An Inquiry Into The Nature Of Analysis.

Brinklow, Anthony (2000). An Inquiry Into The Nature Of Analysis. MPhil thesis The Open University.



Increases in the complexity and uncertainty of corporate activity indicate that the time is now appropriate to review the analysis process. This proposition forms the central theme of the thesis, i.e. to explore the nature of analysis.

Initial research concentrated on the field of hard system methods, to provide a theoretical foundation for conducting analysis. However, from observations undertaken as a reflective practitioner it became clear that, even with theoretical advances, hard system methods could only make a marginal contribution to the analysis process. Hard system methods foiled to account for the feet that experts had an uncertain knowledge of the domain on which they were expected to pronounce.

Contemporary literature from the fields of strategic management and organisational behaviour pose fundamental challenges to the accepted origin and nature of requirements for change. Complexity theory, however, offers a new theoretical foundation to ease the plight of the domain expert, i.e. pattern recognition. However to ensure that patterns reflect the cognitive strategies-and priorities of the domain expert, it is necessary to explore the field of cognitive psychology to appreciate the significance of the metaphors selected to construct patterns. Finally, knowledge management claims that the value of knowledge is under endless assault and argues for the domain expert to be engaged in a virtuous cycle of perpetual knowledge creation. The thesis seeks to integrate these themes to redefine the analysis process based on methodological pluralism. The key to methodological pluralism proved eventually to be the introduction of generic ‘behaviour accentuated’ patterns of analysis at the core of the selected techniques.

The nature of analysis has changed radically over the last decade and significant research is required to develop themes raised in this thesis. Moreover, further work is required to disseminate the themes to the practitioner community.

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