Talk:System of Systems Methodologies (SOSM)

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Jackson's Framework

  • This framework has enabled me to develop a measure of sensibility for all the Systems Thinking approaches I’ve run into over the years.

Systems characterized as being

  • Simple - consisting of only a few highly structured interactions which are relatively stable and relatively unaffected by interactions of the parts of the system or external influences.
  • Complex - implying a large number of subsystems having loosely structured interactions wherein the purposeful parts result in adaptation over time in response to their turbulent environment.

Participants in the system are then characterized as being

  • Unitary - having similar values, beliefs and interests, share common purpose, all involved in decision-making about how to realize their agreed objectives.
  • Pluralist - basic interests are compatible though participants do not share the same values and beliefs, space is required for debate, disagreement and conflict, and participants need involvement in decision-making, accommodations and compromises can be found. Participants can agree, for at least a short time, on productive ways forward and will do so.
  • Coercive - have few common interests, conflicting values and beliefs, compromise is not possible and no agreed objectives and direct action, decisions based on who has the most power and coercion employed to ensure adherence to commands.

Understanding these two dimensions gives me a sense of which systems methods may be of some utility regarding this situation

Posted by Don Dwiggins 11.07.09

Re the Jackson framework: Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen's book "The Collapse of Chaos" is in part a kind of contrapuntal essay on the themes of Simplicity and Complexity. Along the way, they discuss two "blended" concepts: Simplexity and Complicity (see for an explanation by Stewart). Adding those to the vertical axis of the framework might prove useful.

From David Alman 12.12.06

I quote from that book (p161,162): Checkland - Systems thinking, systems practice By "methodology" I do not mean "method".....My sense of the word here is that the outcome of the research is not A METHOD but a set of PRINCIPLES OF METHOD which in any particular situation have to be reduced to a method uniquely suitable to that particular situation. I believe this point to be an important one and am prepared to labour it. In attempting to work in the real-world we face an astounding variety of richness. If "soft" systems thinking is reduced to method (or technique) then I believe it will fail because it will eliminate too much of the munificent variety we find in real life....

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