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primer [2014/01/16 12:43]
tom_mandel
primer [2020/07/27 15:38] (current)
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 ==INTEGRATIVE SYSTEMICS (organismics)== ==INTEGRATIVE SYSTEMICS (organismics)==
  
-Traditional science has always taken apart, based on the assumption that knowledge based on the parts would reveal how it works. Modern science has found the parts are working together . as a whole+Traditional science has always taken apart, based on the assumption that knowledge based on the parts would reveal how it works. Modern ​systemic ​science has found actual knowledge is the  
 +relationship of the assumed ​parts together rather than the parts alone. Actual reality is 
 +the uni-verse  ​working together.
  
-==(UNI-VERSE WORKING TOGETHER)== 
  
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 +== SYSTEM STUDIES == 
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 +SYSTEMS THEORY/​SCIENCE/​THINKING/​APPROACH/​METHODOLOGY is a transdisciplinary and multiperspective scientific inquiry that studies structure and properties in terms of their interrelationships. Ervin Laszlo contrasts the system model with the Classical science model of reductionism as a shifting of emphasis from parts to the organization of parts; from the "​component to the dynamic"​ as he puts it. Erich Jantsch writes, "Quite generally, a system becomes observable and definable through its interactions. in Jantsch E (1980) The Self-Organizing-Universe. Pergamon Press They emphasize that it is through these mutually interactive relationships that new properties of the whole emerge. Bela H Banathy regards this observation to be the "​value"​ of systems theory; as this new whole has properties which are not found in the constituent elements. "We cannot understand the whole bit by bit" he explains.[1] ​----
  
 ==Foreword== ==Foreword==
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-__DEFINING ​SYSTEMIC ​DEFINITION__ ​+___DEFINING ​SYSTEMIC ​DEFINITION___ ​
  
 The Primer is a group of ISSS members, Bela Banathy, Ken Udas, Markus Schwaninger,​ Matthew Shipero, Tom Mandel, and the support of many other members of ISSS, who have the examined the notion of integrated systemics. The Primer as a product began as a handbook and was renamed "​Primer"​ because there already is a handbook. ​ The Primer is a group of ISSS members, Bela Banathy, Ken Udas, Markus Schwaninger,​ Matthew Shipero, Tom Mandel, and the support of many other members of ISSS, who have the examined the notion of integrated systemics. The Primer as a product began as a handbook and was renamed "​Primer"​ because there already is a handbook. ​
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-==THE FACETS OF THE WHOLE==+**THE FACETS OF THE WHOLE**
  
  
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-[[Systeming at a glance]] ​Look at the ISSS symbol and how it shows us the difference between the part and the whole. ​+[[Systeming at a glance]] ​Gaze at the ISSS symbol and it will show us the difference between the part and the whole. ​
  
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-**Perhaps the greatest ​teacher ​of systems theory is Dr. Bela H. Banathy. Presemted here ae sopme of his teachings.** +Perhaps the greatest ​actualizer ​of systems theory is Dr. Bela H. Banathy. Presemted here ae some of his teachings. ​
  
 [[http://​www.fixall.org/​primer/​belaed.html]] ​ [[http://​www.fixall.org/​primer/​belaed.html]] ​
  
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-Editor'​s note:  +.
-Bela Banathy has left us, but he lived his life as a master of his tradeHis trade was teaching systemics to teachers of systemics. He left us a wealth of books and knowledge which in the social aspect is equaled by none. He is the master of social systemics for all time. His dream was not in victory, but of working together and to accomplish this he envisioned what he would call “Agora'​s” meeting places where minds worked together. His theory of evolution is of particular note, emphasizing the transition to language from which emerged a cultural evolution in which the systemic principle of working together continues human development. The way he lived his life is an example of his ultimate quest, science for the benefit of humankind. It is this that he has left us, his is the science for the benefit of all of us.  +
-Tommy Mandel ​+
  
  
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 +__ELABORATIONS__
  
 +[[Primer 2.0]]
  
 +An attempt to say it all at once, In this section the entire fiekd of systems is outlined in a linear fashion ​
  
- +SYSTEMICS AS A SCHEME
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-Bela H. Banathy Saybrook Graduate School International Society for the Systems Sciences International Systems Institute International Federation for Systems Research  +
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-A Nation at Risk by Bela H. Banathy  +
-“While an unchanging dominant majority is perpetually rehearsing its own defeat, fresh challenges are evoking fresh creative responses from newly recruited minorities, which proclaims their own creative power by rising, each time, to the occasion.” Arnold Toynbee  +
-“In a 1983 national commission report, A Nation at Risk, a great educational crisis in the performance of American schools is described. I contend that the educational crisis we have been talking about for the past decade is not a crisis of performance,​ but a crisis of perception; a perception of what education should be and how we can create “what should be.”  +
- ​REFLECTIONS:​  +
-By Bala H. Banathy  +
-The viability and relevance of the educational profession will be judged based on the extent to which we spearhead the evolution of education, place ourselves in the service of transforming education, and help create just systems of learning and development for future generations. We now realize that systems design is a missing inquiry in education. Confronted with “new societal realities” and new educational requirements of a rapidly changing world, people look to the professional education community for guidance in the design of their educational systems. This expectation confronts us with the challenge to individually and collectively acquire systems thinking and develop competence in systems design and practice. Education creates the future, and there is no more important task and no more noble calling than participating in the creation.  +
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-WHY A SYSTEMS VIEW? +
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-Bela H. Banathy  +
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-The second half of the twentieth century is marked by massive changes affecting all aspects of our lives. We are experiencing the major societal TRANSFORMATION from the industrial machine age to the post-industrial information/​knowledge age. These changes and transformations are reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are part, the environments in which we live, and THE WAY WE VIEW the world.  +
-A world-view (window to the world) is like a lens through which we perceive the landscape of life that becomes our reality. Those who look through the lens of the previous era see their own reality very differently from those who use the lens that the new era has crafted.  +
-This “view of the world” (world-view) has many dimensions: the socio-cultural,​ the socio-technical,​ the socio-economic,​ the organizational,​ and the scientific just to name a few. These dimensions interact and mutually influence eachother expressing that interaction as an emergence of a NEW world view very different from the previous era - the era of the industrial society.  +
-This change from one era to another is often called “PARADIGM SHIFT.”  +
-When a new stages emerges in the evolution of society, such as the case around the midpoint of this century, the continued use of the old paradigm, the old-world-view-lens,​ creates ever-increasing problems. For example, the social systems such as our educational activity systems that still operate by the design of a bygone era. They operate in a continual crisis mode, and eventually face obsolescence. But they could frame a new mind set, learn to use the new lens of the new era, and acquire a new thinking, knowing, and doing based on the new world view.  +
-Over the last four or five decades, we have been faced with increasingly more complex and pressing problem-situations,​ embedded in interconnected systems operating in dynamically changing environments. In addressing these problem situations and working with their relevant systems, we have learned to recognize the limitations of the perspectives,​ methods and tools of the traditional scientific orientation.  +
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-CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATIONS +
-By Bela H. Banathy  +
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-The mind set of the industrial era has its roots in classical science - often associated with Newton - that emerged some three hundred years ago. Disciplined inquiry during the last three hundred years, inspired by the Cartesian-Newtonian scientific world view has sought understanding by taking things apart by seeking the “ultimate part” and groping to see or reconstruct the whole by viewing the characteristics of its parts.  +
-“not able to grasp “wholeness” which EMERGES from the mutual interaction of parts.”  +
-This REDUCTIONIST orientation was not able to grasp “wholeness” which EMERGES from the mutual interaction of parts, where the part gets its meaning from the whole and by its interaction with all the other members of the whole. The properties of the whole cannot be seen from the viewpoint of the parts.  +
-Today, we realize that the reductionist method of analysis has to be complemented with synthesis and with expansionism,​ aimed at understanding larger and larger wholes in which our systems of interest are embedded.  +
-Classical, traditional,​ science is based on the CERTAINTY OF DETERMINISM and the confidence in PREDICTION. However, Heisenberg'​s Uncertainty Principle and Einstein'​s Relativity have humbled our expectations for prediction. The principle of uncertainty has helped us to understand that the observer cannot be separated from what is observes, This is obvious in physics and much more so in social science.  +
-Figure 1 depicts the key distinctions between classical and systemic orientations.  +
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-Traditional science'​s unidirectional CAUSE AND EFFECT is inadequate to deal with the many interactive variables of complex, dynamic systems. We know now that in such systems, the dynamics of MULTIPLE, MUTUAL and RECURSIVE causation operate.  +
-Classical science saw systems to be basically closed, having only limited and highly controlled interaction with their environment. However, living systems are open systems, having intensive interactions with their environment. Closed systems are governed by NEGATIVE feedback, essentially internal relationships maintaining the status quo, while open systems operate by POSITIVE feedback, essentially external relationships allowing for growth and change  +
-Traditional science was unable and unwilling to consider PURPOSE and MEANING which, in the emerging view of disciplined inquiry, has a guiding role. And where dominance once was the purpose, there is now a search for establishing a grand ALLIANCE of science, philosophy, art, and religion. “a grand ALLIANCE of science, philosophy, art, and religion.”  +
-In human activity systems these insights have led us to aspire to UNDERSTANDING rather than predicting, problem MANAGEMENT rather than problem solution, and PURPOSE SEEKING as a mode of thinking and action rather than determinism.  +
-Classical science defined complexity in terms of the multiple parts of a system, while systems science defines it based on multiple interactions with the environment and the interactions among parts within the viewed system.  +
-The technologies of MANUFACTURING THINGS worked well in managing the organized simplicity of the closed-systems production of the “THINGS WORLD” of the machine age. This mechanistic/​deterministic world-view manifesting itself as technology drove the industrial revolution. We learned to MANAGE THINGS. But those technologies became useless, once we were faced with the organized open-system dynamics of the “WORLD OF COMPLEXITIES emerging in this new era.  +
-We study the social system in a variety of FRAGMENTED disciplines. This separating-into-disciplines approach can provide only partial interpenetration of the system studied and sets forth descriptions based on disparate theoretical frameworks. We study our social systems through the lenses of sociology, psychology, economics of education, the anthropology of cultures, economics, organizational and communication sciences, poetical science, and so on.  +
-“We cannot observe properties of the whole bit by bit.”  +
-Such compartmentalized inquiry, with the use of widely differing orientations,​ methods, and languages of the separate disciplines,​ results in unintegrated and incomplete knowledge of the characterization of what a social system is as a whole. A particular discipline can address only a narrow aspect of the whole, social science scholarship typically focuses on only a few variables, studied in isolation by the experimental methods of classical science, Thus, we cannot consider the complex interactions and systemic interconnectedness of the various components that integrate into the whole, We cannot adequately portray the mutually interacting and recursive dynamics, the relationships,​ of the processes of our complex social systems. We cannot observe properties of the whole from an analysis of just the parts apart.  +
-For all the reasons portrayed above it is suggested that we are faced with the reality that the old ways of thinking and viewing do not work anymore. We have to be willing to consider the application of systems thinking, systems inquiry, and the use of the systems view for both human systems scholarship and PRACTICE. In today'​s world the methods of CREATING, ORGANIZING, and USING INFORMATION and KNOWLEDGE are the requisite intellectual technologies.  +
-The internalization of this new type of inquiry in our thinking manifests itself in the SYSTEMS VIEW, and its activation in social systems will lead to practical systemic ACTION  +
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- ​SYSTEMS INQUIRY +
-By Bela H. Banathy  +
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-The systems view is a world-view that is based on the discipline of SYSTEM INQUIRY, Central to systems inquiry is the concept of SYSTEM. In the most general sense, system means a configuration of parts connected and joined together by a web of relationships. The Primer group defines system as a family of relationships among the members acting as a whole. Bertalanffy defined system as “elements in standing relationship.”  +
-The joining and integrating of the web of relationships creates EMERGENT PROPERTIES of the whole. These properties of the whole may not be found in any analysis the parts. This is the VALUE of systems theory. the WHOLENESS that can't be seen in the parts.  +
-SYSTEMS INQUIRY is a system itself. As a conceptual system, it has four interrelated and internally consistent aspects acting as a whole: systems PHILOSOPHY, systems THEORY, systems METHODOLOGY and systems APPLICATION. Furthermore,​ systems inquiry embraces two kinds of disciplined inquiry; it's conclusion-orientated inquiry mode PRODUCES systems knowledge, its decision orientated inquiry mode APPLIES systems knowledge to the formulation and selection of systems methods that address real-world situations. “As a conceptual system, it has four interrelated and internally consistent aspects.”  +
-SYSTEMIC PHILOSOPHY asks the question, “How can we understand systems?” With the perspectives of systems philosophy, we look at the world in terms of facts and events in the context of wholes, and we understand them as integrated sets purposefully arranged in systemic relations. In contrast to the analytic, reductionist,​ linear, single cause-and-effect view of the philosophy of classical science, systems philosophy brings forth a reorganization of ways of thinking and knowing perceived reality, a view manifested in synthetic, expansionist,​ dynamic, and multiple/​mutual causality modes of thinking and inquiring, how things work more than what things are.  +
-Each scientific discipline in classical science has developed its OWN theoretical scheme. SYSTEMS SCIENCE, on the other hand, transcends those disciplinary boundaries, seeking alikeness (or isomorphy) of principles, concepts and laws that exist in the various realms of experience. We INTEGRATE, within the framework of systems theory, the findings of the various disciplines. That is the unique POWER of systems theory. With this power we can understand and work with the insights and knowledge generated by the disciplines that are relevant to our domain of inquiry The organized arrangement of these “general principles” constitutes a GENERAL THEORY OF SYSTEMS - an exposition applying to all systems.  +
-SYSTEMS METHODOLOGY differs from the methodologies of the disciplines in that the methodology of a particular discipline is clearly identified and is to be adhered to, In Systems Inquiry, on the other hand, one selects – from a wide range of approaches, methods, and tools that best fit – the TYPE of system, the PURPOSE and NATURE of the Inquiry and the specific problem SITUATION. Systems Methodology has two domains of Inquiry; (a) the study of methods by which we pursue systems scholarship and produce systems knowledge, and (b) the identification and description , methods, and tools for applying systems theory and systemic thinking in the analysis, design and development of complex systems. More specifically,​ this task is twofold: + to identify, characterize and classify the system of our interest, the system of issues embedded in our system, other systems that interact with us and the larger system (the environment) that embeds our system. + To select, identify and characterize specific strategies, methods, and tools appropriate to the work with our system.  +
-When we talk about SYSTEMS APPLICATION we are considering the application of systems approaches/​models/​methodologies/​methods/​tools in a specific FUNCTIONAL CONTEXT, E.G., a social system INVOLVES the following:  +
-(1) select the approch/​model/​methodology/​methods/​tools that are appropriate to: (2) the type of systems in consideration:​ rigidly controlled , deterministic,​ purposive, heuristic, purpose seeking AND (3) the specific domain of inquiry: description (of the system), analysis, design, development,​ management.  +
-“We integrate, within the framework of systems theory, the findings of the various disciplines.”  +
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-In summary, By OBSERVING various types of systems and studying their behavior, we can recognize characteristics that are common to all systems. Once we have identified and described a set of concepts that are common to the systems, and observed and discovered among some of them certain relationships,​ we can construct from them general systems PRINCIPLES. Thus, a systems principles emerges from an interaction/​integration of related concepts. Next we are in the position to look for interrelations among principles and organize related principles in to certain conceptual schemes we call SYSTEMS MODELS. This process of starting from OBSERVATION and arriving at the CONSTRUCTION of systems models constitutes the first stage of developing a systems view.  +
-Excerpted from Foundations for Research in Educational Communitions and Technology. Systems Inquiry and its Application in Education  +
-By Bela H Banathy  +
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-The systems view is a certain way of looking at ourselves, at the environments we live in, at the systems that surround us, and at those we are part of, in terms of our interactions.  +
-But having a description of systems inquiry, or even an understanding of systems concepts and principles and types of systems, does not YET mean having a systems view. The systems view is a way of thinking, and acting. it is a world view we can possess. And there are ways by which the systems view can be developed.  +
-“The systems view is a way of thinking and acting.”  +
-By observing various types of systems and studying their behavior, we can recognize characteristics that are common to all systems. Once we have identified and described a set of concepts that are common to the systems, and observed and discovered among some of them certain relationships,​ we can construct from them GENERAL SYSTEMS PRINCIPLES. Thus, a system principle emerges from an interaction/​integration of related concepts. Next, we are in the position to look for relationships among principles and organize related principles into certain conceptual schemes we call SYSTEMS MODELS. This process of starting from observation and arriving at the construction of systems models constitutes the FIRST STAGE of developing a systems view.  +
-Models are useful as frames of reference that we can use to examine and talk about the system the model represents, We work with models all the time. When we exchange ideas about something, we usually do so by using conceptual models. In a discourse, it is helpful to have a common model, or a common frame of reference, so that we have some assurance that everybody is talking about the same thing. In what follows, I map the journey for the use of the three models and for acquisition of the systems view.  +
-The term “model,​” as it is used here, is a descriptive/​abstract representation used in two senses. First in a “general” sense. models are mental images of general systems concepts and principles. organized into a scheme. Second in a “specific” sense, the “general” concepts and principles will transform to represent a mental image, a description of a perceived real-world social system. In this sense, the models become the products of our own representation of a selected specific system. Such a model also can be mental image, a normative description. a representation of a future system that we create by design.  +
-THE ORGANIZED DESCRIPTION OF AN EXISTING OR A DESIGNED FUTURE SYSTEM IS THE MODEL OF THAT SYSTEM. +
-Concepts and principles that are manifested in social systems can be organized in general models of social systems. These models then can be transformed into the contest of specific social systems. In systems research we develop models that represent one or more classes of systems, The more classes of systems a model represents, the more general the model is. Our present examination focuses on a single class of systems – social systems or human activity systems – once we develop a model – which is a generalization of this class – we can transform this general model of social systems into a model of a specific systems of our choice..  +
-The SECOND STAGE is the process of INTERNALIZATION/​APPLICATION:​ the integration of those concepts, principles, and models into our own thinking AND their application in real-life contexts – in systems and situations of interest to us. This process of internalization and application constitutes our journey toward the development of a systems view.  +
-The next stage is actual application (e.g. as described in my Systems View of Education book) When we talk about systems applications we are considering the application of systems approaches/​models/​methodologies/​methods/​tools in a specific FUNCTIONAL CONTEXT, E.G., a social system INVOLVES the following:  +
