THE PRIMER GROUP
Working Paper

Introduction:

The systems view is a world-view that is based on the discipline of SYSTEM INQUIRY, Central to systems inquiry is the concept of SYSTEM. In the most general sense, system means a configuration of parts connected and joined together by a web of relationships. The Primer group defines system as a family of relationships among the members acting as a whole. Bertalanffy defined system as "elements in standing relationship."

The joining and integrating of the web of relationships creates EMERGENT PROPERTIES which express themselves as a new whole. These properties of the whole may not be found in any analysis the parts. The liquid of water is not found in the gases it is made of. This is the VALUE of systems theory. the WHOLENESS that can't be seen from the viewpoint of the parts.

SYSTEMS INQUIRY is a system itself. As a conceptual system, it has four interrelated and internally consistent aspects acting as a whole: systems PHILOSOPHY, systems THEORY, systems METHODOLOGY and systems APPLICATION. Furthermore, systems inquiry embraces two kinds of disciplined inquiry; it's conclusion-orientated inquiry mode PRODUCES systems knowledge, its decision orientated inquiry mode APPLIES systems knowledge to the formulation and selection of systems methods that address real-world situations.
"As a conceptual system, it has four interrelated and internally consistent aspects."


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