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Answers to the Tip of the Iceberg Questionnaires

Although fictional in nature, the story in discussion, Tip of the Iceberg, delves on allegories that represent several facts in the field of Business and Marketing, especially those dealing with the principles involved in systems thinking. As such, the story involves a system that is comprised of the penguins, the walruses, the clams, and the very iceberg itself where their story takes place.

Here, the penguins are portrayed as the thinkers of their society, wherein they are responsible for the effects that result from their actions. On the other hand, the walruses serve as the doers, or the labor force from which the society rely upon for the manual labor needed to harvest the clams. The clams in turn serve as the goods, wherein their over-supply seems to have a direct effect on the P-W society. Lastly, the iceberg serve as the society, or the world where all these happens.

It is worth noting that just like in our reality, the penguins and walruses were presented with the necessity to care for the wellbeing of their own iceberg. In the story, the P-W’s system that was designed by the penguins was meant to assure that their own supplies of clams will be regularly provided for by the walruses. This scheme was specifically and solely deliberated upon with the sole intent of assuring their (the penguins’) needs, irrespective of the walruses’ wellbeing.

As such, this system attempts to ensure that the penguins will have a steady and reliable supply of clams that are to be provided for by the walruses in exchange of perks, such as eat-all-you-can binges on food. More importantly, the system aims put into a formal/legal understanding, the relationship between the walruses and the penguins, as evidenced by the accord that was agreed upon by the two parties.

However, the penguins initially failed to realize that the system that they designed is in fact dependent on a much larger system; one that involves a highly complex network of results and consequences that have a direct potential to affect the balance of their very own habitat. In this precept, a much larger system that involves the iceberg, particularly in its possible sinking as the population grew, and a relative balance of the penguins’ and walruses’ populations are involved.

As such, the larger system calls for several necessities to be met, such as the need to regulate the population in the iceberg in order to prevent its sinking, the development of other clam beds in order to maintain their numbers, the development of other icebergs in order to equally distribute the growing populations of their new society, and the need to prepare for unseen consequences that lead to problems, such as the ones they encountered at the beginning of the story.

Relatively, with the penguins’ initial efforts to effect changes in their society, several problems that were previously unknown were revealed. The system seems to come up with a new dilemma to every problem that they thought to have found a solution. Thus, with the memorandum instructing the walruses to be more careful as to not unintentionally squash the penguins, more dead penguins died in this manner, and with the desire of the penguins to transform their iceberg into a more affluent unit, problems on overpopulations and territorial disputes arose.

This suggests that the entity of the system is truly inter-connected, and finding a solution for one of the many facets of the system opens the door to a new set of problems. Thud based on this precept, the penguins were only made aware of the need to maintain a desirable level of population when they noticed the iceberg start to sink; which in turn led to the need to find solutions to the growing number of visitors, the dwindling number of clams, the need to efficiently transport the goods to newly-developed icebergs, among others.

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