General Systems Theory: Origin, Concept and their Implication

General Systems Theory: Origin, Concept and their Implication are described below:

Origin and Growth of this Theory:

The Origin of General Systems Theory can be traced to the writings of a biologist named Ludwig Von Bertallanfy who wrote it in 1920.

The theory did not become prevalent until after the Second World War when it was studied seriously because too much compart metallization amongst the different disciplines was considered as most undesirable.

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The exponents of General System Theory held the strong belief that there were many things common in each discipline, so they considered a clear scope for the development of a General Theory. In their opinion such a thing would help each discipline.

This view became so much popular that a society for the Advancement of General Systems Research was founded. It also brought out an Annual Year Book in 1956. It was more or less at the same time that Roy R. Grinker Wrote ‘Towards a Theory of Human behaviour’ which classified various concepts behind this theory. This volume proved of immense help to the supporters of this theory.

This theory was adopted first by anthropology from biology, then it was adopted by sociology and psychology and finally by political science. Emile Durkheim developed this idea in ‘Sociology and Philosophy’ brought out in 1963; where-as Brown developed this idea in ‘Structure and Functions in Primitive Society'(1956).

Among the sociologists the names of Robert K. Metron and Talcott Parson deserve special mention. By the middle of sixties political scientists also started using this theory. David Easton considers it as “the best possible approach to the development of a general theory in the field”. While David Easton and Gabriel A. Almond apply this theory in the field of national politics, Mortan Kaplan applies it in the field of international politics.


Systems Concepts and their implications:

As the system has been adopted from biology, it is based on empirical investigation. It is for this reason that systems analysis has its own set of specific terms which should be understood thoroughly for a clear grasp of this approach.

The guiding principle and focus of the general systems theory is the ‘Systems’- According to Ludwig Von Bertallanfy a system is a set of elements standing in interaction, where-as A. Hall and R. Fagan are of the view that system is a set of objects together with relationships between their attributes.

Collin Cherry in ‘On Human Communication’ has said that system “is a whole which compounded of many parts-an ensemble of attitudes”. According to Morton A. Kaplan, “A brief and non-technical description of the object of systems analysis would include: the study of a set of inter-related variable, as distinguished from the environment of set and of the ways in which this set is maintained under the impact of environmental disturbances”.

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Though all these definitions differ from each other to some extent, yet one thing is clear that all revolve round the idea of a group of objects. In the words of Prof. Verma, “How is a system in other words different from a random aggregation of elements? This question has been answered in two different ways. There is a school of Thought which believes that there are certain fundamentals, orienting such concepts which are relevant to the systems of all kinds.

It is this group of thinkers which has developed the idea of Isomorphism or Inter-locking. Systems which according to Colin Cherry is one to one correspondence between objects in different systems which preserve the relationship between the objects”.

To quote Prof. Verma again “The concept of inter-locking system is related to correspondences across systems of fundamental similarities in the governing principles of processes of systems and implies the existence of a subset of a broader scale system or subsets that are identical with those of one or more additional systems”.

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