What is Soft Systems Methodology? Definitions

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What is Soft Systems Methodology? Definitions
Lee, England
Hi everyone, studying a module at university that involves SSM, HSM and forecasting etc.
Just asking if anyone has a straight to the point definition of SSM and HSM as im finding a lot of information about the topic. Thanks

SSM versus HSM
Janeth, Kenya
I'm not getting the main difference between SSM and HSM, can you please brief me?

Understanding SSM
Richardson, UK
Lee, think of SSM as a way to label an approach you want to take to research a 'messy' subject where you cannot agree to approach the research through any hard and fast methods ie statistics, maths.
SSM gives you the freedom to 'wander around' your specific subject and qualify topics as they are uncovered. Using Rich Pictures to justify/qualify your findings. It also gives the reader of your research a quick and precise understanding of your research method. All the semantics about Weltanshauungen I would discard as 'noise' by researchers poorly acquinted with the German language. Think of using what Checkland suggests as reasonable when you wish to formulate a finding from different points of views when describing a sub-topic.

Response to Janeth
Charlie, UK
My personal opininion: HSM is applicable to complex systems, but I think assumes things can be measured and therefore managed. It is based on a positivisic attitude that all may be rationalised and explained. SSM also deals with complex systems - the most complex sytems that probably exist - human or social systems (or systems were human or social form a large part). SSM implies you do not have to rationalise or measure, but that you join with a social system in the problem domain you are trying to work in, and you learn as a group, by mutually exploring the problem domain, and reach accomodations and agreements for new things to do, that improve matters in the problem domain. The description of the SSM steps above do not capture this learning and sharing agreement aspect - it smacks to much of a hard systems approach...
I really do recommend Checklands book. Hope you find this useful.

Chris, UK
I used this website and SSM in a University project last year resulting in great success. Thank you for all the information provided I found it all very useful and it helped me to get a great grade in my E-Busines project. Kind Regards Chris


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