General System Theory (glossary)

From SEBoK
Jump to: navigation, search
General system theory (GST), attempts to formulate principles relevant to all open systems. GST is based on the idea that correspondence relationships (homologies) exist between systems from different disciplines. Thus, knowledge about one system should allow us to reason about other systems. (von Bertalanffy 1968)


von Bertalanffy, L. 1968. General system theory: Foundations, development, applications. Revised ed. New York, NY: Braziller.


Ludwig von Bertalanffy developed a research approach based on open system theory (Bertalanffy 1950). He was one of a number of natural scientists who realized that the reductionist, closed system, approach could not be used to explain the behavior of an organism in its environment.

GST also implies a scientific approach, with identify laws and generalized theory to unify all science. Bertalanffy was cofounder, along with Kenneth Boulding (economist), Ralph Gerard (physiologist) and Anatol Raporport (mathematician), of the Society for General Systems Research in 1957. This group is considered by many to be the founders of System Age Thinking (Flood 1999).

Work Cited

Bertalanffy, L. von. 1950. "The Theory of Open Systems in Physics and Biology". Science, New Series, 111(2872) (Jan 13): 23-29

SEBoK v. 1.1.2 released 1 August 2013

SEBoK Discussion

Please provide your comments and feedback on the SEBoK below. You will need to log in to DISQUS using an existing account (e.g. Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or create a DISQUS account. Simply type your comment in the text field below and DISQUS will guide you through the login or registration steps. Feedback will be archived and used for future updates to the SEBoK. If you provided a comment that is no longer listed, that comment has been adjudicated. You can view adjudication for comments submitted prior to SEBoK v. 1.0 at SEBoK Review and Adjudication. Later comments are addressed and changes are summarized in the Editors' Note.

If you would like to provide edits on this article, recommend new content, or make comments on the SEBoK as a whole, please see the SEBoK Sandbox.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Personal tools