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Soft systems methodology and dialectics in an information environment: a case-study of the Battle of Britain

By FA Wilson and BA Robinson


In the Checkland and Holwell (1998) book Information, Systems and Information Systems an explanatory framework for soft systems methodology (SSM) is supported by the deployment of a case study of the Battle of Britain. In this paper the authors conduct an analysis of this historical account and identify the failure of SSM to provide an adequate explanation of these historical events. It is argued that through the use of materialist dialectics a more satisfactory understanding of the nature of the processes of abstraction and the bounding of problems and systems becomes available. Concepts from dialectics are applied to show how, and why, the differences between the two accounts reflect different methods of conceptualization of an information environment. In this light, we point to similarities and differences between the two meta-frameworks used: SSM and materialist dialectics

Topics: HF5001, QA75, other
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Year: 2003
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