Development and Analysis
In Chapter 1 you were introduced to procedural rationality and, briefly, to problem structuring methods (PSMs). There are several of these methods and in this chapter you will learn about one of them, Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA). This is a process through which people can achieve a consensus about, and commitment to, strategic action. You will consider the theoretical basis of this approach as well as its key technique, cognitive mapping, and study an application in the management of health services.
By the end of this chapter, you will be better able to:
• outline the Strategic Options Development and Analysis approach and
describe its use as a group decision support system
• draw a cognitive map
Cognitive mapping A term from psychological research on perception which describes the
general task of mapping a person's thinking. A cognitive map is not simply a 'word and arrow'
diagram or an influence diagram; it is the product of a formal modelling technique with rules
for its development.
Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA) A problem-structuring approach
designed for working with messy problems. The aim is to facilitate the process by which a team
arrives at consensus and commitment to action. The cognitive maps of each member of a client
team are merged to form an aggregated map called a 'strategic map'.
Strategic workshops Part of SODA, these involve two 'passes'. The aim of the first pass is to
begin the process of participants 'taking on board' alternative views and in the second pass,
focusing on specific issues, the 'rules' change, discussion is encouraged and commitment to
action is sought.