Research Output
A systems approach to understanding the perspectives in the changing landscape of responsible business in Scotland
  The purpose of this paper is to present an application of community O.R. (COR), using soft system methodology (SSM) to help a grant-maker to understand how to unlock and release more resources into communities. The problem area under investigation is a perceived lack of connectivity and alignment between and within the public, private and third sectors in Scotland to address the challenges being faced by communities, articulated by third sector organisations. This is of value as the private sector (we focus on "for-profit businesses") hold the majority of these resources (e.g. people, assets and money). The paper argues that a conduit to business and the third sector can support the allocation of business resources into communities and evaluating outcomes as part their responsible business practice. The 'connect' model is proposed and refined to achieve the client's goal and to address a range of stakeholder issues/challenges. Data was collected in 17 workshops with the client, stakeholder groups and a continuous diaological process with 16 key stakeholders and critical friends. Early on in the SSM study, the 'investing in social capital' relevant system was deemed a necessary early intervention, to bring together actors in a 'open system' that addresses the 'whole problem' area (launched as the 'Responsible Business Forum'). Two additional concepts emerge from the study that help refine the 'connect' model and have implications for theory and practice: the co-creation of business-community value, facilitated by a conduit that unlocks a 'shared space' based on a match of shared aspirations and goals.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    28 November 2017

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  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    658 General management

  • Funders:

    Voluntary Action Fund, Fife, Scotland; Scottish Funding Council


Weaver, M. W., Crossan, K., Tan, H., & Paxton, S. (2018). A systems approach to understanding the perspectives in the changing landscape of responsible business in Scotland. European Journal of Operational Research, 268(3), 1149-1167.



Community operational research, responsible business practice, soft systems methodology, resource allocation, co-creation

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