Having studied 5 systems approaches over the past one-and-a-half month or so, the question of their field of application popped up. The 5 approaches were (the links refer to earlier posts): SODA (Strategic Options Development and Analysis), VSM (Viable Systems Model), SSM (Soft Systems Methodology), SD (System Dynamics, worked case), and CSH (Critical System Heuristics). I don’t think I need to waste too many words on it. Here is what I propose (correct me if I am wrong). There are three action-oriented approaches: SSM, VSM, and SODA. SSM is the broadest of the 3 approaches. Both SODA and VSM could be very well used for designing models of improvement. SODA is more for designing a concrete implementation strategy within an organizational framework, whereas VSM is more suited for designing an organizational set-up. SD can play a role in any of them, especially in the beginning. And so can CSH, but rather at the end as a post-hoc methodology. In a week or so I intend to look at additional systems concepts in Williams, B., & Hummelbrunner, R. (2010). Systems Concepts in Action: A Practitioner’s Toolkit, e.g. social network analysis, the CDE model, and cynefin.
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