In praise of the introvert: an extended use of soft systems methodology (SSM) in mode 2 - European Conference of Operational Research (EURO18), Valencia, Spain, July 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Recent developments and rediscovering of human aspects in operational research (Franco and Hamalainen, 2015) have highlighted the importance of studying psychological aspects of OR actors in conjunction with the use of OR methodologies. It becomes important to acknowledge that such conjunctions or relations could be built by considering different modes of systems methodology use, in particular soft systems methodology or SSM (Checkland and Scholes, 1990). The aim of this paper is to extend current understanding of methodology modes of use by considering their use by introvert facilitators or researchers (Cain, 2012). Introversion can be seen as a personality dimension that is not only influenced by character but also by cultural factors. We use a case vignette of online distance education in Saudi Arabia where one of us 'S', an introvert individual, had to deal with cultural and organisational issues of access. 'S' used SSM in mode two (Checkland and Scholes) as a way to learn and act in a context without having to explicitly use the SSM as a facilitation device. Insights prior to, during and after the intervention lead us to consider a number of ways in which SSM mode 2 could be enriched together with a more explicit inclusion of introvert features.


Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Penguin.
Checkland, P. and Scholes, J. (1990). Soft Systems Methodology in Action. Chichester (UK): John Wiley and Sons.
Franco, A. and Hamalainen, R. (2015). Behavioral operational research: Returning to the roots of the OR profession. European Journal of Operational Research 249(3), 791-795.
Period9 Jul 201811 Jul 2018
Event title29th European Conference on Operational Research: EURO2018
Event typeConference
Conference number29
LocationValencia, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Systems Thinking
  • Soft Systems Methodology
  • Online Distance Education
  • Introvert
  • behaviour
  • Operational Research