Shifting the Burden Systems Archetype

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How many times have you noticed that there are some problems that seem to be addressed over and over. When the problem arises it is addressed, then some time later, maybe a day, a week, or a month, the same problem arises again. This situation is quite often the result of a Shifting the Burden structure.

Components

Related Concepts

Strategies

Initially I perceived there to be a single appropriate strategy for dealing with this structure though I have found examples, which I will attach as soon as I get them sorted out, which seem support the range of strategies below.

  • Learn to live with the symptomatic solution because that's as good as it's going to get. There are situations where there may be more effective solutions though you'll just never get them implemented in your lifetime. Sad but true.

  • Implement the fundamental solution because if the symptomatic solution is implemented the strength of the side effect will ensure the fundamental solution will never get any traction.

  • When dealing with a problem ask yourself if you are treating the symptoms or addressing the real cause of the problem. Often, out of expediency, the symptomatic solution is essential. The most effective strategy for dealing with a Shifting the Burden structure is to employ the symptomatic solution AND develop the fundamental solution. Thus one resolves the immediate problem and the other works to ensure that it doesn't return.

Areas of Concern

  • It is often the case that the side effect promotes some sort of dependency which further inhibits development of the fundamental solution. For insights into this situation see Addiction Systems Archetype.

Examples

Additional Resources
Systems Thinking in Action Discussions * Gene Bellinger
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