Understanding the Contribution and Challenges of Using Soft Systems Methodology to Facilitate Cultural Change: A Case Study in the Public Sector

Kirkham, Sandi and Cox, Sharon (2017) Understanding the Contribution and Challenges of Using Soft Systems Methodology to Facilitate Cultural Change: A Case Study in the Public Sector. 14th Conference of the Italian Chapter of AIS (Association for Information Systems): Organizing for Digital Economy: Societies, Communities and Individuals.

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Abstract

Collaboration between professional agencies in the public sector is essential to provide seamless, high quality services to citizens. Inter-agency working is often hindered by a prevalent silo culture, reinforced by resource-focused funding mechanisms. Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) aims to facilitate organizational improvement or change through an organizational learning approach. In this study, SSM was used to help facilitate a move towards partnership working in the public sector. Interview data was collected from senior members of 16 professional agencies, four months after completing the SSM activity to reflect on the experience. The interviews were then repeated 12 months later in order to facilitate reflection on the use, role and impact of SSM beyond any immediate effect. From the interviews, we identified contributions of change that were attributed to the use of SSM and challenges of using SSM to facilitate cultural change. The challenges are explored in four themes: the process of stakeholder selection; the power of stakeholders; the ensuing power structure within the problem situation; the role of SSM and systemic change. These themes are discussed as contributing factors that practitioners of SSM need to be aware of to ensure the sanctity of SSM during periods of cultural change.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G500 Information Systems
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Computing and Digital Technology > Enterprise Systems
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sharon Cox
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2017 10:49
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 10:49
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5210

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