Applying Systems Thinking and
Common Archetypes to Organizational Issues
Module 6: Systems Archetypes
"Fixes That Backfire"
A problem recurs despite repeated efforts to fix it.
There is a regularly occurring problem such as budget overruns or missed deadlines. This problem is often the result of an external pressure such as pressure to cut costs, to meet quality standards, to reduce or stay within budgets, or to stay on a given schedule no matter what.
A solution is applied, and in the short term, the problem goes away or diminishes substantially.
Later there are unforeseen consequences of the solution that either make the original problem worse (e.g., budget overruns are larger or more frequent) or create a related problem (e.g., interim deadlines are met but final deadlines are now missed).
More of the solution has to be applied or the solution has to be used more and more often to deal with the problem.
Patterns of Behavior Over Time
The frequency or severity of the problem usually rises gradually, however the trend line fluctuates. The problem is reduced or eliminated for a while when a fix is applied.