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overview [2007/10/02 22:37]
tom mandel
overview [2015/01/31 23:55] (current)
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 In the past decade, systems engineering had found system theory principles useful and has incorporated them into it's own methodologies. ​ For now the systems engineer ​ is interested not only in the components making up his focus of interest, he is also interested in the end user and how it performs in the field. ​ Systems engineering thus calls on systemic principles in order to broaden the scope or scale of its action. ​  ​Currently (Sage 2006) systems engineering includes the technical systems; their interaction with the human and environmental stakeholders;​ the systems that support the users' use of the systems, the enabling systems; and the organizations doing the development work, the process systems. In the past decade, systems engineering had found system theory principles useful and has incorporated them into it's own methodologies. ​ For now the systems engineer ​ is interested not only in the components making up his focus of interest, he is also interested in the end user and how it performs in the field. ​ Systems engineering thus calls on systemic principles in order to broaden the scope or scale of its action. ​  ​Currently (Sage 2006) systems engineering includes the technical systems; their interaction with the human and environmental stakeholders;​ the systems that support the users' use of the systems, the enabling systems; and the organizations doing the development work, the process systems.
 +From Systems Research and Behavioral Science Sys.Res. 24, 169-181 (2007)
 +Re-evaluating Systems Engineering as a Framework for Tackling Systems Issues
 +Stephan C. Cook and Timothy L.J. Ferris
 +Centre of Excellence in Defence and Industry Systems Capabilities,​ University of South Australia and Systems Engineering and Evaluation Centre, University of South Australia
 + 
 +Page 175-176
 +    "​Whilst we acknowledge that from this early philosophy that Jackson and Keys (1984) made a fair assessment of systems engineering,​ Hutchins nonetheless goes on to say that systems engineering is fundamentally holistic as indicated by the:
 +Existence of the concept of CONOPS concerning the entire mission. ​
 +Development of an overall design which addresses the whole of the CONOPS, prior to the decompositiuon of the whole into components which together achieve the whole. ​
 +Review of the project from the viwpoint of effectiveness of meeting the objectives of the whole and integration of the parts followed by evaluation of the effectiveness of the whole."​
 +....
 + 
 +Another substantial shaper of the framework of ideas for systems engineering is the ideology ​ of systems thinking as expressed in several systems related disciplines,​ each of which takes a different perspective on systems issues. Systems thinking is concerned with the conscious use of the concept of wholeness when considering an entity. that is a system, that exhibits properties that are greater than the sum of the components. It is the antithesis of Descartes reductionism,​ the mainstay of the scientific community: the technique of breaking down problems into their components and analyzing them through deliberate isolation from the whole of their context. While it is recognized that the reductionistic approach has value in relatively simple systems, it is incapable of examining the way properties for which most designed systems are constructed:​ the emergent properties that are only observable at a whole system level. Specifically the scientific method, as commonly presented, is concerned with investigation of abstracted properties of entities and des not cope well with complexity, real-word problems and social phenomenon. The fundamental problem is that the reductionistic approach investigates the properties of the elements that are assembled into a system, rather than the properties of the whole assemblage of the system. This is problematic because assembly of a number of elements into a system creates interactions of elements which result in system behaviours of the elements."​
  
 +
 +Page 176-177
 +"It is noteworthy that the systems engineering literature is increasingly using concepts from systems thinking to underpin its teaching and practice (Hitchins, 1992, 2003; Aslaksen 1996;​Sydenham,​ 2004; Cook, 2005) and systems engineers are becoming increasing familiar with ideas such as emergence, holism, boundaries judgements and connectedness. In part this realization has developed through the more recent development of understanding of the system engineering task as concerning systems demanding a considerable embedding of a technical product into a social situation, demanding a greater degree of socio-technical integration of product systems than was previously necessary," ​
 + 
 +page 179
 +We argue that the attribute s of individual problems-of-interest (POI) within systems engineering can be used to select the methodologies,​ and thus to call into action the frameworks of ideas associated with those methodologies,​ that would be most useful for tackling the POI. From this it can be seen that really systems engineering is a transdisciplinary metamethodology because many methodologies can and are applied concurrently to address goals. In this way, systems engineering is analogous to Total Systems Intervention (Flood and Jackson, 1991b) and yet also should be recognized within the Total Systems Intervention framework as the appropriate methodology to address issues in any category sector of the matrix where it is anticipated that the solution is likely to involve design of something involving a substantial amount of technology. In turn, systems engineering includes the insight-eliciting methods of systems thinking, and uses them to address issues in a manner guided by the Total Systems Intervention framework."​
 + 
 +" We conclude that systems engineering is now recognized as a field which can and must address issues in both the simple and complex categories and where unitary, pluralist and coercive perspectives are found, and that to address these issues, systems engineering calls upon the whole range of insight-gaining and systemic intervention methodologies developed through the broader systems movement. ​
 +----
 In the research paper published in the IFSR journal: Systems Research Behavior Science, Cook and Ferris argue, "​...that,​ as such, systems engineering is an appropriate methodology for any problem situation where the solution can be expected to involve a substantial technical component."​ They  contend that systems engineering is really a transdisciplinary metamethodology because of the use of many methodologies. They also believe that Systems engineering "​...should be recognized within the Total Systems Intervention framework as the appropriate methodology to address issues in any category sector of the matrix. where it is anticipated that the solution is likely to involve design of something involving a substantial amount of technology. In turn systems engineering includes the insight-eliciting methods of systems thinking, and uses them to address issues in a manner guided by the Total Systems Intervention framework."​ <​ref>​Cook,​ Stephen C. and Ferris, Timothy L.J.  (2007) Re-evaluating Systems Engineering as a Framework for Tackling Systems Issues. Systems Research and Behavior Science; John Wiley & Sons  (169-181)</​ref>​ In the research paper published in the IFSR journal: Systems Research Behavior Science, Cook and Ferris argue, "​...that,​ as such, systems engineering is an appropriate methodology for any problem situation where the solution can be expected to involve a substantial technical component."​ They  contend that systems engineering is really a transdisciplinary metamethodology because of the use of many methodologies. They also believe that Systems engineering "​...should be recognized within the Total Systems Intervention framework as the appropriate methodology to address issues in any category sector of the matrix. where it is anticipated that the solution is likely to involve design of something involving a substantial amount of technology. In turn systems engineering includes the insight-eliciting methods of systems thinking, and uses them to address issues in a manner guided by the Total Systems Intervention framework."​ <​ref>​Cook,​ Stephen C. and Ferris, Timothy L.J.  (2007) Re-evaluating Systems Engineering as a Framework for Tackling Systems Issues. Systems Research and Behavior Science; John Wiley & Sons  (169-181)</​ref>​
  
