Advertisement

Systems practice

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 377–408 | Cite as

Enhancing the process of methodology choice in total systems intervention (TSI) and improving chances of tackling coercion

  • Robert L. Flood
  • Norma R. A. Romm
Papers

Abstract

The process of Choice in TSI is reexamined in this paper. Previously, methods2 have been understood to have a given and immediate purpose and are employed when this is judged to be most suitable in the circumstances. In this paper we suggest that methods can be operated in ways that meet purposes not provided by their founding theoretical underpinnings. We develop this argument by pointing to cases where cybernetic or soft methods are driven by purposes and principles given to emancipatory methodology—in a quest to address more effectively issues of coercion. This may be necessary when explicit and direct employment of emancipatory methodology is not sensitive enough to political dynamics, where certain people may feel overly threatened by its language and consequently feel the need to subvert its use. We develop a defence for thisoblique use of cybernetic and soft methods in coercive contexts, and extend the argument to suggest that all methods can be employed in such a way.

Key words

methodology choice Total Systems Intervention emancipatory practice managing coercion 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ackoff, R. L. (1979). Resurrecting the future of operational research.JORS 30, 198–199.Google Scholar
  2. Ackoff, R. L. (1981).Creating the Corporate Futur, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Ackoff, R. L., Vergara, E., and Gharajedaghi, J. (1984).A Guide to Controlling Your Corporation's Future, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Ackoff, R. L. (1993). Idealized design: Creative corporate visioning.OMEGA 21, 401–410.Google Scholar
  5. Arce, A., Villarreal, M., and de Vries, P. (1994). The social construction of rural development: Discourses, practices and power. In Booth, D. (ed.),Rethinking Social Development, Longman, Harlow, Essex.Google Scholar
  6. Beer, S. (1981).Brain of the Firm, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  7. Beer, S. (1985).Diagnosing the System for Organisations, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  8. Beer, S. (1989). The viable system model: Its provenance, development, methodology and pathology. In Espejo, R., and Harnden, R. (eds.),The Viable System Model: Interpretations and Applications of Stafford Beer's VSM, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, M. (1995). A framework for assessing participation. In Flood, R. L., and Romm, N. R. A. (eds.),Developments in Critical Systems Thinking Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Checkland, P. B. (1981).Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  11. Checkland, P. B., and Scholes, J. (1990).Soft Systems Methodology in Action, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen, C., and Midgley, G. (1994).The North Humberside Diversion from Custody Project for Mentally Disordered Offenders, Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Hull.Google Scholar
  13. Cummings, S. (1994). An open letter to Total Systems Intervention (TSI) and friends: A postmodern remedy to make everybody feel better.Syst. Prac. 7, 575–588.Google Scholar
  14. Espejo, R., and Harnden, R. (1989).The Viable System Model: Interpretations and Applications of Stafford Beer's VSM, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  15. Espejo, R., and Schwaninger, M. (1993).Organisational Fitness: Corporate Effectiveness Through Management Cybernetics, Campus Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Flood, R. L. (1990).Liberating Systems Theory, Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Flood, R. L. (1993a).Beyond TQM, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  18. Flood, R. L. (1993b). Practicing freedom: Designing, debating and disemprisoning.OMEGA 21, 7–16.Google Scholar
  19. Flood, R. L. (1994). An improved version of the process of Total Systems Intervention.Syst. Pract. 8, 329–334.Google Scholar
  20. Flood, R. L. (1995a).Solving Problem Solving, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  21. Flood, R. L. (1995b). Total Systems Intervention: A reconstitution,JORS 46, 174–191.Google Scholar
  22. Flood, R. L., and Jackson, M. C. (1991a).Creative Problem Solving: Total Systems Intervention, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  23. Flood, R. L., and Jackson, M. C. (eds.) (1991b).Critical Systems Thinking: Directed Readings, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  24. Flood, R. L., and Romm, N. R. A. (1995). Diversity Management: theory in action.Systems Practice,8, 469–482.Google Scholar
