The paper 'Systems Methodology in Deconstruction of Disasters' is a perfect example of a Management Case Study. Soft systems methodology is described as a planned, flexible process of handling situations such as disasters that other people view as problematical and requires specific actions to correct them by making them acceptable. It is an organized process of working out issues by undertaking reasonable actions aimed at improving a situation based on the particular body of ideas and name system ideas. It is normally implemented in groups aided by specialists or facilitators who guide the other participants in understanding the techniques involved.
It is also possible to include researchers in the process. Their role is to act as intermediaries and to interview the participants to ensure that everyone understands the opinions and perspectives of each participant (Abeer & Khaled, 2008). The main idea behind this method is to incorporate judgments by handling purposeful action as a system and an adaptive whole. Altering any part of the system implies that the change will apply to all the parts of the system. The practitioners of this approach argue that the process is not a mechanical linear process.
The main characteristics and implementation phases of soft systems methodology include: workshop participants express their opinions concerning the problematic situation or the disaster in an unstructured form and then develop a visual representation of the disaster in question. This is followed by a careful definition of the human activity systems that are relevant to the disaster in order to establish a uniform understanding and agreement among the players in terms of the system. This step explicitly names a number of features of the relevant systems and transformation processes.
The conceptual models that have been mentioned in the definitions are then created in a manner that they take the practical design capable of deconstructing the disaster. An analysis of the constructed models is done by comparing them with the opinions of the real world. The action plan is finally developed and implemented (Abeer & Khaled, 2008). Application of the method in the deconstruction of disasters This method is applicable to unraveling real-life disasters. Some of the disasters where the method is applicable include: Buncefield oil storage and transfer depot The explosion at the Oil Depot that took place in 2005 was the largest in Europe and caused considerable damage to goods neighboring the site.
43 people were hurt and the total destruction as a result of the disaster was estimated to be £ 1 billion. There was a considerable distraction of businesses on the Maylands estate while some had to be relocated and others going into administration. Irrespective of the initial concerns that the disaster would result in extensive economic impacts on Hemel Hempstead this does seem to have materialized.
Discussions of the future of Buncefield and the possible planning restrictions developed through the soft system methodology lead the establishment of three key guiding principles: the vital significance of community safety, the significance of Maylands to the local and regional economy and the significance of Buncefield to the local and regional economy (Jackson, 2001). Causes of the explosion
Abeer E. & Khaled E., 2008, A multi-agent cooperative model for crisis management system, Proceedings of the 7th WSEAS International Conference on Artificial intelligence, knowledge engineering and data bases. Cambridge: Cambridge UP
Culler, J., 2001, On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
Buncefield: Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s review of the fire response
Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service 2006
Emergency planning for major accidents: Control of Major Accident Hazards
Regulations 1999 (COMAH)
Fischer, F., 2000, Risk Assessment and Environmental Crisis: Toward an Integration of Science and Participation, in Campbell, S. and Fainstain, S. (Eds.)
Initial Report to the Health and Safety Commission and the Environment Agency of the investigation into the explosions and fires at the Buncefield oil storage and transfer depot,
Hemel Hempstead, on 11 December 2005 Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board 2006, < www.buncefieldinvestigation.gov.uk>
Jackson, M. C., 2001. Critical Systems Thinking and Practice. European Journal of Operational Research ., 128: 233-244
O'Neill, B., 2008, A Model Assessment Tool for the Incident Command System: A Case Study
of the San Antonio Fire Department