Boulding’s Hierarchy of Systems

| December 3, 2015

 

Boulding (1956) looked at the complexity of systems from a hierarchical approach or a system of systems perspective. Boulding’s hierarchy includes nine levels of systems: frameworks, clockworks, cybernetic systems, open systems, plants, animals, humans, social organizations, and transcendental. This was one of the first major papers on systems and is the foundation for more complex theories and models. You will continue to explore complex systems in the coming weeks.

 

To prepare for this Discussion, review Boulding’s article, “General Systems Theory: The Skeleton of Science” and Von Bertalanffy’s article, “The History and Status of General Systems Theory.” Consider how Boulding’s hierarchy of systems may inform your understanding of organizations.

 

Post, your perspective on the relationship between Boulding’s hierarchy of systems and Von Bertalanffy’s general systems theory. Then, explain how these theories have or have not changed your perceptions of a system. Finally, explain how Boulding’s hierarchy might inform leadership and management in organizations.

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