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System theories are concerned with the relationships among elements (such as individuals) within systems (e.g., a group). General systems theory was popularized by Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy as an interdisciplinary framework, or metatheory, aimed at describing the fundamental principles of systems of all kinds, from cells and organisms to societies and from biological and ecological to social systems. Several other metatheories, such as cybernetics and information theory, the theory of complex adaptive systems, and dynamical systems theory, are also system theories. The most important concepts from these theories for group psychology are briefly presented below.

One main assumption of system theories is that the system itself (e.g., a group) has, or develops, properties that cannot be fully described, explained, or predicted by observing the behavior of ...

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