Soft System Methodology

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Soft System Methodology


The primary aim of this research paper is to overview the use of Soft System Methodology regarding its philosophy, techniques, and degree of user involvement. The strengths and weaknesses and overall suitability of the SSM are also discussed in this paper. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) has long been associated with information system analysis. Its social construction perspective and management focus distinguish SSM from the software engineering approach of information system analysis, making it a valuable candidate methodology in highly unstructured problem settings. The primary purpose of this paper is to foster innovative thinking of effective use of SSM.

Table of Contents


History of Soft Systems Methodology4

The Philosophy of Soft System Methodology5

Techniques of Soft System Methodology8

User Involvement9

Strengths of Soft Systems Methodology11

Limitations of Soft Systems Methodology11




Distance Learning Unit15

Soft System Methodology


Although there are innumerable methods of data system development that have turned up in the last few years and the developing involvement in the application of soft systems methodology (SSM), the recognition of electronic information systems in real life circumstances remains challenging to some extent (Avison and Fitzgerald 1995, pp: 353-387). Keeping this in mind, the paper is designed with the objective to investigate such a method which is called SSM. It will also develop a perceptive of what SSM is and its success against the conventional Hard System Methodology. Therefore, the benefits of SSM and its limitations are also discussed.

History of Soft Systems Methodology

Soft Systems Methodology was developed from the perceptive that Hard System Methodology, such as Operations Research methods, are insufficient for investigating into big, complicated organisational matters (Rose 2002, pp: 242-268). Soft Systems Methodology was formulated by Peter Checkland for the intention of handling with inconveniences. Checkland worked in the business for numerous years with numerous hard system techniques. He found out about the insufficiency of these systems and realised that these systems are incapable of handling complicated situations (Bloomberg, Suchman and Trigg 1996, pp: 237-65). For that reason, in the 1960s, Checkland went to the University of Lancaster in order to explore this field and to find a system which is capable of dealing with such soft situations. Checkland conceptualised his "Soft Systems Methodology" with the help of numerous of project studies in the business and its function and improvement in the subsequent years (Rose 2002, pp: 242-268).

The Philosophy of Soft System Methodology

Soft systems methodology is very crucial in research schemes. It tightly brings together and relates with scientific research doctrine (Rose 2002, pp: 242-268). First we will analyse the theoretical foundation of soft systems methodology (SSM) and the transformation of the philosophical concepts supporting the transformation from classical systems engineering to soft systems methodology (Rose 2002, pp: 242-268).

Soft Systems Methodology was formulated by Peter Checkland by the end of 1960s at the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom. At first it was considered as a tool for frameworks, but in later years it was considered as a means for learning and development (Bloomberg, Suchman and Trigg 1996, pp: ...
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