"A multi-goal-seeking system the different goals of which have a common property" (R.L. ACKOFF, 1972).
ACKOFF explains: "Production of that common property is the system's purpose. These types of system can pursue different goals but they do not select the goal to be pursued. The goal is determined by the initiating event. But such a system does choose the means by which to pursue its goals" (Ibid).
A computer with a variety of programs is thus a purposive system (to be distinguished from a purposeful system – see above).
B. BANATHY gives the following characteristics of this type of systems:
"Degree of self-direction. Purposes are set for the system, strategic goals are prescribed, however operational objectives, methods and means of operation are self-selected.
"(As to the) structure/relational state: State changes are gradual, influenced primarily by environmental changes that indicate the need for adaptation. Structural change happen slowly over time and are coupled with changes in systemic relationships. Increasing complexity in this system type indicates multi- level hierarchy and embeddedness. Purposive systems may embed deterministic and rigidly controlled systems.
"Methods that are relevant for this type may include those based on cybernetic theory, systems analysis, systems engineering and systems design. Living systems theory has special relevance for purposive systems in view of the significance of information and matter and energy processing in these systems. Having freedom for selecting objectives, consensus building methods also come to play in purposive systems" (1988, p.29).
An interesting comparison can be made with heuristic systems.
- 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]
We thank the following partners for making the open access of this volume possible: