Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 479–491

Systemic Cognition During the Sub-Prime Crisis: Lessons and Research Implications

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11213-012-9235-y

Cite this article as:
Houghton, L. Syst Pract Action Res (2012) 25: 479. doi:10.1007/s11213-012-9235-y


This paper uses the example of the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2008–2009 to demonstrate how patterns of systemic cognition influenced outcomes during the crisis. This paper focuses on systemic patterns that emerged during the sub-prime crisis. By reviewing systemic patterns and reflecting on the assumptions of actors it is believed that further insight for research potential could be revealed. I argue that patterns of systemic ‘cognition’ that emerge during complex social events can be captured and reflected on. This provides useful insight into the interpretative structures of messy problems that in turn reveals previously undiscovered systemic thinking. The paper uses this illustration of the GFC to structure a debate about future research possibilities.


Systems thinkingSystemic cognitionCrisis management

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith Business SchoolGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia