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Systems 2017, 5(1), 23; doi:10.3390/systems5010023

From Systems to Organisations

National Laboratory for Scientific Computation, Av. Getúlio Vargas, 333, 25651-075 Petrópolis, RJ, Brazil
Received: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 6 March 2017

Abstract

Warren Weaver, writing about the function that science should have in mankind’s developing future, ideas and ideals, proposed to classify scientific problems into ‘problems of simplicity’, ‘problems of disorganised complexity’, and ‘problems of organised complexity’—the huge complementary class to which all biological, human, and social problems belong. Problems of simplicity have few components and variables and have been extensively addressed in the last 400 years. Problems of disorganised complexity have a huge number of individually erratic components and variables, but possess collective regularities that can be analysed by resourcing to stochastic methods. Yet, ‘problems of organised complexity’ do not yield easily to classical or statistical treatment. Interrelations among phenomenon elements change during its evolution alongside commonly used state variables. This invalidates independence and additivity assumptions that support reductionism and affect behaviour and outcome. Moreover, organisation, the focal point in this complementary class, is still an elusive concept despite gigantic efforts undertaken since a century ago to tame it. This paper addresses the description, representation and study of phenomena in the ‘problems of organised complexity’ class, arguing that they should be treated as a collection of interacting organisations. Furthermore, grounded on relational mathematical constructs, a formal theoretical framework that provides operational definitions, schemes for representing organisations and their changes, as well as interactions of organisations is introduced. Organisations formally extend the general systems concept and suggest a novel perspective for addressing organised complexity phenomena as a collection of interacting organisations. View Full-Text
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kritz, M. From Systems to Organisations. Systems 2017, 5, 23.

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