Soft Systems Model (SSM)

Soft Systems Model (SSM)

Nabhan Harith Al-Harrasi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1837-2.ch091
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Soft Systems Model (SSM) is an action-oriented approach developed by Checkland (1981) to tackle complex and ill-defined social phenomena. It facilitates development of a model of inquiry for use in carrying out an investigation to understand, learn, and achieve changes in a social situation. These features provided justification for using SSM to tackle the problematical situation in library and information sciences. It has the capacity to deal with inter-organizational social phenomena and different worldviews. This chapter aims to understand the existing library and information science (LIS) literature that has been used in SSM applications. It focuses on the purposes and validity of using SSM. This chapter then discusses the using of two streams of SSM in LIS: the stream of logic-based enquiry and the stream of cultural enquiry. Moreover, the chapter reports the changes and action resulted by using SSM in the field of library and information management.
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The Philosophy Of Ssm

This section focuses on the central idea relating to the development of SSM. The shift from ‘hard’ thinking to ‘soft’ thinking and unsuitability of using a hard systems approach in situations that include hard and soft elements is discussed in section 2.1. The section also describes the power of ‘Weltanschauung’ (W) and ‘human activity systems’ (HAS) within SSM’s cycle of learning for action. In section 2.2, the philosophical context of SSM is discussed.

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