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Systems Thinking, Systems Practice 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Checkland's book was the first to introduce the differentiation between 'soft' and 'hard' systems analysis. Soft analysis is much more akin to a general, somewhat philosophical approach to the methodology whereas hard analysis is the development of usable engineering models.
First off, this book is actually two books - the first is a fairly long paper that neatly sums up the systems approach over the 30 years it has been explored. The consensus? Things looked really promising at the beginning but unfortunately the approach simply got hung up on the very thing it was trying to escape: science's current preoccupation with reductionism. That is, the hard systems approach attracted the most attention and it quickly succumbed to the very trap it sought to escape starting with its use of rigidly-defined symbols right up to the detailed diddling with mathematical models that, similar to earlier approaches, did not model reality at all due to assumptions and oversimplification.
Checkland is much more interested in the soft approach and he consistently laments the fact that systems methodology is not being taught even though it holds so much promise to solving many of our pressing problems. The overview presses this point home and should be required reading for anyone in management or engineering.
The second section, the original book with a few revisions, is still very relevant. Checkland's focus, soft systems, never was given a chance given our preoccupation with reductionism. Given the recent failures of reductionism, particularly the genome-mapping fiasco, cast systems theory in new light.Read more ›
If you're studying management of information systems or something similar, you are probably sick and tired of overly theoretical approaches to the subject which seem to be just excuses for academics to publish rubbish (eg. structuration, actor network theory, etc). This book may save you from a nervous breakdown.
Checkland and his associates originally attempted to apply typical systems engineering methods in dealing with human activity systems, but soon recognized their unsuitability for dealing with the ill-formed problem situations as endemic to human activities. Similarly, they found general systems theory had nothing of value to offer. They then gravitated to the inquiry system concept espoused by Singer/Churchman as a means of systematically investigating and improving human activities, which the SSM characterizes in its Real World Domain. Complementary systems thinking is performed in a corresponding SSM Systems Thinking Domain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wordy...unclear...I have to read & organize too much in order to make use of the valuable content.Published 18 months ago by Scott
What is really going on here? If we look solely at the 'problem' we may miss the true picture. Soft Systems thinking, at its core, asks us to see anew, to identify and understand... Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by Alicia Crumpton
I had been reading his work for 25 years, this is an exceelent update after all the years. To be recommended to all!Published on February 10, 2013 by Johan
This book was recommended by a friend with Systems Engineering expertise, and has become one of my favorite books on the subject. Read morePublished on October 23, 2009 by John K. Stevenson