Learning for Action A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology, and Its Use Practitioners, Teachers and Students

ISBN-10: 0470025549

ISBN-13: 9780470025543

Edition: 2006

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Description:

The approach to tackling messy real-life situations known as Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) was developed in a 30-year programme of action research led by Peter Checkland. The approach is now used and taught around the world, and its development has been described in depth in four books published between 1981 and 1999, which are now regarded as classics in the field. Peter Checkland and John Poulter now present a concise, crystal-clear and definitive account of SSM written for anyone who wishes to use, teach, or learn about it. This account also corrects the misunderstandings about the SSM approach, which plague its secondary literature. Learning for Action first provides an overview of SSM and its use, then gives a detailed account of the techniques used within it. It also crisply summarizes many accounts of SSM in action in real situations in both private and public sectors, using the pattern: the situation; the use of SSM; outcomes, with references given to more detailed accounts. Also covered are the craft skills which practitioners develop, the theory underlying SSM, and the fundamental shift in thinking away from the systems approaches of the 1960s which its development signalled - namely the transition from 'hard' to 'soft' systems thinking.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated
Publication date: 4/2/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 226
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Preamble
A Ten-Minute Account of Soft Systems Methodology for Very Busy People
Preface
Introduction
The Nature of SSM
A Skeleton Account of SSM as a Whole
What is SSM?
What is the SSM Process?
What can SSM be used for?
Is SSM mature?
How was SSM developed?
How does SSM differ from other systems approaches?
A Fleshed-Out Account of SSM
Introduction
The SSM Learning Cycle: Finding Out
The SSM Learning Cycle: Making Purposeful Activity Models
The SSM Learning Cycle: Using Models to Structure Discussion about
The Situation and its Improvement
The SSM Learning Cycle: Defining 'Action to Improve'
The Whole SSM Learning Cycle Revisited: seven principles, fouractions
SSM in Action
SSM in Action in Management Situations
Introduction
Rethinking the Role of a Head Office Function in Shell
Evaluating Past Events
Upgrading the Skills of a Department
Tackling your own Issues
Clarifying a Concept
SSM in Action in the Field of Information Systems
Introduction
Creating an Information Strategy in an Acute Hospital
Evaluating a Clinical Information System
Evaluating a National Initiative in the NHS
Providing Information Support for Scientists and Technologists
Conclusion
SSM: Misunderstandings and Craft Skills
Introduction
Misunderstanding SSM
Craft Skills in SSM Use
Tips on Techniques in SSM
Summing Up
SSM as a Whole - some reminders
Approaching SSM: the mindset
SSM: an aide memoire
SSM's Theory
The Story of SSM's Development
A Talked-through Example of Activity Model Building
A Generic Model of Purposeful Activity Modelling
Some Frequently Asked Questions
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