Geoffrey Vickers

  • Magnus Ramage
  • Karen Shipp

Sir Geoffrey Vickers was a lawyer and manager, and provides an outstanding example of deep reflection after a long and varied career. He produced a series of important and thought-provoking works in retirement, which had a strong influence upon the developing use of systems thinking in management, decision-making and politics. He had such an impact upon the work of the Systems group at the Open University that its seminar room for many years had a large photograph of Vickers gazing down upon all discussions. Indeed, Open University students are still introduced to systems thinking with Vickers' analogy between the lobster trap which creatures enter but cannot leave and thinking traps into which people fall: “a trap is a trap only for the creatures which cannot solve the problems it sets. Man traps are dangerous only in relation to the limitations of what men can see and value and do” (Vickers 1972, p. 15).


System Thinking Reflective Practice Soft System Methodology Sewage Disposal Seminar Room 
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Copyright information

© The Open University 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magnus Ramage
    • 1
  • Karen Shipp
    • 1
  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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