Multi-level research into the social: An old wine in an old forgotten bottle?

Research output: Working paper


This essay provides a cursory discussion on the issue of how to conceptualise social phenomena in terms of the multiple levels that characterise it. It recognises the nested nature of different levels and the challenges of integrating or aligning different levels, whether it be from a qualitative of a quantitative perspective. In response it is proposed that a complexity approach, whereby the complexity of a situation is unfolded to reveal multiple levels offers a useful approach for handling multi-level perspectives. In doing so, it draws upon an old model which has perhaps been in the main, forgotten: the Viable System Model (VSM) developed by Stafford Beer.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh Business School
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781906816100
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Publication series

NameUniversity of Edinburgh Business School Working Paper Series


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