What is System? Characteristics, Elements, Types and System Approach.

What is System? Characteristics, Elements, Types and System Approach.


The word system is derived from the Greek word “systema”, which means a organized relationship among the following unit or component. “A system is an orderly grouping of interdependent components linked together according to a plan to achieve a specific objective”.

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The study of system has some basic implications:
  1. A system must be designed to achieve a predetermined objective.
  2. Interrelationship and interdependence must be exit among the components.
  3. The objectives of the organization as a whole have a higher priority than the objectives of its subsystems.
What is System? Characteristics, Elements, Types and System Approach.
What is System? Characteristics, Elements, Types and System Approach.
Characteristics Of System :
  • Organization : Organization implies structure and order. It is the arrangement of components that helps to achieve objectives. Hierarchical relationship starting with the president on top and leading down ward to the blue collar worker represent the organization structure.
  • Interaction : Interaction refers to the manner in which each component interact with other components of the system. In an organization, for example purchasing must interact with production, advertising with sales and payroll with personnel.
  • Interdependence : Independence means that parts of the organization or computer system depend on one another. They are coordinated and linked together according to a plan. One subsystem depends on the input of another subsystem for proper functioning; that is, the output of one subsystem is the required input for another subsystem.
  • Integration : Integration refers to the holism of system. Synthesis follows analysis to achieve the central objective of the organization. Integration is concerned with how a system is tied together. It is more than sharing a physical part or a location. It means that parts of the system work together within the system even though each part performs a unique function.
  • Central Objective : Objective may be real or stated. Objective is determined by higher management and user must be aware about the central objective well in advance.

Elements of a System :

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The following are the key elements of a System :
  1. Outputs and inputs
  2. Processor
  3. Control
  4. feedback
  5. Environment
  6. Boundaries And Interface.
  • Outputs and inputs : The major objective of the system is to produce an outputs that has value to its user. Inputs are the elements that enter the system for processing the inputs, the outcome of processing. Output is the result of processing. A system feeds on inputs to produce output in the much same way that a business brings a human, financial, and material resources to produce goods and service.
  • Processor(s) : The processor is the element of a system that involves the actual transformation of input into output. It is the operational component of a system. processor may modify the input totally or partially, depending on a specification of the output. This means that as the output specifications change, so does the processing.
  • Control : The control element guides the system, It is the decision-making subsystem that controls the pattern of activities governing input, processing and input.
  • Feedback : Control in a dynamic system  is achieved by feedback. Feedback measures output against a standard in some form of cybernetic procedure that includes communication and control. The output information is fed back to the input and/or to management for deliberation. After the output is compared against performance standards, changes can result in the input or processing and consequently, the output. Feedback may be positive or negative, routine or informational.
  • Environment : The environment is the “supersystem” within which an organization operates. It determines how a system should work. A system cannot exist in isolation. The system is covered by the environment with a boundary in between the two.
  • Boundaries and interface : A system should be defined by its boundaries- the limit that identify its components, process, and interrelationships when it interfaces with another system. Each system has boundaries that determine its sphere of influence and control.
Types of Systems :
  • Physical or Abstract : Physical system is tangible entities data may be static or dynamic in nature. Abstract system is conceptual or non-physical. The abstract is conceptualization of physical situations.
  • Sub System and Super System : Each system is part of a large system. The business firm is viewed as the system or total system when focus is on production, distribution of goal and sources of profit and income. The total system consists of all the objects, attributes and relationship necessary to accomplish an objective given a number of constraints. Sub systems are the smaller systems within a system. Super system denotes extremely large and complex system.
  • Permanent and Temporary System : A permanent system is a system enduring for a time span data is long relative to the operation of human. Temporary system is one having a short time span.
  • Natural and Man Made System : System which is made by man is called man made system. Systems which are in the environment made by nature are called natural system.
  • Deterministic and Probabilistic : A Deterministic system is one in which the occurrence of all events is perfectly predictable. If we get the description of the system state at a particular time, the next state can be easily predicted. Probabilistic system is one in which the occurrence of events cannot be perfectly predicted.
  • Man-made Information System : It is generally believed that the information reduces uncertainty about a state or event. An information system is the basis for interaction between the user and the analyst. It determines the nature of relationship among decision makers.

An information system may be defined as a set of devices, procedures and operating system designed around user-base criteria to produce information and communicating it to the user for planning control and performance.

The Systems Approach
The system approach is top took upon management as a system or as “an organised whole” made up of sub- systems integrated into a unity or orderly totality. Systems approach is based on the generalization that everything is inter-related and inter­dependent.

Features of Systems Approach:

  1. A system consists of interacting elements. It is set of interrelated and interdependent parts arranged in a manner that produces a unified whole.
  2. The various sub-systems should be studied in their inter-relationships rather, than in isolation from each other.
  3. An organisational system has a boundary that determines which parts are internal and which are external.
  4. A system does not exist in a vacuum. It receives information, material and energy from other systems as inputs. These inputs undergo a transformation process within a system and leave the system as output to other systems.
  5. An organisation is a dynamic system as it is responsive to its environment. It is vulnerable to change in its environment.

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