- List of Contributors
- Historical Reflections on the Practice of Information Management and Implications for the Field of MIS
- Tracing the History of the Information Systems Field
- The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth: High‐Quality Research in Information Systems
- Systems Thinking and Soft Systems Methodology
- Structuration Theory
- Institutional Theory of Information Technology
- ‘Everything is Dangerous’: Rethinking Michel Foucault and the Social Study of ICT
- Critical Social Information Systems Research
- Hermeneutics and Meaning‐Making in Information Systems
- Phenomenology, Screens, and <i>Screenness</i>: Returning to the World Itself
- Post‐structuralism, Social Shaping of Technology, and Actor‐Network Theory: What Can They Bring to IS Research?
- Further Developments in Information Systems Strategizing: Unpacking the Concept
- Rethinking Business–IT Alignment
- IT‐Dependent Strategic Initiatives and Sustained Competitive Advantage: A Review, Synthesis, and an Extension of the Literature
- Changing the Story Surrounding Enterprise Systems to Improve our Understanding of What Makes ERP Work in Organizations
- A Multi‐theoretic Approach to IT Governance: The Need for Commitment as well as Alignment
- Rethinking Information Systems Security
- Mobile IT
- A Review of the IT Outsourcing Literature: Insights for Practice
- Managing Knowledge Work
- Rethinking Gender and MIS for the Twenty‐First Century
- Green Digits: Towards an Ecology of IT Thinking
- Ethics and ICT
- IT, Globalization, and Human Development: A Personal View
- Discourses on Innovation and Development in Information Systems in Developing Countries Research
- From Instrumentality to Emergence in Information Systems
Abstract and Keywords
This article presents the seminal work on systems thinking and soft systems methodology (SSM), which has greatly influenced the development of the information system (IS) field. It examines basic systems ideas and what it means to do ‘systems thinking’ and marks a distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ systems thinking, both of which are relevant in the creation of an information system in a real-life situation. This is done through an account of the development of the approach, which led to recognition of the ‘hard/soft’ distinction between these two linked, but different ways of using systems ideas, namely SSM. It shows how these ideas are relevant to the IS field. Finally it summarizes the implications of these ideas for illuminating and making sense of the field of IS as a whole.
Peter Checkland is Emeritus Professor of Systems at Lancaster University. After fifteen years in industry he started teaching and researching at Lancaster. Seeking a better approach to complex management problems, he led the thirty‐year programme of action research which yielded Soft‐Systems Methodology and the distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ systems thinking. His work has received many honours, including four honorary doctorates, the Beale Medal of the OR Society, the gold medal of the UK Systems Society, the ‘Pioneer’ award of the International Council on Systems Engineering, and a Fellowship from the American Systems Engineering Honor Society.
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