Holism and reductionism are two opposing approaches in the theory of systems that are used also in the theory of management:
- Holism explores the whole, the entire system. Examples are the principle of emergence and principle of synergy
- Reductionism reduces the system exploration to understanding its key parts. An example is the concept of critical success factors
In management theory both approaches are irreplaceable. It is important to select and use the better one for given purpose, which is sometimes a very difficult decision.