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Applications of interpretive structural modelling and related methods within the context of interactive management

Janes, F.R. (1992). Applications of interpretive structural modelling and related methods within the context of interactive management. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

This thesis is about the application of Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) and two supporting idea-generation methods, Ideawriting and Nominal Group Technique. Taken together, the three methods, which are all designed for use with participant groups, may be employed in various ways to provide a process of inquiry within the context of Interactive Management.

The applications focus on fifteen planning workshops conducted by the author. In these workshops the methods were used to assist groups from a range of public sector organisations in planning activities such as setting and structuring objectives. Full details of the applications are given in the published papers and reports which are reproduced in the Supporting Papers section of the thesis. A summary of the sequence of methods used in each workshop and the resulting outcomes is given in Chapter 7.

In order to give coherence to the applications, Chapters 2 to 6 present a framework for Interactive Management as a means of exploring complex issues and consider the principles and process of each of the three methods. Five components that help to make work with groups productive are examined: the participant group, the facilitator, the methods, the computer support and the decision support room. The way in which the last two have been implemented at City University is described. In Chapter 4, the principles of ISM as a modelling tool are explained and the operation of the ISM computer software developed at City University for a personal computer is outlined. Chapters 5 and 6 focus on the processes of Ideawriting and Nominal Group Technique and summarise ways in which they have been applied and, in the case of Ideawriting, extended; their benefits and limitations are also discussed. The incorporation of Ideawriting and the concepts of Interactive Management into a process of model building and computer software development is explained.

Chapters 8 and 9 discuss lessons for ISM, Interactive Management and Systems Science which are drawn from the applications. With regard to ISM, these include the creation of a new type of ISM priority structure, called here the composite priority structure. Other lessons for ISM concern ways of making the best use of the method in practice; its benefits and limitations are also assessed. In the case of lessons for Interactive Management, the activities in a complete intervention are analysed and methods for idea categorisation and writing mission statements are explained. With regard to Systems Science, the lessons focus on those aspects of complexity that are addressed by ISM and upon ISM as a modelling tool.

Finally, the conclusions in Chapter 10 show the extent to which the objectives stated at the start of the thesis have been achieved and explain the author's contribution to the knowledge of the subject. Possible areas for future work are also outlined.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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