Visible Thinking: Unlocking Causal Mapping for Practical Business Results

  • 6h 16m
  • Charles B. Finn, Colin Eden, Fran Ackermann, John M. Bryson
  • John Wiley & Sons (UK)
  • 2004

We live in a complex world. We are constantly challenged by issues that seem at first to be simple, but on reflection turn out to have complicated causes and consequences that can dramatically affect our lives. Often, getting a handle on what the issues are is half the battle. Imagine a tool that can help you unravel the complexity of the decision-making labyrinth, a process that would allow you to:

  • Make sense of challenging situations
  • Tackle a large number of ideas and their interconnections
  • Evaluate and explore values, goals, strategies and actions
  • Link strategic thinking to action
  • Develop effective action plans in response to the issues
  • Create shared meaning and agreement
  • Communicate strategies in ways that can be easily understood and acted upon
  • Make people understand why an action is important and how they can help
  • Help you move from 'winging it' to creating integrated strategies that are robust, both today and in the future, for your firm

Causal mapping is that process. A causal map links your ideas using a few simple rules to reflect causality and so reveal strategic options and goals. Visible Thinking shows you how to create causal maps for individuals and groups, and thereby to capture the power and broad applicability of causal mapping in a business, as well as a personal, context. Visible Thinking will revolutionize the way you approach complex situations and help you decide what you should do, how you should do it and why.

The causal mapping process is illustrated through a series of real cases - from tackling personal problems to strategy-change efforts in business, public and not-for-profit organizations. The cases are used to present a comprehensive set of process guidelines designed to help you create your own action-oriented causal maps.

About the Authors

Colin Eden is a professor of strategic management and management science at the University of Strathclyde. His major interests are in: (1) the processes of strategy making in senior management teams, and (2) the success and failure of large projects. He has consulted with the senior management teams of a wide range of public and private organizations in Europe and North America. In all of these activities he uses causal mapping as a part of the process. He is the author of seven books and over 150 scholarly articles in management science and strategic management.

Charles B. Finn is a management professor at the College of Saint Rose, Albany, New York (USA). He has held teaching and management positions at the University of Minnesota and State University of New York. He has worked as a consultant to private, public and non-profit organizations at local, state and federal levels within the USA and has taught and consulted internationally. He has two interests in mapping: (1) how large, diffuse systems can organize for everyday challenges and do the necessary strategic thinking to realize competitive advantages, and (2) how to use mapping to encourage personal and organizational learning and development.

In this Book

  • What to Do When Thinking Matters
  • How and Why Mapping Works
  • How not to Miss the Boat
  • House of the Rising Fun
  • It's a Bummer to Be JB
  • To Merge or not to Merge – That Is the Question!
  • Small College Hoping not to Get Smaller!
  • Making the Most of Our Assets
  • A Question of Turning Around
  • Learning from the Chapters, or How Does This all Fit together and How Can I Make Use of It?
  • Benefits, Limitations and the Future of Mapping


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