Problem structuring methods
Problem structuring methods (PSMs) are a group of techniques used to model or to map the nature or structure of a situation or state of affairs that some people want to change. PSMs are usually used by a group of people in collaboration (rather than by a solitary individual) to create a consensus about, or at least to facilitate negotiations about, what needs to change. Some widely adopted PSMs include soft systems methodology, the strategic choice approach, and strategic options development and analysis (SODA).
Unlike some problem solving methods that assume that all the relevant issues and constraints and goals that constitute the problem are defined in advance or are uncontroversial, PSMs assume that there is no single uncontested representation of what constitutes the problem.
The term "problem structuring methods" as a label for these techniques began to be used in the 1980s in the field of operations research, especially after the publication of the book Rational Analysis for a Problematic World: Problem Structuring Methods for Complexity, Uncertainty and Conflict. Some of the methods that came to be called PSMs had been in use since the 1960s.
- Horst Rittel and Melvin M. Webber
- Russell L. Ackoff
- Peter Checkland
- Colin Eden and Fran Ackermann
- Robert L. Flood and Michael C. Jackson
- Jonathan Rosenhead and John Mingers
Types of situations that call for PSMs
In discussions of problem structuring methods, it is common to distinguish between two different types of situations that could be considered to be problems. Rittel and Webber's distinction between tame problems and wicked problems (Rittel & Webber 1973) is a well known example of such types. The following table lists similar (but not exactly equivalent) distinctions made by a number of thinkers between two types of "problem" situations, which can be seen as a continuum between a left and right extreme:
|Thinker||Left extreme||Right extreme|
|Rittel & Webber||Tame problem||Wicked problem|
|Herbert A. Simon||Programmed decision||Non-programmed decision|
|Russell L. Ackoff||Puzzle / Problem||Mess|
|Jerome Ravetz||Technical problem||Practical problem|
|Ronald Heifetz||Technical challenge||Adaptive challenge|
|Peter Checkland||Hard systems||Soft systems|
|Donald Schön||The high ground||The swamp|
|Barry Johnson||Problems to solve||Polarities to manage|
Tame problems (or puzzles or technical challenges) have relatively precise, straightforward formulations that are often amenable to solution with some predetermined technical fix or algorithm. It is clear when these situations have changed in such a way that the problem can be called solved.
Wicked problems (or messes or adaptive challenges) have multiple interacting issues with multiple stakeholders and uncertainties and no definitive formulation. These situations are complex and have no stopping rule and no ultimate test of a solution.
PSMs were developed for situations that tend toward the wicked or "soft" side, when methods are needed that assist argumentation about, or that generate mutual understanding of multiple perspectives on, a complex situation. Other problem solving methods are better suited to situations toward the tame or "hard" side where a reliable and optimal solution is needed to a problem that can be clearly and uncontroversially defined.
Problem structuring methods constitute a family of approaches that have differing purposes and techniques, and many of them had been developed independently before people began to notice their family resemblance. Several scholars have noted the common and divergent characteristics among PSMs.
- The methods focus on creating "a model that is populated with data that is specific to the problem situation". These cause–effect models can be analyzed (albeit in different ways by different methods), and the models are intended to facilitate conversation and negotiation between the participants.
- The methods seek to increase the overall productivity of group processes. Productivity includes creating better agreements that are more likely to be implemented, and realizing (to the extent possible in the given situation) ideals such as communicative rationality and procedural justice.
- The methods emphasize that the facilitation of effective group processes requires some attention to, and open conversation about, power and politics within and between organizations. Power and politics can become especially important when major change is being proposed.
- The methods provide techniques and skills for facilitation of group processes, and they appreciate that such techniques and skills are essential for effective sensemaking, systems modeling, and participative decision-making. People who use PSMs must pay attention to what group facilitators call process skills (guiding interactions between people through nonlinear applications of the methods) and content skills (helping people build sufficiently comprehensive models of the given situation).
- Seek solutions which satisfice on separate dimensions rather than seeking an optimal decision on a single dimension.
- Integrate hard and soft (quantitative and qualitative) data with social judgments.
- Produce models that are as transparent as possible to and that clarify conflicts of interpretation, rather than hiding conflicts behind neutral technical language.
