soft systems methodology
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soft systems methodologyformulated by Peter Checkland in the 1970s as a method of coming to terms with 'soft’ or ill-defined organizational problem contexts. The approach differs from traditonal management-oriented methods by virtue of its emphasis on learning, appreciative understanding and the recognition of different and competing ‘world views’. Originally the method was promoted as a 7-stage iterative model that could be used to explore problem contexts encouraging iteration of polemical debate until a universal world view or ‘accommodation of interests’ could be achieved. SYSTEMS THEORY was used extensively in the original formulation; concentrating on emergent properties and holism rather than the reductionist techniques found in other approaches. In 1992 the methodology was reformulated in the face of its critics (Flood, Jackson & Keys 1990 et al) in order to focus more on learning and process, rather than formal systems theory
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000