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< previous page page_171 next page > Page 171 favour of a soft culture-based view (although, as we shall see, organismic assumptions remain of secondary importance). 8.3 Principles of SSM There are four main principles that a user should be aware of and remain aware of when employing SSM. These concern learning, culture, participation and the "two modes of thought". SSM articulates a process of enquiry, it is a learning system that leads to purposeful action in a continuous cycle. This differs from hard systems approaches which adopt means-end directives, seeking to achieve preset goals. Checkland talks of SSM in terms of "management", seeking to achieve organised action, coping with an ever-
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changing flux of interacting events and ideas. Learning is about perceiving and evaluating parts of the flux before deciding and taking action, which then becomes a part of the flux with new perceptions, evaluations and actions emerging. These need to be learnt about as well.
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