List of types of systems theory

This list of types of systems theory gives an overview of different types of systems theory, which are mentioned in scientific book titles or articles.[1] The following more than 40 types of systems theory are all explicitly named systems theory and represent a unique conceptual framework in a specific field of science.

Systems theory has been formalized since the 1950s, and a long set of specialized systems theories and cybernetics exist. In the beginnings, general systems theory was developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy to overcome the over-specialisation of the modern times and as a worldview using holism. The systems theories nowadays are closer to the traditional specialisation than to holism, by interdependencies and mutual division by mutually-different specialists.[2]


  • Applied multidimensional systems theory[7]



Complex adaptive system theory.


  • Distributed parameter systems theory[21]


  • Electric energy systems theory[25]





  • Infinite dimensional systems theory[30]


  • Large scale systems theory[31]
  • Liberating systems theory[32]


  • Macrosystems theory[36]
  • Mathematical systems theory[37]
  • Medical ethics systems theory[38]
  • Modeling systems theory[39]
  • Modern control systems theory[40]
  • Modern systems theory[41]
  • Multidimensional systems theory[42]




  • Pattern language was first conceived by Christoper Alexander and has many similarities with systems thinking. It too is a way of describing how things work holistically. Originally applied to architecture, it has been extended into other fields.
  • Physical systems theory[46] (also see: physical system)
  • Pulley system


  • Retrieval system theory[47]



  • Transit systems theory[51]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ There are many book titles named with "... systems: theory and applications". This leaves the term "systems: theory", which is not the same as a type of systems theory.
  2. ^ Matjaž Mulej (2006), "Systems, Cybernetics and Innovations", in: Kybernetics, Vol 35 No. 7/8, pp. 939–940.
  3. ^ Mihailo D. Mesarovic, Abstract Systems Theory, Springer 1989, 439 pages.
  4. ^ Talcot Parsons, Social System.
  5. ^ Donal E. Muir (1983), An Adaptive Systems Theory: Toward Reductionism, in: Sociological Inquiry 53 (4), pp. 435–448.
  6. ^ John P. van Gigch, Applied General Systems Theory, Harpercollins College Div 1978, 602 pages.
  7. ^ N. K. Bose, Applied Multidimensional System Theory, Van Nostrand Reinhold 1981, 411 pp.
  8. ^ Flannery, K. V. (1968). Archaeological Systems Theory and Early Mesoamerica. In Anthropological Archaeology in the Americas, ed. by B. J. Meggers, pp. 67–87. Washington, Anthropological Society of Washington.
  9. ^ Robert Selden Wyer, Associated Systems Theory: A Systematic Approach to Cognitive Representations of Persons, 1994, 248 p.
  10. ^ Publications on Behavioral systems theory:
  11. ^ Eberhart O. Voit, Applications of Biochemical Systems Theory, 2006.
  12. ^ Publications on Biomatrix systems theory:
    • Dostal, Elisabeth (2005). Biomatrix: A Systems Approach to Organisational and Societal Change. South Africa.
    • Cloete, Anacreon (1999). The Biomatrix Model: The Development and Formalisation of a General Systems Model. South Africa.
  13. ^ Publications on Complex adaptive systems theory:
  14. ^ Publications on Complex systems theory, books:
    • 2005, Daniel J. Lacks, Dynamics of Team Member Replacements from Complex Systems Theory, in: Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory, Volume 10, Number 4.
    • 2002, Melanie Mitchell and Mark Newman, Complex Systems Theory and Evolution in: Encyclopedia of Evolution (M. Pagel, editor), New York: Oxford University Press.
    • 1996, Wayne Christensen, A complex systems theory of teleology, in: Biology and Philosophy, Volume 11, Number 3.
    • 1988, Stephan Wolfram, Complex Systems Theory, in: Emerging Syntheses in Science, David Pines (ed.), pp. 183–190.
    • 1973, W. Ross Ashby, Some Peculiarities of Complex Systems, in: Cybernetic Medicine, 9:2, pp. 1–6.
  15. ^ Publications on Computer-aided systems theory:
    • Roberto Moreno-Díaz, Franz Pichler, Alexis Quesada Arencibia (Eds.), Computer Aided Systems Theory – EUROCAST 2005 10th International Conference on Computer Aided Systems Theory, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, February 7–11 (2005), 629 p.
    • Roberto Moreno-Díaz, Computer Aided Systems Theory—Eurocast 2003: 9th International Workshop on Computer Aided Systems Theory, Las Palmas De Gran Canaria, Spain, February 2003 Revised Selected Papers, Springer Verlag, – ISBN 978-3-540-20221-9
    • Roberto Moreno-Díaz, Bruno Buchberger, José-Luis Freire (Eds.), Computer Aided Systems Theory – Eurocast 2001: a Selection of Papers from the 8th International Workshop on Computer Aided Systems Theory, Springer verlag (2002), 670 p.
    • Franz Pichler, Roberto Moreno-Diaz & Peter Kopacek (Editors), Computer Aided Systems Theory – EUROCAST'99, a Selection of Papers from the 7th International Workshop on Computer Aided Systems Theory Vienna, Austria 1999, Springer (2000), 600 p.
    • Heinz Schwartzel, Cast Methods in Modelling: Computer Aided Systems Theory for the Design of Intelligent Machines (1992), 376 p.
    • F. Pichler, CAST: computer aided system theory. Perspectives for research, development and education, in: Systems Analysis Modelling Simulation archive, Vol. 7 , nr. 4 (1990), pp. 251–266 (1990) ISSN 0232-9298
    • Franz R. Pichler, Roberto Moreno-Díaz, Computer Aided Systems Theory – Eurocast '89: a selection of papers from the International Workshop EUROCAST '89, Las Palmas, Spain, February 26 – March 4, 1989 (1990), 434 p.
  16. ^ Publications on Conceptual Systems Theory:
    • Wayne Paul Moellenberg, Prediction of Reactions to Teacher Negotiations from Conceptual Systems Theory. 1966.
    • Daniel William Stuempfig. Conceptual Systems and personal-impersonal feedback. 1969.
    • Alan Joel Miller, Conceptual Systems Theory: A Critical Review, 1978.
    • Barbara Jean Erskine, Conceptual Systems Theory a Case Study of a Typological Personality Theory. 1985.
  17. ^ Publications on Control systems theory:
    • Eric Rogers, Krzysztof Galkowski, Professor David H Owens, Control Systems Theory and Applications for Linear Repetitive Processes, 2007.
    • Francoise Lamnabhi-Lagarrigue, Antonio Loria, Elena Panteley, Advanced Topics In Control Systems Theory: Lecture Notes From Fap 2004, 2005, 280 pp.
    • Sergey Edward Lyshevski, Control Systems Theory with Engineering Applications, 2001, 416 pp.
    • Stanley M. Shinners, Advanced Modern Control System Theory and Design, 1998, 624 pp.
