Basic Concepts of the Systems Approach:-




The systems approach integrates the analytic and the synthetic method, encompassing both holism and reductionism. It was first proposed under the name of general system theory do not interact with the outside world. When a physicist makes a model of the solar system, of an atom, or of a pendulum, he or she assumes that all masses, particles, forces that affect the system are included in the model.
However, as a biologist von Bertalanffy knew that such an assumption is simply impossible for most practical phenomena. Separate a living organism from its surroundings and it will die shortly because of lack of oxygen, water and food. Organisms are open systems: they cannot survive without continuously exchanging matter and energy with their environment. The peculiarity of open systems is that they interact with other systems outside of themselves. This interaction has two components: input, that what enters the system from the outside, and output, that what leaves the system for the environment. In order to speak about the inside and the outside of a system, we need to be able to distinguish between the system itself and its environment. System and environment are in general separated by a boundary. For example, for living systems the skin plays the role of the boundary. The output of a system is in general a direct or indirect result from the input. What comes out, needs to have gotten in first. However, the output is in general quite different from the input: the system is not just a passive tube, but an active processor. For example, the food, drink and oxygen we take in, leave our body as urine, excrements and carbon dioxide. The transformation of input into output by the system is usually called throughput. This has given us all the basic components of a system as it is understood in systems theory (see Fig. )
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Fig. a system in interaction with its environment


When we look more closely at the environment of a system, we see that it too consists of systems interacting with their environments. For example, the environment of a person is full of other persons. If we now consider a collection of such systems which interact with each other, that collection could again be seen as a system. For example, a group of interacting people may form a family, a firm, or a city. The mutual interactions of the component systems in a way "glue" these components together into a whole. If these parts did not interact, the whole would not be more than the sum of its components. But because they interact, something more is added. With respect to the whole the parts are seen as subsystems. With respect to the parts, the whole is seen as a supersystem.

If we look at the super system as a whole, we don't need to be aware of all its parts. We can again just look at its total input and total output without worrying which part of the input goes to which subsystem. For example, if we consider a city, we can measure the total amount of fuel consumed in that city (input), and the total amount of pollution generated (output), without knowing which person was responsible for which part of the pollution. This point of view considers the system as a "black box", something that takes in input, and produces output, without us being able to see what happens in between. (in contrast, if we can see the system's internal processes, we might call it a "white box"). Although the black box view may not be completely satisfying, in many cases this is the best we can get. For example, for many processes in the body we simply do not know how they happen. Doctors may observe that if they give a patient a particular medicine (input), the patient will react in a certain way (output), e.g. by producing more urine. However, in most cases they have little idea about the particular mechanisms which lead from the cause to the effect. Obviously, the medicine triggers a complex chain of interconnected reactions, involving different organs and parts of the body, but the only thing that can be clearly established is the final result.

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Fig. a system as a "white box", containing a collection of interacting subsystems, and as a "black box", without observable components.

The black box view is not restricted to situations where we don't know what happens inside the system. In many cases, we can easily see what happens in the system, yet we prefer to ignore these internal details. For example, when we model a city as a pollution producing system, it does not matter which particular chimney produced a particular plume of smoke. It is sufficient to know the total amount of fuel that enters the city to estimate the total amount of carbon dioxide and other gases produced. The "black box" view of the city will be much simpler and easier to use for the calculation of overall pollution levels than the more detailed "white box" view, where we trace the movement of every fuel tank to every particular building in the city.
These two complementary views, "black" and "white", of the same system illustrate a general principle: systems are structured hierarchically. They consist of different levels. At the higher level, you get a more abstract, emcompassing view of the whole, without attention to the details of the components or parts. At the lower level, you see a multitude of interacting parts but without understanding how they are organized to form a whole. According to the anlytic approach, that low level view is all you need. If you know the precise state of all the organs and cells in the body, you should be able to understand how that body functions. Classical medicine is based on this reductionist view. Different alternative approaches to medicine have argued that such a view misses out the most important thing: the body is a whole. The state of your mind affects the state of your stomach which in turn affects the state of your mind. These interactions are not simple, linear cause and effect relations, but complex networks of interdependencies, which can only be understood by their common purpose: maintaining the organism in good health. This "common purpose" functions at the level of the whole. It is meaningless at the level of an individual organ or cell.
One way to understand this is the idea of doenward causation ". According to reductionism, the laws governing the parts determine or cause the behavior of the whole. This is upward causation from the lowest level to the higher ones. In emergent systems, however, the laws governing the whole also constrain or "cause" the behavior of the parts.
This reasoning can be applied to most of the things that surround us. Although the behavior of a transistor in a computer chip is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics, the particular arrangement of the transistors in the chip can only be understood through the principles of computer science. The structure of the DNA molecule, which codes our genetic information, is determined by the laws of chemistry. Yet, the coding rules themselves, specifying which DNA "triplet" stands for which amino acid, don't derive from chemistry. They constitute a law of biology. Each level in the hierarchy of systems and subsystems has its own laws, which cannot be derived from the laws of the lower level. Each law specifies a particular type of organization at its level, which "downwardly" determines the arrangement of the subsystems or components at the level below. When we say that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, the "more" refers to the higher level laws, which make the parts function in a way that does not follow from the lower level laws.
Although each level in a hierarchy has its own laws, these laws are often similar. The same type of organization can be found in systems belonging to different levels.
Closed systems at different levels have many features in common as well. The binding forces which hold together the planets in the solar system, the atoms in a molecule, or the electrons in an atom, although physically different, have a very similar function. The embeddedness of systems in supersystem holds for all types of systems: societies consist of people which consist of organs, which consist of cells, which consist of organelles, which consist of macromolecules, which consist of molecules, which consist of atoms, which consist of nucleons, which consist of quarks.
Thus we find similar structures and functions for different systems, independent of the particular domain in which the system exists. General Systems Theory is based on the assumption that there are universal principles of organization, which hold for all systems, be they physical, chemical, biological, mental or social. The mechanistic world view seeks universality by reducing everything to its material constituents. The systemic world view, on the contrary, seeks universality by ignoring the concrete material out of which systems are made, so that their abstract organization comes into focus.





