Person In Environment
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The study of human systems began in the twentieth century in the introduction of General Systems Theory. This is a cross-discipline field assuming that social science can pin down the living and non-living and treat them as systems. A Person In Environment (regarded as PIE) yields the suggestion of existing in a system that may be organized and arranged through social means. By system, similarities are determined with relations to patterns, unities and connecting to a whole. Systems can be a group of people, or units such as "families, organizations, communities, societies, and cultures". It is important to see the origin of social systems theory as beginning on Systems theory that came out influenced by various fields post-World War II. To approach social science by systems has been a debate of scholars. Systems itself is a vague term that may be employed and applied in several manners but what remains true is how they consistent of components or parts that function to form a whole in their own interdependent manner.
Systems to put more simply and bluntly describe relationships and the workings of interactions. The smallest unit of society is not the individual that will consist of the society as a collective but the most basic interaction or relationship the individual is able to bridge that will then form sequences, "patterns of exchange that occurs between individuals". According to Jacob and Tennenbaum, the smallest unit of society then is "the system of members in mutual and interdependent relationships with one another, not individual behaviour in isolation of context". Thus, a social system. It then proceeds to say that society or the world's root is not the person but the relationship and interaction this person forms with another. The world, or society to say, cannot exist without communication. This remains to be a general or broad take of what a system is supposed to be. Systems may still be divided into levels or ranked to consist of suprasystems and subsystems according to Joan Jurish and Karen Myers-Bowman (1998). Jurish and Myers-Bowman explain this configuration through the systems that consist a human body such as the "circulatory, digestive, neurological", which may be regarded as subsystems consisting a whole suprasystem which is the human body. Systems Theory has various assumptions: First, it believes in holism which focuses on the sum whole than its parts (and which would be expounded further in Parsons' section). In holism, each interaction is an event that builds up to a pattern and forming a whole. Secondly, it assumes that Living Systems are open in a way that it would actively initiate and bring forth exchanges and interactions rather merely taking the role of responsive individuals. Human beings are also deemed to be intelligent enough to be reflective on what they do and know. Reality is consequently a construct, subjective rather objective. Systems Theory may educate how reality is perceived according to how it is organized and understood. Above all, Society is self-sustaining on its own.
General Systems Theory may be considered as founded by Ludwig von Bertalanffy during the earlier half of the 20th century. Bertalanffy became considered how the study of living beings can be so technical, scientific and mechanical. This is said to limit and "neglect" as well as "deny" to how life functions. Bertalanffy would rather for the perspective on Biology to be a living organism which cannot be pinned down by laws and concepts. His theories were then published after the World War where systems theory began to be embraced by various cross-disciplines. Add that the second World War in itself was a "major impact on the development of systems theory" where new fields such that of Norbert Wiener's cybernetics was invented in order to further boost the defense weaponries of an army. Cybernetics emphasized on "feedback systems and communication technology" which allowed a further appreciation of the systems theory as an appreciation of electronics lead to a re-evaluation of how the human brain functions. This application of systems theory was further expounded by Gregory Bateson who integrated both the cybernetic processes to that of human processes which further led to the utilization and application of systems theory to the social science especially the family.
The idea of social activity as identifiable and possibly treated as a system began in the ancient times when Greeks initially perceive of systems as resembling a body, each part with its own role to contribute to this body. Then Thomas Hobbes was said to have taken the idea of society as an organism in his book, Leviathan. These efforts inspire the idea of society as living and working together to sustain itself. The first to apply systems theory in American society. In the book, "The Social Systems", he proposed the idea of organizing society in to systems as a viable and autonomous guide for research and study and not merely as limiting as "extensions of psychology or manifestations of culture". The actions of the individuals consisting a society is towards societal goals, "people are determined by society". Parsons emphasis is that people sum up to a whole and thus a system can only be understood in its whole than in dividing it into isolated parts. What was prioritized then is the relationships between This is also called the Macro point of view. Another proponent is Habermas who promotes the Action Theory which has to do with the necessity of communication in the existence of a society. By this, individuals need to interaction with each other and form a culture that would stress the importance of roles and functions in order to sustain society in its ongoing processes. This is a more interaction based point of view that emphasizes on the units that comprise society than the society that is collected and built up. By emphasizing on parts, the point of view becomes the atomic. In this regard, it is people who determine society than societal norms, culture and goals determining how people should function. Society is dependent to the people that exist within it and thus, it is dependent on how the individual functions or behaves so to speak. This behaviour may comprise of a pattern that will then comprise of a system.
Thus maintaining the system can be performed in four ways. Firstly is to maintain the sense of pattern through stability and institutionalizing such pattern (which may be a challenge to do in curbing the individual to the patterns. The maintenance of the system may also be expressed by goal orientation wherein society is motivated towards the attaining of goals for the sake of the system. Thirdly there is maintenance through adaptation which is through the sacrifice or disposal of some goals in respect to a more necessary one to maintain the organization. Then fourthly there is the integration which is supposed to be the integration of the functions of pattern and goal orientation. By integration, adjustment also becomes essential in order to fully accept goals towards the effectiveness and stability of a pattern. It is what eventually keeps the system intact in its whole self.
The critique with the General Social System Theory was that it idealizes society as that is quiet, peaceful and orderly. Society also comprises of stable and rational individuals all working towards unity. It fails to include the possibilities of chaos, inequality and instability. Scholars dispute that Social Systems are in reality, chaotic and complex as systems are subjected to constant change. While General Systems Theory supposes that societies will proceed to one end, the Complex theory proceeds with the notion of multiple ends. There is no circular motion nor is there a way to go back to where society started. "Once a system has developed along a given path it cannot simply go back again." This is because relationships upon interrelationships would have formed to "complicated and interwoven" heights. This theory actually disputes the existence of a systems theory as it postulates human beings as inability to be contained and covered by science and unable to supply the multiple levels and dimensions which will enrich it. It regards social systems as too complicated an understanding that cannot be pinned down.
In the application of System approaches to School District Management, systems theory holds that schools are managed in such a way that they would resemble "organizations, where teachers are accountable for their students' results". Systems Theory also promote personalized, subjective and one on one learning where the learning is performed by the student and not provided by the mentor. The philosophy behind this is that the school is a sum of a whole, of each student working positively. Systems theory would make effective and efficient the educational institution through its arrangement of levels supra-systems and subsystems. Because relationships and interactions are emphasized, teachers are encouraged to build relationships with students as students are also necessary in building relationships with each other. With systems theory, students can indeed become "active learners seeking knowledge" because of the personal attention granted to them. This means the school needs to be self-sufficient, open and reflective.
Systems Theory calls for schools to be synchronized and united in one clearly defined purpose each subsystem with their purpose and functions to meet in order to allow the suprasystem to meet the said goal (through a feedback system). Systems are also supposedly dynamic that will consist of "cycles and trends". School systems are also by assumption rational thus each child is worthy of such a treatment as rational beings.
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