    • Eduardo Sontag, Mathematical Control Theory: Deterministic Finite Dimensional Systems. (1998). Second Edition. Springer. ISBN 0-387-98489-5
    • Theodore F. Bogart, Laplace Transforms and Control Systems Theory for Technology: Including Microprocessor-based..., 1982, 541 pp.
    • Olle Ingemar Elgerd, Control Systems Theory, 1967, 660 pp.
    • Lloyd M. Benningfield & Gladwyn Vaile Lago, Control System Theory: Feedback Engineering, 1962.
  18. ^ Publications on Critical systems theory:
  19. ^ Publications on Cultural Agency Theory
    • Yolles, M.I, Fink, G. (2015a). Personality, pathology and mindsets: part 1 – Agency, Personality and Mindscapes, Kybernetes, 43(1) 92-112
    • Yolles, M.I, Fink, G. (2015b). Personality, pathology and mindsets: part 2 – Cultural Traits and Enantiomers, Kybernetes, 43(1) 113-134
    • Yolles, M.I, Fink, G. (2015c). Personality, pathology and mindsets: part 3 –Pathologies and Corruption, Kybernetes, 43(1) 135-143
    • Fink, G., & Yolles, M. (2015). Collective emotion regulation in an organisation–a plural agency with cognition and affect. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(5), 832-871.
  20. ^ Books on Developmental systems theory:
    • S. Oyama, P.E. Griffiths, R.D. Gray, eds. (2001). Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution. Cambridge.
    • Donald Herbert Ford and Richard Martin Lerner (1992), Developmental Systems Theory: An Integrative Approach. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
    • S. Oyama (1985). The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Articles on Developmental systems theory:
    • Paul E. Griffiths, Rusell D. Gray (2005), "Discussion: Three ways to misunderstand developmental systems theory", in: Biology and Philosophy, Vol 20: pp. 417–425.
    • J.S. Robert, B.K. Hall, W.M. Olson (2002), "Bridging the gap between developmental systems theory and evolutionary developmental biology", in: Bioessays. 2002 Mar; Vol 24, no 3: pp. 290–291.
    • N. Salthe (2000), "Regaining the riches of a lost heritage: Development theory and natural philosophy", ISSS paper 2000.
    • E. Thelen, & L.B. Smith (1998). "Dynamic systems theories". In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Theoretical models of human development. Volume 1 of the Handbook of Child Psychology (5th ed.), Editor-in-Chief: William Damon. New York: Wiley.
    • P. E. Griffiths and R. D. Gray (1994), "Developmental Systems and Evolutionary Explanation", in: The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 91, No. 6 (Jun., 1994), pp. 277–304. [1]
    • A. J. Sameroff (1983). "Developmental systems: Contexts and evolution". In W. Kessen (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1, History, theory, and methods (pp. 237–294). New York: Wiley.
    Also see:
  21. ^ Peter Stavroulakis, Distributed Parameter Systems Theory, 1983
  22. ^ Publications on Dynamical systems theory:
    • Anthony N. Michel, Kaining Wang & Bo Hu, Qualitative Theory of Dynamical Systems: The Role of Stability Preserving Mappings (2001), 732 p.
    • Ralph H. Abraham, A Visual Introduction to Dynamical Systems Theory for Psychology, 1990.
    • Otomar Hájek, Dynamical Systems in the Plane, 1968.
  23. ^ Publications on Ecological systems theory:
  24. ^ Claes-Henric Siven, Bengt-Christer Ysander, Anti-Equilibrium, On Economic Systems Theory and the Tasks of Research by Janos Kornai, in: The Swedish Journal of Economics, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Sep., 1973), pp. 315–319.
  25. ^ Olle Ingemar Elgerd, Electric Energy Systems Theory: An Introduction, 1971.
  26. ^ Publications on Family systems theory:
    • Mpyana Fulgence Nyengele, African Women's Theology, Gender Relations, and Family Systems Theory, 2004.
    • Peter Titelman, Emotional Cutoff: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives, 2003, 499 pp.
    • Peter Titelman, Clinical Applications of Bowen Family Systems Theory, 1998, 423 pp.
    • Paul C. Rosenblatt, Metaphors of Family Systems Theory: Toward New Constructions, 1994, 239 pp.
    • Carlfred Bartholomew Broderick, Understanding Family Process: Basics of Family Systems Theory, 1993.
    • Daniel V. Papero, Bowen Family Systems Theory, 1989.
    • Sally R. Miller & Patricia Winstead, Family Systems Theory in Nursing Practice, 1982, 176 pp.
    • Murray Bowen, Family treatment in clinical practice. New York: Jason Aronson, 1978.
    • Barbara S. McCrady, Marriage and Marital Therapy: Psychoanalytic, Behavioral, and Systems Theory Perspectives, 1978, 331 pp.
  27. ^ Publications on Fuzzy systems theory:
    • 1997, Shigeo Abe, Neural Networks and Fuzzy Systems: Theory and Applications, 1997, 258 p.
    • 1996, Lotfi Asker Zadeh, George Jiří Klir, Bo Yuan, Fuzzy Sets, Fuzzy Logic, and Fuzzy Systems: Selected Papers 1996
    • 1982, Lotfi Asker Zadeh, Fuzzy Systems Theory: Framework for Analysis of Buerocratic Systems, in: Sys. Meth. in Social Science Res., R.E. Cavallo (ed.), pp. 25–41.
