Presentation on theme: "Complementarity in systems modelling: an interdisciplinary research network Mike Pidd Lancaster University."— Presentation transcript:
Complementarity in systems modelling: an interdisciplinary research network Mike Pidd Lancaster University
2 Background: interdisciplinary networks in systems theory EPSRC concern: is fundamental research on system theory needed? –Initial stimulus: growing complexity and scope of business & social systems –Need to reach beyond disciplinary boundaries Feb 99: workshop, in collaboration with BT Call for proposals –interdisciplinary networks –relevant to EPSRC concerns OR specifically mentioned
3 Complementarity in systems modelling Academic world Practitioner world Theory & practice
4 Complementarity in systems modelling Models as –would-be representations of the real world used to investigate options used to investigate how things are need to be validated in some way –devices to support debate used as ideal types part of procedural rationality, beyond the calculus of rational choice validation remains a problem
5 Hard versus soft approaches Stresses technical work Avoids conflict & disagreement Assumes unified objectives Models the 'underlying reality' Relies on sequential rationality Separates process from content Organisationally naive Stresses facilitation Recognises importance of conflict & disagreement Makes no assumptions about objectives No search for 'underlying reality' Cyclic or multi-pass approach Outcome = process x content Organisationally sophisticated HARDSOFT
6 Some research questions (as on the proposal) Complexity versus simplicity –how simple, how do we know, simple always best? Computer-based support for linking hard & soft approaches? Real-world issues –what types of problems make the greatest demands? –specific contexts where complementarity matters? Links to other aspects of system theory?
7 Initial participants ACADEMIC –Lancaster: Pidd, Checkland, Kowlaczyk and Westcombe, et al –Strathclyde: Belton et al –RMCS: Holwell PRACTITIONER –BT: Lyons et al –Shell International: Paterson –DERA: Robinson (Forder)
8 Some issues for today 15 minutes on our interests Identify issues Agree a series of meetings Decide who else to invite Set up criteria against which to evaluate whether we succeed or not?
9 Business process modelling Nuno Melaos PhD research Academic Whats a business process? Consultant & software vendor My approach & software is wonderful Practitioner Just give me something that works!
10 A business process is... A deterministic machine –A sequence of tasks organised around a customer focus A complex dynamic system –interconnected subsystems A set of interacting feedback loops –needs to be viewed in systems terms A social construct –may not really exist Multifaceted!
11 A survey of business process modellers in the UK Examined use/non-use of business process simulation –225 UK practitioners, 37% response –use of simulation very low –saw little added value in using dynamic models –prefer simple models (flow charts, spreadsheets etc) –most projects very short –stressed importance of human behaviour in business processes Contrasts with claims of software vendors & consultants
12 Business process modelling needs... Better tools –more flexible –easier to use –model human behaviour Better methods & methodologies –not good enough to treat people like inter- changeable resources and machines Complementary viewpoints