A soft systems approach to social sciences projects

Davids, Steven Emlyn (2001-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This paper asks the question: "Is the Guide to the PMBOICs method appropriate for doing projects of a social science character?" Inthis enquiry extensive use is made ofliterature that is available via the world wide web. This paper follows the school of thought that regards the world as a complex set of interrelated systems. Humans as social beings are an integral part of these complex systems. In order to do justice to human endeavours, one must understand the systems in which humans operate and interpret all human undertakings in relation to those systems. Three broad types of systems approaches to project management are distinguished. A common underlying principle of all three approaches is that they regard social systems as complex, highly volatile and in constant flux. A direct consequence of this characteristic of social systems is that project goals are also not simple and rigidly fixed. The project goals are also complex, in constant flux and open-ended. The traditional Guide to the PMBOICs method for doing project management is unable to deal effectively with these complex and volatile system problems. This paper advocates that a slightly modified version of Checkland's soft systems method be used to deal with social projects, which are by definition, also complex projects. It is proposed that Checkland's soft systems method should be used in addition to the traditional approach. The method proposed by this paper is, to various degrees, already being implemented in practice. The proposed method is, however, presently not being catered for in the project management software packages that are readily and commercially available.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die vraag: "Is die metode soos voorgestel in die Guide to the PMBOK geskik vir projekte met 'n sosiaal wetenskaplike karakter?" In die ondersoek word op grootskaal gebruik gemaak van literatuur wat beskikbaar is op die internet. Hierdie studie sluit aan by die wetenskaplike gedagterigting wat die wêreld beskou as bestaande uit 'n reeks ingewikkelde en onderling verbinde sisteme. As sosiale wese is die mens 'n integrale deel van hierdie gekompliseerde sisteme. Om reg te laat geskied aan menslike handelinge, moet die sisteme waarbinne die mens leef verstaan word. Menslike handeling moet ook vertolk word teen die agtergrond van daardie sisteme en in verhouding tot die sisteme. Drie gedagterigtings kan onderskei word binne die sisteem benadering tot projekbestuur. 'n Gemeenskaplike en onderliggende beginsel van al drie gedagterigtings is dat hulle sosiale sisteme beskou as gekompliseerd, uiters onbestendig en in voortdurende beweging. 'n Direkte gevolg van hierdie eienskap van sosiale sisteme is dat projekte se doelwitte ook nie maklik definieerbaar en stabiel is nie. Projekte se doelwitte is gekompliseerd, onbestendig en oop. Die konvensionele metodes vir projekbestuur soos voorgestel deur die Guide to the PMBOK is nie in staat om hierdie gekompliseerde en onbestendige sisteem probleme effektief te hanteer nie. Hierdie studie debatteer dat 'n effens gewysigde weergawe van Checkland se sagte sisteem metode gebruik word vir die doen van sosiale projekte, wat per definisie gekompliseerde projekte is. Dit word aan die hand gedoen dat Checkland se sagte sisteem metode gebruik word saam met die konvensionele benadering. Die metode wat hierdie studie bepleit, word alreeds tot vlakke in die praktyk toegepas. Daar word egter nie voorsieining gemaak vir die voorgestelde metode in rekenaar sagte ware programme in projekbestuur wat redelik algemeen in die kleinhandel beskikbaar is nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52133
This item appears in the following collections: