systems theory
Download
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
SYSTEMS THEORY

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 13

SYSTEMS THEORY - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 416 Views
  • Uploaded on

SYSTEMS THEORY. Whitchurch, G. G., & Constantine, L. L. (1993). Systems theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methods: A contextual approach (pp. 325-352). New York: Plenum Press.

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'SYSTEMS THEORY' - iona


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
systems theory

SYSTEMS THEORY

Whitchurch, G. G., & Constantine, L. L. (1993). Systems theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methods: A contextual approach (pp. 325-352). New York: Plenum Press.

three distinct but closely interrelated theoretical legacies
Three Distinct But Closely Interrelated Theoretical Legacies
  • Information theory: focuses on the reduction of uncertainty which is achieved by the acquisition of information.
  • Cybernetics: a science of communication concerned with the transmission and control of information; it examines the communication and manipulation of information in various systems.
  • General Systems Theory (GST): interested in systems in general; family systems theory is an extension of this branch.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

definitions and terms
Definitions and Terms
  • Three Uses/Definitions:
    • General Systems Theory (GST) is used to explain the behavior of a variety of complex, organized systems.
    • GST is also a process of theory construction which focuses on building universal concepts, postulates, and principles.
    • GST, as a worldview, emphasizes interrelationships between objects.
  • Terms
    • Isomorphism: Refers to equivalence of form: there is a one-to-one correspondence between elements and relationships.
    • Cybernetic system: systems with feedback.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

core assumptions of general systems theory
Core Assumptions of General Systems Theory
  • GST Has Potential for Unifying Science: suggests that there are unifying principles in every discipline; GST is a way to consider isomorphism between them.
  • A System Must Be Understood as a Whole
    • Von Bertalanffy: promoted the notion that a family, or any system, is greater than the some of it\'s parts.
    • Lewin: the whole is different from the sum of it\'s parts.
  • Human Systems are Self-Reflexive
    • Human systems are characterized by their ability to make themselves and their own behavior the focus of examination; this is self-reflexivity.
    • Self-reflectivity
      • permits humans to examine their systems and set goals.
      • permits humans to examine social influences on systems and behaviors, rather than naively accepting them as “natural.”

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

research and theory foci
Research and Theory Foci
  • Ongoing Family Processes:
    • Transactional patterns (e.g., predictable behavior sequences).
    • Shift focus from individual to the family.
    • Topics:
      • family functioning,
      • family communication,
      • family conflict,
      • separateness and connecetedness,
      • cohesion,
      • adaptation to change.
  • Example of research questions (from Montgomery & Fewer, 1988):
    • What elements of a social system are influenced by other parts of the system; how does one element of a system recursively influence the whole system?
    • How does the behavior of different components fit together?
    • How does the fit between systems affect functioning?
  • What is the Relationship of Family Systems to Other Systems

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

major contemporary concepts of general systems theory
Major Contemporary Concepts of General Systems Theory
  • Interdependence/Mutual Influence
  • Equifinality:
    • Definition: the ability of a system to achieve the same goals through different routes (e.g., we may take different roads to campus but we all arrive at the same place).
    • Communication patterns are organized into feedback loops which affect goal-setting behavior in systems.
  • Hierarchy:
    • The “layering” of systems of increasing complexity, including
      • Subsystems: smaller parts of the same system.
      • Systems
      • Suprasystems: larger systems (e.g., economic and political system).
    • Controversy: disagreement about definition of sub- and supra-systems as well as identification of components.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

major contemporary concepts of general systems theory cont
Major Contemporary Concepts of General Systems Theory (cont.)
  • Boundaries and Open/Closed Systems
    • Boundaries define membership in a system.
    • Boundaries also represent the point of contact between the system and other systems.
    • Boundaries vary in degree of permeability, the degree to which they control the flow between systems.
    • Customary approaches to operationalizing boundaries:
      • Assessment of permeability and cohesion.
      • Emotional connectedness between family members.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

contemporary concepts cont
Contemporary Concepts (cont.)
  • Feedback and Control
    • Feedback loop
      • Path of communication in a system.
      • Feedback is considered either positive or negative based on the effect it has on the system, not on it’s content.
    • Types of feedback loops:
      • Negative:
        • feedback is used to maintain homeostasis. This type of feedback has also been called constancy loops and deviation-attenuating loops.
        • Morphostatic feedback: refers to feedback which promotes maintenance of existing structure.
      • Positive: feedback used to promote change.
        • These types of feedback are also referred to as deviation-amplifying loops or variety loops.
        • Morphogenic feedback: refers to feedback which produces change in the system.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

examples of research emerging from general systems theory
Examples of Research Emerging from General Systems Theory
  • Marital and Family Interaction
    • Hess and Handel (1959): integrated GST and symbolic interactionism to examine the family as a system that socially constructs it’s reality. They suggested that there are five essential processes of family interaction.
    • Comparison of family interaction patterns between “normal” and “schizophrenic” families (Mishler & Waxler, 1968).
  • Family Dysfunction: individual patterns of dysfunction are attributed to family interaction patterns.
    • Alcoholism: Steinglass and Wolin have integrated a family development and systems approach, suggesting that alcoholism influences families in stages which accounts for patterns of alcoholism in families.
    • Family violence: systemic explanations are controversial. This research suggests that the failure to leave an abusive situation is a form of positive feedback.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

examples of research cont
Examples of Research (cont.)
  • Marital and Family Taxonomies
    • Olson’s Circumplex model
      • Three dimensions create sixteen relationship types; the three dimensions are
        • Cohesion
        • Adaptability
        • Communication
      • Three general types of relationships:
        • Balanced
        • Mid-range
        • Extreme
      • In general, research has revealed that balanced families will function more adequately than the other types of families.
      • It has been criticized for not including a dimension for competence.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

examples of research cont11
Examples of Research (cont.)
  • Marital and Family Taxonomies (cont.)
    • The Beavers systems model examines family competence (e.g., healthy, mid-range, and severely dysfunctional).
    • Typologies melding systems with symbolic interactionism: develop, for example, a typology based on the effect of family members shared perceptions about their social environment (symbolic interactionism) on the social environment (a systems construct) (Reiss, 1981; see also Constantine, 1986; Constantine & Israel, 1985; Fitzpatrick, 1976, 1988).

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

limitations of general systems theory
Limitations of General Systems Theory
  • General Criticisms: focus on application of systems theory.
    • GST is too vague and general, making it difficult to operationalize and evaluate empirically.
    • Criticized for poor explanatory power because, although it provides conceptualization, it is difficult to clearly identify and measure constructs.
    • Criticism of subtle assumption that all parts of a system have equal power.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

limitations of general systems theory cont
Limitations of General Systems Theory (cont.)
  • Feminist Critique:
    • Limited recognition of power in family systems which obscures the privilege of dominant groups.
    • Systemic constructs often reflect sex bias. Enmeshment is pathologized, for example, while differentiation is promoted. This devalues a way of relating that is common to women.
    • Clinically, emphasizes therapist neutrality.
    • Ironically, it is viewed as not systemic enough.
    • Interdisciplinary scholarship has demonstrated that all cultures utilize gender and generation as fundamental categories of organization, but systems theory ignores gender concerns.

Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

ad