WEEK 1 - Lecture One
Big Blue, the winkle stall and the man who came to fix
The module is about three words
1) System -
What is a system? D
Does a system do anything?
Can a system be an inanimate thing which just sits there or does
it have to do something?
Are all systems the same? - Are we talking about the same thing
with a central heating system, a computer system, system
furniture and the political system?
In our everyday life we come across a whole range of systems:
- Water supply system
- Engine management systems
- The state system of health
- Central heating system
- Business systems
What defines a business, what does it do?
What are its main characteristics?
What is the difference between business and management and
what is the distinction between abusiness and an organisation?
- What is information?
- Is it something about knowledge and what is the link between
information and knowledge? W
- What is the difference between data, knowledge and
There is a difference but sometimes they are not used
properly and so you do not know what you are being told about
because the terms are used wrongly.
It is a bit like being handled an apple and told that it is an
orange, when you can differentiate between data, information
and intelligence you are halfway there.
When we understand these three words then we can start to join
GENERAL SYSTEMS THEORY
One of the the originators or systems thinking was von
Bertalanffy who came up with
his General Systems Theory. This theory was developed in the
1930s and 40s by a
variety of individuals of which von Bertalanffy was just one. He
was a botanist. Central to his thinking was that many systems
possessed general properties and that it did not matter whether a
particular system was biological, sociological or mechanical, it
could display the same or recognisable properties since it was
essentially the same basic kind of system. In this he explained
how natural systems existed and he pointed out that scholars had
been analysing and understanding systems for centuries and had
not even known it. This has now been extended to business
systems where the same recognisable characteristics can be
It is my contention that a studying of physical systems can help
us to explain how business systems operate and behave.
Most business systems are designed to carry out some business
The accounting system, the personnel system, the computer
system. Most business systems that we deal with are concerned
with the movement of information. Hence the term business
Because most business information systems involve the
movement of large amounts of information they tend to be
computerised. This makes the collection movement processing