Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 435–453 | Cite as

A Comparison of Interactive Planning and Soft Systems Methodology: Enhancing the Complementarist Position

  • Jeffrey S. Sinn

Abstract

Flood and Jackson (1991) explain the diversity of systems-based methods with a pluralistic “System of Systems Methodologies” by categorizing the various methods according to the problem context for which they are deemed to be best suited. The two methods classified as most appropriate for complex-pluralistic problems, Ackoff's Interactive Planning and Checkland's Soft System Methodology, are compared according to their underlying theory, problem-solving techniques, and outcomes. Despite their shared focus on the same problem context, the two methods are derived from different ontological assumptions which yield different techniques and outcomes. An argument is presented for conducting additional comparisons of methods that address the same problem context.

systems theory Interactive Planning Soft Systems Methodology 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Ackoff, R. L. (1970). A black ghetto's research on a university. Oper. Res. 18, 761–771.Google Scholar
  2. Ackoff, R. L. (1974). Redesigning the Future: A Systems Approach to Societal Problems, Wiley-Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Ackoff, R. L. (1981). Creating the Corporate Future, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Argyris, C., and Schon, D. A. (1974). Theory in Practice: Increasing Professional Effectiveness, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  5. Barstow, A. M. (1990). On creating opportunity out of conflict: Two case studies. Syst. Pract. 3, 339–355.Google Scholar
  6. Beer, S. (1966). Decision and Control: The Meaning of Operational Research and Management Cybernetics, Wiley, London.Google Scholar
  7. Beer, S. (1972). Brain of the Firm, 1st ed., Herder and Herder, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Beer, S. (1979). The Heart of Enterprise, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Burrell, G., and Morgan, G. (1979). Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, Heinemann, London.Google Scholar
  10. Checkland, P. (1981). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  11. Checkland, P. (1990). Are organizations machines? Futures 12, 421–424.Google Scholar
  12. Checkland, P., and Scholes, J. (1990). Soft Systems Methodology in Action, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  13. Clemson, B. (1991). Cybernetics: A New Management Tool, Abacus Press, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.Google Scholar
  14. Dando, M. R., and Bennett, P. G. (1981). A Kuhnian crisis in management science? J. Oper. Res. Soc. 32, 91–103.Google Scholar
  15. Espejo, R. (1987). From machines to people and organizations: A cybernetic insight on management. In Jackson, M. C., and Key, P. (eds.), New Directions in Management Science, Gower, Aldershot, England, pp. 55–85.Google Scholar
  16. Flood, R. L. (1989b). Archaeology of (systems) inquiry. Syst. Pract. 2, 117–124.Google Scholar
  17. Flood, R. L. (1989b). Six scenarios for the future of systems “problem solving,” Syst. Pract. 2, 75–99.Google Scholar
  18. Flood, R. L. (1995). Solving Problem Solving: A Potent Force for Effective Management, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  19. Flood, R. L., and Jackson, M. C. (1991). Creative Problem Solving: Total Systems Intervention, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  20. Flood, R. L., and Romm, N. R. (1996). Diversity Management: Triple Loop Learning, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  21. Forrester, J. W. (1975). Collected Papers of Jay W. Forrester, Wright-Allen Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  22. Jackson, M. C. (1985). Social systems theory and practice: The need for a critical approach. Int. J. Gen. Syst. 10, 135–151.Google Scholar
  23. Jackson, M. C. (1987). Present positions and future prospects in management science. Omega Int. J. Manage. Sci. 15, 455–466.Google Scholar
  24. Jackson, M. C. (1990). The critical kernel in modern systems thinking. Syst. Pract. 3, 357–364.Google Scholar
  25. Jackson, M. C. (1990). Russell Ackoff's Jerusalem. Syst. Pract. 3, 177–182.Google Scholar
  26. Jackson, M. C., and Keys, P. (1984). Towards a system of systems methodologies. J. Oper. Res. Soc. 35, 473–486.Google Scholar
  27. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  28. Locke, E. A., and Latham, G. P. (1990). A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  29. Oliga, J. C. (1988). Methodological foundations of systems methodologies. Syst. Pract. 1, 87–112.Google Scholar
  30. Ozbekhan, H. (1977). The future of Paris: A systems study in strategic urban planning. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. A, 287, 523–544.Google Scholar
  31. Simon, H. A. (1955). A behavioral model of rational choice. Q. J. Econ. 69, 118.Google Scholar
  32. Ulrich, W. (1983). Critical Heuristic of Social Planning, Haupt, Berne.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey S. Sinn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWinthrop UniversityRock HillSouth Carolina

Personalised recommendations