A methodology that "provides the means to formulate a pattern or structure of elements associated with issues formulation" (J. WARFIELD, 1994b, p.219).
WARFIELD who introduced ISM, adds: "The elements may include needs, constraints, objectives, or options in a variety of fields such as education, public facility planning, city budget-cutting, or system design.
"This method is useful when a complex issue is under study, and there are interactions among the diverse elements of the issue. A focused group discussion on the issue is needed on the way to the development of one or more relationships maps.
"The relationship used in structuring must be transitive, and should be carefully chosen to arrive at the most useful outcome for purposes of interpretation. The elements that are structured as well as the relationships used to structure them are clarified by reasoning and discussion stimulated by the process. The quality of the results obtained depend upon skilled process leadership, which must be facilitative rather than issue-involved…
"The use of ISM produces one or more documented models of elements interrelationships. Part of the product will include a carefully refined language with which to describe or discuss an issue or system. There will be a significantly enhanced understanding of the issue, accompanied by modification and clarification of initially formulated elements and relationships" (Ibid).
WARFIELD provides a very extensive description of the methodology, that he also characterizes "… as a collection of algorithms designed to facilitate group interaction, learning, structuring, representations of patterns, amendments of structures, and interpretation of complex issues" (1995e).
ISM is an important tool at the beginning of any process of problem or issue management, or systems design and a basic feature of Generic design.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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