قالب بندی انعطاف پذیری: نظریه پردازی و داده کاوی به منظور توسعه تعریف مفید از انعطاف پذیری و مفاهیم مرتبط
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22240||2011||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6848 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Futures, Volume 43, Issue 9, November 2011, Pages 923–933
Flexibility is a term used in various fields with widely differing interpretations. Moreover, several related concepts, such as adaptability, exist that have an overlap in meaning or are simply used synonymously. This article presents a framing of flexibility, and three concepts with which it bears a close family resemblance, for the use in the context of infrastructure constellations. The definitions proposed in this frame draw inspiration from existing literature, though they are not based upon a classical literature review. Rather, a usable set of definitions is proposed for the intended context. The definitions all have the same structure to better appreciate how the concepts are related and how they differ. To verify whether the definitions correspond to their practical use, a data-mining exercise is performed on over 11,000 scientific articles that use the concepts of flexibility. After the corpus of articles is identified that is close to the intended field of application (infrastructure constellations), a co-occurrence analysis is carried out in order to clarify the differences between the concepts and to give nuance to the meaning conveyed in the definitions.
The concept of flexibility applies very much to itself. The word is used in various contexts with varying meanings, conveniently meeting diverse needs. Moreover, there are many that have a similar ring to them and are used in similar contexts. But, convenience can lead to confusion. In this article, the discussion of the concept will be restricted to its use in relation with infrastructure systems. The realisation that infrastructures are typically in place for decades or more, while demands and circumstances can change on much smaller timescales, makes the idea of a flexible infrastructure attractive. That there are many possible futures confronts society with large, and deep, uncertainties, and if infrastructures could be so flexible to accommodate those unforeseen changes in demand, function, or availability of resources, this would be highly beneficial. In this manner, flexibility and related concepts have been proposed as ways to deal with the uncertainties that the future holds. Just to give some examples from different viewpoints: Allen and Torrens  suggest, in the course of a theoretical discussion introducing their special issue, that “adaptability and flexible response” are success factors in strategies, rather than “prediction, planning and control”. In that same issue, Artigiani  argues from examples from naval history that systems need to be adaptive to survive under changing circumstances. Walker et al.  discuss a number of articles that outline actual adaptive approaches to deal with the deep uncertainties of the future. Thus, having established that research on flexible infrastructures could benefit society, and acknowledging that it is researched from various perspectives, what about research on the concept of flexibility in this context? To assess what possible solutions can be found to make infrastructures more flexible, it is important to make clear what exactly is meant by a flexible infrastructure. Only then can the investigation be systematic and the findings discussed in comparison. In other words, clarifying the concept can make research on what it refers to more scientific. This article puts forward a conceptualisation of infrastructure systems, presenting a framework drawing from the field of policy analysis , as well as the study of societal transitions  and socio-technical systems . Using this, flexibility and the related concepts are framed and an encompassing definition for each and all is constructed. Which is to say, each definition of each concept will have the same form. In this manner, the concepts will not only be defined by their definition, but also by contrast – by how the definitions differ. To demonstrate the validity and usefulness of this framework in a scientific manner, these differences will be compared with ‘empirical reality’. Because “meaning is use”, as Wittgenstein  already knew, the empirical test of a definition would be comparing it with the actual use of the concepts it refers to. In this article however, the empirical check will be whether the differences between the definitions reflect the differences in use of the concepts. Though this might seem an indirect approach, it is actually more appropriate for the aim of this article, since here the definitions are proposed for a specific context – infrastructures – which might cause them to deviate from other formulations. The use of the concepts in scientific literature – the relevant empirical reality here – will be explored systematically using data-mining techniques. The ISI database will be queried for articles containing the word ‘flexibility’, its relatives, and the word ‘infrastructures’. The titles and abstracts retrieved will be analysed for their latent semantics in order to identify discourses. From these discourses, the one that is ‘closest to home’ in terms of research field will be selected, i.e. the discourse closest to policy analysis for infrastructure systems. Subsequently, within this discourse, the difference in use of flexibility and related concepts is studied by analysing their co-occurrence with certain disambiguating words – words that one typically associates with, say, flexible, but not with adaptive.