- Consider people to be agents actively involved in the decision-making process, rather than as passive objects to be modeled or ignored.
- Facilitate the problem structuring process from the bottom-up as much as possible, not only top-down from formal organizational leadership.
- Aim to preserve options in the face of unavoidable uncertainty, rather than to base decisions on a prediction of the future.
- the checklist stream, which is step-by-step technical problem solving (not problem structuring as it came to be defined in PSMs, so this stream does not apply to PSMs),
- the definition stream, which is primarily modeling of relationships between variables, as described by Ackoff and others,
- the science research stream which emphasizes doing field research and gathering quantitative data, and
- the people stream, which "regards the definition of problems as a function of people's perceptions" as described by Checkland, Eden, and others.
Compared to large group methods
Mingers and Rosenhead have noted that there are similarities and differences between PSMs and large group methods such as Future Search, Open Space Technology, and others. PSMs and large group methods both bring people together to talk about, and to share different perspectives on, a situation or state of affairs that some people want to change. However, PSMs always focus on creating a sufficiently rigorous conceptual model or cognitive map of the situation, whereas large group methods do not necessarily emphasize modeling, and PSMs are not necessarily used with large groups of people.
Compared to participatory rural appraisal
There is significant overlap or shared characteristics between PSMs and some of the techniques used in participatory rural appraisal (PRA). Mingers and Rosenhead pointed out that in situations where people have low literacy, the nonliterate (oral and visual) techniques developed in PRA would be a necessary complement to PSMs, and the approaches to modeling in PSMs could be (and have been) used by practitioners of PRA.
Technology and software
PSMs are a general methodology and are not necessarily dependent on electronic information technology, but PSMs do rely on some kind of shared display of the models that participants are developing. The shared display could be flip charts, a large whiteboard, Post-it notes on the meeting room walls, and/or a personal computer connected to a video projector. After PSMs have been used in a group work session, it is normal for a record of the session's display to be shared with participants and with other relevant people.
Software programs for supporting problem structuring include Banxia Decision Explorer and Group Explorer, which implement cognitive mapping for strategic options development and analysis (SODA), and Compendium, which implements IBIS for dialogue mapping and related methods; a similar program is called Wisdom. Such software can serve a variety of functions, such as simple technical assistance to the group facilitator during a single event, or more long-term online group decision support systems.
Some practitioners prefer not to use computers during group work sessions because of the effect they have on group dynamics, but such use of computers is standard in some PSMs such as SODA and dialogue mapping, in which computer display of models or maps is intended to guide conversation in the most efficient way.
In some situations additional software that is not used only for PSMs may be incorporated into the problem structuring process; examples include spreadsheet modeling, system dynamics software or geographic information systems. Some practitioners, who have focused on building system dynamics simulation models with groups of people, have called their work group model building (GMB) and have concluded "that GMB is another PSM".
- Rosenhead 2013, p. 1162
- Rosenhead 1996, p. 117
- Checkland & Poulter 2006
- Friend & Hickling 1996
- Reynolds & Holwell 2010, p. 135–190
- Rosenhead 1996, p. 118
- For example: Chatjoulis & Humphreys 2007
- For examples, see: Norris 1985, p. 871; Dunn 1988, p. 720; Landis 1988, pp. 117–119. William N. Dunn wrote in 1988: "In the absence of appropriate problem-structuring methods, how can we expect to formulate problems that encompass the proper elements, for example, the proper policy objectives, alternatives, and expected outcomes? Given a particular problem formulation, how do we know whether all important elements have been included in the set? In short, how do we know when we have formulated an approximate solution to the right problem, as distinguished from an exact solution to the wrong problem?" (Dunn 1988, p. 720)
- Rosenhead 1989
- Rosenhead 2013, p. 1164
- Rittel & Webber 1973
- For example: Ackoff 1974, Ackoff 1979
- Checkland 1975, Checkland 1981
- For example: Eden & Sims 1979, Eden 1982, Eden & Ackermann 2006
- For example: Jackson & Keys 1984, Flood & Jackson 1991
- For example: Rosenhead 1989, Mingers & Rosenhead 2001
- Rosenhead 2013, pp. 1163–1164
- This table is adapted from: Culmsee & Awati 2013, p. 108
- Eden & Ackermann 2006
- Rosenhead 2013, pp. 1164–1165
- Woolley & Pidd 1981, p. 203–204
- Mingers & Rosenhead 2004, p. 548; examples of large group methods can be found in Bunker & Alban 2006
- Mingers & Rosenhead 2004, pp. 548–549
- Rosenhead 2013, p. 1170
- Ackermann & Eden 2011; Rosenhead 2013, p. 1169
- Conklin 2006; Culmsee & Awati 2013; Culmsee & Awati 2014
- Mackenzie et al. 2006
- For example: Rodriguez-Ulloa & Paucar-Caceres 2005; Hovmand 2014, p. 83
- For example: Pfeiffer et al. 2008; Ferretti 2016
- Andersen et al. 2007, p. 691
- Ackermann, Fran; Eden, Colin (2011) . Making strategy: mapping out strategic success (2nd ed.). London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 9781849201193. OCLC 754163654.
