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System Dynamics Glossary

What is the meaning of CATWOE?

CATWOE is a mnemonic of the six crucial characteristics which should be included in a well formulated root definition used in Soft Systems Methodology:

  • Customer: beneficiary or victim of the systemís activity.

  • Actor: a person who carries out one or more of the activities in the system.

  • Transformation Process: the core transformation process of a human activity system is expressed as the conversion of some input to some output.

  • Weltanschauung: the (unquestioned) image or model of the world which makes this particular human activity system (with its particular transformation process) a meaningful one to consider.

  • Owner: he person or persons who could modify or demolish the system.

  • Environmental Constraints: impositions which the system takes as given (Checkland, 1993: 312-319).

  • Other topics in our resources on System Dynamics related to CATWOE include: 
  • weltanschauung

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