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Discussing the results It is interesting to see that some intuitive connotations of flexible-like concepts are in line with their apparent use in the literature and others not at all. Table 4 was reassuring. One of the intuitions that was quite strongly confirmed was that flexibility differs from adaptivity in that the former is about anticipating change and the latter about recovering from it. Resilience was considered very much a quality of recovery rather than anticipation, which also shows from the results. That robustness is generally indifferent to the dichotomy between anticipation and recovery also raised no eyebrows. The results in Table 5 on the dichotomy disturbance (shock, short term) vs. change (gradual, trend like), also confirmed intuition. Resilience proved to be used most in the context of disturbances and far less in the context of more gradual change. Flexible and adaptive are, as expected, qualities related to change on the longer term, as is robustness. The results in Table 6 are more subtle. Flexibility is more related to adjust than to accommodate, which was not expected. The hypothesis was that flexibility is an accommodate word, because a flexible system is not expected to change itself in response to changed circumstances. This ‘changing itself’ was considered to be captured with ‘adjust’ and similar words. Perhaps the subtlety of changes made in the system vs. change in the way it deals with changed circumstances is difficult to capture in this manner. That adaptation is an accommodation word, rather than an adjust one, was only surprising at first glance. To adapt is to adjust, right? However, recalling that Discourse 1 contained many climate-change related journals clarified matters. In this discourse, the two ways of dealing with climate change are mitigation and adaptation, where the first refers to stopping climate change and the latter refers to accommodating to climate change – accommodation by adaptation. Resilience and robustness, by being both more accommodation than adjust words, conform more to intuition here. Table 7 shows how difficult to interpret the results become when there is ambiguity concerning the disambiguating terms. The dichotomy was intended to differentiate between a swift or gradual response to the changed circumstances. These and similar terms, however, are of course also used to refer to those changes themselves. Thus that resilience is a swift word still makes sense, since it often refers to the bouncing back of a system after a shock. Adaptation was thought to have strong gradual connotations, for example, because of its relation to the evolutionary discourse. However, its usage is apparently more in swift terms. 5.2. Revisiting the definitions All in all, the conclusion is that the data-mining approach as taken in this article is very useful in exploring the connotations of concepts. It provides an empirical tool for conceptual analysis. What it does not do for the conceptual analyst, though, is produce the definitions. These needed to be constructed on the basis of a tentative scan of usage in the literature and the demands of the field of application. Moreover, as mentioned before, the definitions are to be regarded as core definitions, they are as basic as possible. The nuances, and more importantly, the defining differences, can then come from the data mining. Thus, also concluding this paper, the contrasts can be brought to light in following way: Flexibility and adaptivity …are both concepts referring to changes on the longer term. The former, however, carries the connotation that the system is already prepared for the change and only needs to be employed differently, whereas the latter is associated with an ability to change along with the circumstances. Flexibility and resilience …differ in the type of response they are used to describe, flexibility associated with being prepared and longer timescales, and resilience being associated with bouncing back, recovering from shocks and disturbances. Flexibility and robustness …are both concepts used in the context of longer timescales, differing in their use in that flexibility anticipates rather than recovers, whereas robustness is more or less indifferent to that distinction. Adaptivity and resilience …are both associated with recovering. Resilience, however, is more about recovering from change on short timescales, whereas adaptivity is about changing along with the circumstances on longer timescales. Adaptivity and robustness …are both concepts used in the context of longer timescales, used differently in that adaptivity favours to recover, after the fact, rather than to anticipate, before the fact, whereas robustness apparently has no preference in this. Resilience and robustness …differ in that robustness is indifferent with respect to recovery or anticipation, whereas resilience has a preference for recovery. Moreover, resilience is associated with short timescales, shocks and disturbances, in contrast with robustness, which has an inclination towards longer timescales.