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Systems Theory

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Anani Kuffner

on 11 March 2014

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Transcript of Systems Theory

must always be changing
in human systems it must be “self aware”
open or closed systems
Dynamic Systems Theory
the relationship between the subject and their environment
• each person is a subject
• All members together influence each other
• relationships are woven together into patterns and developmental processes
• family as a whole encompasses subsystems
• family transacts with external systems

Zones & Natural Areas
(Burgess, 1925)
AGIL system
daptive function
oal-attainment function
ntegrative function
Ecological Systems Perspective
Structural Functionalism
Systems Theory
Melissa Duncan,
Anani Kuffner,
Jared Best,
& Amanda McDonald

General Theory of Action
Examines how social systems survive and why institutionalized patterns of interaction persists.
Social world was viewed in systemic terms. The system had needs and requisites to be met to ensure survival

Systems have normal and pathological states. As a system, the world is composed of mutually interrelated parts. Study of the parts focused on how they fulfilled the requisites of the systemic wholes and how they maintained equilibrium
every system is a whole with it’s own distinctive qualities but at the same time is part of a larger systems as well as a container of smaller systems
The History of Systems Theory

In the early 1920s....

the world as an organization

Ludwig Von Bertalanffy

General Systems Theory objectives...
(1) There is a general tendency towards integration in the various sciences, natural and social. (2) Such integration seems to be centered in a general theory of systems. (3). Such theory may be an important means for aiming at exact theory in the nonphysical fields of science. (4) 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. (5) This can lead to a much-needed integration in scientific education. (Von Bertalanffy, 1968, p. 38)
- LVB formulated Organismic Systems Theory in the 1930s and the Theory of Open Systems in the 1940s. As a metatheory derived from both theories, LVB introduced the General Systems Theory from which Systems Theory as we know it today, emerged.
Social Work Theory & Practice
The Life Model of Social Work Practice
Carel B. Germain (& Alex Gitterman)
Goodness of fit

Human Behavior in the Social Environment: An Ecological View
(Germain, 1991)
Power & Oppression

habitat & niche
Germain & Gitterman (1995, 2008)

Coercive Power
withholding of power from vulnerable groups
social pollutions (eg. poverty, sexism, homophobia)

Exploitative Power
infliction of injustice & suffering
Social systems have a number of functional prerequisites including:

compatibility with other systems, fulfillment of the needs of people,
support from other systems, ensuring adequate levels of participation from its members, controlling deviance and conflict.
Definitions of Concepts
Social cohesion describes the bonds that bring people together in a society.

Social inequality refer group influence. Social cohesion at a group level is directly affected by the individual members.s to any scenario in which individuals in a society do not have equal social status.

Interdependence is a central theme in structural functionalism; it refers to the parts of society sharing a common set of principles. Institutions, organizations, and individuals are all interdependent with one another.

Equilibrium, in a social context, is the internal and external balance in a society.
History of Systems Theory
Herbert Spencer

Robert Merton

Talcott Parsons
, American Sociologist (1902-1979) influenced by Emile Durkheim and Max Weber
What is a system?
A system is a set of two or more interrelated elements with the following properties:

1. Each element has an effect on the functioning of the whole.
2. Each element is affected by at least one other element in the system.
3. All possible subgroups of elements also have the first two properties.

(Ackoff, 1981, pp. 15-16.)
Other individuals and theorist important to Systems Theory
In addition to LVB, other individuals and systems theorists who contributed to the systems theory include Alfred North Whitehead, Paul A. Weiss, Anatol Rapoport, Ralph Gerard and Kenneth Boulding.
Roots & Early Concepts
Social Darwinism
Human Ecology

natural & social environments
symbiotic (hostile or competitive)
commensalistic (communicative & consensual)

Three features of natural life
Open System
allows for an exchange of energy or resources across systems or subjects
exchange that promotes growth and transformation known as
negative entropy

members will be both self-maintaining (
) and self transforming (
Family Systems Theory
Murray Bowen founded this theory in the 1950’s
central influence on the practice of family therapy in North America.
Bowen’s focus was on patterns that develop in families in order to defuse anxiety.
Murray Bowen
Family Systems Theory
Dynamic Systems Theory
Supra Systems
(external to subject, environment)
This is Jeopardy!
Systems typically consist of 4 things
(1) objects
(2) attributes
(3) internal relationships about the
(4) environment

There are three levels of a system
(1) purpose of the system
(2) purpose of the parts
(3) purpose of the system of which it is a part
Systems Continued...
- The systems approach was largely created around and applied to the hard sciences however it later became applied to the humanities and then emerged as a platform of study in areas of social work, mental health and political and behavioral sciences.

- They study of cognitive development and human perception relied more and more on the systems approach.

- Systems Theory does much to render the complex dynamics of human bio-psycho-socio-cultural change comparison.
Talcott Parsons
Nicolas Flamel
Ludwig Von Bertalanffy
Millicent Bulstode
Niklas Luhmann
Remus Lupin
Harry Potter Character or Theorist?
Full transcript