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A question of interpretation: The viable system model?

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1201
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date6 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


Smith and Shaw (Smith, C. M., & Shaw, D. (2018) The characteristics of problem structuring methods: A literature review. European Journal of Operational Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2018.05.003) offer an interesting insight into the characteristics of problem structuring methods (PSMs) grounding this upon a literature review. However, their evaluation of Stafford Beer‘s Viable System Model (VSM) is open to a different interpretation to the one they offer, drawing upon significant literatures seemingly not considered. Whilst Smith and Shaw argue that the VSM is not a PSM, the characterisation of the VSM presented in this short communication suggests that in terms of the thirteen questions posed by these authors, that indeed, the VSM can be viewed as PSM

    Research areas

  • problem structuring methods, viable system model, models, cybernetics, soft OR

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