- Ackoff, Russell Lincoln (1974). Redesigning the future: a systems approach to societal problems. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471002968. OCLC 922908.
- Ackoff, Russell Lincoln (February 1979). "The future of operational research is past" (PDF). Journal of the Operational Research Society. 30 (2): 93–104. doi:10.1057/jors.1979.22. JSTOR 3009290.
- Andersen, David F.; Vennix, Jac A. M.; Richardson, George P.; Rouwette, Etiënne (April 2007). "Group model building: problem structuring, policy simulation and decision support" (PDF). Journal of the Operational Research Society. 58 (5): 691–694. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602339. JSTOR 4622747.
- Bunker, Barbara Benedict; Alban, Billie T. (2006). The handbook of large group methods: creating systemic change in organizations and communities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0787981435. OCLC 67346067.
- Checkland, Peter (1975). "The development of systems thinking by systems practice: a methodology from an action research program". In Trappl, Robert; Hanika, Francis de Paula. Progress in cybernetics and systems research. 2. Washington, DC: Hemisphere Pub. Corp. pp. 278–283. ISBN 0470884762. OCLC 768420617.
- Checkland, Peter (1981). Systems thinking, systems practice. Chichester, UK; New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471279110. OCLC 7197202.
- Checkland, Peter; Poulter, John (2006). Learning for action: a short definitive account of soft systems methodology and its use for practitioner, teachers, and students. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470025543. OCLC 67374920.
- Chatjoulis, Athena; Humphreys, Patrick (January 2007). "A problem solving process model for personal decision support (PSPM-DS)" (PDF). Journal of Decision Systems. 16 (2): 213–239. doi:10.3166/jds.16.213-239.
- Conklin, E. Jeffrey (2006). Dialogue mapping: building shared understanding of wicked problems. Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470017686. OCLC 60491946.
- Culmsee, Paul; Awati, Kailash (2013) . "Problem structuring methods". The heretic's guide to best practices: the reality of managing complex problems in organisations. Bloomington: iUniverse. pp. 212–245. ISBN 9781462058549. OCLC 767703320.
- Culmsee, Paul; Awati, Kailash (2014). "The map and the territory: a practitioner perspective on knowledge cartography". In Okada, Alexandra; Buckingham Shum, Simon J.; Sherborne, Tony. Knowledge cartography: software tools and mapping techniques. Advanced information and knowledge processing (2nd ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 261–292. doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-6470-8_12. ISBN 9781447164692. OCLC 890438015.
- Dunn, William N. (June 1988). "Methods of the second type: coping with the wilderness of conventional policy analysis". Review of Policy Research. 7 (4): 720–737. doi:10.1111/j.1541-1338.1988.tb00891.x.
- Eden, Colin (April 1982). "Problem construction and the influence of O.R.". Interfaces. 12 (2): 50–60. doi:10.1287/inte.12.2.50. JSTOR 25060235.
- Eden, Colin; Ackermann, Fran (June 2006). "Where next for problem structuring methods". Journal of the Operational Research Society. 57 (7): 766–768. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602090. JSTOR 4102262.
- Eden, Colin; Sims, David (January 1979). "On the nature of problems in consulting practice". Omega. 7 (2): 119–127. doi:10.1016/0305-0483(79)90099-9.
