Reference #318: Thinking in Systems

Each of the components of a system — elements, interconnections, and functions or purpose — are essential to a system, so none are more or less important to that system. Yet there exists a hierarchy of importance in driving behaviour.

Purpose is often the major determinant of a system's behaviour.

Interconnections are also critically important; changing relationships generally changes system behaviour.

Elements of a system are often least important in defining a system's unique characteristics. However, changing an element may result in changing relationships or purpose; in this case the element is crucially important. For example, changing a player on a football team is unlikely to change system behaviour dramatically, while changing of a leader of a country may.

Meadows. Thinking in Systems, 2008. (17)

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