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Describing Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) from a false dualism perspective is unnecessary. It is evident that the relationship between root definitions and conceptual models has caused problems during the development of SSM for many years. A line that distinguishes the real world from the system-thinking world has made it difficult to use instrumental logic in SSM problem-solving practice. In this regard, other false interpretations and misconceptions in regard to root definitions and conceptual models have emerged over time.
The authors understand the problem has been in existence for the last 25 years. Both root definitions and conceptual models are intended to work within a logical process. However, the modeling process that allows integrates the logical process has always caused problems. This means that models cannot be created on the basis of a logic process. The authors point out to the lack of knowledge about SSM modeling as a cause of this misconception. In this regard, a need to identify two kinds of root definition is critical. Primary task and issue-based root definitions are significant in determining the correct SSM modeling process.
Another element of SSM problem is the multiple interpretations of the link between root definitions and conceptual models. Confusion during a transformation process exhibited in root definition is also problematic. Previous studies to expand the transformation process in root definition have been conducted. The root definition model link has raised issues of whether there are any adequate root definitions among the possible multiple root definitions. Previous studies have also pointed at problems in the formulation of conceptual models. Multiple hierarchies in SSM cause confusion on which conceptual models are needed in developing an idea. Another problem in CMs formulation is the usage of the term ‘how’ and its interpretation.
The authors proposed a study of variations between two conceptual models derived from a single root definition. The purpose of the study was to analyze the possibility of conceptual models variations in management of intellectual property. Using a report concerning intellectual property, the study’s methodology involved using the same root definition with a different rationale. The authors used the customer, actors, transformation, weltanschauung, owners and environmental constraints (CATWOE) elements in defining the intellectual property management system. In this regard, the authors drew general structures of the system. The general structures highlight different possibilities on how an intellectual property can be managed.
Managing intellectual property can be done through patent law, licensing and exchanging rights as possible alternatives. The different rationales used are consistent with the conceptual model variations using intellectual property as the root definition. The study confirmed that root definition do not imply conceptual models from a theoretical assumption when used in its universal mode. In this regard, it is evident that root definition role in defining and inducing dispositions is factual. However, root definitions are not to be misinterpreted as dispositions. In addition, it is equally important for a SSM user to derive multiple conceptual models from the same root definition.
The problem between root definitions and conceptual models link can be solved by disregarding instrumental rationality. This is possible through studying different forms of rationality in SSM. SSM users should review the two formal root definition functions, especially during the problem-solving practice. On the other hand, root definition disposition element can be identified through conceptual models.