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 **GENERAL SYSTEMS THEORY** ​ **GENERAL SYSTEMS THEORY** ​
  
-Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s book //General System Theory// brought together the concepts and models of organismic thought using the umbrella word ‘system‘. His book and the establishment of a research society served as the stage for the beginning of the systems movement. General systems theory is concerned with the concepts, principles, and models that are common to all kinds of systems and the isomorphisms between and among various types of systems. Bertalanffy writes, “In our considerations we started with a general definition of systems’ defined as a “**set of elements standing in interrelations**... No special hypothesis or statement were made about the nature of the system, of its elements or the relations between them. Nevertheless from this purely formal definition of “system” many properties follow which in part are expressed in laws well-known in various fields of science, and in part concern concepts previously regarded as anthropomorphic,​ vitalistic. or metaphysical. The parallelism of general conceptions or even special laws in different fields therefore is a consequence of the fact that those are concerned with “systems” and that certain general principles apply to systems irrespective of their nature... [1] +Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s book //General System Theory// brought together the concepts and models of organismic thought using the umbrella word ‘system‘. His book and the establishment of a research society served as the stage for the beginning of the systems movement. General systems theory is concerned with the concepts, principles, and models that are common to all kinds of systems and the isomorphisms between and among various types of systems. Bertalanffy writes, ​“Ludwig von Bertalanffy 
 + 
 +-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 + 
 +Excerpted from General Systems Theory  
 + 
 +“Modern science is characterized by its ever-increasing specialization,​ necessitated by the enormous amount of data, the complexity of techniques and of theoretical structures within every field. Thus science is split into innumerable disciplines continually generating new subdisciplines. In consequence,​ the physicist, the biologist, the psychologist and the social scientist are, so to speak, encapusulated in their private universes, and it is difficult to get word from one cocoon to the other...”  
 + 
 +“Entities of an essentially new sort are entering the sphere of scientific thought. Classical science in its diverse disciplines,​ be it chemistry, biology, psychology or the social sciences, tried to isolate the elements of the observed universe - chemical compounds and enzymes, cells, elementary sensations, freely competing individuals,​ what not – expecting that, by putting them together again, conceptually or experimentally,​ the whole or system - cell, mind, society - would result and be intelligible. Now we have learned that for an understanding not only the elements but their interrelations as well are required...”  
 + 
 +“It is necessary to study not only parts and processes in isolation, but also to solve the decisive problems found in organization and order unifying them, resulting from dynamic interaction of parts, and making the the behavoir of the parts different when studied in isolation or within the whole...”  
 + 
 +General system theory, therefore, is a general science of “wholeness...The meaning of the somewhat mystical expression, “The whole is more that the sum of its parts” is simply that constitutive characteristics are not explanable from the characteristics of the isolated parts. The characteristics of the complex, therefore, appear as “new” or “emergent”...  
 + 
 +We can also say: While we can conceive of a sum being composed gradually, as system as total of parts with its interrelations has to be conceived of as being composed instantly...”  
 + 
 +“In our considerations we started with a general definition of systems” defined as a “set of elements standing in interrelations... No special hypothesis or statement were made about the nature of the system, of its elements or the relations between them. Nevertheless from this purely formal definition of “system” many properties follow which in part are expressed in laws well-known in various fields of science, and in part concern concepts previously regarded as anthropomorphic,​ vitalistic. or metaphysical. The parallelism of general conceptions or even special laws in different fields therefore is a consequence of the fact that those are concerned with “systems” and that certain general principles apply to systems irrespective of their nature... ​ 
 + 
 +There appear to exist general system laws which apply to any system of a particular type, irrespective of the particular properties of the systems and the elements involved. Compared to the analytical procedure of classical science with resolution into component elements and one-way or linear causality as basic category, the investigation of organized wholes of many variables requires new categories of interaction,​ transaction,​ organization,​ teleology...”  
 + 
 +“These considerations lead to the postulate of a new scientific discipline which we call general system theory. It’s subject matter is formulation of principles that are valid for “systems” in general, whatever the nature of the component elements and the relations or “forces” between them...”  
 + 
 +“It seems, therefore, that a general theory of systems would be a useful tool and providing on the one hand, models that can be used in, and transferred to, different fields, and safeguarding,​ on the other hand, from vague analogies which often have marred the progress in these fields.” ​[1] 
  
 Kenneth Boulding writes in the 1968 International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, “The task of general systems theory is to find the most general conceptual framework in which a scientific theory or technological problem can be placed without losing the essential features of the theory or problem.” []  Kenneth Boulding writes in the 1968 International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, “The task of general systems theory is to find the most general conceptual framework in which a scientific theory or technological problem can be placed without losing the essential features of the theory or problem.” [] 
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