System Theory. A quick look at systems. General Systems Theor y Ludwig von Bertalanffy Peter Checkland.
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General Systems Theory: There are parallels found in different scientific disciplines; certain principles which are common to all systems and by identifying these common elements hopefully knowledge generated in different disciplines to be combined. A systems approach facilitates understanding of complex phenomenon by encouraging clustering of information and clarification of relationships between different elements.
We all work within and between a variety of systems: structural systems (a road network), functional systems (academic department), social system (work group), information system (a class or course).
Systems differ from each other related to degree of self-sufficiency, complexity, and adaptability.
Closed systems have fixed relationships among system components and no interaction with the environment. Not really of concern to IT.
Open systems interact with their environment, have dynamic interaction of components, and can be self-regulating.
Human organisations are open systems; boundaries are permeable, continually engage in importing, transforming, and exporting matter, energy, information, and people; Human organisations are at the high end of the complexity scale due to these characteristics.
Hierarchies permit complex sets of sub-systems. A complex system is difficult to understand as a whole. Therefore it is necessary to divide the system into smaller units (decompose or partition it ). Sub-systems can be viewed as modules, elements, organizational departments.
Equifinality is the principle by which a system can get to the same end (or goal) from various different routes. That is the same inputs can result in the same outputs by different processes. If you (as a subsystem) are required to obtain a book via input from the environment (the boss has asked you to get a book) you may come to the next meeting with the book (output). You may have picked up at the bookshop or the town library the result is the same.
A system must maintain balance or homeostasis if it is to survive. In order to avoid entropy (the fate of a closed system) the system must engage in regulation and control as well as the management of its position in the super-system.
Non-summativity is the assertion that the system is a separate entity which is greater than the mere sum of its parts. If five people write down possible solutions to a problem in seclusion, a group consisting of the same five people will generate more and better solutions by group brainstorming.
What is the role of the data flow diagram in systems analysis? The data flow diagram, DFD, is the primary tool to illustrate the system’s processes or functions and the flow of data between the processes.