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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 551755
Title Archetypes : Common systemic behaviours in food systems
Author(s) Posthumus, Helena; Steenhuijsen-Piters, Bart de; Dengerink, Just; Vellema, Sietze
Source Wageningen : Wageningen Economic Research (Wageningen Economic Research memorandum ) - 13
Department(s) International Policy
Knowledge Technology and Innovation
Publication type Research report
Publication year 2018
Abstract System archetypes represent generic behavioural patterns – or system dynamics – in any system. The concept of archetypes is mostly applied in the context of business management and organizational life. The term archetype was first coined by Peter Senge (1990) in his seminal book ‘The Fifth Discipline’. He uses systems thinking to convert companies into learning organizations; understanding complexity and reflective conservation are some of the key competences required to address complex problems. But similar archetypes of system behaviour can be found in food systems. The use of archetypes assumes that, if the underlying systemic structure that results in specific behavioural patterns is understood, action can be taken to change the structure and thus systemic behaviour and consequently outcomes. Archetypes capture the ‘common stories’ in systems thinking; that is, dynamic phenomena that occur in diverse settings. The archetypes are used as templates for diagnosing complex problems (Kim, 2000). Below, eight archetypes are explained based on the work of Kim (2000). Based on our own expertise and the information collected during a stakeholder workshop with food systems and FNS experts, we have provided examples of these archetypes in food systems. For each archetype, a set of leverage points is identified, which can offer solutions for the problematic behaviour captured by the archetype (Nguyen and Bosch, 2013).
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