International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics

2nd Edition, as published by Charles François 2004 Presented by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science Vienna for public access.


The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics was first edited and published by the system scientist Charles François in 1997. The online version that is provided here was based on the 2nd edition in 2004. It was uploaded and gifted to the center by ASC president Michael Lissack in 2019; the BCSSS purchased the rights for the re-publication of this volume in 200?. In 2018, the original editor expressed his wish to pass on the stewardship over the maintenance and further development of the encyclopedia to the Bertalanffy Center. In the future, the BCSSS seeks to further develop the encyclopedia by open collaboration within the systems sciences. Until the center has found and been able to implement an adequate technical solution for this, the static website is made accessible for the benefit of public scholarship and education.


MANAGEMENT (Human Systems) 4)

M. ZELENY has characterized Human Systems Management in the following terms:

"1) Human systems are to be managed rather than analyzed or designed. HMS is not systems analysis or design".

(Note: In recent years, a new concept of co-participative design has emerged, which escapes from the limits of authoritarian and prescriptive design);

"2) Management of human systems is a process of catalytic reinforcement of dynamic organization and bonding of individuals. HMS does not design a hierarchy of control and command;

"3) The components of human systems are humans. HMS is not general systems theory but a general theory of human organizations;

"4) The integral complexity of human systems can be lost through the process of mathematical simplification… HMS is not operation research, econometrics or applied mathematics;

"5) The interactions between individuals are not those of electronic circuitry, communication channels, or feedback loop mechanisms. HMS is not cybernetics or information theory of communication"

(Note: i.e. is not mechanicist cybernetics of the first order, but could be aided by von FOERSTER 2nd order cybernetics);

"6) The order of human organizations is maintained through their structural adaptations under the conditions of environmental disequilibrium. HMS is not the theory of general equilibrium;

"7) the concepts of optimization and optimal control are not meaningful in a general theory of human systems. Human aspirations and goals are dynamic, multiple and in continuous conflict. Such conflict is the very source of their catalysis. HSM is not optimal control theory or theory of conflict resolution;

"8) The inquiry into human systems is transdisciplinary by definition. Human systems encompass the whole hierarchy of natural systems: physical, biological, social and spiritual. HMS is not interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary, it does not attempt to unify scientific disciplines, it transcends them" (1977, p.27).

All these ideas are consonant with, for instance, P. VENDRYES concept of autonomy, i.e. the capability of a system (biological, social) to establish its own behavioral laws, and with MATURANA and VARELA's autopoiesis.


  • 1) General information
  • 2) Methodology or model
  • 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
  • 4) Human sciences
  • 5) Discipline oriented


Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science(2020).

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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