This action research-based, interpretive approach is strongly influenced by Vickers' (1968, pp.59,176) description of the importance of appreciative systems in dealing with human complexity. Checkland (1981), and Checkland and Scholes (1990) have attempted to transform these ideas from systems theory into a practical methodology that is called Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).
Soft Systems Methodology developed by Professor Peter Checkland is a way of dealing with problem situations in which there is a high social, political and human activity component. (Checkland, 1981) This distinguishes SSM from other methodologies that deal with hard problems which are more technologically oriented. Thus, SSM can be a useful research tool for understanding problematic ELT situations. (Holliday, 1990)
Hard problems are problems characterized by the fact that they can be well defined. The assumption is that there is a definite solution and we can define a number of specific goals that must be accomplished. Soft problems, on the other hand, are difficult to define.When we think of soft problems, we don't think of problems but of problem situations. It is the classic situation of it not being a "problem" but an "opportunity". ...Show more