Soft Systems Methodology
Systems thinking, in the form of a general theory, emerged during the 1950’s and gave birth to what is now known as the’ systems movement’. Within the systems movement a number of different approaches to ‘doing’ systems thinking appeared. One of these, concerned with the management of human affairs, and which evolved over a 25-year period of intellectual deliberation and organised experiential learning, is Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). The early version of SSM was described in terms of a conventional seven-stage model; this has now matured into a more sophisticated form of structured enquiry involving interacting streams of logic-based and cultural analysis (Checkland and Scholes, 1990). SSM is well known but is still perceived by many to be the preserve of academia rather than a useful tool that can be used to deal routinely with the complex human and information management issues that confront every manager.
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