Whitchurch. G. G. . & A ; Constantine. L. L. ( 1993 ) . Systems theory. In P. G. Boss. W. J. Doherty. R. LaRossa. W. R. Schumm. & A ; S. K. Steinmetz ( Eds. ) . Sourcebook of household theories and methods: A contextual attack ( pp. 325-352 ) . New York: Plenum Press. Three Distinct But Closely Interrelated Theoretical Legacies Information theory: focal points on the decrease of uncertainness which is achieved by the acquisition of information. Cyberneticss: a scientific discipline of communicating concerned with the transmittal and control of information ; it examines the communicating and use of information in assorted systems. General Systems Theory ( GST ) : interested in systems in general ; household systems theory is an extension of this subdivision. Definitions and Footings
General Systems Theory ( GST ) is used to explicate the behaviour of a assortment of complex. organized systems. GST is besides a procedure of theory building which focuses on edifice cosmopolitan constructs. posits. and rules. GST. as a worldview. emphasizes interrelatednesss between objects. Footings
Isomorphism: Refers to equivalence of signifier: 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 uniting rules in every subject ; GST is a manner to see isomorphy between them. A System Must Be Understood as a Whole
Von Bertalanffy: promoted the impression that a household. or any system. is greater than the some of it’s parts. Lewin: the whole is different from the amount of it’s parts.
Human Systems are Self-Reflexive
Human systems are characterized by their ability to do themselves and their ain behaviour the focal point of scrutiny ; this is self-reflexivity. Self-reflectivity
licenses worlds to analyze their systems and fit ends.
licenses worlds to analyze societal influences on systems and behaviours. instead than naively accepting them as “natural. ” Research and Theory Foci
Ongoing Family Procedures:
Transactional forms ( e. g. . predictable behavior sequences ) . Shift focal point from single to the household.
discreteness and connecetedness.
version to alter.
Example of research inquiries ( from Montgomery & A ; Fewer. 1988 ) : What elements of a societal system are influenced by other parts of the system ; how does one component of a system recursively act upon the whole system? How does the behaviour of different constituents suit together?
How does the tantrum between systems affect working?
What is the Relationship of Family Systems to Other Systems
Major Contemporary Concepts of General Systems Theory
Definition: the ability of a system to accomplish the same ends through different paths ( e. g. . we may take different roads to campus but we all arrive at the same topographic point ) . Communication forms are organized into feedback cringles which affect goal-setting behaviour in systems. Hierarchy:
The “layering” of systems of increasing complexness. including Subsystems: smaller parts of the same system.
Suprasystems: larger systems ( e. g. . economic and political system ) . Controversy: dissension about definition of sub- and supra-systems every bit good as designation of constituents. Major Contemporary Concepts of General Systems Theory ( cont. ) Boundaries and Open/Closed Systems
Boundaries define rank in a system.
Boundaries besides represent the point of contact between the system and other systems. Boundaries vary in grade of permeableness. the grade to which they control the flow between systems. Customary attacks to operationalizing boundaries:
Appraisal of permeableness and coherence.
Emotional connection between household members.
Contemporary Concepts ( cont. )
Feedback and Control
Way of communicating in a system.
Feedback is considered either positive or negative based on the consequence it has on the system. non on it’s content. Types of feedback cringles:
feedback is used to keep homeostasis. This type of feedback has besides been called stability cringles and deviation-attenuating cringles. Morphostatic feedback: refers to feedback which promotes care of bing construction. Positive: feedback used to advance alteration.
These types of feedback are besides referred to as deviation-amplifying cringles or assortment cringles. Morphogenic feedback: refers to feedback which produces alteration in the system. Examples of Research Emerging from General Systems Theory
Marital and Family Interaction
Hess and Handel ( 1959 ) : integrated GST and symbolic interactionism to analyze the household as a system that socially constructs it’s world. They suggested that there are five indispensable procedures of household interaction. Comparison of household interaction forms between “normal” and “schizophrenic” households ( Mishler & A ; Waxler. 1968 ) . Family Dysfunction: single forms of disfunction are attributed to household interaction forms. Alcoholism: Steinglass and Wolin have integrated a household development and systems attack. proposing that alcohol addiction influences households in phases which histories for forms of alcohol addiction in households. Family force: systemic accounts are controversial. This research suggests that the failure to go forth an opprobrious state of affairs is a signifier of positive feedback. Examples of Research ( cont. )
Marital and Family Taxonomies
Olson’s Circumplex theoretical account
Three dimensions create 16 relationship types ; the three dimensions are Cohesion
Three general types of relationships:
In general. research has revealed that balanced households will work more adequately than the other types of households. It has been criticized for non including a dimension for competency. Examples of Research ( cont. )
Marital and Family Taxonomies ( cont. )
The Beavers systems model examines household competency ( e. g. . healthy. mid-range. and badly dysfunctional ) . Typologies melding systems with symbolic interactionism: develop. for illustration. a typology based on the consequence of household members shared perceptual experiences about their societal environment ( symbolic interactionism ) on the societal environment ( a systems concept ) ( Reiss. 1981 ; see besides Constantine. 1986 ; Constantine & A ; Israel. 1985 ; Fitzpatrick. 1976. 1988 ) . Restrictions of General Systems Theory
General Criticisms: focal point on application of systems theory.
GST is excessively obscure and general. doing it hard to operationalize and measure through empirical observation. Criticized for hapless explanatory power because. although it provides conceptualisation. it is hard to clearly place and mensurate concepts. Criticism of elusive premise that all parts of a system have equal power. Restrictions of General Systems Theory ( cont. )
Limited acknowledgment of power in household systems which obscures the privilege of dominant groups. Systemic concepts frequently reflect sex prejudice. Enmeshment is pathologized. for illustration. while distinction is promoted. This devalues a manner of associating that is common to adult females. Clinically. emphasizes therapist neutrality.
Ironically. it is viewed as non systemic plenty.
Interdisciplinary scholarship has demonstrated that all civilizations utilize gender and coevals as cardinal classs of organisation. but systems theory ignores gender concerns.