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Soft Systems Introduction

24/01/2016

Define and discuss Soft Systems approaches.

Hard systems also known as mechanical systems – behaviours & boundaries can be successfully described in mechanical terms.

Soft systems: fuzzy boundaries. Parts/elements difficult to identify.

Hard systems thinking: maximise efficiency of system.

Soft systems thinking: inclusive of different perspectives.

Systems thinking assumes system has emergent properties & is therefore greater than the sum of the parts. More appropriate in fuzzy & ill-defined situations with human involvement and cultural considerations.

Reductionist view (standard scientific) of the world looks at smaller pieces to gain understanding on the assumption that sum of the system is equal to the parts.

Reductionist view cannot be applied to open or large scale systems as external conditions are beyond our control.

Ludwig Von Bertalanffy concluded that studying parts of system in isolation will not provide accurate picture of system.

 

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