system aspects

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The four fundamental aspects of social systems are essential to the inquiry process used to reveal a system's true nature. The fundamental aspects of social systems are environment/purpose, function, process, and structure.

  • Environment/purpose is the purpose in of the system relative to its environment. Each system's environment, thus context, is unique. See purpose aspect.
  • Function is the outputs of the system to its environment. Outputs include outcomes and results produced in the environment of the system. See function aspect.
  • Process is the methods and capabilities used to produce the outputs. Processes explicitly define the sequence of activities and the know-how required to produce the outcomes. See process aspect.
  • Structure is the inputs, including knowledge and understanding to acquire and organize resources. Structure defines the components of the system and their relationships. See structure aspect.

Solving the system --
The aspects of function, process, and structure focus attention on the different perspectives of the system and their interrelationships in fulfilling the purpose of the system. Finding the truth of the matter regarding a system via systems inquiry is analogous to solving a multivariate equation. For effective inquiry, the aspects inquired upon form an interdependent set of mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive variables of a complex system. This provides the basis for a holistic non-redundant inquiry.

Aspects and business models --
These four aspects, referred to as the primary aspects, form the basis for the business model, or business design construct, used in the strategic management process to inquire upon the business organization. Inquiry is used to develop both systems understanding and design.

The social system construct and related aspects are based on Jamshid Gharajedaghi's works (1999, 2006).