We explain what the systems are, the types that exist and how they are classified. Also, what are its main characteristics and examples.

What are Systems?

By system we mean an organized set of elements that interact with each other and with external elements. They can be material (concrete) or conceptual (theoretical). The entities that constitute a system always obtain a greater result as a whole than each one would have separately.

According to certain theories in this regard, every existing object is part of or is made up of some system , from the atoms in a substance to the social institutions in a democracy .

The study of systems is governed by the General Systems Theory , product of the work of the German biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy between 1950 and 1968.

Characteristics of the systems :

  1. Concept


According to the general theory, which allows the study of all systems of any type, a system is based on three principles that characterize it:

  • Systems exist within systems. Every system is part of a larger gear that operates as a system in turn. When we talk about a specific system, we ignore all the others that surround it.
  • The systems are open. They are not isolated from the systems outside them, although we often study them that way. Every system receives and gives information ( energy , matter ) to others of which it is a part.
  • The functions of a system obey its structure. The operation and needs of a system will depend on the specific way that system is built.

  1. Purpose

Every system has a purpose or goal, that is, a desired result that governs how it structures itself and how it works. No system operates without this punctual sense, whatever it may be and whatever consequences it may have.

  1. Correlation


The elements that make up a system exhibit a high degree of correlation , which is equivalent to saying that by stimulating or modifying one of them, the others are also altered.

This correlation also leads to codependent relationships in that if one part of the system fails, eventually the others will as well.

  1. Entropy

Entropy is called the degree of disorder that a specific system presents , due to its tendency to wear, disintegration and the increase of chance (randomness) within it.

According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics , the degree of entropy of a system necessarily increases with the passage of time .

  1. Homeostasis

Instead, homeostasis is called the dynamic balance that occurs between the parts of a system and keeps it going.

Faced with changes in the environment , systems tend to adapt to preserve their highest degree of internal balance.

  1. System Classification

System Classification

Systems are classified according to some specific condition, for example:

  • According to its relationship with the environment. They can be open (if they communicate with the environment) or closed (if they do not communicate). Of course, there are no really closed systems, but for the purposes of a study, some can be considered as such.
  • According to its origin. They can be natural (present in nature) or artificial (man-made).
  • Depending on your relationships. They can be simple (with few elements and simple relationships between them) or complex (with multiple elements and changing relationships between them).
  • according to its behavior over time. They can be static (they do not change over time ) or dynamic (they change as time passes).

  1. Hierarchy


Every system presents a certain degree of hierarchy of its elements, that is, of control of some over others . For example, in the human body there is a hormonal regulation apparatus that can affect other variables and systems to maintain the proper balance.

  1. Element Types

The elements of a system can be of three types:

  • Concepts. Activities, proportions or definitions of things.
  • Objects. Elements on which the actions are executed.
  • Subjects. Elements that execute actions on others.

  1. Importance of systems

Importance of systems

The importance of the systems can be variable , since different systems are constantly being born and dying.

Systems theory (or the systemic approach) has numerous advantages for the study of reality since it allows approaching them from a general perspective, which perceives their common characteristics in the abstract and formulates laws based on it.

  1. System Examples

System Examples

Possible examples of systems are everywhere:

  • A family. It is a system made up of all its members (father, mother, son, daughter, dog ) and duly hierarchized.
  • a molecule . Two or more atoms form a molecule of some compound such as water . This molecule will seek to preserve its energy levels and the stability between the atoms that form it.
  • A computer. A computer is a complex system made up of numerous electrical, electronic and digital subsystems, which fulfill numerous functions beyond maintaining its homeostasis as much as possible.
  • An ecosystem . The vastest ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest operate as a complex vital system, in which trees, animals , bacteria and the climate are in a relationship of interdependence and constant feedback.
  • The Solar System . The solar system has gravitational and energies that keep walking, which allows planets maintain its orbit around the sun .

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Veronica is a culture reporter at Collaborative Research Group, where she writes about food, fitness, weird stuff on the internet, and, well, just about anything else. She has also covered technology news and has a penchant for smartphone stories. .

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