Different types of systems exist. Some are abstract concepts while others are operational ones. Given below are different types and classes of systems:
We’ll be covering the following topics in this tutorial:
Closed and Open Systems
A system is said to be closed if it does not interact with the environment in which it exists. It is in a state of isolation. It is completely self-contained. This is only of theoretical interest as in reality systems exhibit different degrees of openness.
A system is said to be open when it interacts with the environment in which it exists. It exchanges inputs and outputs with the environment. Such regular interaction with the environment makes the study of open systems difficult (Checkland 1981). A system might be said to be ‘open’ with regard to some entities and processes but might exhibit ‘closed’ behavior with respect to other entities and processes.
Deterministic, Probabilistic and Random Systems
A system is deterministic if its outputs are certain. This means that the relationships between its components are fully known and certain. Hence, when an input is given the output is fully predictable. An example of a deterministic system is the common entrance examination for entry into IIM. All the entities in the system and their interrelationships are well known and given an input the output can be determined with certainty.
A probabilistic system is one where the output from the system behaves probabilistically, i.e., the output is predictable according to probability values. The portfolio investment systems of an asset management company that invests in the stock market will have a probabilistic output for a given input as the system and its entities behave probabilistically.
Random systems are completely unpredictable systems. One is completely unaware of the components and their relationships with each other and hence, the output is random. An example of random system is the transport system. Given an input one is not sure about the output.
Human, Machine and Human-machine System
A human system consists of humans as components. It is an open system exhibiting probabilistic behavior. An example of this kind of system is a department within an organization.
A machine system is composed entirely of machines and machine subsystems. It is deterministic and relatively closed. An example of this type of system would be a fire alarm system. A system which consists of humans and machines is called a human-machine system. Information systems are examples of human-machine systems. These systems are deterministic in delivery but probabilistic in interpretation.
Abstract and Concrete Systems
An abstract system is an ordered arrangement of concepts. Abstract systems can be procedural or conceptual.
Concrete systems are systems in which at least two components are objects. Concrete systems can be physical or social systems.
Adaptive and Non-adaptive Systems
A system is said to be adaptive if it modifies itself with the changes in its environment.
A democratic system of government is an example of adaptive system as it changes to accommodate the changes in the environment.
A non-adaptive system does not react to changes in its environment.
An autocratic system of governance is an example of non adaptive system. It does not change or adapt to changes in the environment.
Simple and Complex Systems
A simple system is one in which there are a few interrelated entities whereas a complex system is one in which there a lot of components with a lot of interrelations amongst them.
A bicycle may be considered as an example of a simple system whereas a motorcycle may be considered a complex system. In the bicycle, the number of entities and subsystems are very few, whereas in a motorcycle the number of entities, subsystems and their interrelations are many. Each subsystem in a motorcycle may itself be considered as a simple system.