Whitchurch, G. G., & Constantine, L. L. (1993). Systems theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methods: A contextual approach (pp. 325-352). New York: Plenum Press. Three Distinct But Closely Interrelated Theoretical Legacies Information theory: focuses on the reduction of uncertainty which is achieved by the acquisition of information. Cybernetics: a science of communication concerned with the transmission and control of information; it examines the communication and manipulation of information in various systems. General Systems Theory (GST): interested in systems in general; family systems theory is an extension of this branch. Definitions and Terms
General Systems Theory (GST) is used to explain the behavior of a variety of complex, organized systems. GST is also a process of theory construction which focuses on building universal concepts, postulates, and principles. GST, as a worldview, emphasizes interrelationships between objects. Terms
Isomorphism: Refers to equivalence of form: there is a one-to-one correspondence between elements and relationships. Cybernetic system: systems with feedback.
Core Assumptions of General Systems Theory
GST Has Potential for Unifying Science: suggests that there are unifying principles in every discipline; GST is a way to consider isomorphism between them. A System Must Be Understood as a Whole
Von Bertalanffy: promoted the notion that a family, or any system, is greater than the some of it's parts. Lewin: the whole is different from the sum of it's parts.
Human Systems are Self-Reflexive
Human systems are characterized by their ability to make themselves and their own behavior the focus of examination; this is self-reflexivity. Self-reflectivity
permits humans to examine their systems and set goals.
permits humans to examine social influences on systems and behaviors, rather than...
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