The process through which "components of a system become increasingly more independent and isolated, leading to the eventual dissolution of the system" (B. BANATHY, 1973, p.88).
According to HALL & FAGEN the concepts of totality and additivity must be clearly distinguished.By additivity, they seem to understand the existence of clearly identifiable parts in the system.
They describe (in a somewhat ambiguous way) two possible modes of progressive segregation in a system.
The first one is related to the breakdown of the system: certain parts stop functioning and slowly, the functional interrelations disappear, up to the point of complete disaggregation of the system.
The second one corresponds to growth and is somehow antithetical to the first one: "The system changes in the direction of increasing division into subsystems and sub-subsystems or differentiation of functions" (1956, p.22) The authors use as an example the embryo's development or the differentiation of a communication net.
The difference between both processes is so significant that it does not seem quite adequate to use the same expresion in both cases. "Progressive segregation" could be restricted to the decomposition process. Conversely, structural and functional subdivision, which corresponds to a growing degree of heterogeneity, could be called for example, "Progressive differentiation".
However, starting from the initial autogenesis, progressive differentiation and progressive segregation seem to constitute a natural sequence in complex systems, in accordance with the 2nd principle of thermodynamics.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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