The performative idiom and PSMs

Mike Yearworth, Leroy White, Richard Ormerod

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Pickering’s Mangle of Practice appears to offer a useful construct for the analysis of PSM workshops as well as an inspiration for OR practitioners to produce more informative case studies from their work. Both are promising avenues to pursue for further research into what Pickering labels as the performative idiom of SSK and we encourage this. However, we discuss here a theoretical contribution addressing the question of whether the Mangle offers a similar view to what Checkland called a "phenomenological investigation into the meanings which actors in a situation attribute to the reality they perceive" and thus to an anchoring of SSM in the "philosophical/sociological tradition of interpretive social science". We present some of these points of correspondence between Checkland’s and Pickering’s thinking and discuss whether the Mangle and the performative idiom offer a better theoretical perspective for analyzing PSM interventions generally.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication27th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO 2015)
Publication statusIn preparation - 2015


  • Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs)
  • The Mangle of Practice
  • Soft Systems Methodology


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