Even if practical application is the preferred way to validation, it is not free of problems. Checkland and Scholes (1990:299), in their discussions on practical application of SSM, claim that a methodology like SSM is undecidable (italics added):
"It is an irony of work of the kind described here that the obvious question posed by the very existence of an approach to bringing about improvements in a problem situation cannot be answered! When people hear for the first time about SSM, or systems engineering, or cognitive mapping, or any such methodology, they naturally ask: Is it any good? Does it work? And they are very frustrated when they develop an understanding of the nature of methodology sufficient to realize that the question is unanswerable, that methodology is in fact undecidable."The main argument they pose to support their claim is that SSM is a methodology – a set of principles for method. Consequently, SSM as a prescriptive approach is inseparable from actual use by a particular user in a particular context, introducing actions that are not under the control of SSM. The same can be claimed on behalf of Tema – it is a framework that has to be interpreted, adapted and enacted in a particular setting.
|Tema advocates the active construction of metaphors as a means to improve sense-making. If a project group experience successful use of metaphors, they may interpret it as an indication of the effectiveness of the framework. If their use of metaphors is not successful, they may be accused of creating the "wrong" metaphors (and thereby blaming the failure on the project team and not on Tema).|