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date: 21 April 2019

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.

Keywords: systems thinking, soft systems methodology, information system, systems ideas, hard system

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