System Types -- Examples.
During this class,
we will be examining five different kinds of systems.
1) stable systems, the structure of which is characterized by negative
feedback. We can also call these "balancing" or "stabilizing" systems:
the classic example is the system comprised of furnace, air temperature,
2) growing or decaying
systems dominated by positive feedback. We can also call these "reinforcing"
or "de-stabilizing" systems: the classic example is the system comprised
of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker, which produces an
audio "squeal" as sound is fed into the mike, amplified, emerges
from the speaker, and is fed back into the mike, louder still.
3) different combinations of the two simple systems which in the
long run can produce counter intuitive results: any of the problem
"archetypes" listed in your workbook potentially produce counter-intuitive
results, because they all depict primary systems and sub-systems
that are often "hidden" when the problem is initially diagnosed.
"Shifting the Burden" is an example: symptomatic solutions
are applied, which produce a short-term improvement, but only mask
a fundamental problem which in the end causes a system breakdown.
4) systems simple in structure that produce complex behavior: characterized
by sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Weather is the classic
5) systems which may be characterized as self-stabilizing; purposeful
(goal-seeking); as using feedback to modify their behavior or to
modify the environment; and as capable of replicating, maintaining,
repairing, and reorganizing themselves. The human body is a complex
system, as is human society.
Submit two examples
of each kind of system: the examples may be from newspaper,
magazine, or journal articles, or they may be descriptions of systems
in everyday life. Give at least one paragraph describing the example,
and at least one paragraph explaining why your example is the type
of system you say it is. When possible as part of your justification,
provide a causal loop diagram or flow diagram. Provide a minimum
of three diagrams.