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< previous page page_172 next page > Page 172 stream of cultural enquiry. It is argued that these must remain distinct so that pure systems thinking can be carried out with the aim of developing ideal models for discussion. These must not be muddled in their development by reflecting upon and mixing in the messiness of the "real world" situation. The experienced user of SSM will move easily between the real world and the world of abstract systems thinking, but will remain conscious of making the shift. Making sure that we keep these principles in mind, we will now move on to consider soft systems methodology as an approach to "problem solving". 8.4 Soft Systems Methodology 8.4.1
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Introductio n We shall now develop an appreciation of SSM. The methodology might be thought of as a seven stage process of enquiry. There is no predefined beginning or end in practice, although we will go through the process from Stage 1. The seven stages have been drawn up in diagrammatic form in Figure 8.1, but it must
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