A holistic frame-of-reference for modelling social systems

Petia Sice, Ian French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose - To outline a philosophical system of inquiry that may be used as a frame-of-reference for modelling social systems. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on insights from cognitive science, autopoiesis, management cybernetics and non-linear dynamics. Findings - The outcome of this paper is an outline of a frame-of-reference to be used as a starting point (or a frame of orientation) for any problem solving/modelling intent or act. The framework highlights the importance of epistemological reflection and the need to avoid any separation of the process of knowing from that of modelling. It also emphasises the importance of inquiry into the assumptions that underpin the methods, tools and techniques that we employ, and into the tacit beliefs of the human actors who use them. Research limitations/implications - The presented frame-of-reference should be regarded as an evolving system of inquiry, one that seeks to incorporate contemporary human insight. Practical implications - Exactly, how the frame-of-reference presented in this paper should be exploited within an organisational or educational context, is a question to which there is no single "correct" answer. What is primarily important, however, is that it should be used to raise the profile of, and disseminate the benefits that accrue from, inquiry which goes beyond the simple application of tools and methods. Originality/value - This paper proposes a new framework-of-reference for modelling social systems that draws on insights from cognitive science, autopoiesis, management cybernetics and non-linear dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-864
JournalKybernetes - The international journal of cybernetics, systems and management sciences
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

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