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A role for soft systems methodology in information systems development

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/01/1995
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Information Systems
Issue number3
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)130-142
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Recent years have seen a growing interest in the use of soft systems methodology (SSM) in work related to computer-based information systems (IS). Against this background, this paper seeks to identify and define, more fully than hitherto, a role for SSM in information systems development which stems from its fundamental principles. Since SSM sees computer-based information systems as systems which serve purposeful human action, the notion of ‘information system’ in SSM is one that necessarily involves two systems, a ‘serving’ system (the information system) and a ‘served’ system of purposeful action. This notion of ‘information system’ leads to certain principles for IS development. These are expressed in the form of a model, referred to as the ‘information system/information system development model’ (IS/ISDM). This model is used to examine several conventional approaches to information systems development including the widely used UK government method SSADM, in order to identify where, in IS work, soft systems ideas might best make a contribution. A possible role for SSM is identified and a brief description of this role is given at the end of the paper.