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    Combining value-focused thinking and soft systems methodology: a systemic framework to structure the planning process at a special educational needs school in Brazil

    Françozo, Rafael, Paucar-Caceres, Alberto ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4690-561X and Beldarrain, Mischel Carmen Neyra (2022) Combining value-focused thinking and soft systems methodology: a systemic framework to structure the planning process at a special educational needs school in Brazil. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 73 (5). pp. 994-1013. ISSN 0160-5682

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    Abstract

    Soft systems methodology (SSM) is a well-known Problem Structuring Methods that has proven effective when tackling problematic situations. To model different perceptions of a problematic situation, SSM encourage stakeholders to propose possible transformation likely to improve the situation. The more transformations compiled the richer the process become; but in practice, managing higher number of transformations presents a challenge. Value-Focused Thinking (VFT) is an approach designed to obtain and structure stakeholders’ value-based objectives. In an SSM application, stakeholders ascribe their value-based objectives to the transformations proposed; we propose a multi-methodological framework in which VFT analysis is added to a revised version of SSM (Re-SSM). This allows to reduce the transformations to a manageable number. We applied the (Re-SSM)-VFT framework to a single case-study to structure/define policies/practices in planning the inclusion of students with special educational needs in a Brazilian Federal High School. In applying the framework, we found that from more than 40 initial SSM transformations only 8 transformations were needed to reach 4 out of 5 objectives. Results suggest that it is possible to save time/effort in the planning process by considering transformations associated with the stakeholders’ value-based objectives enabling efficient systemic plans, aligned with their expectations.

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