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< previous page page_168 next page > Page 168 Emerging in the 1970s and developing in the 1980s was a new brand of soft systems thinking. Also inspired by Churchman's work, Peter Checkland began to explore systems engineering methodology, applying it to messy managerial situations rather than to so-called structured problems, with the intent of finding out whether this approach could be appropriately evolved and employed in "soft" systems situations. As the investigations proceeded a number of key "discoveries" began to crystallise. These were to lead to a wholly different approach to soft "problem solving", soft systems methodology (SSM), as we shall discover in this chapter. Essentially, SSM has been developed for use in ill- structured or messy problem contexts where there is no clear view on what "constitutes the problem", or what action should be taken to overcome the difficulties being experienced. In fact, SSM in action should prevent decision makers from rushing into poorly thought-out solutions based on preconceived ideas
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about an assumed problem. In terms of the logic of this
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