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Total systems intervention: A practical face to critical systems thinking


This is the first exposition of a new methodology (or perhaps meta-methodology) for systems practice known as Total Systems Intervention (TSI). Designed to overcome the weaknesses of hard, cybernetic, and soft systems approaches and build on their strengths, TSI represents a practical face of critical systems thinking. It advocates combining three building blocks-systems metaphors, “system of systems methodologies,” and individual systems methodologies—in an interactive manner which is deemed to be particularly powerful and fruitful. In this paper the philosophy, principles, and phases of the TSI methodology are set out and two very different examples of its use are provided.

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Flood, R.L., Jackson, M.C. Total systems intervention: A practical face to critical systems thinking. Systems Practice 4, 197–213 (1991).

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Key words

  • methodology
  • critical systems thinking
  • Total Systems Intervention