3. Characteristics of Systems

posted May 1, 2015, 11:44 PM by Maurice Nyamoti   [ updated May 1, 2015, 11:55 PM ]
All systems have some similar characteristics as illustrated below:

1. Holistic thinking

A system is considered as a whole because many entities will work together to make a complex whole


a human body is a complex whole made up of small entities like cells, chromosomes, enzymes, water, bones etc.

2. Subsystems

A system is made up of different components (subsystems)


a human body system is made up of other sub-systems like; circulatory system, digestive system, neural systems etc.

3. Boundary and Environment

Each system has a space (boundary) within which the components operate. A system has two types of entities namely: internal and external entities. An internal entity operates from within the system boundary like the liver of a human body however, external entities operate from outside the boundary but are part of the system i.e. Food and Air in a human body

4. Purpose

The purpose of each system is to perform a particular task or achieve a goal.


The purpose of a human body system is to support life

5. Process

A system has the obligation to transform or process data from one state to another


In a human digestive system, food as transformed into nutrients like proteins and vitamins while the remaining is discharged as waste

6. System Entropy

The word entropy means decay. Systems decay over time.


A human body eventually dies after a period of time when subsystems cannot support it anymore

7. Inputs and Outputs

A system communicates with environment by receiving inputs and giving outputs


In a human body system, it takes food as an input and gives output through excretory process

8: Open VS Closed Systems

A system can be described as either open or closed. An open system receives input and gives output while a closed system does not.

9. Control

A system adapts to changes in the environment in order to give the expected output or to perform to the expected level. This is possible through the feedback which can be used to influence inputs


If a human body is ill, the brain system sends a feedback (pain) this feedback will influence the person to seek medical care.

System Development-Introduction