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Systems Theory

  • By: Stephanie M. Ruhl
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

General systems theory was developed by the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in an effort to explore the interrelationships of biological organisms as well as their connections with the environment in which they are embedded. Upon continued exploration, Bertalanffy found the principles of the theory to be informative beyond the realms of biology, proposing that other fields of study might benefit from systems perspectives. Organizational communication and family communication are two such disciplines that gained much ground with the incorporation of systems theory principles, as they enabled examination of the intricacies of organizational and family life and provided a vocabulary for discussing the consequential nature of the micro- and macrocom-municative processes in which individuals and groups engage. Consideration of systems theory, in effect, has become integral ...

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