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General Systems Theory--The Skeleton of Science

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  • Kenneth E. Boulding

    (University of Michigan)

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    Abstract

    In recent years increasing need has been felt for a body of systematic theoretical constructs which will discuss the general relationships of the empirical world. This is the quest of General Systems Theory. It does not seek, of course, to establish a single, self-contained "general theory of practically everything" which will replace all the special theories of particular disciplines. Such a theory would be almost without content, for we always pay for generality by sacrificing content, and all we can say about practically everything is almost nothing. Somewhere however between the specific that has no meaning and the general that has no content there must be, for each purpose and at each level of abstraction, an optimum degree of generality. It is the contention of the General Systems Theorists that this optimum degree of generality in theory is not always reached by the particular sciences.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 2 (1956)
    Issue (Month): 3 (April)
    Pages: 197-208

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:2:y:1956:i:3:p:197-208

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    Cited by:
    1. Vancouver, Jeffrey B. & Putka, Dan J., 2000. "Analyzing Goal-Striving Processes and a Test of the Generalizability of Perceptual Control Theory," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 334-362, July.
    2. Eriksson, D. M., 2003. "A framework for the constitution of modelling processes: A proposition," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 202-215, February.
    3. Lages, Luis Filipe & Jap, Sandy D., 2002. "A contingency approach to marketing mix adaptation and performance in international marketing relationships," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp411, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    4. Vasconcelos, Flávio C. & Ramirez, Rafael, 2011. "Complexity in business environments," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 236-241, March.
    5. Harper, David A. & Endres, Anthony M., 2010. "Capital as a layer cake: A systems approach to capital and its multi-level structure," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 30-41, May.
    6. Shenhar, Aaron J. & Dvir, Dov, 1996. "Toward a typological theory of project management," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 607-632, June.
    7. Bruyat, Chirstian & Julien, Pierre-Andre, 2001. "Defining the field of research in entrepreneurship," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 165-180, March.
    8. Luminiţa Nicolescu & Cristina Galalae & Alexandru Voicu, 2013. "Solving a Supply Chain Management Problem to Near Optimality Using Ant Colony Optimization, in an International Context," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 15(33), pages 8-26, February.
    9. Jean Le Fur, 2013. "Extending Life Concepts to Complex Systems," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 11(1), pages 37-50.
    10. Barile, Sergio & Carrubbo, Luca & Iandolo, Francesca & Caputo, Francesco, 2013. "From 'EGO' to 'ECO' in B2B relationships," jbm - Journal of Business Market Management, Free University Berlin, Marketing Department, vol. 6(4), pages 228-253.
    11. Wierzbicki, Andrzej P., 2007. "Modelling as a way of organising knowledge," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 176(1), pages 610-635, January.

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