Definition of System and Systems Theory Essay

337 WordsJul 18, 20142 Pages
1. Definition of system and systems theory In its broadest conception, a “system” may be described as a complex of interacting components together with the relationships among them that permit the identification of a boundary-maintaining entity or process. (Alexander Laszlo and S. Krippner 1998:3) For the purposes of this paper, I provide a definition based on Russell Ackoff's suggestion that a system is a set of two or more interrelated elements with the following properties: 1. Each element has an effect on the functioning of the whole. 2. Each element is affected by at least one other element in the system. 3. All possible subgroups of elements also have the first two properties (Alexander Laszlo and S. Krippner 1998:9). By substituting the concept of ‘element’ for that of ‘component,’ it is possible to arrive at a definition that pertains to systems of any kind, whether formal (e.g., mathematics, language), existential (e.g., ‘real-world’), or affective (e.g., aesthetic, emotional, imaginative). In each case, a whole made up of interdependent components in interaction is identified as the system. In the most basic definition a system is a group of interacting components that conserves some identifiable set of relations with the sum of the components plus their relations (i.e., the system itself) conserving some identifiable set of relations to other entities (including other systems) (Alexander Laszlo and S. Krippner 1998:9). Therefore System theory can be defined as philosophical doctrine of describing systems as abstract organizations independent of substance, type, time and space. It views the world as a complex system of interconnected parts. (Wikipedia).Systems theories are connected to both ontological and epistemological views. The ontological view imply that the world consist of “systems” or “integrative levels”. The epistemological view implies a

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