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Various Notions of GST

Although the above system definition of Bertalanffy is clear–and very similar ones can be found–the discussion about the system definition seems to be a never ending story, as illustrated earlier in discussions by Lin and Wang. Razik and Jacobs (1995), for instance, claimed that there are definitions of 'system' that are too broad and others that are too narrow. They consequently introduced a definition that was based on dataflow diagramming, but their definition was not adopted widely.

Furthermore, Bertalanffy's approach supposedly required the support of other philosophical epistemologies. This position was held by Georgiou (1999, 2000), who attempted to improve Bertalanffy's system epistemology by incorporating Sartre's understanding of Husserlian phenomenology.

Besides its scientific, or epistemological, dimension, GST also has a world view dimension. Bertalanffy's basic aim was to overcome a mechanistic world view and strive for a 'model of the world as a great organization' (Bertalanffy, 1969, p. 49).

Mulej et al. (2004) contrasted the problem of specialization in science and other areas with Bertalanffy's thinking: GST should not be used as a tool only inside specialized disciplines, but a linked world view must also be taken into account. The authors indicated that 'an exaggerated reductionism prevails in scientific and common thinking' and that the notion of a 'requisite holism' was needed. Seven groups of 'system thinking principles' were suggested: interdependence, relations, openness and interconnectedness; complexity; attractors; emergence; synergy, system and synthesis; whole, holism and big picture; and networking, interaction and interplay. Hence, a view of the whole should be restored to prevent major trouble. Mulej et al. (2003) supported an informal system thinking in addition to the already established formal system of thinking.

Besides the holistic view of Mulej et al., a world view that corresponds with GST did not appear in the articles studied, at least not in a novel and elaborated form.

Date: 2015-01-11; view: 1507

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