The variable or invariant character of a system's structure is a subject of controversy since long (see for example J.L.LE MOIGNE, 1977, p.160-163).
It is now generally admitted that a structure is diachronic as well as synchronic: each of its instantaneous states is a peculiar aspect of its temporal totality.
In a mature system, only feeble variations of the structure remain possible and one comes quite close to invariance. There are however at least two special cases to consider:
- A growing system undergoes frequently significant structural changes (examples are the moult of insects or the transformations of an organization at its beginnings). However the basic structure is then already a finited matrix of the set of all possible instantaneous structures (the larva of a mosquito will never produce anything else than a mosquito).
- A system faraway from equilibrium and submitted to giant fluctuations tends to transform itself and its structures through the emergence of dissipative structures. In such case the emergence of a new system, quite different of the original one is a distinct possibility. The new system would then be structured in a more complex way than the former one.
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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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