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Sustainability: Moving from Common Sense to Common Practice
2016 International Conference
Leesburg, VA - National Conference Center

September 18th - 21st


TOC - A Change Constraint Buster?

Michael Jungen - Service Provider for Organizational Development




The Theory of Constraints (TOC) defines itself as a methodically stringent approach to constraint- and throughput-oriented process optimization in production-, project- or multi-project-management-surroundings.

It is based on the understanding of organizations as viable, adaptive, and complex systems. Relating to the complex challenges within such systems, TOC assumes principle causal explainability and solvability (which contradicts current established systemic model theory).

Essential of this approach is the comprehensive optimization of problem-afflicted systems based on the focus on their most crucial constraint instead of an extensive local improvement of process elements with subsequent summation of the achieved partial effects.

Case for Action: In modern times of increasing digitalization, companies are facing a comprehensive change-process, which could be described as disruptive because of its massiveness and short-term nature. Relative to that there exists an enormous uncertainty regarding survivability of companies.

It becomes more and more clear that mastering these challenges is not just a matter of consequent efficiency improvement. Success much rather requires an adjustment of the individual attitude and the ability to change of each individual participant within a company. Thereby, the ability of people to learn continuously regardless a high level of experienced complexity and stress becomes the most significant constraint.

Based on experience, change in companies often fails due to a lack of change ability or self-regulation of the most important decision makers. These individuals are often not aware of their counterproductive influence regarding the wanted change movement and instead of this they assume themselves always as a part of the solution. In such cases, a highly relevant psychological constraint to change is factually effective on a social level which is hardly nameable on an operational level, since feedback to this fact is likely to be perceived as a personal attack and sanctioned. This can create a vicious circle inducing more stress in change procedures with the consequence of a decreasing effective change-performance within an organization.

This brings up the question whether the constraint- and throughput-oriented TOC principles and toolset can be useful and helpful to improve processes which can be categorized as change procedures. The expression "change” in this case is explicitly not meant in the understanding of "organizational change management” – it refers more to the shift of inherent learning-architectures of concrete acting viable psycho-social systems.

Challenges: Is it principally adequate that TOC can be utilized to move predominantly unconscious and neuro-systemic spontaneous occurring behavioral patterns (constraints) of powerful decision makers in organizations? If yes, TOC could be an appropriate tool for individual and social change procedures. According to the famous Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein this would lead to stronger change approaches which are focused on to change the river bed and not only the water course. On a first glance the challenges and the principles of TOC would match.



Michael Jungen - Dipl.-Ing., MBA, Founder and owner of Daruma Pro Consulting.

Since year 2000 independent organizational consultant, coach and trainer.

Focus: Designing and facilitating business change procedures to enhance organizational agility and resilience in times of ongoing digitalization. Special point of awareness is the performance reducing impact of unconscious behavioral patterns and mental constrains regarding actions, relationships, competences, entrepreneurial decision making and leadership as well as organizational development.

Basic education: University of applied science for aircraft engineering, Aachen, Germany; Master of Business Administration, Northwestern University (Kellogg Business School) of Chicago, USA and WHU, Coblenz, Germany.

Further education: Systemic-solution-focused consultant (M. V. von Kibed & I. Sparrer, Munich); Hypno-systemic consultant and coach (G. Schmidt, Heidelberg); Solution-focused crisis intervention and basics of traumatology (H. Dellucci, Munich); Certified expert of Motivation Psychology (J. Kuhl, Osnabrück); Internal system and process auditor according VDA automotive guidelines; Expert in Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma and Total Quality Management; Consultant for improvement processes according to Theory U (O. Scharmer, MIT Boston), Effectuation (M. Faschingbauer, Vienna, AT) and TOC (Vistem, Heppenheim, Germany).

Values: At every step of a change process, I´m looking at the involved players as the living creators of their reality. My understanding is that clients have all necessary resources on board to master upcoming ambivalences and challenges. My task is to give useful sparring that the client gets full access to all resources and competences.


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