Title page for ETD etd-01232006-155408

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van der Walt, Johanna Maria
Email mvdw@imt.co.za
URN etd-01232006-155408
Document Title Technology for knowledge innovation: A realistic pluralist scientific problem solving capability
Degree MSc (Technology Management)
Department Engineering and Technology Management
Advisor Name Title
Prof J K Visser Committee Chair
  • complexity theory
  • capability management
  • decision support
  • knowledge management
  • innovation
  • scientific method
  • pluralism
  • scientific problem solving
  • cybernetics
  • systems thinking
  • operations research
  • technology management
  • research and development
Date 2005-08-04
Availability unrestricted
The aim of this study is to define and describe a scientific problem solving capability to be used by the Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT) in its Decision Support Domain in order to provide a scientific support service to decision makers in the South African Navy.

Cognisance is given to the fact that the context within which this scientific service functions is of a complex nature, and so are some of the problems which the Decision Support Domain are required to study. For this reason a methodology developed by the proponents of complexity modelling for management and organisational science, namely to approach the problem through “Perspective Filters” is used. The aim is therefore to identify emergent patterns in the development of various disciplines commonly utilised for problem solving. Their respective developments during the twentieth century are studied with this stated aim in mind. Scientific method is seen to be a dominant perspective in this pursuit.

The outcome of the study is a proposed generic, pluralist scientific problem solving process which provides a stable definition of such a service despite its constantly changing environment. This greatly enhances the robustness of the service, which makes it cost-effective to develop. The definition of pluralism which is used in this study, and which underpins the definition of the capability, differs from other current dominant views of pluralism in that it upholds the realist aim of science. Although this process is developed in the specific context of IMT, its generic nature makes it a general knowledge technology for any such a service with the aim of providing a scientific service, not limited to the context within which it is developed.

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