A multi-level structure, where some components, parts or subsystems are subordinated to other ones.
Hierarchic structures appear in complex systems with regulations. Normally a regulator manages or controls some functional-structural subsystem, or the relationship between two or more subsystems.
In many cases, different local or specific regulators must be controlled or coordinated and a supra-regulator becomes necessary. Hierarchic structures thus build up in a progressive way.
Like any structure, they are diachronic as well as synchronic. Some of them do only become visible in the time dimension, due to the widely different periods of many regulations, and cannot, for this reason, be observed statically.
This is specially of utmost importance for the understanding and management of human systems, wherein long-term structural effects are many times ignored.
E. JANTSCH states: "Hierarchical description of structure usually express the ideal of equilibrium both at a given structural level and in the relations between levels" (1976, p.51).
Hierarchic structures are characteristic of strongly integrated systems, tending to homeostasis. Such systems are prone to growing rigidity with time.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
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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