- Ferretti, Valentina (September 2016). "From stakeholders analysis to cognitive mapping and Multi-Attribute Value Theory: an integrated approach for policy support". European Journal of Operational Research. 253 (2): 524–541. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2016.02.054.
- Flood, Robert L.; Jackson, Michael C. (1991). Creative problem solving: total systems intervention. Chichester, UK; New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471930520. OCLC 23254656.
- Hovmand, Peter S. (2014). Community based system dynamics. New York: Springer Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-8763-0. ISBN 1461487625. OCLC 857646084.
- Jackson, Michael C.; Keys, Paul (June 1984). "Towards a system of systems methodologies". Journal of the Operational Research Society. 35 (6): 473–486. doi:10.1057/jors.1984.101. JSTOR 2581795.
- Landis, John (1988). "The case against statistics-as-methods: confessions of a born-again planmaker". Berkeley Planning Journal. 3 (2): 112–122.
- Mackenzie, Adrian; Pidd, Michael; Rooksby, John; Sommerville, Ian; Warren, Ian; Westcombe, Mark (April 2006). "'Wisdom', decision support and paradigms of decision making". European Journal of Operational Research. 170 (1): 156–171. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2004.07.041.
- Mingers, John; Rosenhead, Jonathan, eds. (2001). Rational analysis for a problematic world revisited: problem structuring methods for complexity, uncertainty and conflict (2nd ed.). Chichester, UK; New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471495239. OCLC 46601256.
- Mingers, John; Rosenhead, Jonathan (February 2004). "Problem structuring methods in action" (PDF). European Journal of Operational Research. 152 (3): 530–554. doi:10.1016/S0377-2217(03)00056-0.
- Norris, Michael (September 1985). "Review: Operational research and the social sciences". Journal of the Operational Research Society. 36 (9): 870–872. doi:10.2307/2582177.
- Pfeiffer, Constanze; Glaser, Stephanie; Vencatesan, Jayshree; Schliermann-Kraus, Elke; Drescher, Axel; Glaser, Rüdiger (November 2008). "Facilitating participatory multilevel decision-making by using interactive mental maps". Geospatial Health. 3 (1): 103–112.
- Rittel, Horst W. J.; Webber, Melvin M. (June 1973). "Dilemmas in a general theory of planning" (PDF). Policy Sciences. 4 (2): 155–169. doi:10.1007/BF01405730. JSTOR 4531523.
- Rodriguez-Ulloa, Ricardo; Paucar-Caceres, Alberto (June 2005). "Soft system dynamics methodology (SSDM): combining soft systems methodology (SSM) and system dynamics (SD)" (PDF). Systemic Practice and Action Research. 18 (3): 303–334. doi:10.1007/s11213-005-4816-7.
- Rosenhead, Jonathan, ed. (1989). Rational analysis for a problematic world: problem structuring methods for complexity, uncertainty, and conflict. Chichester, UK; New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471922854. OCLC 19847533.
- Rosenhead, Jonathan (November 1996). "What's the problem?: an introduction to problem structuring methods" (PDF). Interfaces. 26 (6): 117–131. doi:10.1287/inte.26.6.117. JSTOR 25062196.
- Rosenhead, Jonathan (2013). "Problem structuring methods". In Gass, Saul I.; Fu, Michael C. Encyclopedia of operations research and management science (3rd ed.). New York; London: Springer Verlag. pp. 1162–1172. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-1153-7_806. ISBN 9781441911377. OCLC 751832290.
- Veldhuis, Guido Arjan; Scheepstal, Peter van; Rouwette, Etiënne; Logtens, Tom (June 2015). "Collaborative problem structuring using MARVEL". EURO Journal on Decision Processes. 3 (3-4): 249–273. doi:10.1007/s40070-015-0045-1.
- Bryson, John M.; Eden, Colin; Ackermann, Fran (2014). Visual strategy: a workbook for strategy mapping for public and nonprofit organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 9781118605929. OCLC 883462253.
- Cronin, Karen; Midgley, Gerald; Jackson, Laurie Skuba (February 2014). "Issues mapping: a problem structuring method for addressing science and technology conflicts" (PDF). European Journal of Operational Research. 233 (1): 145–158. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2013.08.012.
