Soft Systems Methodology in Organisational Change and Process

Soft Systems Methodology in Organisational Change and Process Improvement Projects


Research Approach
Case Studies
SSM Rich Picture
SSM Root definition
SSM Conceptual Model
SSM Analysis 1, 2 and 3

Using SSM as a research lens, outlines the research method for 6 case study of projects undertaken by the Change Management and Process Improvement unit (CMPI) at the University of Manchester to identify why misalignment between objective and outcome occur. How uncertainties in structuring problems, may affect the setting of aim and objectives at the front end of projects.

In order to accomplish the different SSM stages, the research adopted a multi-method design involving the use of two main methods: observations and semi-structured interviews of Directors (Project Sponsor), Head of Units (Project Owners) and Project Managers to form a rich picture. Also analyse data from the CMPI official documents.

This is a consultancy-empirically based research, the methodology includes a mix of primary and secondary data collected from the CMPI unit as well as secondary sources such as official company reports, official and unofficial documents, archival material, mission statement, personal correspondence and online publication or website. As mentioned, the primary data is gathered personally by means of case studies of projects already undertaken or ongoing projects by the CMPI through observation and semi-structured interviews of 6 case studies.

Literature relating to SSM from mostly peer review journals is reviewed. Data will be analysed by utilising elicitation techniques such as network mapping and process or causal mapping to organise and interpret material acquired; the qualitative, textual data could then help in understanding meanings, relationships and patterns.

The first three case studies will aim to understand current process(es) and method(s) used in setting aims and objectives for projects and establishes shortcomings and achievements. Then it is anticipated that the next two case studies will be used to apply SSM method to defining the problem and determining aims and objectives in retrospect.

References from peer review journals only.


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