-(1) select the approach/​model/​methodology/​methods/​tools that are appropriate to: (2) the type of systems in consideration:​ rigidly controlled , deterministic,​ purposive, heuristic, purpose seeking AND (3) the specific domain of inquiry: description (of the system), analysis, design, development,​ management.  +
-A description of the two stages follows.  +
-STAGE ONE: CREATING A GENERAL SYSTEMS MODEL  +
-In my earlier work, I constructed three systems models; a systems-environment model, a functions/​structure model, and a process model; all of which are applicable to understanding and working with social systems. I prefer to call these models “lenses.” As I use the systems-environment lens, I can see and understand relational arrangements and dynamics between the system and its context. The functions/​structure lens helps me to see the system at a given moment in time. I understand what it is; it projects a snapshot of the system. The third lens shows how motion: the behavior of the system through time. None of these lenses give me a whole picture of the system, Only as I integrate the three images can I capture a comprehensive view – the wholeness of the system. The process of using the lenses and describing a system provides the first experience of internalization and application of the systems view.  +
-STAGE TWO: TRANSFORMING THE GENERAL MODEL INTO A SPECIFIC CONTEXT  +
-At this stage we transform the general models into the context to a specific social systems. This transformation enables us to portray, characterize and use social/​societal entities and systems and work with them relatively in four complementary domains of organizational inquiry. These process domains are:  +
-• The ANALYSIS and DESCRIPTION of social systems, by the application of the three models presented above (The systems environment,​ the functions and the process models) +
-• SYSTEMS DESIGN, conducting design inquiry with the us of design models, methods, and tools appropriate to social systems and the specific type of system chosen. +
-• IMPLEMENTATION of the design by SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT and the INSTITUTIONALIZATION of the new system. +
-• SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT, the management of systems operations, and the management of change. +
-and based on findings of this stage, revisit Stage One and revise it if indicated. Then, move to Stage Two again, learn from the application and proceed in a spiralic fashion. The spiral never ends…The spiral is the method of the continuing development of systems inquiry.  +
-Thus we gain insights and ideas for shaping the future of our system by using models to provide a comprehensive characterization , a plan for development and implementation of our new model, explicitely stated and shared perspectives to ensure the attainment of consensus, co-participation in design to enhance commitment, commitment to idealized design so that its realization can be evolutionary,​ learning by and from our design , and, as new realities emerge, reimagining the ideal like a horizon forever moving ahead of us.  +
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-We design systems that value and serve people. We design systems that build and nurture human qualities. We believe that it is our destiny – and it is within our power – to guide our evolution and the evolution of our systems and to shape our individual and collective future by design. Therefore, we should embrace systems design as an essential part of our professional repretoire. We can attain this by developing organizational capacity and individual and collective capability in systems design…  +
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-SUMMARY: In the above text we captured an initial view of the landscape of systemic inquiry as we considered its four main components (Systems philosophy, systems theory, systems methodology and systems application. We also explored systems types, and described the general characteristics of human activity systems. We can move on now to discuss the development of a systems view.  +
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-TYPES OF SYSTEMS +
-By Bela H. Banathy  +
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-In contemplating systems work, the identification of the type of system we select is a crucial issue.  +
-There are two major types: NATURAL SYSTEMS and DESIGNED SYSTEMS. Natural systems range from subatomic systems to living systems of all kinds, our planet, the solar systems, galactic systems and the Universe. The genesis of these systems is the origin of the universe and the result of the forces and events of evolution. The other main types are DESIGNED SYSTEMS. These are our creations and include several major types: (a) fabricated-engineered-physical systems (manmade artifacts): (b) hybrid systems that combine physical construction and nature, e.g., a hydroelectric plant); © designed conceptual systems (such as theories, philosophies,​ mathematics,​ logic, etc.) and their representations in the forms of books, records, and descriptive of prescriptive models; and (d) human activity systems. For our present purposes, human activity systems and their relevant abstract systems and representations are of special interest.  +
-HUMAN ACTIVITY SYSTEMS are our purposeful creations.. They are less tangible than natural and designed physical systems, They are manifested in sets of activities (relationships) carried out by people who select and organize these activities to attain a purpose, These activities often involve various natural and designed physical systems and/or abstractions of the way we think about and reason these activities, such as theories of action. Human activity systems range from families and small groups (organized for a purpose) to organizations communities,​ nations, regional/​international associations,​ and the global system of humanity.  +
-A key consideration in making distinctions among various types of systems is the issue of: how much freedom does the system have to select purpose, goals, methods, tools, etc.:, and how widely is the freedom to select distributed (or concentrated) in the system?  +
-We can speak of various types of human activity systems. We can define and describe these types based on such considerations as: the degree to which they are “closed or open”. their mechanistic vs. systemic nature, their unitary or pluralistic position as the their purpose, and their degree of complexity. Based on these considerations we can differentiate such types as:  +
-RIGIDLY CONTROLLED systems, such as man-machine systems or assembly-line work groups. These are rather closed and have only limited and well-guarded interactions with their environment. They have few components and a limited degree of freedom, have singleness of purpose and behave rather mechanistically.  +
-DETERMINISTIC systems are more open than rigidly controlled systems but they still have clearly defined goals, and some degree of freedom in selecting means of operating (less mechanistic). They might have several levels of decision-making;​ thus they are more complex than the rigidly controlled systems. Examples; bureaucracies,​ centralized (national) educational systems, small business operations.  +
-PURPOSIVE systems – such as corporations,​ public service agencies, our public education systems —are still unitary (have their goals set), but have freedom in selecting operational objectives and methods. They are considered to be somewhat open in that they are to react to environmental changes. They are often very complex.  +
-HEURISTIC systems – such as: new business ventures, R&D agencies, nontraditional (experimental) educational programs – formulate their own goals under some biased policy guidelines (thus, they are somewhat pluralistic). They are necessarily open to changes and interact intensively – even co-elove – with the environment. They are complex and systemic in their functions/​structures.  +
-PURPOSE-SEEKING systems are ideal-seeking,​ guided by their vision of the future. They are open and are able to co-evolve with their environment. They are complex and systemic. Being pluralistic,​ they define their own policies/​purposes and constantly seek new purposes and new niches in their environments. Examples: corporations seeking social service roles, communities seeking to establish comprehensive systems of learning and human development and to integrate their social service functions, and societies/​nations establishing integrated regional systems.  +
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-DEVELOPING A SYSTEMIC VIEW +
-THE EVOLUTION OF SYSTEMS INQUIRY Part 1  +
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-INTRODUCTION  +
-As I listened to the introduction of the participants at a conference I was impressed by the fact that they represented the entire range of systems orientation. Their research and professional interest embraces system engineering,​ operations research, systems dynamics, cybernetics and information science, general theory of systems, living systems and evolutionary theory, soft systems and critical systems theory, and chaos and complex systems theory. The common ground of these orientations is the systems idea. Still, in the course of the conference the differences among these orientations where emphasized even their lack of connections was often articulated. Most significantly,​ I had the feeling that while the focus was on sociotechnical systems, it was the technical side that was in focus. These observations lead me to develop this contribution,​ which, I hope, will show (a) the connectedness of the various orientations within the systems family, (b) the evolution of the systems movement, and © the human side of systems scholarship.  +
