A First Step Towards the Automation of SSM?
A strength of SSM lies in the hermeneutic/phenomenological process of inquiry. The methodology is an operationalisation of Vicker’s notion of appreciation which helps both practitioner and client(s) to gain an understanding of the perceived problem situation. The appreciative process applies equally to the practitioner as it does to the client(s) and seems to rely to a great extent upon the interaction that takes place between them. An important feature of SSM is that it offers a means of appreciating the problem without imposing the structure of some predetermined model. It would seem therefore, that the idea of automating SSM is dialectically opposed to the principles that underpin the methodology. However, an investigation has been undertaken to explore the possibilities of applying information technology to some aspects of the methodology. This paper will describe the research which has explored the possibility of incorporating the methodology within an expert system framework.
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