Sue Holwell's research while affiliated with The Open University (UK) and other places

Publications (14)

Chapter
The five approaches covered in Systems Approaches to Making Change – System Dynamics (SD) Viable Systems Model (VSM), Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA: with cognitive mapping), Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), and Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH) – are introduced. The rationale for their inclusion is described based on their (i) com...
Chapter
Each of the five systems approaches discussed in this volume: system dynamics (SD), the viable systems model (VSM), strategic options development and analysis (SODA), soft systems methodology (SSM) and critical systems heuristics (CSH) has a pedigree. Not in the sense of the sometimes absurd spectacle of animals paraded at dog shows. Rather, their...
Article
Two systemic inquiries, based on soft systems methodology (SSM), into the potential for using community of practice (CoP) theory by an Australian-government created research and development corporation to change its knowledge management (KM) strategy, are reported. Key staff were engaged in the inquiry into how to build a third-order KM strategy ba...
Article
Full-text available
Each of the five systems approaches discussed in this volume: system dynamics (SD), the viable systems model (VSM), strategic options development and analysis (SODA), soft systems methodology (SSM) and critical systems heuristics (CSH) has a pedigree. Not in the sense of the sometimes absurd spectacle of animals paraded at dog shows. Rather, their...
Article
Full-text available
Systems Approaches to Managing Change brings together five systems approaches to managing complex issues, each having a proven track record of over 25 years. The five approaches are: System Dynamics (SD) developed originally in the late 1950s by Jay Forrester Viable Systems Model (VSM) developed originally in the late 1960s by Stafford Beer Strateg...
Book
Full-text available
In a world of increasing complexity, instant information availability and constant flux, systems approaches provide the opportunity of a tangible anchor of purpose and iterative learning. The five approaches outlined in the book offer a range of interchangeable tools with rigorous frameworks of application tried and tested in the ‘real world’. The...
Article
This paper explores an approach to understanding information provision in organizations which is built around soft systems methodology (SSM). It also, from recent research in both industry and the National Health Service, derives a sense-making framework for work of this kind. A view of the fundamental nature of information systems is presented. Th...
Chapter
The process of knowledge acquisition which has the strongest truth claim is the research process of natural science, based on testing hypotheses to destruction. But the application of this process to phenomena beyond those for which it was developed, namely, the natural regularities of the physical universe, is problematical. For research into soci...
Article
This paper develops three concepts important to the practice of action research—recoverability, research themes, and iteration—by highlighting their applicability beyond single action research studies. The concepts are discussed against a program of action research, undertaken by a multidisciplinary research team, with a research focus on local, se...
Article
This issue of Systemic Practice and Action Research, celebrating the work of Peter Checkland, in the particular nature and development of soft systems methodology (SSM), would not have happened unless the work was seen by others as being important. No significant contribution to thinking happens without a secondary literature developing. Not surpri...
Article
The process of knowledge acquisition which has the strongest truth claim is the research process of natural science, based on testing hypotheses to destruction. But the application of this process to phenomena beyond those for which it was developed, namely, the natural regularities of the physical universe, is problematical. For research into soci...
Article
Chapter 3: 'Classic' OR and 'soft' OR - an asymmetric complementarity 3.1 Introduction. 3.2 Classic OR methodology. 3.3 Soft systems methodology. 3.4 ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ perspectives. 3.5 The relation between ‘ha rd’ and ‘soft’ perspectives: an asymmetric complementarity. 3.6 Conclusion. References. About the Book: There has always been an uneasy rel...

Citations

... Proponents of ST have highlighted limitations in conventional or myopic thinking, which is based on reductionism, and argued it is ineffective in solving complex problems. According to Reynolds and Holwell (2020), conventional thinking has the following limitations-a) ignores interconnections between variables, b) does not understand how a situation arises, and c) focuses on outcome rather than the process required to resolve the issue. In contrast to reductionist or myopic thinking, which considers humans are separate from nature and need to control it for survival, ST posits humans evolved from nature and are inextricably linked to it (Seibert, 2018). ...
... Systems thinking approaches have been developed and used in different disciplines and strands of research [25]. In management science and information systems research, 'hard' systems thinking was for many years the prevalent systems approach [57]. 'Hard' systems thinking approaches follow an objective/positivistic scientific view, supposing that the world contains systems that can be 'engineered' [55,58] to achieve declared objectives. ...
... A large body of work has shown that the success of deep learning methods relies on the availability of large-scale datasets with labels [24,25]. However, for the classification task of fine art design images, the classification performance achieved directly using deep learning-based methods is poor, although these methods have achieved good classification performance on natural image classification tasks. ...
... This has generated multiple worldviews that are interwoven within the practices and processes at the police forces highlighting knowledge that cannot be separated from the knower [10,11]. I utilise member validation as a part of my research process and adapt elements of Checkland's soft systems methodology [12] to structure findings; particularly helpful when representing varied worldviews and the complex dynamism in policing work as shaped by events, activities, people, cultures, practices, perceptions and feelings. ...
... We made this clearer earlier when we spoke about stakeholders. While it is not within our scope to discuss how SSM contributes to IS, the interested reader should check relevant literature (e.g., Checkland & Winter, 2006 ;Checkland Holwell, 2007 ;Córdoba & Midgley, 2008 ;Lewis, 2012 ;Mirijamdotter & Bergvall-Kåreborn, 2006 ). Even SODA has also been used in this area, and to some extent (even though not claimed as a PSM by Smith and Shaw) VSM was fundamental to the hugely ambitious but ultimately failed Cybersyn project with Stafford Beer and the Chilean government ( Espejo, 2014 ). ...
... To add rigor to the exploratory process, iteration to the empirical study need to be done (Holwell 2004). Study 2 used an empirical investigation to collect more evidence after the conceptual modeling phase. ...
... In relation to our work with the 2 nd African Dialogue on TWI2050, we therefore developed the workshop method The Three Horizons Framework for the SDGs (3H4SDG) which originated from the 3 Horizons framework (Sharpe, Hodgson, Leicester, Lyon, & Fazey, 2016), and Folhes et al. and was inspired by SwedBio's Multi-Actor Dialogue Seminars as presented in Schultz et al. (2016), as well as systems thinking (Booth Sweeney & Meadows, 2010;Meadows, 2008;Reynolds & Holwell, 2010).. The aim of the method is to cultivate the discovery of integrated pathways for reaching the 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within planetary boundaries. ...
... Systems thinking is a transdisciplinary perspective which enables complex and multidimensional environmental, social, and organizational real world situations to unfold and be tackled. Systems thinking is a holistic approach which provides a language and a set of tools tackling underlying patterns and structures, mental models, and relationships (e.g., [6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]). It can be viewed as a practical application of various systems ideas [14]. ...
... After a CLD has been established, its variables and relationships can be more specified in more detail, both qualitatively and quantitatively, which enables simulation of cause and effects over time of, e.g., implementation of identified measures. This type of modelling is known as System Dynamics (SD) and is a powerful decision support tool that allows scenario predictions using both high-quality data as well as estimations (Morecroft, 2007;Reynolds & Holwell, 2010). However, it is important to spend sufficient time on the CLD to ensure that the variables and their relationships are interpreted 'correctly' and agreed upon. ...
... Predominately qualitative approaches including case studies, interview studies, grounded theory and action research typically use non-probability sampling to support non-statistical generalization from data to theory (cf. Stol et al. 2016;Checkland and Holwell 1998;Ralph 2019). Predominately quantitative studies, especially questionnaire surveys, sometimes use probability sampling to support statistical generalization from samples to populations. ...