-THE PIONEERS OF THE SYSTEMS IDEA  +
-During the fifties, the basic concepts and principles of a general theory of systems were set forth by such pioneers of the systems movement as Ashby, Bertalanffy,​ Boulding, Fagen, Gerard, and Rappoport. These scholars represented variety of disciplines and fields of study. They shared and articulated a common conviction: the unified nature of reality. They recognized a compelling need for a unified disciplined inquiry in understanding and dealing with increasing complexities,​ complexities that are beyond the competence of any single discipline. As a result, they developed a trans-disciplinary perspective that emphasized the intrinsic order and interdependence of the world in all its manifestations.  +
-A DEFINITION OF SYSTEMS INQUIRY  +
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-Systems inquiry incorporates three interrelated domains of disciplined inquiry: systems theory, systems philosophy, and systems methodology. In contrast with the analytical, reductionist,​ and linear-causal paradigm of classical science, systems philosophy brings forth a reorientation of thought and world view, manifested by an expansionist,​ non- linear dynamic, and synthetic mode of thinking. The scientific exploration of the theories of systems standing for the various sciences have brought forth a general theory of systems, a set of interrelated concepts and principles, applying to all systems. Systems methodology provides us with a set of models, strategies, methods, and tools; that instrumentalize systems theory and philosophy in analysis, design, development,​ problem solving in–and the management–of complex systems. In the first part of the present paper I describe these three branches of systems inquiry.  +
-Systems Theory  +
-In defining systems theory, I review the key ideas of Bertalanffy and Boulding, founding fathers of the systems movement, published in Volume One (1956) GENERAL SYSTEMS.  +
-Bertalanffy suggested first that modern science is characterized by its ever increasing specialization,​ necessitated by the enormous amount of data and the complexity of techniques and structures within every field. This led to a breakdown of science as an integrated realm. Scientists, operating in the various disciplines are encapsulated in their private universe. Against this background, there exists models, principles, and laws that can be generalized across various systems. Thus, it seems legitimate to ask for a theory of universal principles applying to systems in general. This theory would recognize the existence of (a) systems properties that are general and (b) structural similarities or isomorphies in different fields. Such a theory would be a useful tool providing models that can be used in, and transferred to, different fields. The second consequence of the idea of a general theory of systems is to deal with organized complexity, which is a main problem of modern science. Concepts like those of organization,​ wholeness, teleology, control, self-regulation,​ differentiation and the like are alien to conventional science. However, they pop-up everywhere in the biological, behavioral, and social sciences, and are, in fact, indispensable for dealing with living organisms or social groups. Thirdly, Bertalanffy summarized that: (a) There is a general tendency towards integration in the various sciences, natural and social. (b) Such integration seems to be centered in a general theory of systems. © Such theory may be an important means of aiming at exact theory in the non-physical fields of science. (d) Developing unifying principles running ?​vertically?​ through the universe of the individual sciences, this theory brings us nearer to the goal of the unity of sciences. (e) This can lead to a much needed integration in scientific education.  +
-Boulding said that a general theory does not seek to establish a single, self-contained general theory of practically everything which will replace all the special theories of particular disciplines. Such a theory would be almost without content, and all we can say about practically everything is almost nothing. Somewhere between the specific that has no meaning and the general that has no content there must be, for each purpose and at each level of abstraction,​ an optimum degree of generality. It is the objective of a general theory to develop ?​generalized ears?​–that overcome the ?​specialized deafness? of the specific disciplines,​ meaning, that someone who ought to know something that someone else knows isn?t able to find it out for lack of generalized ears. By developing a framework of a general theory, will enable the specialist to catch relevant communication from others.  +
-The two papers introduced above set forth the ?vision? of the systems movement. That vision is still guide us today. In the course of the last four decades we have built on this vision as the systems movement has developed through its several orientations.  +
-Systems Philosophy  +
-The next main branch of systems inquiry is systems philosophy. Systems Philosophy is concerned with a systems view of the world and the elucidation of systems thinking as an approach to theoretical and real world problems. Systems philosophy seeks to uncover the most general assumptions lying at the roots of any and all of systems inquiry. An articulation of these assumption gives systems inquiry coherence and internal consistency.  +
-The general scientific nature of systems inquiry implies its direct association with philosophy. This explains the philosophers early and continuing interest in systems theory and the early and continuing interest of systems theorist and methodologist in the philosophical aspects of systems inquire. In general, philosophical aspects are worked out in two directions. The first involves inquiry into the WHAT: what things are, what a person or a society is, and what kind of world we live in. These questions pertain to what we call: ontology. The second question is HOW: how do we know what we know, how do we know what kind of world we live in, how do we know what kind of persons we are? The exploration of these questions are the domain of epistemology. One might differentiate these two, but ontology and epistemology can not be separated. Our beliefs about what the world is will determine how we see it and act within it. And, our ways of perceiving and acting will determine our beliefs about its nature.  +
-The ontological task is the formation of a systems view of what is, in the broadest sense a systems view of the world. This can lead to a new orientation for scientific inquiry. There are two great philosophical alternatives of the intellectual picture we have of the world. One view is that the world essentially consists of things. The other view is that the world consists of processes, and the things are only ?stills? out of the moving picture. Systems philosophy developed as the main rival of the ?thing view.? It recognizes that primacy of organizing relationship processes between entities (of systems) from which emerge the novel properties of systems.  +
-Epistemology deals with the general questions of how do we know what we know, how do we know what kind of world we live in and what kind of organisms we are, and what sort of thing the mind is. The ancient questions of whether the mind is immanent or transcendent can be answered in favor of immanence. Furthermore,​ any on-going ensemble (system) that has the appropriate complexity of causal and energy relationships:​ (a) will show mutual characteristics,​ (b) will compare and respond to differences,​ © will process information,​ (de) will be self-corrective. (e) No part of an internally interactive system can exercise unilateral control over other parts of the system.  +
-The most significant guiding principle of systems inquiry is that of giving prominence to synthesis; not only as the culminating activity of the inquiry (following analysis), but as a point of departure. This approach to the ?how do we know? contrasts with the epistemology of traditional science that is almost exclusively analytical.  +
-Systems Methodology  +
-Systems methodology–a vital part of systems inquiry–has two domains of inquiry, (1) the study of methods in systems investigations by which we generate knowledge about systems in the general and (2) the identification and description of strategies, models, methods, and tools for the application of systems theory and systems thinking to working and complex systems. In the context of this second domain: systems methodology is a set of coherent and related methods and tools applicable to: (a) the analysis of systems and systems problems, problems concerned with the systemic/​relational aspects of complex systems; (b) the design, development,​ and evaluation of complex systems, and © the management of systems and the management of change in systems. The task of those using systems methodology in a given context is tree fold: (1) to identify, characterize,​ and classify the nature of problem situation [e.g., (a), (b), or © above]; (2) to identify and characterize the problem context and content, in which the methodology is applied; (3) to identify and characterize the type of system in which the problem situation is embedded, and (4) to select specific strategies, methods, and tools that are appropriate to the nature of the problem situation, to the context/​content,​ and the type of systems in which the problem situation is located.  +
