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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Anders Malmsjö

The purpose of this work is to make a distinction between supportive and operative information systems. The overall aim is to find and argue for a methodology approach…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this work is to make a distinction between supportive and operative information systems. The overall aim is to find and argue for a methodology approach which is relevant for designing supportive information systems.

Design/methodology/approach

The focus of this work is on the fundamental philosophical conditions for a methodology that can be used for designing supportive information systems. The analyses are founded on works by James G. Miller, John P. van Gigch and C. West Churchman, which means that living systems theory, the metamodeling approach, according to van Gigch, and Churchman's inquiring systems have been used to highlight epistemological considerations that this sketch of a methodology is based on.

Findings

Two kinds of information systems have been stressed: operative and supportive information systems. The differences between them are described and their distinction has been accomplished by using, i.e. Miller's theory. The methodology approach bears a strong resemblance to that of system design, according to van Gigch, and that of interactive planning, according to Russell L. Ackoff. The following phases of a sketch of a methodology for designing supportive information systems have been identified: identification phase, specification phase, design phase, and implementation phase.

Originality/value

The different conditions for designing operative and supportive information systems are described. An epistemological contribution related to the basis for a methodology is given. The value of the paper is that it emphasises that the selection and development of a methodology is not a trivial matter.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1980

JOHN P. VAN GIGCH and L.L. PIPINO

General Systems Theory postulates the existence of many general theories that serve to describe isomorphisms across systems. The theory of Fuzzy Sets can be considered as…

Abstract

General Systems Theory postulates the existence of many general theories that serve to describe isomorphisms across systems. The theory of Fuzzy Sets can be considered as one particular general theory which describes the phenomenon of ambiguity across all systems displaying this property and its consequences. Fuzzy Set Theory is a mathematical development that holds great promise in becoming the metalanguage of ambiguity, in a way parallel to Statistics and Probability Theory which represent the metalanguage of uncertainty. Fuzzy Sets appear particularly well suited to model ambiguity in the context of the systems paradigm which has been offered as a counterpart to the traditional science paradigm. A decision model is used to discuss the differences between these two paradigms and to show the role which Fuzzy Sets can play in resolving some of the epistemological problems in the domain of the social sciences.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Johannes van der Zouwen

To investigate how far sociocyberneticians have tried to meet the criterion of “empirical testability” in their publications. What changes in this respect have taken place…

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate how far sociocyberneticians have tried to meet the criterion of “empirical testability” in their publications. What changes in this respect have taken place in recent years?

Design/methodology/approach

Inventory of papers published in Kybernetes from 1977 to 2004, and classification of sociocybernetic papers by type, i.e. the degree to which empirical testability plays a role in the argument.

Findings

The number of sociocybernetic papers has increased. The purely conceptual, theoretical or methodological papers make way for papers in which particular social systems and processes are analyzed, using the conceptual apparatus of cybernetics. However, the percentage of papers in which empirical data are used for the testing of hypotheses and models has decreased. It seems that the testability problem of sociocybernetics is unsolvable.

Originality/value

These findings lead to a reflection on the way in which sociocybernetics could eventually overcome the testability problem, by more methodological sophistication, on the one hand, and a more parsimonious formulation of sociocybernetic theories, on the other hand.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 35 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1993

Stephen E. Lunce, Raja K. Iyer, Leland M. Courtney and Lawrence L. Schkade

What is an expert, and how is expertise attained?

Abstract

What is an expert, and how is expertise attained?

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 93 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

John Simmons and Ian Lovegrove

To demonstrate that stakeholder analysis has a significant contribution to make as a “middle ground” research method and as a means of organisational change.

Abstract

Purpose

To demonstrate that stakeholder analysis has a significant contribution to make as a “middle ground” research method and as a means of organisational change.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of performance appraisal in UK academic institutions uses stakeholder analysis to address issues of organisation performance and development in a way that bridges the divide between theory and practice. This approach is supported by locating stakeholder theory within modes of organisation enquiry, and by positioning it more specifically within its conceptual domain.

Findings

Demonstrates the integrity and value of stakeholder analysis as a “middle ground” research method via development of a stakeholder systems model that identifies design, operation and evaluation stages of the performance management process and links these to measures of effectiveness and equity.

Research limitations/implications

“Joined up thinking” in organisation analysis implies incorporation of quantitative and qualitative research methods in a holistic method of organisation enquiry. Stakeholder analysis illustrates how different research philosophies and methods can be combined in a pragmatic but robust way.

