Sunday, April 17, 2011

Appreciative systems

Sir Charles Geoffrey Vickers VC (1894 - 1982) was an English lawyer, administrator, writer and pioneering systems scientist.
'I find it surprising that we have no accepted word to describe the activity of attaching meaning to communication or the code by which we do so, a code which is constantly confirmed, developed or changed by use. I have for many years referred to this mental activity as ”appreciation‘; and to the code which it uses, as its ”appreciative system‘; and to the state of that code at any time as its ”appreciative setting‘. I call it a system because, although tolerant of ambiguity and even inconsistency, it is sensitive to them and tries to reconcile them‘.

In the later years Vickers wrote and lectured on the subject of social systems analysis and the complex patterns of social organisation. His work was taken-up by researchers at the Open University in particular. Vickers is regarded as a systems practitioner rather than an academic. He introduced the concept of appreciative systems to describe human activity. He recognized that appreciation of systems requires the participation of not only the observer, but also that of the subject.

"Vickers suggests replacing the goal-setting and goal-seeking with feedback models in which personal, institutional or cultural activity consists in maintaining desired relationships and eluding undesired ones. The process is a cyclical one which operates like this: Our previous experiences have created for us certain 'standards' or 'norms', usually 'tacit' (and also, at a more general level, 'values', more general concepts of what is humanly good and bad); the standards, norms and/or values lead to readiness to notice only certain features of our situations, they determine what 'facts' are relevant; the facts noticed are evaluated against the norms, a process which leads to our taking regulatory action and modifies the norms or standards, so that future experiences will be evaluated differently".


1. SIPP or Sincere, Incident Based, Positive and Personal

2. W3 or What worked well, What did not work well and what can we do differently?

3. SLC or Success, Learn, Change

4. 4D-Model Discover—Dream—Design—Destiny.

Geoffrey Vickers' perspectives on moral and political philosophy can be presented through three key terms:

a,Our human capacity to respond aptly to our situation;

b,The analysis of modern society in terms of institutions; and

c,The moral importance of responsibility to the maintenance of human culture and cooperation

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