-The brief discussion above highlights the difference between the methodology of systems inquiry and the methodology of scientific inquiry in the various disciplines. The methodology of a discipline is clearly defined and is to be adhered to rigorously. It is the methodology which is the hallmark of a discipline. In systems inquiry, on the other hand, one selects methods and methodological tools or approaches that best fit the nature of the identified problem situation, the context, the content, and the type of system that is the domain of the investigation. The methodology is to be selected from a wide range of systems methods that are available to us.  +
-The Interaction of the Domains of Systems Inquiry.  +
-Systems philosophy, systems theory, and systems methodology come to life as they are used and applied in the functional context of systems. It is in the context of use that they are confirmed, changed, modified, and reconfirmed. Systems philosophy presents us with the underlying assumptions that provide the perspectives that guide us in defining and organizing the concepts and principles that constitute systems theory. Systems theory and systems philosophy then guide us in developing, selecting, and organizing approaches, methods and tools into the scheme of systems methodology. Systems methodology then is used in the function context of systems. But this process is not linear or forward moving circular. It is recursive and multi-directional. One confirms or modifies the other. As theory is developed, it gets its confirmation from its underlying assumptions (philosophy) as well as from its application through methods in function contexts. Methodology is confirmed or changed by testing its relevance to its theoretical/​philosophical foundations and by its use. The functional context–the society in general and systems of all kinds in particular–is a primary source of placing demands on systems inquiry. It was–in fact–the emergence of complex systems that brought about the realization of the need for new scientific thinking, new theory, and new methodologies. It was that need that systems inquiry addressed and satisfied. The dynamics of the recursive and multidirectional interaction of the four domains, described above, makes systems inquiry a living system. This dynamics is manifested in the interplay between confirmation and novelty. Novelty at times brings about adjustments and at other times it appears as discontinuities and major shifts. The process described here becomes transparent as I review next the evolution of the systems movement.  +
-End of Part 1  +
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-THE EVOLUTION OF SYSTEMS INQUIRY Part 2  +
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-Bela H. Banathy  +
-International Systems Institute and the Saybrook Graduate School  +
-ORGANIZED DEVELOPMENTS We can account for several major developments that reflect the evolution of the systems movement. The main-stream of the movement was developed around the ideas presented in the text above. Parallel with the mainstream, we can account for other strands that include operations research, systems engineering,​ and cybernetics. Others emerged as branches of the main-stream;​ such as living systems theory, soft-systems and human systems theory, systems design, and critical systems theory.  +
-Parallel Developments Operations Research. During the second world war, the complex problems of logistics and resource management of waging a war became the genesis of developing the quantitative analysis of rather closed systems. It was from this orientation from which Operation Research and Management Science emerged during the fifties. Operations Research (OR) flourished during the sixties, but in the seventies–due to the changing nature of socio-technical systems contexts–it has gone through a major shift toward a less quantitative orientation.  +
-Systems Engineering is concerned with the design of closed man-machine systems and large-scale socio-technical systems. Systems Engineering (SE) can be portrayed as a system of methods and tools, specific activities for problem solutions, and a set of relations between the tools and the activities. The tools include language, mathematics,​ and graphics by which systems engineering communicates. The content of SE includes a variety of algorithms and concepts which enable various activities. The first major work in SE was published by A.D. Hall in 1962. He presented a comprehensive,​ three- dimensional morphology for systems engineering. In the late ?70? Sage suggested a change in the directions of SE. He used the word ?system? to refer to the application of systems science and methodologies associated with the science of problem solving. The word ?​engineering?​ means not only the mastery and manipulation of physical data but also it implies social and behavioral consideration as inherent parts of the engineering design process.  +
-During the sixties and early seventies, practitioners of Operations Research and Systems Engineering attempted to transfer their approaches into the context of social systems. It lead to disasters. It was this period when ? social engineering?​ emerged as an approach to address societal problems. A recognition of failed attempts have lead to changes in direction, best manifested by the position taken by Sage, as described in the paragraph above.  +
-Cybernetics Cybernetics is concerned with the understanding of self-organization of human, artificial, and natural systems; the understanding of understanding;​ and its relation and relevance to other transdisciplinary approaches. Cybernetics,​ as part of the systems movement, evolved through two phases; First Order Cybernetics:​ the cybernetics of the observed system and Second Order Cybernetics:​ the cybernetics of observing system.  +
-First Order Cybernetics,​ the early formulation of cybernetics inquiry, was concerned with communication and control in the animal and the machine, explained by Wiener. The emphasis on the ?in? allowed focus on the process of self-organization and self- regulation, on circular causal feedback mechanisms, together with the systemic principles that underlie them. These principles underlay the computer/​cognitive sciences and are credited with being at the hearth of neural network approaches in computing.  +
-Second Order Cybernetics,​ as a concept was coined by Heinz Foerster who said that we are now in the possession of the truism that a description (of the universe) implies one who describes, who observes it. What we need now is a description of the ?describer? or, in other words, we need a theory of the observer. Second-order cybernetic, through the concept of self-reference,​ wants to explore the meaning of cognition and communication within the natural and social sciences, the humanities, information science; and in such social practices as design, education, organization,​ art management, politics, etc..  +
-THE CONTINUING EVOLUTION OF THE MAIN-STREAM IDEA Living Systems Theory (LST)  +
-LST was developed by Miller in his work: Living Systems as a continuation and elaboration of the orgasmic orientation of Bertalanffy. The theory is a conceptual scheme for the description and analysis of concrete identifiable living systems. It describes seven levels of living systems, ranging from the lower levels of cell, organ, and organism, to higher levels of group, organizations,​ societies, and supranational systems. The central thesis of Living Systems Theory is that at each level a system is characterized by the same 19 critical subsystems whose processes are essential to life. A set of these SYSTEMS processes information and an other set processes matter and energy. Two subsystems process matter/​energy and information. Living System Theory presents a common framework for analyzing structure and process and identifying the health, the well being of systems at various levels of complexity. The theory has been applied by a method–called Living Systems Process Analysis–to the study of complex problem situations, embedded in a diversity of fields and activities.  +
-SOFT (HUMAN) SYSTEMS INQUIRY During the late '70s and '80s, a whole range of systems thinking-based inquiries emerged, based on what is called: soft-systems thinking. These are all relevant to human and social systems as well as socio-technical and socio-economic systems.  +
-Human Systems Inquiry focuses on systems theory, systems philosophy, systems methodology and their applications on social or human systems. In portraying Human Systems Soft System Inquiry; I (a) present some of their basic characteristics,​ (b) discuss the nature of their problem situations, © highlight their ethical issues and (d) introduce the “soft-system” approach, social systems design and critical systems orientation.  +
-Basic Characteristics of Human/​Social Systems  +
-These systems are open systems. They are sustained by their internal and external relatons and the process of regulation. The limits within which they can be sustained are the conditions of their stabnility. They depend on and contribute to their environment. The are wholes. but are also parts of larger systews and their constituents may also be constituents of other systems.  +
-In the late '70s and early '80s, it was generally realized that the nature of issues in human/​social systems are “soft” issues in contrast with “hard “issues and problems in systems engineering and other quantitative focused systems inquiry. Hard systems thiking and aproaches were not usable in the context of human activity systems.  +
