Critical Systems Thinking Ulrich

Critical Systems Thinking Ulrich-38
The CSH toolbox is composed of twelve 'boundary questions' designed to outline and provoke thought about boundary judgments that determine situational framings.Each question is considered in two modes: an ideal mode (what 'should' be), and a descriptive mode (what 'is'), making twenty-four questions in total.Systems thinking is a broad field which employs 'systems' as conceptual tools which help to acknowledge and deal with the complexity of the real world (see: Churchman, 1971; Churchman, 1979).

The CSH toolbox is composed of twelve 'boundary questions' designed to outline and provoke thought about boundary judgments that determine situational framings.

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Conversation and learning from an evaluation can be severely hindered by debates that stem from differing boundary judgments and situational framings, but many approaches lack a means of openly and explicitly discussing the underlying sources of these judgments.

CSH opens doorways to profound investigation of the different worldviews involved in a project.

Engaging debate about the issues exposed during the evaluation fulfills a practical purpose by opening up new ways to improve communication and hence the overall wellbeing of those involved.

Finally, by intentionally setting all actors' perspectives on equal footing regardless of their expertise or technical competence (sometimes referred to as a ' Socratic' professional stance), CSH can have an emancipatory purpose, amplifying otherwise unheard voices.

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Critical System Heuristics (CSH) provides a framework of questions about a program including what is (and what ought to be) its purpose and its source of legitimacy and who are (and who ought to be) its intended beneficiaries.

Overlapping with the analytic purpose (of providing more information), therefore, CSH also intends to generate discussion, reflection, and critique.

The boundary questions in Table 1 provide a common rubric designed to enable mutual understanding and contructive dialogue.

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