Title: Emerging systems theory-based pathologies for governance of complex systems

Authors: Polinpapilinho F. Katina

Addresses: Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, National Centers for System of Systems Engineering, Old Dominion University, 2101 Systems Research and Academic Building, Norfolk, VA 23508, USA

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to develop a systems theory-based construct for pathologies within the context of complex system problem formulation. Problem formulation is arguably one of the most critical phases of any endeavour to improve systems. However, there is relatively little research utilising systems theory during problem formulation. A possible extension of the systems research is the introduction of systems theory (i.e., laws, principles and concepts) as a foundation for exploration, innovation, transformation, evaluation and evolution of complex systems. Specifically, this paper is concerned with how we might use systems theory to articulate pathologies - circumstances, conditions, factors, patterns and/or issues acting to impede system performance. The paper examines the importance of problem formulation for issues related to complex systems. A multidisciplinary literature review is then provided to synthesise insights on pathologies. A systems theory-based construct for pathologies is then developed. Finally, the paper provides implications for the systems theory-based pathologies construct related to complex system governance. The paper concludes with possible future research directions.

Keywords: complexity; construct development; interdependence; management cybernetics; metasystem pathology; problem formulation; system pathology; systems theory; viable system model; VSM; system governance; complex systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSE.2015.068806

International Journal of System of Systems Engineering, 2015 Vol.6 No.1/2, pp.144 - 159

Available online: 10 Apr 2015 *

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