Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Management (DMgt)

First Advisor

Dr. John Pourdehnad

Second Advisor

Dr. Larry Starr

Third Advisor

Dr. Kim Nixon-Cave


The systems approach to thinking is at a precipice. Our world is composed of systems and sub-systems so intrinsically linked that any attempt to make changes can upset system interdependencies. Systems thinking is a mindset and method of thinking and seeing things as “wholes,” patterns, interconnections, and interdependencies rather than analyzed parts and sub-parts. The systems approach and the methodologies informed by this approach offer an improved understanding of organizational performance.

The systems methodology of interactive planning involves organizational stakeholders as the key ingredient to idealize creative outcomes for organizational problems. The interactive planning process involves carrying out a mess formulation to understand a problematic situation’s current reality and an idealized design to create an innovative reality that dissolves problems and promotes sustainable growth and development (Ackoff, 1981).

This proposed study examined the interactive planning process’s effectiveness from the perspectives of a participant-observer. The areas of opportunity included integration into interactive planning with other complementary methodologies and theoretical frameworks that aid in its execution. Another area of investigation in this study was identifying the facilitator skill sets needed for improved idealized design engagement. The experiential knowledge from the researcher as a participant-observer with design session participants provided insight into this methodological approach, adding to the body of knowledge of interactive planning and idealized design creations.

The researcher concludes that an effective idealized design outcome results from the effectiveness of a facilitator and facilitation. The effectiveness is contingent on a consistent and delicate balance of mindset, adeptness, experience, understanding of the interactive planning methodology’s application, and skill sets that hinge on coaching tenets, brainstorming techniques, and virtual technology platforms. vii


A dissertation proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership at Thomas Jefferson University.