A view of Systems Practice: Enabling quality in design

Charlotte N. Dunford*, Mike Yearworth, Darren M. York, Patrick Godfrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the study was to gain a greater understanding of the use of Systems Practice among engineers working in the Rolls-Royce Defence Sector at its Bristol site and develop hypotheses about its use. This study is part of a larger project to investigate and improve the use and embedding of Systems Practice among engineers at the site. The current situation was studied using a combination of grounded theory and system dynamics, supported by the use of a computer-aided qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) package. The results from this work show that Systems Practice is valued as a way of enabling quality in design but engineers find it challenging to adopt because of (i) lack of stakeholder appreciation of its value, (ii) their lack of experience with Systems Engineering, and (iii) logistical issues with its application. This work will be followed by group model building sessions to further develop the findings by identifying interventions to create and assess improvement in Systems Practice, in particular finding errors earlier in the design lifecycle.
Translated title of the contributionEnabling Quality in Design
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-151
Number of pages18
JournalSystems Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date20 Sep 2012
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2013


  • sociotechnical systems
  • capability improvement
  • action research
  • grounded theory
  • system dynamics
  • grounded systems modeling
  • Systems Engineering
  • Systems Practice
  • participative change

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