Publication 4819

Mingers J. (1997) Systems typologies in the light of autopoiesis: A reconceptualization of Boulding’s hierarchy, and a typology of self-referential systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 14: 303–313. Fulltext at
This paper considers two examples of systems typologies in the light of the theory of autopoiesis. The first is Boulding’s classic typology of types of systems based on their degree of complexity. Certain inconsistencies are noted, but the main problem is that there is no definition of the underlying scale of systems complexity. The paper suggests that the underlying dimension can be seen as the types of relations upon which the different levels depend. This also allows the inconsistencies to be clarified. The second typology, presented for the first time, provides an initial classification of different types of self-referential or organizationally closed systems. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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