  28. ^ Books on General systems theory:
    • 1999, Yi Lin, General Systems Theory: A Mathematical Approach, 382 pp.
    • 1996, Lars Skyttner, General Systems Theory: An Introduction.
    • 1978, Arlene M. Putt, General Systems Theory Applied to Nursing.
    • 1975, Mihajlo D. Mesarovic & Yasuhiko Takaraha , General Systems Theory: Mathematical Foundations.
    • 1974, Mihajlo D. Mesarovic, Views on General Systems Theory: Proceedings, 268 pp.
    • 1972, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, The Relevance of General Systems Theory.
    • 1972, George Jiří Klir, Trends in General Systems Theory, 462 pp.
    • 1969, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications.
    • 1969, Frederick Jonathan Duhl, Nicholas Daniel Rizzo, William Gray, General Systems Theory and Psychiatry.
    • 1969, George Jiří Klir, Approach to General Systems Theory.
    • 1967, Helen MacGill Hughes & Roy Richard Grinker, Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior: An Introduction to General Systems Theory, 390 pp. Roy R. Grinker, Sr.
    • 1956, Anatol Rapoport, General Systems: Yearbook of the Society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory.
    • 1978, George Jiří Klir, General Systems Research Movement, in: Sys. Models for Decision Modeling, N. Sharif et al. (ed.), pp. 25–70.
    • 1978, Brian R. Gaines, Progress in General Systems Research, in: Applied General Systems Research, George Jiří Klir (ed.), Plenum, New York, pp. 3–28.
    • 1979, Brian R. Gaines, General Systems Research: Quo Vadis?, in: General Systems Yearbook, Vol. 24, pp. 1–9.
    • 1978, Mario Bunge, General Systems Theory Challenge to Classical Philosophy of Science, in: Int. J. Gen. Sys., Vol 4.
    • 1970, George Jiří Klir, On the Relation Between Cybernetics and General Systems Theory, in: Progress in Cybernetics, Vol 1, J. Rose (ed), pp. 155–165.
    • 1962, Anatol Rapoport, Mathematical Aspects of General Systems Theory, in: General Systems Yearbook, Vol. 11, pp. 3–11.
    • 1962, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, General Systems Theory – A Critical Review, in: General Systems Yearbook, Vol 7, pp. 1–20.
    • 1958, W. Ross Ashby, General Systems Theory as a New Discipline, in: General Systems Yearbook, Vol 3.
    • 1956, Kenneth Boulding, General Systems Theory – The Skeleton of Science, in: General Systems Yearbook, Vol. 1, pp. 11–17.
    • 1950, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, An Outline of General Systems Theory, in: British J. of Philosophy of Science, Vol 1, pp. 34–164.
  29. ^ Jeffrey S. Stamps, Holonomy, a Human Systems Theory: A Human Systems Theory. 1980.
  30. ^ Publications on Infinite dimensional systems theory:
    • Ruth F. Curtain & Hans J. Zwart , An Introduction to Infinite Dimensional Linear Systems Theory, 1995.
    • Ruth F. Curtain & Anthony J. Pritchard, Infinite Dimensional Linear Systems Theory, 1978, 297 pp.
  31. ^ André Titli, Madan G. Singh, Large Scale Systems Theory and Applications: Proceedings of the IFAC Symposium, Toulouse, France ..., International Federation of Automatic Control, 1981, 640 pp.
  32. ^ Robert L. Flood, Liberating Systems Theory (Contemporary Systems Thinking), Springer (1990), 272 p.
  33. ^ Publications on Linear systems theory:
    • 2004. Ben M. Chen, Yacov A. Shamash, Zongli Lin, Linear Systems Theory: A Structural Decomposition Approach. 416 pp.
    • 1997. A. Terry Bahill, Ferenc Szidarovszky, Linear Systems Theory. 508 pp.
    • 1996. J. Rugh Wilson, Linear System Theory.
    • 1984. CT Chen, Linear System Theory and Design, Saunders College Publishing Philadelphia, PA, USA.
    • 1974. Robert Hermann, Linear Systems Theory and Introductory Algebraic Geometry, 282 pp.
    • 1960. Ernst A. Guillemin. Linear System Theory (Guillemin).
  34. ^ Publications on Living systems theory:
    • Kenneth D. Bailey, Living systems theory and social entropy theory, in: Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 22 (2006). pp. 291–300.
    • G. A. Swanson, James Grier Miller, Measurement and Interpretation in Accounting: A Living Systems Theory Approach (1989), 235 p.
    • James Grier Miller, & J.L. Miller, The family as a system. in: C. K. Hoffling & J. M. Lewis (Eds.), The family: Evaluation and treatment New York: Brunner/Mazel (1980) pp. 141–184.
    • James Grier Miller, Living systems, New York: McGraw–Hill (1978), 1002 p.
    • James Grier Miller, A living systems analysis of a Canada/U.S. boundary region, 1986.
  35. ^ Publications on LTI system theory:
    • Damir Z. Arov & Olof J. Staffans, State/signal linear time-invariant systems theory: passive discrete time systems, In: International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, volume 17, Issue 5–6 (2006), pp. 497–548.
    • Martin Schetzen, Linear Time-Invariant Systems, Wiley (2002), 372 p. ISBN 978-0-471-23145-5
  36. ^ Y. S. Popkov, Macrosystems Theory and its Applications. Equilibrium Models (Lecture Notes in Control and Information Sciences), Springer-Verlag GmbH (1995), 323 p. ISBN 978-3-540-19955-7
