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The goal of general systems theory (GST) is to model the properties and relationships common to all systems, regardless of their specific components, or the academic disciplines in which they are studied. Thus, while physical, biological, or social systems may appear to be quite different in terms of their components and relationships, they all may display certain common properties. The study of these common properties is the goal of GST.

A system is defined as a bounded set of components and the relationships among them. Generally, the internal components of the system are assumed to be interrelated in such a manner that when the value of one of the components is changed (for example, by an external force), the value of one or more of the ...

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