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A model is an abstraction of reality. No matter how well constructed, models are always wrong. Traditional thinking focuses on seeking to prove models to be true by validating them with historical data.

March on models (March, 2007, 208) -- Rationalist technologies depend on abstract models of reality that reduce the complexity of any particular context to what are believed to be its essential components and relations. The models depend on strong assumptions about the extent to which present knowledge encompasses the causal structure of the world and the preference structures of human actors. Within such abstractions, the forecasts of rational calculation compound so that small errors or oversights multiply into large ones and multiply at an increasing rate as complexity increases. These errors are often costly, even deadly, in their consequences. See rationalist technologies for a description of rational technologies of which models are an essential element.

Systems thinking recognizes that models are useful in guiding decision making, but in some way, or in some context, are wrong. Therefore systems thinking seeks to become aware of where the model ceases to be useful.

Systems models -- (Stacey, 2000, pp 81)
The past is idealized in the sense that it consists of elements selected from a very complex context to form a certain pattern. The same is true for the scenario of the future. Here, systemic modeling provides insights based on resolving the paradox of time in the living present by talking about ""both"" the past ""and"" the future. This is valid and helpful when it is a question of choosing the optimum alternative from a set that is already known.

Relation to strategic management --

For a view of and relationship between theory, frameworks, and practice as it relates to strategy see framework.