  37. ^ Publications on Mathematical systems theory:
    • Diederich Hinrichsen & Anthony J. Pritchard, Mathematical Systems Theory I, 2005, 804 pp.
    • David S. Gilliam & Joachim Rosenthal, Mathematical Systems Theory in Biology, Communications, Computation, and Finance, 2003, 504 pp.
    • Jan C. Willems & Jan Willem Polderman, Introduction to Mathematical Systems Theory: A Behavioral Approach, 1998, 424 pp.
  38. ^ Colleen D. Celements, Medical Genetics Casebook: A Clinical Introduction to Medical Ethics Systems Theory, 1982.
  39. ^ Thomas Albert Sebeok & Marcel Danesi, The Forms of Meaning: Modeling Systems Theory and Semiotic Analysis, 2000, 249 p.
  40. ^ Publications on Modern control systems theory:
    • Stanley M. Shinners, Modern Control System Theory and Design, 1998, 744 pp.
    • Madan Gopal, Modern Control System Theory, 1993, 708 pp.
    • Cornelius Thomas Leondes, Modern Control Systems Theory, 1965, 486 pages.
  41. ^ Walter Frederick Buckley, Sociology and Modern Systems Theory, 1967.
  42. ^ Publications on Multidimensional systems theory:
    • Nirmal K. Bose, Multidimensional Systems Theory and Applications, 2003, 292 p.
    • Eva Zerz, Topics in Multidimensional Linear Systems Theory (2000), 164 p.
  43. ^ George Adomian, Nonlinear Stochastic Systems Theory and Applications to Physics, 1989, 248 pages.
  44. ^ Edward Grady Coffman & Peter J. Denning, Operating Systems Theory, 1973.
  45. ^ Publications on Open systems theory:
    • 1966, Martin Kling (1966), General Open Systems Theory and the Substrata-Factor Theory of Reading, International Reading Association, Newark, DE, 45 pp.
    • 1971, Vicki Kessel & Oscar G. Mink (1971), The Application of Open Systems Theory and Organization Development to Higher Education: A Position, National Laboratory for Higher Education. Durham, North Carolina.
    • 1982, Charles R. Franz & Fred Luthans, General Contingency Theory of Organizations: An Alternative to Open Systems Theory., Interim rept. Nebraska Univ Lincoln Dept of Management, Aug 1982.
    • 1989, Marcia Wright Kassner, "Open Systems Theory and Women′s Progress in Academe", in: Journal of Organizational Change Management Vol 2, Nr 2.
    • 2000, M. Emery, "The Current Version of Emery's Open Systems Theory", in: Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, Vol 13, Nr 5, Oct 2000 , pp. 623–643.
    • 2004, Michael N. Bastedo (2004), "Open Systems Theory", Entry in: "The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration".
    • 2004, John W. Selsky & John Barton, "Sources and Legacies of Emery's Open Systems Theory: An Introduction to the Special Issue", in: Systemic Practice and Action Research, Vol 13, Nr 5 (Oct 2000), pp. 615–622.
  46. ^ Publications on Physical systems theory:
    • Sushil, Physical system theory: fundamentals, recent developments and relationships with system dynamics, in: Kybernetes, Volume 31, Issue: 3/4 (2002), pp. 496–528.
    • Ernst Adolph Guillemin, Theory of Linear Physical Systems: Theory of physica; system from the viewpoint of classical dynamics, including Fourier meth., Wiley (1963), 586 p., ISBN 0-471-33070-1.
  47. ^ Gerald J. Kowalski, Information Retrieval Systems: Theory and Implementation, 1997, 296 p.
    Brian Campbell Vickery, On Retrieval System Theory, 1965, 191 pp.
  48. ^ Publications on Social systems theory:
    • Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Social Systems Theory as Theoretical Framework for Human Resource Management – Benediction or Curse?, in: Management Revue – The international Review of Management Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, Volume 15, Issue 2 (2004), pp. 178–191.
    • Kenneth C. Bausch, The Emerging Consensus in Social Systems Theory, 2001, 452 pp.
  49. ^ Publications on Sociotechnical systems theory:
    • John E. Kelly, A Reappraisal of Sociotechnical Systems Theory, in: Human Relations, Vol. 31, No. 12, 1069–1099 (1978) doi:10.1177/001872677803101204
    • Eric L. Trist & Ken W. Bamforth, Some social and psychological consequences of the longwall method of coal getting, in: Human Relations, Vol. 4, 3–38, 1951.
  50. ^ Publications on Social rule system theory:
    • Tom R. Burns and Helena Flam (1987). The Shaping of Social Organization: Social Rule System Theory With Applications. London: Sage Publications.
    • Tom R. Burns and Dietz, T (1995). "Social Rule System Theory: Social Action, Institutional Arrangements, and Evolutionary Processes", in: J. Rogers Hollingsworth, Karl H. Müller, and Ellen Jane Hollingsworth (eds), Advancing Socioeconomics: An Institutionalist Perspective. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 109–46.
  51. ^ John Edward Anderson, Transit Systems Theory, 1978, 340 p.
  52. ^ P. Nick Kardulias, World-Systems Theory in Practice: Leadership, Production, and Exchange, American Anthropological Association Meeting, 1999, 326 pp.

