Systems practice

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 7–29 | Cite as

Testament to conversations on critical systems thinking between two systems practitioners

  • Robert L. Flood
  • Werner Ulrich
Papers Conversations


This is a testament to conversations held in Berne and Fribourg, Switzerland, in late 1988. The main theme that we present concerns seeking to find an adequate epistemology for systems practice, to find a “truly” critical approach, by shifting our interests from “systems science” to “systems rationality” (i.e., by “reaching out” toward a systems epistemological ideal) and by dealing with sociological phenomena such as the “effects of material conditions” and false consciousness and inequalities associated with these. Social rationalities relating to positivism, interpretivism, and critique are considered. Limitations and legitimacies of these rationalities in social contexts are made explicit in these discussions.

Key words

Critical Systems Theory systems rationality social rationality pluralism Liberating Systems Theory 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Flood
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Werner Ulrich
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Sir Q. W. Lee Chair in Management ScienceUniversity of HullHullUK
  2. 2.Systems Intervention Ltd.NewburyUK
  3. 3.PA Consultancy GroupLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Public Health and Social Services of the Canton of BerneBerneSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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