Evaluation Guide for the Institutional Academic Management of an Educational Hospitality Program Based on the Soft System Methodology (SSM)

Evaluation Guide for the Institutional Academic Management of an Educational Hospitality Program Based on the Soft System Methodology (SSM)

Edgar Oliver Cardoso Espinosa (National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), ESCA – ST, Mexico), María Trinidad Cerecedo Mercado (National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), ESCA – ST, Mexico) and José Roberto Ramos Mendoza (National Polytechnic Institute, ESCA – ST, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8565-9.ch010


The chapter looks at the Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) as an alternative that is oriented to analyzing the subject of the study in situations with a high level of human involvement, such as education and hospitality, with the aim of evaluating them with a transformative approach and a holistic foundation. Based on the use of this methodology, furthermore, the chapter focuses on a proposed evaluation guide on the academic and administrative management of institutions that educate in the field of hospitality considering the following components: a) academic profile – teacher work program; b) teaching – learning process; c) supporting infrastructure and equipment; d) director management; e) students; f) entailment to the labor sector; g) efficiency terminal; and h) recognition program.
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Introduction: General Systems Theory

Contemporary world is a society composed of organizations, which are made by individuals, as well as several subsystems that work in a coordinated manner, so that the man himself is a system which is immersed in other systems that interacts in multiple ways.

The Systems General Theory (SGT) is an oriented paradigm to find common properties to entities which arise in all levels of reality, but are traditionally object from different academic disciplines. Its origin is attributed to the Austrian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who coined the name in the middle of the 20th century.

In this sense, the central term of this theory is the system, which is defined as a whole unit organized, composed of two or more parts, components or subsystems that are interdependent, and delineated by identifiable environment limits or supra-systems.

Ergo, a system is a set of elements that interact and have at least one objective in common, as well as it has a series of functions, steps or procedures that obtain, describe, and analyze the information.

As mentioned by Checkland (1997), the concept of system encompasses a group of elements connected to each other, forming a whole, showing properties at all and not only properties of its components, so that the objectives of the SGT are:

  • Analyze how specific elements are related to and what they are related (research from the elements, to discover the objective, the system and the environment) and,

  • Determine which components are required and how they are interrelated to produce specific results (research through an objective which is known, to discover the system that produces it).

Although the SGT emerged in the field of biology, contributions began to be used in different disciplines, as well as influenced the emergence of new ones. Thus is has been constituting the broad field of systems Sciences, with specialties such as Cybernetics, the information theory, game theory, and the theory of chaos.

The emergence of the systems approach has its origin in the inability of science to deal with complex problems. The scientific method, based on reductionism, repeatability and refutation, is unable to very complex phenomena for several reasons:

  • 1.

    The number of variables that interact is greater that which occur and control in the scientific method, so it is not possible to carry out real experiments;

  • 2.

    The possibility of those unknown factors influencing observations is much higher;

  • 3.

    As a result, the quantitative approach is limited because it only considers the existence of objectively measurable elements.

Thus, the phenomenomena of complexity is especially evident in social sciences since a large number of factors, economic, human, technological and natural are extremely interlinked. In this case the difficulty is multiplied by the impossibility to carry out experiments and the intervention itself of man as subject and object (rational and free) research.

So, most of the problems with those who treat social sciences are evaluation, management, organization, planning, control, problem-solving and decision-making. Currently these problems arise at any time as hospitality, is the Administration, industry, economy, defense, health, education, among others. Thus, the systems approach appears to address the problem of complexity through a way of thinking based on the whole and their properties that complete the scientific reductionism.

In this way, the SGT is aimed at discovering the so-called isomorphisms (from Greek iso-morphs: Similarly) in different levels of reality that allow:

  • To use the same terms and concepts to describe essential features of very different systems, as well as to find general laws applicable to the understanding of their dynamics.

  • Encourage the formalization of the descriptions of reality to allow the modeling of the interpretations that will make it.

  • Facilitate theoretical development in fields in which it is difficult to abstraction of the object; or by its complexity, its historicity, i.e. by its unique character. Historical systems are equipped with memory, and no one can understand them without knowing and take into account their particular path at the time.

  • Overcome the opposition between the two approaches to knowledge of the reality: the analytical, based on reduction and the systemic operations, based on the composition.

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