- Groetker, Ralf (2014). "Visualized problem structuring for stakeholder consultations: enabling informed decision-making with argument maps and the argument browser". In Okada, Alexandra; Buckingham Shum, Simon J.; Sherborne, Tony. Knowledge cartography: software tools and mapping techniques. Advanced information and knowledge processing (2nd ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 309–332. doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-6470-8_14. ISBN 9781447164692. OCLC 890438015.
- Hogan, Michael J.; Harney, Owen M.; Broome, Benjamin J. (2014). "Integrating argument mapping with systems thinking tools: advancing applied systems science" (PDF). In Okada, Alexandra; Buckingham Shum, Simon J.; Sherborne, Tony. Knowledge cartography: software tools and mapping techniques. Advanced information and knowledge processing (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. pp. 401–421. doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-6470-8_18. ISBN 9781447164692. OCLC 890438015.
- Jordan, Thomas (2014). "Deliberative methods for complex issues: a typology of functions that may need scaffolding" (PDF). Group Facilitation: a Research and Applications Journal (13): 50–71.
- Yearworth, Mike; White, Leroy (September 2014). "The non-codified use of problem structuring methods and the need for a generic constitutive definition". European Journal of Operational Research. 237 (3): 932–945. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2014.02.015.
- Ferreira, J. Soeiro (June 2013). "Multimethodology in metaheuristics". Journal of the Operational Research Society. 64 (6): 873–883. doi:10.1057/jors.2012.88.
- Metcalfe, Mike; Sastrowardoyo, Saras (November 2013). "Complex project conceptualisation and argument mapping". International Journal of Project Management. 31 (8): 1129–1138. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2013.01.004.
- Midgley, Gerald; Cavana, Robert Y.; Brocklesby, John; Foote, Jeff L.; Wood, David R. R.; Ahuriri-Driscoll, Annabel (August 2013). "Towards a new framework for evaluating systemic problem structuring methods" (PDF). European Journal of Operational Research. 229 (1): 143–154. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2013.01.047.
- Golnam, Arash; Tapandjieva, Gorica; Viana, Sérgio; Wegmann, Alain (2011). "Problem structuring methods in system dynamics modeling: a cognitive fit perspective" (PDF). In Lyneis, James M.; Richardson, George P. 29th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society 2011: Washington, DC, USA, 24–28 July 2011: proceedings. Albany: System Dynamics Society. ISBN 9781618392299. OCLC 772917674.
- Roam, Dan (2011). Blah blah blah: what to do when words don't work. New York: Portfolio/Penguin. ISBN 9781591844594.
- Belton, Valerie; Stewart, Theodor (2010). "Problem structuring and multiple criteria decision analysis". In Ehrgott, Matthias; Figueira, José; Greco, Salvatore. Trends in multiple criteria decision analysis. International series in operations research & management science. 142. New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 209–239. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-5904-1_8. ISBN 9781441959034.
- Kilgour, D. Marc; Eden, Colin, eds. (2010). Handbook of group decision and negotiation. Advances in group decision and negotiation. 4. New York: Springer Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-9097-3. ISBN 9789048190966.
- Reynolds, Martin; Holwell, Sue, eds. (2010). Systems approaches to managing change: a practical guide. London; New York: Springer Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-1-84882-809-4. ISBN 9781848828087. OCLC 428028266.
- Cuppen, E. H. W. J. (Eefje) (2009). Putting perspectives into participation: constructive conflict methodology for problem structuring in stakeholder dialogues (Ph.D. thesis). Amsterdam. ISBN 9789088911354. OCLC 890620243.
- Hürlimann, Mark (2009). Dealing with real-world complexity: limits, enhancements and new approaches for policy makers. Gabler Edition Wissenschaft. Wiesbaden: Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Gabler. doi:10.1007/978-3-8349-8074-8. ISBN 9783834980748. OCLC 405547025.
- Kopainsky, Birgit; Luna-Reyes, Luis F. (July 2008). "Closing the loop: promoting synergies with other theory building approaches to improve system dynamics practice". Systems Research and Behavioral Science. 25 (4): 471–486. doi:10.1002/sres.913.
- Waltner-Toews, David; Kay, James; Lister, Nina-Marie E., eds. (2008). The ecosystem approach: complexity, uncertainty, and managing for sustainability. Complexity in ecological systems series. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231132503. OCLC 221664360.