-Change in human systems is enevitable. Systems adapt to environmenatal changes and in a changing environment this becomes a continuous process. At times. however. adaptation does not suffice, and the whole systems might change. Through co-evolution and co-creation change between the systems and its environment is a mutual recursive phenomenon. Human/​Social Systems (HSS) are very different from natural and engineered systems. Natural and enginneered systems cannot be other than what they are . Human activity systems. on the other hand. are manifested through the perceptions of human beings who are free to attibute meanings to what they perceive. There will never be a single (testable) account of human activity systems. only a set of possible accounts, all valid according to particular Weltanshaungen,​ said Checkland. He further says. that HSS are structured sets of people who make up the system coupled with a collection of activities concerned with processing information. making plans, performing. and monitoring performance,​ etc.  +
-Ackoff suggested that human system are purposeful systems that have purposeful parts and are parts of larger purposeful systems. This observation reveals three fundamental issues. namely, how to design and manage human systems so that they can effectively and efficiently serve (a) their own purposes. (b) the purposes of the purposeful parts and people in the system. © and the purposes of the larger system(s) of which they are part. These functions are called: (a) self-directedness. (b) humanizaton. and © environmentalization,​ respectively.  +
-Viewing human systems from an evolutionary perspective. Jantsch suggested that according to the dualistic paradigm. adaptation is a response to something that evolved outside of the system. He notes, however, that with the emergence of the self-organizing paradigm, a scientifically founded non-dualistic view became possible. This view is process orientated and establishes that evolution is an integral part of self-organization. True self-organization incorporates self-transcendence,​ the creative reaching out of a human system beyond its boundaries, Jantsch concludes: creation is the core of evolution. it is the joy of life. it is not just the adaptation. not just securing survival.  +
-The Nature of Problem Situation in Human/​Social Systems  +
-Working with human systems. we are confronted with problem situations that comprise a system of problems rather than a collection of problems. Problems are embedded in uncetainty and require subjective interpretation. Churchman suggested that in working with human systems subjectivity cannot be avoided. What really matters. he says. are systems that are unique. and the task is to account for their uniqueness. Our main tool in working with human sysems is subjectivity:​ reflection on the sources of knowledge. social practice. community, interest in and commitment to ideas. especially the moral idea, affectivity,​ and faith.  +
-Working with human/​social systems (HSS) we must recognize that they are always unbounded. Factors assumed to a part of a problem are inseparblely linked to many other factors. A technical problem of transportation. such as the building of a freeway, becomes a land-use problem. linked with economic, environmental,​ conservation,​ eithical, and political issues. Can we really draw a boundary? When we ask to improve a situation. particularly if it is a public one, we find ourselves facing not a problem. but a cluster of problems. often called “problematique” said Pecceil the founder of the Club of Rome. Within a probematique. it is difficult to pinpoint individual problems and propose individual solutions. Each problem is related to every other problem. each apparent solution to a problem may aggravate or interfere with others; and none of these problems can be tackled using linear or sequential methods.  +
-Working wih HSS we should always include those who are affected by the problem. Furthermore we must differentiate between well structured and well defined problems in which the initial conditions, the goals and the necessary operations can all be specified, from ill-defined or ill-structured problems, the kind in which initial conditions, the goals and the allowable operations can not extrapolated from the problem Discussing this issue, Rittell and Webber suggested that science and engineering are dealing with well structured or tame problems. But this stance is not applicable to open social systems. Still many social science professionals have mimicked the cognitive style of the scientists and the operational style of the enginneering. But social problems are inherently wicked problems. Thus, every solution of a wicked problem is tentative and incomplete and it changes as we move toward the solution. As the solultion changes –as it is elaborated – so does our understanding of the problem. Considering this issue in the context of systems design. the “ill-behaved” nature of design problem situations frustrates all attempts to start out with an information phase and analysis phase, at the end of which a clear definition of the problem is rendered and objectives are defined that become the basis of systhesis, during which a “monastic” solution can be worked out. Systems design requires a continuous recursive interaction between the initial phase that triggers design and the final state, when design is completed.  +
-Ethical Issues in HSSS: The Ethics of the Whole System.  +
-Churchman in his various works has been the most articulate and most effective advocate of ethical systems theory and morality in human systems inquiry. Human systems inquiry, Churchman says, has to be value orientated and it must be guided by the social imperative, which dictates that technological effciency must be subordinated to social efficiency. He speaks for a science of values and the development of methods by which to verify ethical judgements. He took issue with the design approach where the focus is on various segments of the system. When the designer detects a problem in a part, he moves to modify it. This approach is based on the separability principle of incrementalism. He advocates “nonseparability,​” when the application of decision rules depends on the state of the whole system and when a certain degree of instability of a part occurs, the designer can recognize this event and change the system so that the part becomes stable. It can be seen that design, properly viewed. is an enormous speculation about possibilities. A liberated designer will look at present practice as a point of departure at best. Design is a thought process and a communication process. Successful design is one that enables someone to transfer thought into action or into another design.  +
-Soft-systems Methodology,​ System Design, Critical Systems Thinking Soft-systems Methodology developed by Checkland, considers methodology as a learning system which uses systems ideas to formulate basic mental acts of four kinds: perceiving, predicting, comparing, and deciding for action. The output of the methodology is thus very different from the output of systems engineering;​ it is learning which leads to decision to take certain actions, knowing that this will lead not to 'the problem'​ being now '​solved'​ but to changed situatuon and new learning. The methodology is a direct consequence of the concept human activity system. We attribute meaning to all human activity. Out attributions ar meaningful in terms of our particular image of the world, which - in general - we take for granted.  +
-Systems Design, in the context of social systems is a future creative disciplined inquiry. People engage in this inquiry in order to design a system that realizes their vision of the future society, their own expectaitons,​ and the expectations of their environment. Social system design is a relatively new intellectual technology. It emerged as a manifestation of open system thinking and corresponding ethically based soft-systems approaches. This new intellectual technology emerged, just in time, as a disciplined inquiry that enables us to align our social sstems with the new realities of the information/​knowledge age.  +
-Early pioneers of social systems design in teh '70s include: Simon, Jones, Churchman, Jantsch, Warfield and Sage. The watershed year of comprehensive statements on systems design was 1981; marked by the works of Ackoff, Checkland, and Nadler. Then came the work of Argyris, Ulrich, Gross, Morgan, Warfield, Nadler & Hibino and Banathy.  +
-Prior to the emergence of open systems design, the improvement approach to systems change manifested traditional social planning. This approach – still widely practiced today – reduces the problem to managable pieces and seeks solutions to each. Practitioners of this approach believe that solving the problem piece-by-piece ultimately will correct the larger issue it aims to remedy. But systems designeers know. that “getting rid of what is not wanted does not give you what is desired.: In sharp contrast with traditional social planning. systems design – represented by the authors above – seeks to understand the problem situation as a systems of interconnected,​ intedependant and interacting problems; and seeks to create a design as a system of interconnected,​ interdependant,​ and interacting solution ideas. Systems designers envision the entity to be designed as a whole. as one that is designed from the synthesis of the interacton of its parts. Systems design requires both coordination and integrtion. We need to design all parts interactively,​ therefore simultaneously. This requires coordination. The requirement of designing for interdependency across all systems levels invite integration. In an age of continuous and intensified change the understanding of the role of systems design in creating our future and the development of competence in systems design are of the highest priority.  +
