee engagement
  • complex project management
  • project risk management
  • conflict management
  • corporate social responsibility and citizenship
  • stakeholder and community engagement
  • future and ‘smart’ cities
  • antimoney laundering
  • supply chain ecosystems
  • health systems
  • multi-agency planning and collaboration
  • public sector management
  • community development
  • technology foresight
  • information systems
  • systems thinking in China (including comparisons between East and West)
Back to top