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A Soft System Analysis of

Nonprofit Organizations
and Humanitarian Services
INTRODUCTION
In the UAE, like in other countries both within and outside the Middle East, there has been a big wave of structural changes
within the public sector which resulted in huge reductions in the donation to humanitarian organizations. Due to this, the SCHS
has to develop a better strategy to raise money in order to keep its programs functioning at an acceptable level; and this is the
main purpose of this paper.
The research follows the tradition of the interpretive and action oriented approach, where we are looking at a real life
situation with the objective of both acquiring knowledge about the situation in order to improve it.
The paper is organized as follows; first, the SSM development, characteristics and attributes are covered. Soft
systemmethodology as a tool, give us the ability to perceive a system in a given situation as it perceives by all different
stakeholders. It is a kind of insight which enables us to look at complex, confused situation and perceive degree of order or
interconnection in the perceptible chaos. The methodology builds on the interpretative paradigm and is a methodology which
recognizes the role of individuals world images and the influence of historical background on the interpretation of reality
(Jayaratna, 1994, p. 176).
As stated by Bergavall-Kareborn et al. the methodology as a whole has changed from the seven-stage model to the two
streams (logical and cultural) model. (p. 56). In addition, the original focus on structures and processes has been replaced
with the social, political, and historical focus.
Implications of SSM thinking for humanitarian services community:
(1) Emphasis on a problem-solving and interdisciplinary approaches within and among the community as a human
activity system;
(2) Determining the factors that impinge on the performance and motivation of the roles and actors in all sub-systems;
(3) Understanding and approaching problems on multiple levels (bottom up and top down);
(4) Attempts for change and intervention within the community through participation of all stakeholders;
(5) Considering recursive and dynamic relation between community and its physical, biological, and human
environment which enable us to communicate with it in a sustainable framework.






Soft System Methodology
human activity systems, organizations could be engineered toward solutions of varying
degrees of optimality or satisfaction (Checkland, 1985).
Soft systems methodology (SSM) (Checkland and Schools, 1990) is a wellknown methodology
that aims at tackling real-world problems of management. As such, it has been used both for
information systems design and for systems design and learning in general. It focuses on
models of perceptions, not models of complex reality and is especially suited for problem
situations labeled as complex and pluralistic.
The SSM process, which according to Checkland is, in fact a method for the more formal
articulation of the workings of what Vickers terms the process of appreciation (Checkland,
1979, p. 325), consists of four main phases: finding out; systems modeling; comparison; and,
taking action, illustrated in Fig. 1. It is not the phases in themselves that makes SSM
particular because as Checkland himself points out, they are all everyday mental acts
(Checkland, 1981, p. 214),
The purpose of the exploration is to provide a better understanding of the situation in
question and it is usually summarized in a so-called Rich Picture (Checkland and Schools,
1990).

ROOT DEFINITION
RD didapat melalui PQR formula. PQR formula membantu dalam membangun RD.
Do P (Purposeful activity What to do?)
Do Q (A theory for support How to do it?)
To contribute R (Result Why do it?)

As stated above, the root definition is a condensed statement about the system and is
comparable in so many ways to a mission statement of an entity. The root definition
for SCHS, based on its state mission statement follows:

There is a need for stronger community participation in SCHSs projects. This may be
established through new innovative means carried out by both media and public
relations departments at SCHS in order to increase donations coming from both
individuals and organizations.
CATWOE
PROPOSED CHANGES
CONCLUSION AND RECOMENDATIONS
In conclusion, it is recommended that SCHS look for other sources of income and
continue its investment projects to sustain a self-generated income in the long
run. It is also strongly recommended that SCHS develop and keep upgrading its
information technology system for the purpose of improving its records, data basis
for a quicker more efficient sharing of information. At the end, I recommend that
SCHS encourage innovation from within as well as from the outside. It should also
organize the efforts of its volunteers.
As Soft Systems methodology is an open ended technique that has a lot of
potential for expanding on ideas and recommendations, we see that many of the
proposed changes may be further investigated and elaborated on using SSM.
Finally, the recommendations listed in this paper will be implemented and the
authors are planning a post-implementation study in a couple of years in order to
measure the impact of the changes and programs undertaken.
The authors would like to note here that the recommended changes proposed
above assume a continuation of SCHS in its current form (mission, purpose,
organization, and relationship with the government of Sharjah). The suggested
changes are expected to improve the Citys current functioning, and that none of
the changes are in the nature of a radical re-thinking of the essential purpose or
mission of SCHS. Our in depth analysis of the City confirms our belief that the
basic form of SCHS is sound and should be continued.