Practical implications

The stakeholder systems model builds on the concept of multi‐source approaches to performance appraisal. Both broaden the basis of assessment by incorporating stakeholder perspectives but, while the former seeks stakeholder consensus at the evaluation stage, the later incorporates multi‐source (stakeholder) perspectives on design, process and evaluation stages and on the system as a whole.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates how stakeholder theory can draw from the conceptual clarity and intellectual rigour of “objective” epistemologies while retaining acceptance of the “soft”, unstructured and value‐based nature of organisation problems.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2001

Khi V. Thai

Academically, public procurement has been a neglected area of study even though governmental entities and public procurement practitioners have diligently worked to…

Abstract

Academically, public procurement has been a neglected area of study even though governmental entities and public procurement practitioners have diligently worked to improve public procurement practices. This article will identify common elements of public procurement knowledge through a brief analysis of the literature and will provide a summary of government efforts to improve public procurement practices. In addition, this article will comprehensively re-examine public procurement by using a systems approach as a method of inquiry. Finally, implications of the proposed public procurement system regarding future research and study will be discussed.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

Alexander Backlund

The definition of complexity is discussed, both in general and, mostly, in relation to organisations and information systems. Considering the subjective nature of…

Abstract

The definition of complexity is discussed, both in general and, mostly, in relation to organisations and information systems. Considering the subjective nature of complexity, complexity is defined as the effort (as it is perceived) that is required to understand and cope with something, but several other definitions and characterisations are also considered. Complexity is related to variety and information. The infological relation is reversed, and it is argued that there is a certain connection between information loss and the complexity of an information system. It is also argued that organisations and information systems can benefit from being simple, even if that would mean a decrease in variety. There seems to be a (somewhat obscure) connection between the limitations of our short‐term memory and what we perceive as complex. It is desirable to empirically verify the characterisations of complexity that previous researchers have made.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1994

W. Edward Stead and Jean Garner Stead

Economic wealth is humankind′s most dominant myth. However, this mythmust be significantly altered if economic activity and ecologicalsustainability are to be achieved for…

Abstract

Economic wealth is humankind′s most dominant myth. However, this myth must be significantly altered if economic activity and ecological sustainability are to be achieved for posterity. Changing the economic myth means shifting the paradigms which underlie it, and shifting these paradigms means changing the assumptions and values which lie at the heart of business′s relationship to the planet. Research supports the notion that widescale, fundamental change efforts are required to achieve such shifts. Examines the magnitude of the changes which probably will be necessary in order to achieve a truly sustainable society in the future. Discusses the nature of some of the scientific, economic, and management paradigm shifts which need to take place in business organizations before the myth of economic wealth can be truly modified to include Mother Earth.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1994

Rafael Rodríguez‐Delgado

Proposes two tentative projects for ordering the scientific concepts in relation to a systemic theory of knowledge, based on cognitive sciences. It tries to develop some…

Abstract

Proposes two tentative projects for ordering the scientific concepts in relation to a systemic theory of knowledge, based on cognitive sciences. It tries to develop some basic ideas of Wiener in the framework of modern physics. The concept of complementarity is extended to ideologies. Cybernetics, it is assumed, could have an important role in the transformation of conflicts into synergetic trends.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 23 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

James M. Wilson

The purpose is to provide an intellectual history of Operations Management, particularly noting recent developments and its underlying continuity with earlier systems and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose is to provide an intellectual history of Operations Management, particularly noting recent developments and its underlying continuity with earlier systems and thinking. Operations Management as a discipline identifies its “modern” incarnation as dating from the 1960s when it became more rigorous and managerially focused. This re-invention constructed a “narrative” that the profession still follows, yet a critical perspective reveals significant, though under-appreciated continuity with earlier theory and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a comprehensive literature review and comparative analysis of historic developments in management and academia.

Findings

In the early 1900s, F. W. Taylor’s Shop Management established Operation Management, but its main component, Scientific Management, had stagnated by the 1950s. At that point, the rise of Management Science both reinvigorated Operations Management and threatened it with a competing new discipline. To compete Operations Management then modernized by redefining itself, reasserting its interest in several areas and co-opting Operational Research tools for those. It also contracted, withdrawing from areas considered vocational, or more suited to Industrial Engineering.

Research limitations/implications

This historical overview shows the critical importance of drawing research agenda from practical managerial concerns.

Practical implications

Practitioners benefit from the intellectual rigor that academics provide and a historical perspective shows that the relationship has been mutually beneficial.

Social implications

The disciplines of Operations Management, Operations Research and Industrial Engineering are complementary and competitive in addressing many problems that transcend their boundaries, and use common ideas and techniques. The demands of “academic rigor” have had a deleterious effect on the practical managerial relevance of these disciplines.

Originality/value

A long-term, cross-disciplinary perspective provides a unique understanding of the research interests and practical orientations of these disciplines.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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