Definition of Key Systems Concepts
Systems approach: A paradigm or perspective involving a focus on the whole picture and not just a single element, awareness of the wider context, an appreciation for interactions among different components, and transdisciplinary thinking (Leischow and Milstein, 2006).
Systems investigation: A promising new frontier for research and action in response to complex and critical challenges (Leischow and Milstein, 2006).
Systems thinking: An iterative learning process in which one takes a broad, holistic, long-term, perspective of the world and examines the linkages and interactions among its elements (Sterman, 2006).
Systems theory: An interdisciplinary theory that requires merging of multiple perspectives and sources of information and deals with complex systems in technology, society, and science (Best et al., 2003).
Systems science: Research related to systems theory that offers insight into the nature of the whole system that often cannot be gained by studying the system’s component parts in isolation (Mabry et al., 2008).
System dynamics: A methodology for mapping and modeling the forces of change in a complex system in order to better understand their interaction and govern the direction of the system; it enables stakeholders to combine input into a dynamic hypothesis that uses computer simulation to compare various scenarios for achieving change (Milstein and Homer, 2006).