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TM353 Block 1 - Glossary terms


edge of a system. Provides sense of what is inside and outside of the system


refers to a kind of order without periodicity (without being cyclical or periodic)


reciprocal influence leading to change in the co-evolving entities

complex adaptive systems

complex systems that are not only capable of generating emergent properties through self-
organisation but are capable of adaptively self-organising to changing conditions in their


unpredictable, large number of interactions, decentralised, non-decomposable

edge of chaos

region between class 2 and class 3. Lying between periodic order and chaotic disorder


the system as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts


elements identified outside of the system boundary


take an existing system and take it forward in an incremental manner


Depends on stakeholder. Something that has gone wrong, or not lived up to expectations.

Formal System Model (FSM)

A decision-making subsystem, A performance-monitoring subsystem,A set of subsystems and

elements that carry out the tasks of the system and thus effect its transformations by converting
inputs into outputs, A degree of connectivity between the components, An environment with which
the system interacts, Boundaries separating the system from its wider system and the wider system
from the environment, Resources, A continuous purpose or mission that gives rise to the
expectations some guarantee of continuity.


systems that fit inside of each other


systems with many components, a large proportion of which affect each other


this is the environment, this is the system, this is the subsystem is identifying what level working at

levels of analysis

micro, meso and macro show how the zones relate to these terms

linear systems

those which obey the superposition principle

non-linear systems

those which do not obey the superposition principle

open systems

boundary is porous, elements in the environment may have a significant impact upon elements
within the system
organisational context

refers to the scope of an entity, such as parent organization (organization owning one or more
entities) enterprise (an entire organization) division or department (a sub-organization within the
overall organization) work unit

personal analysis

inward look at encompassing capabilities and aspirations


process of mobilising power


ability or capacity to perform or act effectively

resource analysis

strategic planning tool which considers the resources required to support particular strategies, as
well as the competencies needed to use the resources

scientific reductionism

assumption that a system can always be reductively decomposed into a collection of simpler
subsystems and the relationships between them which can be further decomposed


ability of certain kinds of systems to organise themselves


used to model. Understand and predict behaviour of systems


relationship between social aspects and the technical aspects of the system

group of people who can affect or be affected by achievement of an organisations objectives


Social, Technological, Economic, Ethical, Legal, Environmental. Analysis method


structure in which agents are embedded. Social, economic domains in legal, financial institutions


system within a system


achievements dependent on stakeholder.

successful system

one that has achieved what was intended of it; it was operational and cost what planned, project
teams and users satisfied

SWOT analysis

strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats analysis


A set of components interconnected for a purpose

Systems Failures Approach

Means of learning from failure that you then incorporate as an informed user into preventing future
failures through design

systems thinking

way of understanding parts of the world that are all connected to each other. concerned with
understanding systems and their nature