Types of system approach:


There are three types of System Approach:-
1. Technical Approach
2. Behavioral Approach &
3. Socio-technical Approach.


1.Technical Approach:-

The word distributor can be defined into three different meanings. The first meaning, one that distributes, is the easiest to see since distribution comes from the word distribute. Distribution can also be defined as a wholesaler, or one that markets a commodity. The last definition of distribution is an apparatus in the ignition system that distributes the proper amount of electrical voltage to each spark plug at the correct sequence and time.
Every automobile from today's era has a distributor. The distributor is the major component of the ignition system. The distributor is on either the side or the top of your engine, or up near the firewall .The distributor looks somewhat like an octopus since it has wires that come out from the top of the cap. The distributor is designed to make and break the ignition primary circuit, a low-tension circuit, and to distribute the resultant high voltage to the proper cylinder at the correct time. The high voltage comes from the coil. The coil is a transformer
At the breaker plate, located at the floor of the distributor, there are the points and a condenser. The points are two pieces of metal joined at one end so that they can touch and then draw apart .The space where they almost meet when they are open is called a gap. Only one of the points actually moves, the other is stationary. When the points open, electric power passes to the rotor and then to the spark plug cables. Now, the condenser is a small metal cylinder. The purpose of the condenser is to prevent the electricity from arcing across the gap when the points are open, so they do not burn.All the condenser does is act like a sponge for the excess current. The condenser is also necessary for generating high voltage for the spark plugs
outside of the distributor that changes low-voltage energy into high-voltage energy. After the high voltage comes out from the coil, it passes to the center terminal of the distributor cap and down the rotor by a wire attached to the coil that goes into the center tower of the distributor cap



2.Behavioral Approach:-

The behavioral approach is based on the concept of explaining behavior through observation, and the belief that our environment is what causes us to behave differently or suffer illnesses. The main categories of behaviorism are:
a) Classical Behaviorism:
Initiated arguably by John B. Watson, with his publication of "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It" (often referred to as the behaviorist manifesto), who described his behaviorist approach in psychology as "a purely objective experimental branch of natural science".
b) Methodological Behaviorism:
Methological behaviorism is based on the idea that all types of psychological research are based to a greater or lesser extent on observing behaviors; the closest insight, some may argue, we currently have into someone's psychological make-up.

c) Radical Behaviorism:
Radical behaviorists would claim that all our actions can be explained in terms of environmental factors. This is a somewhat extreme view in that it ignores biological and cognitive influences, particularly given research that has found genetic factors to play a part in disorders such as schizophrenia and depression and the success of cognitive treatments such as rational emotive therapy (RET). Popular holders of the radical behaviorism approach were J.B. Watson, and Skinner, but psychologists today widely acknowledge the importance of cognitive and biological factors in explaining disorders and behavior.
ASSUMPTIONS OF BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH:-

1) Behaviorists assume that we can understand people by observing their behavior. This contrasts with the cognitive approach which looks at thought processes and other unobservable activities.

2) Behavior can be observed in terms of responses to certain stimuli. For example, a person being asked to hold a book (stimulus) would respond by holding the book. This Stimulus-Response theory forms the basis of conditioning, which suggests learning in humans and animals can take place through the association of a response with particular stimuli.

3) Behaviorism also assumes that we are born as a blank slate, or tabula rasa, and so equal at birth. It is environmental factors rather than genetic or biological differences that make us behave differently. Behaviorism very much represents the nurture aspect of the nature-nurture debate.


Evaluation of the Behavioral Approach:-
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Skinner and Pavlov's dogs have shown the importance of classical and operant conditioning in learning
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There is substantial support - primarily twin and family studies - showing the significance of biological factors in diseases. The dopamine hypothesis, which suggests schizophrenia is linked to abnormal levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, has lead to the production of successful drug therapies. Gottesman (1991) summarized around 40 studies of mono- and di-zygotic twins and found that there is a potential genetic link to schizophrenia.



3.Sociotechnical systems:-

Sociotechnical systems (or STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational work design that recognizes the interaction between people and technology in work place.The term also refers to the interaction between society's complex infrastructures and human behaviour. In this sense, society itself, and most of its substructures, are complex sociotechnical systems.

Sociotechnical systems theory is theory about the social aspects of people and society and technical aspects of machines and technology.Sociotechnical refers to the interrelatedness of social and technical aspects of an organization. Sociotechnical theory therefore is about joint optimization, with a shared emphasis on achievement of both excellence in technical performance and quality in people's work lives. Sociotechnical theory, as distinct from sociotechnical systems, proposes a number of different ways of achieving joint optimisation. They are usually based on designing different kinds of organisation, ones in which the relationships between socio and technical elements lead to the emergence of productivity and wellbeing.



Socio technical systems approach:

Socio-technical system in organizational development is the term for an approach to complex organizational work design that recognizes the interaction between people and technology in work places. The term also refers to the interaction between society's complex infrastructures and human behavior. In this sense, society itself, and most of its sub-structures, are complex socio technical systems.



components of system approach:-