-Critical Systems Thinking emerged as “lessons learned” from systems inquiry. Spearheaded by the works of Jackson. Flood, and Ulrich, this new orientation challenges some of the earlier orientations and embraces a set of core commitments such as ” critical awareness, social awareness human emancipation and complemenarity.” Critical awareness closely examines the values and assumptions that enter into systems inquiry and systems design. It provides tools that are useful in applying critical awareness. such as critical systems heuristics. Social awareness (a) recognizes social and organizational issues that guide systems intervention,​ (b) contemplates the social consequences of our intervention. and © calls for a free and open debate on the justification of the proposed approach. Human emancipation aims (a) to ensure the well-being of all individuals involved and the full development of their potentials, and (b) prevent coercion and exercize of power that would prevent open and free discussion of the issues. Complementarity suggests that various systems trend express various rationalities and theoritical positions. These should be respected and their development should be encouraged. It stands for a commitment to the complementary and infomed use of the various systems approaches. whenever their use is appropriate to the context of specific social conditions and situations.  +
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-GENESIS OF GENERAL SYSTEMS THEORY  +
-Written by Bela Banathy  +
-“Somewhere between the specific that has no meaning and the general that has no content there must be, for each purpose and at each level of abstraction,​ an optimum degree of generality. K. Boulding ”  +
-The objectives of GST. then. can be set out with varying degrees of ambition and confidence, At a low level of amibition, but with a high degree of confidence, it aims to point out similarities in the theoretical constructions of different disciplines , where these exist, and to develop theoretical models having applicability to different fields of study. At a higher level of ambition, but perhaps with a lower level of confidence, it hopes to develop something like a “spectrum” of theories, a system of systems that may perform a “gestalt” in theoretical constructions.  +
-It is the main objective of GST says Boulding, to develop “generalized ears” that overcome the “specializcd deafness” of the specific disciplines. meaning that someone who ought to know something that someone else knows isn't able to f ind it out for lack of generalized ears. Developing a framework of a general theory will enable the specialist to catch relevant coumniunication from others. In (the closing section of this paper, Boulding referred to the subtitle of his paper. GST as “the skeleton of science”  +
-It is a skeleton in the sense- he says, that “It aims to provide a framework or structure of systems on which to hang the flesh and blood of particular disciplines and particular subject matters in an orderly and coherant corpus of knowledge. It is, also. however, something of a “skeleton in a cupboard” The cupboard in this case being the unwillingness of science to admit the tendency to shut the door on problems and subject matters which do not fit easily into simple mechanical schemes.  +
-Science, for all its success still has a very long way to So. GST may at times be an embarrassement in pointing out how very far we still have to go, and in deflating excessive philosophical claim for overly simple systems. It also may be helpful, however, in pointing out to some extent where we have to go. The skeleton must come out of the cupboard before its dry bones can live.  +
-The (two) papers introduced above set forth the “vision” of the systems movement. That vision still guides us today. At this point it seems to be appropriate to tell the story that marks the genisis of the systems movement. Kenneth Boulding told this story at the occasion when I was privileged to present to him the distinguished scholarship award of the Society of General Systems Research at our 1983 Annual Meeting, the year was 1954. At the Center for Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, four Center fellows - Bertalanffy (biology), Boulding (economics),​ Gerard (psychology),​ and Rapaport (mathematics) – had a discussion in a meeting room. Another Center fellow walked in and asked: “What going on here” Ken answered, “We are angered about the state of the human condition and ask:” What can we do – what can science – do about improving the human condition?​” “Oh!” their visitor said, “That is not my field. . . .'  +
-At that meeting the four scientists felt that in the statement of their visitor the heard the statement of the fragmented disciplines that have little concern for doing anything practical about the fate of humanity. So, they asked themselves, “What would happen if science would be redefined by crossing disciplinary boundaries and forge a general theory that would bring us together in the service of humanity?​”  +
-Later they went to Berkeley, to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and established the society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory. Throughout the years, many of us in the systems movement have continued to ask the question: “How can systems science serve humanity?​”  +
-Bela Banathy  +
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-CHARACTERISTICS OF A HUMAN ACTIVITY SYSTEM +
-By Bela H. Banathy  +
-Purpose, process, interaction,​ integration,​ and emergence are salient markers of understanding systems. Furthermore,​ we should think about and define human activity systems always at three levels. (1) A system serves the purpose of its collective entity. (2) It serves the purpose of its members. (3) It serves its environment ot the larger system in which it is embedded.  +
-“How often we neglect to address the purposes of those who are in the system and those of the environment.”  +
-The statements that follow comprise an internally consistent definition and characterization of A HUMAN ACTIVITY SYSTEM -  +
-is an assembly of people and other resources organized into a whole in order to accomplish a purpose. The people in the system are affected by being in the system, and by their participation in the system they affect the system. People in the system select and carry out activities – individually and collectively – that will enable them to attain a collectively identified purpose.  +
-maintains sets of relations — sustained through time – among those who are in the system. The maintenance of these relations is of primary importance. The process by which these relationships are maintained is the system'​s regulation – the rules of the game – and the limits within which these rules can be sustained are the conditions of the systems stability through time,. It is here where commitment (to shared purpose) and motivation (to carry out activities) play such an important role,  +
-Is open to and interacts with the environment;​ depends on it and contributes to it. The nature of its relationship with the environment is mutual interdependence. This interdependence imposes constraints and expectations on both the system and its environment responsively. The environment is expected to provide the resources and support that are required by the system.  +
-acts as a whole toward itself and by itself – by its internal relations and internal integration – by which it can also sustain itself. Thus, while we view the system as a whole, at the same time we consider it as part of – and embedded in – its environment.  +
-Systemic insight emerges from “application” of the dynamics of purpose seeking and purpose-fulfilling relational interaction and integration of the people as a system and its environment.  +
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-SUMMARY: In the above text we captured an initial view of the landscape of systemic inquiry as we considered its four main components (Systems philosophy, systems theory, systems methodology and systems application. We also explored systems types, and described the general characteristics of human activity systems. We can move on now to discuss the development of a systems view.  +
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-End of tour  +
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-+++SYSTEMICS AS A SCHEME+
  
 Because we are dealing with relationships as the primary subject, we are able to find fundamental relationships and aspects. We know that we are dealing with more than one element. We know that not only are there a minimum of two, but also a third, their relationship. So systemics differ from conbentional wisdom by treating relationships **as an integral whole**. ​ Because we are dealing with relationships as the primary subject, we are able to find fundamental relationships and aspects. We know that we are dealing with more than one element. We know that not only are there a minimum of two, but also a third, their relationship. So systemics differ from conbentional wisdom by treating relationships **as an integral whole**. ​
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-[[Primer 2.0]] 
  
-An attempt to say it all at once, In this section the entire fiekd of systems is outlined in a linear fashion ​ 
  
  
primer.1389894199.txt.gz · Last modified: 2020/07/27 15:36 (external edit)