How Can We Incorporate Relevant Findings from Psychology into Systems Methods?

How Can We Incorporate Relevant Findings from Psychology into Systems Methods?

John N. T. Martin (Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijss.2014010101
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Abstract

A study of citation patterns shows that it is rare for Systems writers to cite findings from the cognitive sciences, though common in writers in analogous areas. This raises the possibility that there may be useful areas of modern psychology that systems practitioners are currently neglecting. Behavioural economics is suggested as a potential example, introducing the idea of a ‘decision illusion’, the distinction between System 1 and System 2 brain systems which are believed to underlie these illusions, and a range of examples. This raises the problem of how to interface descriptive (and usually reductionist) domains such as psychology with normative systems methods. It is suggested that this can be managed by switching attention from ‘How to do it’ to ‘What might go wrong’, raising the possibility that systems methods might be much enriched by a systematic analysis of failure modes.
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Introduction

Martin (2010) used SCOPUS to analyse the citation patterns of Systems journal articles. He used a number of techniques to identify the core group of journals that appeared to be those most widely used by Systems authors, and then identified a group of 21 authors using those journals who were either widely recognised Systems authors and/or amongst the authors who published most frequently in those journals (two strongly over-lapping criteria). These formed his ‘Systems panel’.

In addition, he selected a set of ‘benchmark domains’ from a number of other academic fields that are also concerned with tackling complex real-world issues (the creative problem solving literature, the naturalistic decision making literature, the action learning literature, the group decision and negotiation literature, and the operations research literature). While some of these were represented by particular key academics, others were represented by particular journals, or particular ‘special issues’ of journals that were devoted to the relevant field.

Martin’s main results are summarised in Table 1. ‘Systems-1’ to ‘Systems-21’ are the 21 Systems authors. The benchmark domains are individually labelled. In the case of Creative Problem Solving, there were three separate authors, all of whom are very well known in that field.

Table 1.
Proportion of various authors’ references classified as broadly ‘psychological’
Author or BenchmarkPapers (1996-2010) Located by SCOPUSWhich Quoted these RefsPercent of Refs Classified as 'Psychology'
Systems-1275281.5%
Systems-291591.9%
Systems-3141742.3%
Systems-4213382.4%
Systems-513692.9%
Systems-6133263.4%
Systems-783433.5%
Systems-8272023.5%
Systems-9151934.7%
Systems-1092395.0%
Systems-11176105.2%
Systems-12252035.4%
Systems-13217746.3%
Systems-14114106.3%
Systems-15313206.6%
Systems-16172257.5%
Systems-17298708.0%
Systems-18121508.0%
Systems-19141908.4%
Operations Research1142111.2%
Systems-201222512.4%
Cognitive Mapping2151518.1%
Systems-212054119.2%
Complexity512623.8%
Participative inquiry824727.1%
Action learning1440931.3%
Group Decision & Negotiation1144835.5%
Naturalistic Decision Making727956.3%
Creative problem solving-11330857.8%
Creative problem solving-2625163.3%
Creative problem solving-31240865.0%
Totals:48010,60216.6%

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