External linksEdit

Cawley states, that the student E. Dent studied forms of systems theory and came up with a set of concepts that he thought marked off systems theory approaches from earlier science. Dent identified eight concepts:
  • holism rather than analysis or reductionism,
  • relationships rather than entities,
  • interaction with environment as opposed to closed or isolated systems,
  • indeterminism as opposed to predictability,
  • circular causal loops rather than linear causality,
  • self-organization, observation as part of or directly related to systems, and
  • reflexivity or interaction between a system and what is known about it.
Witherspoon states, that "the rise of abstract art and the development of various systems theories have an important parallel. Abstract art goes beyond the recognition of entity or image and focuses attention on interaction and interrelatedness, striving to uncover and reveal holistic essences. Systems theories have tried to get us beyond linear cause and effect notions and tried to get us to think of phenomena in terms of interaction and interrelationship. It is interesting and significant that abstract art and quantum theory arose at about the same time. Both of these developments preceded the application of various forms of systems theory to the social and biological sciences. Scientific insight and conceptualization have paralleled artistic imagination and aesthetic formulation."
Hakken speaks about various additive forms of systems theory in Western anthropology in the 1980s and 1990s: "dual", "tri", "quadra", etc. (e.g., "race and class" or "gender, race, and class" or "sexual orientation, gender, race, and class").
As forms of systems theory, Berndtson mentions: general systems theory, cybernetics, systems analysis and functionalism.