Title: System acquisition pathology: a comprehensive characterisation of system failure modes and effects

Authors: Polinpapilinho F. Katina

Addresses: Department of Informatics and Engineering Systems, University of South Carolina Upstate, 800 University Way, Media 211, Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA

Abstract: Acquisition systems are shaped by calls for reforming, improving and modification. These calls include tangible processes, tools, and methods geared towards meeting cost, schedule, and technical performance. Failure avoidance is often considered a driving factor in acquisition systems. However, there remains a lack of systems research, particularly the inclusion of systems perspectives in acquisition systems failure analysis. The aim of this research was three-fold: 1) to understand the current state of acquisition systems with an emphasis on success/failures; 2) to elevate general systems theory (GST) as a foundation for the comprehensive characterisation of system acquisition failure, and; 3) to articulate a GST-based approach for identification/assessment of failures in system acquisition. Using GST, a grounded theory method is used to develop a construct for system acquisition pathology and validated in a case application. A method for identification of system acquisition pathology is then described along with implications for system acquisition research.

Keywords: complex system governance; acquisition system; Department of Defense; DoD; general systems theory; GST; (meta)pathology; M-Path; system pathology; system performance; systems engineering; system failure.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCIS.2020.108499

International Journal of Critical Infrastructures, 2020 Vol.16 No.3, pp.255 - 292

Received: 31 Aug 2019
Accepted: 09 Oct 2019

Published online: 14 Jul 2020 *

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