Systems Theory as the Foundation for Understanding Systems



As currently used, systems theory is lacking a universally agreed upon definition. The purpose of this paper is to offer a resolution by articulating a formal definition of systems theory. This definition is presented as a unified group of specific propositions which are brought together by way of an axiom set to form a system construct: systems theory. This construct affords systems practitioners and theoreticians with a prescriptive set of axioms by which a system must operate; conversely, any set of entities identified as a system may be characterized by this set of axioms. Given its multidisciplinary theoretical foundation and discipline-agnostic framework, systems theory, as it is presented here, is posited as a general approach to understanding system behavior. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng 17: