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T306B, Managing Complexity: Cultural and Logic Based Analysis of Soft System Methodology (Coursework Sample)


T306B, Managing Complexity
Q1. Describe the features and changes between Mode One and Mode Two in the Soft System Methodology? Do you think these changes are designed or emergent development and why? Then, draw the model of the SSM process as articulated by Checkland & Scholes to explain the logic-based stream of analysis and the cultural stream of analysis.
Answer Guidelines: 
These changes are emergent development arising experientially and not a development design. Please see Block IV, page 99. For more details, see Block4, pages: 96-100. Students should elaborate properly on the use of this method and explain the differences between them. Why the seven-stage version of SSM has been termed Mode 1 use and what is involved. Moreover; the more creative mode termed mode 2 involves mentally starting from what is to be done rather than from the SSM (focus on the situation rather than the method). The role of SSM practicing consultant is to design & manage a learning system appropriate to the need of clients and the problem situation. This is achieved by gaining a clear understanding of the needs of the client & the organizational context. SSM is a process of learning system or a process of inquiry (identify stakeholders, developing relevant system, developing models etc.).
Q2. Explain using illustrations why we study the different attempts made in different traditions or regions to understand the human personality in systems course T306?
Answer Guidelines: 
Answer Key: See block 5, page 71-90, students are expected to discuss:• Chinese tradition• Western traditions • MBTI
Q3. Explain the five issues as discussed in dynamics of shadow? How the concept of shadow and alienated shadow do help in managing complexity?
Answer Guidelines: The students should identify the shadow and alienated shadow; they have to explain the principles of opposites, equivalence, complex, entropy, and transcendence, as discussed by Boeree and Jung. (See block 5, page 79-86)
Q4. In our course materials, we have encountered several issues as regards the ethics and systems practice. Can you locate this discussion within Winger's (1998) concept of a community of practice?
Answer Guidelines: See block 5, pages 109 -119, students need to reflect on the issue of Ethicality within a community of practice (joint enterprise, mutual engagement , and shared repertoire). They can use diagrams and examples to support their arguments.
Q5. What are the overall objectives of using diagrams in systems case-study work? What are the main outcomes you expect from each of the following diagram types?• Rich pictures• Multiple-cause diagrams• Systems maps• Control-model diagrams• Influence diagrams


T306B, Managing Complexity
Q1. Describe the features and changes between Mode One and Mode Two in the Soft System Methodology? Do you think these changes are designed or emergent development and why? Then, draw the model of the SSM process as articulated by Checkland & Scholes to explain the logic-based stream of analysis and the cultural stream of analysis.
Soft System Methodology was originally devised by Peter Checkland in 1981 with the aim of providing a limiting model of intervention on organizational complexities. It is originally used to develop a highlighted study on problematic situations. It focuses on the process of obtaining insights and learning about the real-life situations to adequately perceive and address the existing complexity of the target community/organization. It starts from the idea of using SSM to structure the situation.The 1980's version of the SSM is divided into seven stages, which are furtherly distinguished into real-world problems and systems thinking.It is also characterized by the explicit use of "rich images" to embody ideas. Be that as it may, the use of rich pictures is limited at the beginning of the process. Another feature of the conventional model is the external role of system practitioners in the situation. The system practitioner is not a considered participant in the situation; rather, outsiders were used. The outsiders undergo a four-step process: entering a problem situation, doing work in it, authoring a report and departing. For years, people had used the SSM system in addressing organizational complexities; however, the use of the system was described to be limiting the creativity of its user.
In 1990, Checkland with the participation of Jim Scholer furtherly elaborated the Soft System Method. This resulted in a number of developments in the system. Thus, they've decided to name the former as Mode 1, and the latter as Mode 2. Mode 2, unlike its former version, focuses on the situation rather than the method. It makes sense of the situation by mapping it in SSM.Checkland and Scholer modified a number of aspects in the system. For one, the line that divides real-world and systems thinking was absent in the latter version. Additionally, the system practitioner is already deemed as an active participant in the situation. The system practitioner interacts with the events and ideas which unfolds over time. For this reason, the history of the system practitioner was added to the model. The inclusion of cultural analysis which involves the intervention analysis, social system analysis, and political system analysis, and logical-based stream of analysis were also parts of the changes made in the system. These streams were fused to interpret the given activities: recognition of problem situation, formulation of purposeful activity models, a debate for the improvement of the situation, and taking action in the situation. Looking at the model, one can see the two-headed arrows connecting the cultural and logic-based streams. These arrows indicate the continuous iteration of the streams throughout the life of a project. The version also implies the continuous use of a rich picture to aid learning in the situation.
Figure 1 Cultural and Logic Based Analysis of Soft System Methodology
Despite the differences between the two versions of the system, both still share the following features: the central place of constructing the system, activity modeling, and the practical use of the process to attain an understanding of the situation.Basing on the given similarities and distinctions, one cannot consider the versions of SSM as two categories. To some degree, these models represent a particular spectrum from which any study would fall in the given spectrum. As Mode 2, naturally, developed from the use of SSM and the system practitioner's...

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