Learning For Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology, and its use Practitioners, Teachers and Students / Edition 1

Learning For Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology, and its use Practitioners, Teachers and Students / Edition 1

by Peter Checkland, John Poulter
     
 

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

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Overview

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470025543
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/26/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
226
Sales rank:
1,285,571
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

Table of Contents

Preamble A TEN-MINUTE ACCOUNT OF SOFT SYSTEMS METHODOLOGY FORVERY BUSY PEOPLE.

Preface.

INTRODUCTION.

PART 1 THE NATURE OF SSM.

Chapter 1 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?

Chapter 2 A FLESHED-OUT ACCOUNT OF SSM.

Introduction.

The SSM Learning Cycle: Finding Out.

The SSM Learning Cycle: Making PurposefulActivity Models.

The SSM Learning Cycle: Using Models to Structure Discussionabout.

The Situation and its Improvement.

The SSM Learning Cycle: Defining ‘Action toImprove’.

The Whole SSM Learning Cycle Revisited: seven principles,four actions.

PART 2 SSM IN ACTION.

Chapter 3 SSM IN ACTION IN MANAGEMENT SITUATIONS.

Introduction.

Case 1: Rethinking the Role of a Head Office Function inShell.

Case 2: Evaluating Past Events.

Case 3: Upgrading the Skills of a Department.

Case 4: Tackling your own Issues.

Case 5: Clarifying a Concept.

Chapter 4 SSM IN ACTION IN THE FIELD OF INFORMATIONSYSTEMS.

Introduction.

Case 1: Creating an Information Strategy in an AcuteHospital.

Case 2: Evaluating a Clinical Information System.

Case 3: Evaluating a National Initiative in the NHS.

Case 4: Providing Information Support for Scientists andTechnologists.

Conclusion.

Chapter 5 SSM: MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND CRAFT SKILLS.

Introduction.

Misunderstanding SSM.

Craft Skills in SSM Use.

Tips on Techniques in SSM.

PART 3 SUMMING UP.

Chapter 6 SSM AS A WHOLE – some reminders.

Approaching SSM: the mindset.

SSM: an aide memoire.

Appendix One: SSM’s Theory.

Appendix Two: The Story of SSM’s Development.

Appendix Three: A Talked-through Example of Activity ModelBuilding.

Appendix Four: A Generic Model of Purposeful ActivityModelling.

Appendix Five: Some Frequently Asked Questions.

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