Stage 7: Implement changes

Finally, the agreed changes are implemented.

Like the hard systems approach, soft systems methodology is not seen as a ‘one pass’ procedure, but as a learning process. Iteration is a feature of the methodology's application. Learning is achieved in both approaches by the use of models, although soft systems has subsequently been enhanced to include a specific analysis of the culture and politics of the problem situation, as shown in Author(s): The Open University

Stage 6: Debate on feasible and desirable changes

The comparison undertaken in the previous stage can have two results.

  • It can cause opinions to change on the problem situation and the issues arising from it.

  • It can provide an agenda for change.

In either case (though both may result), the objective of this stage is to debate, with all concerned, the changes proposed to ensure that they are both desirable and feasible. The aim is to arrive at consensus about the prop
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Stage 5: Comparison of Stages 2 and 4

The objective of the comparison stage is to relate the conceptual model to the problem situation as depicted in the rich picture. The idea is to highlight differences between the two so that potential improvements to the problem situation can be identified.


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Stage 4: Conceptual model

The conceptual (or activity) model contains all the activities that the relevant system would have to perform. The model is usually drawn as a block diagram.


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Stage 3: Relevant systems and root definitions

The issues and key tasks extracted from the rich picture become the basis for defining what are called the ‘relevant systems’. For example, suppose the problem situation is a deteriorating performance in a call centre. One of the issues might be the (high) turnover of call centre operators. This might lead (depending on the point of view taken) to an idea of the call centre as an ‘employment-providing system’ or an ‘entertainment system’. There is no reason to restrict relevant sy
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Stage 2: The situation analysed

The first step is to develop a picture (called in soft systems terminology a rich picture) that encapsulates all the elements that people think are involved in the problem. Once the rich picture has been drawn, the analyst will attempt to extract ‘issues’ and key tasks.

Issues are areas of contention within the problem situation. Key tasks are the essential jobs that must be undertaken within the problem situation.

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Stage 1: The problem situation unstructured

The approach begins with a situation in which one or more people perceive that there is a problem. It will not be possible to define the problem or its setting with any precision and, in any event, the different people involved will have different ideas.


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3.1 Introduction

As you would expect, since this course deals with systems engineering, it embodies the principles and methods associated with a systems perspective. So it is important that you understand systems and the systems perspective at the beginning of the course.

To have engineered a system successfully, all its features – the technology, control systems, people and related aspects of the physical environment – have to contribute to the achievement of its objectives. In other words,
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2.3 Summary and conclusions

This topic has addressed the question ‘What is modern engineering?’ The conclusion must be drawn that, until recently, engineers were content with fairly simplistic definitions of their profession, thinking that it consisted of little other than craft skills or practical experience grafted on to a knowledge of mathematics and appropriate natural sciences. It has been methodologically naive, and definitions of the processes of engineering either lack detail (
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1.1 Early influences

In the early summer of 1771, the clergyman and writer John Newton (1725–1807) was visited at Olney by two of his admirers, William and Hannah Wilberforce, a wealthy childless couple, and their 11-year-old nephew and heir, also named William. Newton made a profound impression on the boy. In 1785 it was to Newton that the younger William Wilberforce (1759–1833), now Member of Parliament for Yorkshire and a close friend of Prime Minister William Pitt (the Younger), turned for counsel in the
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3.2 Who is the customer?

Customers are people who buy our products and services, and may or may not use them. The key to defining these people as ‘customers’ is that each engages in an exchange relationship that adds value to the organisation providing the product or service. Consumers do not give any value to organisations – there is no exchange relationship. They use products and services, but do not buy them.

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1.3.2 Summary

  • The shifting character of European geographical boundaries is illustrated by Turkey and the other twelve countries from Central and Eastern Europe which are currently negotiating access to the EU.

  • The boundaries of Europe change depending on whether Europe is defined in terms of institutional structures, historical geography or observed patterns of social, economic and political interaction.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the complex and different ways in which questions of social justice and inequality come to be seen in terms of the deficient behaviour of different populations

  • Understand how certain groups of people and places come to be identified as ‘problematic’ and how social welfare and crime concerns intersect in the management of these populations

  • demonstrate
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4.2 Introducing surveillance

The videos in this section will introduce you to surveillance as an idea and a practice. The main theme of these videos is how surveillance can be viewed as double-edged: it has both protective and disciplinary aspects to it. This double-edged nature of surveillance is explored through a case study of a shopping mall – the White Rose Centre on the outskirts of Leeds. You will come across a range of different evidence, including interviews with an academic, a policymaker and different users
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2 Note taking from an audio visual text

The first important point to make is that note taking is more than a process of summarising everything that you see; it must be an active process of engaging with the material and thinking it through for yourself. In the videos, the multidimensional nature of the visual images and the stories they convey means that you will not be able to take in everything on first viewing. The videos allow us to present visual as well as audio information and in a form that makes it easier for you to revisi
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what we mean by the entanglements of social welfare and crime control, by exploring the tensions and relations between ‘watching over’ and watching out for’

  • understand policy responses and their relevance to the course

  • identify different kinds of evidence – in particular, visual evidence and interview evidence

  • demonstrate a development of skills in ICT, including h
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8.3 Synthesis of information

The synthesis needs to show you can:

  • evaluate and synthesise information and present sources correctly;

  • identify the various arguments and present your interpretation in a way that brings together information in a coherent way;

  • prepare an oral presentation for delivery and be prepared to lead a discussion of it.

Your presentation and discussion needs to show you can:

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