Peter Bernard Checkland has had a huge influence on systems thinking, especially in the fields of management and information systems, although his ideas have been taken up in a wide range of fields. He is most notable for the development of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), deriving from an action research programme lasting more than 30 years. As well as methodological innovations, Checkland introduced a number of key conceptual developments, in particular his distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ systems thinking, and his championing of the soft approach. As Mingers (2000, p. 747) notes, “SSM has reoriented an entire discipline and touched the lives of literally thousands of people … [soft] thinking is now completely taken for granted within the systems discipline”.
- Checkland, P. B. (1981). Systems thinking, systems practice. Chichester: John Wiley.Google Scholar
- Checkland, P. B., & Holwell, S. E. (1998a). Information, systems and information systems – making sense of the field. Chichester: John Wiley.Google Scholar
- Checkland, P.B., & Poulter, J. (2006). Learning for action: A short definitive account of soft systems methodology and its use for practitioners, teachers, and students. Chichester: John Wiley.Google Scholar