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Soft systems methodology: a thirty year retrospective

Soft systems methodology: a thirty year retrospective Soft Systems Methodology: A Thirty Year Retrospectivea Peter Checkland* 25 Pinewood Avenue, Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA5 8AR, UK INTRODUCTION Although the history of thought reveals a number of holistic thinkers — Aristotle, Marx, Husserl among them — it was only in the 1950s that any version of holistic thinking became institutionalized. The kind of holistic thinking which then came to the fore, and was the concern of a newly created organization, was that which makes explicit use of the concept of ‘system’, and today it is ‘systems thinking’ in its various forms which would be taken to be the very paradigm of thinking holistically. In 1954, as recounted in Chapter 3 of Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, only one kind of systems thinking was on the table: the development of a mathematically expressed general theory of systems. It was supposed that this would provide a meta-level language and theory in which the problems of many different disciplines could be expressed and solved; and it was hoped that doing this would help to promote the unity of science. These were the aspirations of the pioneers, but looking back from 1999 we can see that the project has not succeeded. The http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Systems Research & Behavioral Science Wiley

Soft systems methodology: a thirty year retrospective

Systems Research & Behavioral Science , Volume 17 (S1) – Nov 1, 2000

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References (74)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
"Copyright © 2000 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company"
ISSN
1092-7026
eISSN
1099-1743
DOI
10.1002/1099-1743(200011)17:1+<::AID-SRES374>3.0.CO;2-O
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Soft Systems Methodology: A Thirty Year Retrospectivea Peter Checkland* 25 Pinewood Avenue, Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA5 8AR, UK INTRODUCTION Although the history of thought reveals a number of holistic thinkers — Aristotle, Marx, Husserl among them — it was only in the 1950s that any version of holistic thinking became institutionalized. The kind of holistic thinking which then came to the fore, and was the concern of a newly created organization, was that which makes explicit use of the concept of ‘system’, and today it is ‘systems thinking’ in its various forms which would be taken to be the very paradigm of thinking holistically. In 1954, as recounted in Chapter 3 of Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, only one kind of systems thinking was on the table: the development of a mathematically expressed general theory of systems. It was supposed that this would provide a meta-level language and theory in which the problems of many different disciplines could be expressed and solved; and it was hoped that doing this would help to promote the unity of science. These were the aspirations of the pioneers, but looking back from 1999 we can see that the project has not succeeded. The

Journal

Systems Research & Behavioral ScienceWiley

Published: Nov 1, 2000

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