Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SYSTEM

WHAT IS A SYSTEM

A Glance through my Ancient Notebook

By

VIKRAM KARVE


Whilst browsing through my bookshelves I came across an “ancient” notebook and found something interesting on “The Necessary Conditions for an Entity [S] to be conceived as a System”.

1. S is Teleological – This means that every system has a purpose.
2. S has a Measure of Performance [MOP]
3. There exists a client [or customer] whose interests are served by S in such a manner that the higher the MOP the better the interests are served.
4. S has teleological components which co-produce the MOP of S. This means that a System may have sub-systems.
5. S has an environment which also co-produces the MOP of S.
6. There exists a decision maker who via his resources can produce changes in Measures of Performance of the components of S [sub-systems] and hence changes in MOP of S.
7. There exists a designer who conceptualises the nature of S in such a manner that the designer’s concepts potentially produce actions in the decision maker and hence changes in the Measures of Performance of the S’s components [sub-systems] and hence changes in the MOP of S.
8. The designer’s intention is to change S so as to maximise S’s value to the client of the customer.
9. S is stable with respect to the designer in the sense that there is a built-in guarantee that the designer’s intention is ultimately realisable.

This leads us to the Sufficient Conditions or the System Trinity: DESIGNER, DECISION-MAKER and CLIENT [USER or CUSTOMER]

If an entity is to be considered a System:

1. It has a User [Client or Customer] who is interested in the performance of the entity.
2. It has a Decision-maker who affects the performance of the entity by controlling its resources.
3. It has a Designer whose preferences conform and are in harmony with the user’s preferences and who designs the system so that it can be operated by the Decision-maker.
4. The Designer wishes to maximise the benefits to the User.
5. The System is capable of executing the Designer’s plans.

Now after reading all this gobbledegook (or is it gobbledygook?) please don’t ask me what is a System.

Well I will put it simply – in a System 1+1 equals more than 2, say, 1+1 = 11 or even more.

That’s the concept of Synergy or Synergism so aptly expressed by Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Now I’ll ask you a question – Is Marriage a System?


VIKRAM KARVE

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve

vikramkarve@sify.com
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