  25. Flood, R. L., and Zambuni, S. (1990). Viable Systems diagnosis. I. Application with a major tourism services group.Syst. Prac. 3, 225–248.Google Scholar
  26. Foucault, M. (1984). Interviews. In Rabinow, P. (ed.),The Foucault Reader, Random House, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Gouldner, A. W. (1980).The Two Marxisms, Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
  28. Gregory, W. J. (1992).Critical Systems Thinking and Pluralism: A New Constellation, Ph.D. thesis, City University.Google Scholar
  29. Gregory, W. J., and Romm, N. R. A. (1994). Developing multi-agency dialogue: The role(s) of facilitation.Research Memorandum 6, Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Hull.Google Scholar
  30. Habermas, J. (1982). Reply to my critics. In Thompson, J. B., and Held, D. (eds.),Habermas: Critical Debates, Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
  31. Ivanov, K. (1992). Critical Systems Thinking and Information Technology.J. Appl. Syst. Anal. 18, 39–55.Google Scholar
  32. Jackson, M. C. (1982). The nature of “soft” systems thinking: The work of Churchman, Ackoff and Checkland.JORS 9, 17–28.Google Scholar
  33. Jackson, M. C. (1991).Systems Methodology for the Management Sciences, Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Magidson, J. (1992). Systems practice in several communities in Philadelphia.Syst. Proc. 5, 493–508.Google Scholar
  35. McKay, V. I., and Romm, N. R. A. (1992).People's Education in Theoretical Perspective, Longman, Cape Town.Google Scholar
  36. Mingers, J. (1984). Subjectivism and Soft Systems Methodology: A critique.J. Appl. Syst. Anal. 11, 83–103.Google Scholar
  37. Morgan, G. (1991). Emerging waves and changes: The need for new competencies and mindsets. In Henry, J. (ed.),Creative Management, Sage, London, pp. 283–293.Google Scholar
  38. Oliga, J. (1990). Power in organisations: A contingent, relational view.Syst. Prac. 3, 453–477.Google Scholar
  39. Payne, S. L. (1992). Critical Systems Thinking: A challenge or dilemma in its practice?Syst. Prac. 5, 237–249.Google Scholar
  40. Ragsdell, G. (1995).Creativity and Total Systems Intervention, Unpublished work, Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Hull.Google Scholar
  41. Romm, N. R. A. (1991).The Methodologies of Positivism and Marxism, Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
  42. Romm, N. R. A. (1994a). Symbolic theory. In Romm, N. R. A., and Sarakinsky, M. (eds.),Social Theory, Johannesburg, Heinemann.Google Scholar
  43. Romm, N. R. A. (1994b). Continuing tensions between soft systems methodology and critical systems heuristics.Research Memorandum 5, Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Hull.Google Scholar
  44. Romm, N. R. A. (1995a). Knowing as intervention: Reflections on the application of systems ideas.Syst. Prac. 8, 137–167.Google Scholar
  45. Romm, N. R. A. (1995b). Some anomalies in Ulrich's critical inquiry and problem solving approach. In Ellis, K., Gregory, A., Mears-Young, B., and Ragsdell, G. (eds.),Critical Issues in Systems Theory and Practice, Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  46. Romm, N. R. A., and Romm, N. L. (1987). Militarizing tolerance: A strategy for creative entry into the 21st century.De Arte 36, 23–26.Google Scholar
  47. Romm, N. R. A., and Sarakinsky, M. (1994). Theories of knowledge in social theory. In Romm, N. R. A., and Sarakinsky, M. (eds.),Social Theory, Johannesburg, Heinemann.Google Scholar
  48. Schön, D. A. (1983).The Reflective Practitioner, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  49. Taket, A. (1992). Book review on Creative Problem Solving: Total Systems Intervention.JORS 43, 1013–1016.Google Scholar
  50. Taket, A., and White, L. (1994a). The end of theory? Euro 13 (Operational Research Society Conference), Strathclyde, July.Google Scholar
  51. Taket, A., and White, L. (1994b). Postmodernism—Why bother.Systemist 16, 175–186.Google Scholar
  52. Ulrich, W. (1983).Critical Heuristics of Social Planning: A New Approach to Practical Philosophy, Haupt, Berne.Google Scholar
  53. Ulrich, W. (1991). Critical heuristics of social systems design. In Flood, R. L., and Jackson, M. C. (eds.),Critical Systems Thinking: Directed Readings, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  54. Ulrich, W. (1994). Can we secure future-responsive management through Systems Thinking and Design?Interfaces 24, 26–37.Google Scholar
  55. Wexler, P. (1987).Social Analysis of Education, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  56. Wilby, J. (1995). Developing TSI: The critical review mode. In Flood, R. L., and Romm, N. R. A. (eds.),Developments in Critical Systems Thinking Plenum, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Flood
    • 1
  • Norma R. A. Romm
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Systems StudiesUniversity of HullHullUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations