By Harold Chestnut

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System dynamics has found application in a wide range of areas, for example ecological and economic systems, which usually interact strongly with each other. Besides this, system dynamics has been used to investigate resource dependencies, and the resulting problems in product development projects (cf. Repenning, 1999, 2001). Company as a system According to Mitleton-Kelly (2003), organizations like companies are, by their very nature, complex evolving systems and need to be considered as such for two reasons.

In most cases the whole has properties that cannot be known from an analysis of the constituent elements in isolation. Similar ideas are found in theories of learning that developed from the same fundamental concepts, emphasizing that understanding results from knowing concepts both in part and as a whole. That is, interdisciplinary perspectives are critical in breaking away from industrial-age models and thinking. There are some startling implications to the simple definition of a system. Systems function as a whole, and as a result have properties above and beyond the properties of the parts that comprise them.

In contrast, a watch is an example of a Description Structures and frameworks Single mechanistic systems Control mechanisms, cybernetic systems Living systems Multicellular system Organisms with nervous systems Observing systems Social systems Transcendental systems Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 Source: Mingers, (1997, based on Boulding, 1956). 1 Language, self-consciousness Rules, meanings, norms, power Interaction with relations Static, spatial patterns Dynamic-predetermined changes, processes Error-controlled feedback, information Continuous self-production Functional differentiation Characteristics Autopoietic Relations (first-order autopoiesis) Structural coupling between cells (second-order autopoiesis) Symbolic, abstract relations Recursive, self-referential-relations Structural coupling between organisms (third-order autopoiesis) Specification (what) Order (when) Topology (where) Type of relations Families, organizations Human beings Most animals Thermostat, body temperature Cell, amoeba, single-celled bacteria Plants, fungi, moulds, algae Clock, tune, computers Bridge, mountain table Example 22 Systemic View and Systems Thinking 23 closed system in that it is a relatively self-contained, self-maintaining unit that has little interaction or exchange with its environment.

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