- Lengler, Ralph; Eppler, Martin J. (2007). "Towards a periodic table of visualization methods for management". IASTED Proceedings of the Conference on Graphics and Visualization in Engineering (GVE 2007), Clearwater, Florida, USA. Calgary. pp. 1–6. OCLC 244786254.
- Morton, Alec; Ackermann, Fran; Belton, Valerie (May 2007). "Problem structuring without workshops?: experiences with distributed interaction within a PSM process" (PDF). Journal of the Operational Research Society. 58 (5): 547–556. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602210.
- O'Brien, Frances A.; Dyson, Robert G., eds. (2007). Supporting strategy: frameworks, methods and models. Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470057186. OCLC 76073738.
- Mendoza, Guillermo A.; Martins, H. (July 2006). "Multi-criteria decision analysis in natural resource management: a critical review of methods and new modelling paradigms". Forest Ecology and Management. 230 (1-3): 1–22. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2006.03.023.
- Montibeller, Gilberto; Belton, Valerie (July 2006). "Causal maps and the evaluation of decision options—a review" (PDF). Journal of the Operational Research Society. 57 (7): 779–791. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602214.
- Ackermann, Fran; Eden, Colin; Brown, Ian (2005). The practice of making strategy: a step-by-step guide. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 0761944931. OCLC 56464669.
- Bryson, John M. (2004). Visible thinking: unlocking causal mapping for practical business results. Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470869151. OCLC 54805947.
- List, Dennis (February 2004). "Multiple pasts, converging presents, and alternative futures". Futures. 36 (1): 23–43. doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(03)00140-X.
- Nadler, Gerald; Chandon, William J. (2004). Smart questions: learn to ask the right questions for powerful results. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0787971375. OCLC 53846603.
- Bryant, Jim (2003). The six dilemmas of collaboration: inter-organisational relationships as drama. Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470843926. OCLC 59464466.
- Sioukas, Tasos (2003). The solution path: a step-by-step guide to turning your workplace problems into opportunities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0787962759. OCLC 52423944.
- Heijden, Kees A. van der; Bradfield, Ron; Burt, George; Cairns, George; Wright, George (2002). Sixth sense: accelerating organizational learning with scenarios. Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470844914. OCLC 49834014.
- Sterman, John D. (2000). Business dynamics: systems thinking and modeling for a complex world. Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0072311355. OCLC 42771322.
- Flood, Robert L. (1999). Rethinking the fifth discipline: learning within the unknowable. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415185297. OCLC 40305701.
- Holman, Peggy; Devane, Tom; Cady, Steven, eds. (2007) . The change handbook: the definitive resource on today's best methods for engaging whole systems (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 9781576753798. OCLC 66527256.
- Horn, Robert E. (1998). Visual language: global communication for the 21st century. Bainbridge Island, WA: MacroVU, Inc. ISBN 189263709X. OCLC 41138655.
- Mitroff, Ian I. (1998). Smart thinking for crazy times: the art of solving the right problems. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 1576750205. OCLC 37910423.
- Ford, Kenneth M.; Bradshaw, Jeffrey M.; Adams-Webber, Jack R.; Agnew, Neil M. (January 1993). "Knowledge acquisition as a constructive modeling activity" (PDF). International Journal of Intelligent Systems. 8 (1): 9–32. doi:10.1002/int.4550080103.
- Hicks, Michael J. (2004) . Problem solving and decision making: hard, soft and creative approaches (2nd ed.). London; New York: Thomson. ISBN 9781861526175. OCLC 55852024.
- Conklin, E. Jeffrey; Yakemovic, K. C. Burgess (September 1991). "A process-oriented approach to design rationale". Human–Computer Interaction. 6 (3): 357–391. doi:10.1207/s15327051hci0603&4_6.
- Huff, Anne Sigismund, ed. (1990). Mapping strategic thought. Chichester, UK; New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471926329. OCLC 20722225.
- Nadler, Gerald; Hibino, Shōzō; Farrell, John (1995) . Creative solution finding: the triumph of breakthrough thinking over conventional problem solving. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub. ISBN 1559585676. OCLC 30593721.