Two approaches to systems understanding are:
- Reductionist- breaking problems into smaller pieces, and
- Holistic – the idea that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts
- Process of understanding systems requires us to think in a systems manner
- Ability to think in terms of whole systems
Software developers, and similar professionals, prefer to use to reductionist approach when solving problems.
Modern IT education requires study of soft systems analysis, this does not make systems thinkers.
Definition – A system is a ‘collection of organised activities that exist for some purpose’ or ‘structures that exhibit order’.
Key words are organised, purpose (purposeful) and order (ordered).
Systems are not random collection of elements.
- Purpose, therefore goals and objectives
- Organised elements so goals & objectives can be produced
- Continuation of identity (lifetime) – goal/objective reason to exist
Continuance of identity – system tries to adapt to and “survive in” environment by process of dynamic equilibrium.
- A whole system – see later notes
- Dynamic equilibrium – a state of balance between continuing processes