Application of Soft Systems Methodologies in Organizations

Application of Soft Systems Methodologies in Organizations


Soft system methodologies (SSM) facilitates learning and recognition of the problem scenario between a team of shareholders rather than enabling a solution to a difficult yet to be determined. Numerous establishments’ problem scenarios overpower the trials to determine the problem. Therefore, such organizations encounter a problem of not understanding the actual problem, or in other words, the failure to determine the problem is the real issue there. Lack of clear direction towards what is troubling operations in such an organization influences internal suffering from an unidentifiable problem. Solving such an issue would lead to further complications as there cannot be proper remedies to an unseen issue. Otherwise, any attempt to sort the issue could lead to loss of focus, time, and resources, all in vain since no solution could be met. Therefore, SSM is the absolute choice of a situation that requires dissection of a problem to solve appropriately but is inappropriate. The problem is unclear and when the problem can be solved with a single approach.

Situations where SSM may be appropriate in a business

SSM considers scenarios through two major approaches, whereby one mode focuses on actual activities in life while the other applies a system that contemplates the factual world. The first method involves live activities to establish the course of the problem from a factual point (Williams & Hummelbrunner, 2020). The stakeholders involved gather physically to discuss the problem condition. The investigative team selects several operatives and consumers to interview regarding the problem situation. The interviews are meant to gather physical reactions towards the situation at hand. Various shareholders have different forms of experiences that can aid the organization in understanding the actual issue affecting the business setting. Besides interviews with workers, management, stakeholders, and customers, real-world activities of SSM might involve internal and external meetings to establish the problem situation. Overall, SSM tries to discover the problem situation through real-world activities and system technologies.

SSM is highly applicable where there is a physical attachment within members of an organization and where the organization has an outside source that can share insight. Problems might result from within an organization or outside the enterprise due to internal and external forces (Polynkevych et al., 2021). Therefore, an organization must embrace unity within its foundation to enhance the easy tracing of mistakes within its internal activities. Internal activities include issues like implementation of new policies and change of operating tactics. For example, the introduction of new working hours might interfere with employees’ level of productivity either positively or negatively depending on their attitudes and commitment after the new rule. Installation of a technology system might also interfere with the working conditions of employees. Therefore, determining the negative or positive change in productivity requires an internal meeting with the operatives. SSM is therefore useful in such scenarios to determine the actual issue and lead to better decision-making referring to the encountered problem.

SSM is applicable in a situation requiring intervention by an external source to give an insight towards the business progress and solve issues emanating from external factors. An outside source can guarantee access to adequate information from external components that affect business operations (Polynkevych et al., 2021). Having an additional source of information is essential to creating a strong network that can unravel difficult situations with ease and quickly. Therefore, SSM can employ internal and external constituents to figure out a problem more accurately and efficiently. This will add to the internal meetings among shareholders, workers, and clients to bring a broader picture of the source of a problem for a better understanding of the situation and designing the best solution. Therefore, an SSM is essential to understanding the dynamics of a problem, solving it, and bringing people of a certain organization together. Overall, applying an SSM to elaborate a problem facilitates an alternative procedure if the issue emanates from an external component.

SSM models operate effectively to logically describe the root causes of a problem, which then aids in creating conceptual aspects of the chosen systems (Phillips & Kenley, 2019). The outcome of a selected model is a debate that represents various perspectives, which form the foundations of the discussion. The distinctive standpoints are critical for the generation of viable and commendable adjustments before an action takes place. However, the procedure for the discussion must follow an appreciative strategy to lead to the success of the whole process. Consequently, SSM is highly useful in an organization that strives to instill openness and credibility to lead as an example to its affiliates. Before effecting any policies, the model requires a thorough consideration of the issue. Besides, determining a perceived problem involves the collection of effort from various departments in the organization. Overall, SSM is applicable where there is a need for openness and clarity as to where the problem resulted from and the process through which it has evolved.

SSM is appropriate in a scenario where the firm does not intend to rush its processes so long as the actual issue is found and its causes elucidate accurately. SSM sets a plan for open evaluation of issues in organizations and the generation of accurate findings and recommendations regarding the problems (Ninan et al., 2019). Its principles guarantee proper assessment of problems and appreciation of the process. This is a proper method of evaluating an issue and blocking future causes that might lead to a similar problem. Therefore, a business setting that has been going through situations repeatedly may use the SSM method to discover the problem situation and thwart the future likelihood of a similar issue.

