Interpreting the Interpretive Structural Model

Original Article


Interpretive structural modeling (ISM) is a process that transforms unclear and poorly articulated mental models of systems into visible, well-defined models useful for many purposes. The interpretation of links is comparatively weak in ISM; the interpretation of the directed link in terms of how it operates is lacking. This paper is an attempt to interpret the links in the interpretive structural models using the tool of Interpretive Matrix and leads to evolve the framework and methodology of total interpretive structural modeling (TISM). First, an overview of ISM is provided. This is taken-up further by highlighting the need of interpretation of interpretive structural models. In order to evolve the framework of TISM, the tool of Interpretive Matrix is briefly introduced, which is integrated into the methodology of TISM. The basic process of TISM is presented in a step-by-step manner with indicative directions for scaling-up this process. Some tests for validating total interpretive structural models are also proposed. Finally, the basic process of TISM is illustrated with the help of an example in the context of organizational change. This process can be used for conceptualization and theory building in organizational research.


Interpretive Matrix Interpretive structural modeling Organizational change Theory building Total interpretive structural modeling 


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Copyright information

© Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management StudiesIndian Institute of Technology, DelhiDelhiIndia

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