Soft Systems Methodology: Conceptual Model Building and Its Contribution / Edition 1

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Conceptual model building is accepted as a key phase in Soft Systems Methodology. Despite the recognition of the importance of the SSM, students are still experiencing difficulty with the basic process of conceptual model building. This book addresses that issue.

"SSM offers an elegantly simple approach that is both powerful, yet non-threatening and one that forces organisations to confront questions essential to their very survival such as, "Are we doing the right thing?" From the Foreword by Mike Duffy, Operations Director, The Smith Group Since its inception more than thirty years ago, the benefits of using Soft Systems Methodology for problem solving has gained worldwide recognition. Yet, despite recognising the importance of SSM, students and practitioners still experience considerable difficulty with the intellectual process involved. Based on a lifetime experience as an academic and consultant, Brian Wilson provides guidance on how to develop a range of conceptual models across a variety of business problems. Building on his earlier work in Systems: Concepts, Methodologies and Applications he takes a practical approach to the topic based on the premise that all organisations are unique. He develops concepts to articulate ways of thinking about complexity. These are an alternative to mathematically-based concepts, and they offer rigorous, and defensible ways of answering the question 'What do we take the organisation to be?' A model of the most appropriate and relevant concept for your own organisation can then be successfully developed and applied. Of relevance to organisations of any type, or any size, this book shows how model building within SSM can be used to cope with real-life problems. It will be an invaluable resource for students and practitioners in both the public and private sectors.

* provides a practical approach to an established and important topic
* builds on the success of his own and Peter Checkland's work in the area
* case studies include the Army, the Navy, the Prison Service, Trustee Savings Bank, Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, the Met. Office and a theatre
* offers a range of illustrative applications

Author Biography: Brian Wilson has a background in nuclear power engineering and control system design. In 1966 he became a founding member of the Department of Systems Engineering at the University of Lancaster, where he pursued the application of control principles to management problem solving.

There he was involved in the development and use of Human Activity Systems and 'verbs in the imperative' in place of mathematics as the modelling language for the intellectual processes involved and maintained particular interest in the application of SSM to information and organisation-based analysis. This research was published in Systems: Concepts, methodologies and Applications by John Wiley Sons. In 1992 he founded his own consulting company, Brian Wilson Associates, where he continues to develop and apply his unique brand of Soft Systems Methodology.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Systems engineer and business consultant Wilson presents his own technology management system. He concentrates on the aspect of the system that is logic-based, explaining how to construct root definitions and conceptual models of the organization system and describing how the concepts can be validated within the intellectual domain. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471894896
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/24/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Models and Methodology 1
2 Basic Principles of HAS Modelling 11
3 Selection of Relevant Systems 35
4 Business Process Re-engineering 59
5 The Consensus Primary Task Model 73
6 CPTM - Formulation Using Wider-system Extraction 91
7 CPTM - Assembly Using the Enterprise Model 111
8 Application to Training Strategy and HR 141
9 Generic Model Building 165
10 Conclusions 187
App. 1 The Albion Case 193
App. 2: Exercises 219
App. 3 The Development of the United Kingdom's Single Army Activity Model and Associated Information Needs and its Relationship to Command and Control 223
App. 4 An Overview of Soft Systems Methodology 245
App. 5 Example of Applying Information Analysis Method to Airspace Control Function 249
App. 6 Example of Product to Information Category Mapping 253
References 257
Index 259
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