SSM applies to a situation requiring a change of business operations and adopting new techniques with a more active culture. The discovery of a problem situation improves the accuracy of problem-solving in an organization. A continuous fall of operations might require such a strategy to put a permanent situation that does not allow more recurring happenings regarding the same issue (Ninan et al., 2019). In this case, a business might need to transform its culture to adopt new strategies and operate under new structures. However, all these needs cooperation among all affiliates of an organization to excel and bring a positive change to the business. Such a principle brings a positive outlook to the business and transforms its picture fully to be free of unnecessary mistakes in the future. SSM has the power to bring understanding to a problem situation and also improve business efficiency. SSM suggests that there is an interconnection between problems in a business setting. Therefore, the model is useful in solving a series of problems in an organization by focusing on their interconnectedness.

SSM is useful in an intellectual setting that requires the evaluation of unclear issues affecting the efficacy of a business establishment. SSM suggests that there is no problem that can be unspoken in segregation and that resolutions are intelligent perceptions (Yanato et al., 2017). Besides, SSM’s six principles are essential to any business aiming to discover a problem intelligently and settle it efficiently. The methodology assumes that problems are intertwined with human beings and that they emanate from interested minds. It also suggests that problems are described best by a person’s world opinion. Therefore, it is unwise to consider a problem without focusing on the problem situation. It is thus necessary to consider the scenario surrounding an issue before thinking about it. At large, a firm aiming to identify specific scenarios related to a problem is open to using the SSM model.

SSM is also applicable to an organization that deals with many professionals from diverse careers and backgrounds. The model suggests that numerous problem situations are related yet interpreted differently regarding distinct global opinions. Various professions like sales business involving various production and consumption sectors might appreciate different views present. The model stresses that every person understands situations uniquely and validly. A seller of fabrics relates with people from various social backgrounds who might interpret the world differently. SSM is useful in avoiding ignoring certain opinions due to their diversity with others made by different people. The perspectives that might seem less relevant to a situation might be of greater importance in unraveling a problem to create a solution. Therefore, applying SSM enhances consideration of such issues to reach the most credible decision when dealing with an issue. More so, a problem might emanate from a known sector by a certain section of a distributing agency, and thus ignoring their opinions might thwart the whole process of sorting out the issue. Generally, SSM is appropriate when a firm deals with various departments from various parts of the world.

Huge enterprises that engage shareholders from the external environment of the business may use SSM to settle problem situations amicably. SSM has a working principle that emphasizes that an analyst cannot be pushed away from a problem. This means that the assessment of problem situations involves internal and external professionals suited to solve such issues. Large businesses often operate huge stores from various locations under various management. Therefore, it might be difficult to analyze a problem situation affecting the whole business since it involves collecting various departments whose decisions might differ slightly. Therefore, it is likely for such a business to engage business analysts from outside or within its operations to dissect a problem and infer its source accurately. Such a procedure will be best sorted by studying operations from all the stores, which a professional analyst can only do. SSM is thus appropriate for any business operating various stores.

Situations where SSM could be inappropriate in a business

SSM is generally operational in large-scale businesses that manage several stores or have a collection of employees, but not necessarily in small-scale businesses with fewer operators or strategies. Small-scale businesses are easy to operate and organize than large-scale businesses (Surban, 2018). A single person might even organize a small business single person might even organize a small business, hence very easy to operate. Therefore, it is quite easy to locate an error in a small business compared to a large enterprise. Most of the small-sized enterprises involve a sole operator, who also acts as the manager. The single person has the mandate to make decisions related to the business. Such a person is responsible for the welfare or downfall of the business. Therefore, a sole proprietorship might not require a different approach to a problem as the decision-maker can analyze their strategies and correct errors.

Consequently, small businesses do not make numerous mistakes that go unnoticed. Thus they are safe from a series of problems. Besides, there are no differences in opinions that might require further approaches from the SSM model. Therefore, it is inappropriate to use the SSM model in a small-scale business, where problems can be identified and solved easily.

It is inappropriate to use SSM during the first stages of an issue because it considers problem situations involving intertwined problems. It is difficult to evaluate an issue at its first occurrence since it requires a series of problems referred to as multiple problem situations. Therefore, a firm might need to locate the time of occurrence of an issue before employing SSM to discover its problem situation and make appropriate decisions regarding its solution.


In summary, SSM is a perfect model for evaluating a problem situation by considering all the necessary aspects to get to the root cause of the issue and make a credible decision on ways to settle the problem. However, SSM is only applicable where the organization has had a series of problems and wants to settle fully. During an issue, SSM is not quite operational because there are no collections of it that need to be assessed and solved. SSM is also not useful in a small-scale business whose sole proprietor can assess and discover errors without seeking help from an external source like an analyst. Therefore, SSM is highly applicable to large organizations that could experience opinion variations and a mixture of operations.

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