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Elements of System; Types of Systems

Elements of a System:

  1. Outputs and inputs:

A major objective of a system is to produce an output that has value to its user. In order to get a good output, inputs to system must be appropriate. It is important to point out here that determining the output is a first step in specifying the nature, amount and regularity of the input needed to operate a system.

  1. Processors:

It is the element of a system that involves the actual transformation of input into output. It is the operational component of a system. Processors may modify the input totally or partially, depending on the specifications of the output. In some cases, input is also modified to enable the processor to handle the transformation.

  1. Control:

The control elements guide the system. It is the decision-making subsystem that controls the pattern of activities governing input, processing, and output.

  1. Feedback:

Feedback measures output against a standard in some form of cybernetic procedure that includes communication and control.

Feedback may be positive or negative, routine or informational. Positive feedback reinforces the performance of the system. It is routine in nature. Negative feedback generally provides the controller with information for action.

  1. Environment:

The environment is the “supra-system” within which an organization operates. It is the source of external elements that impinge on the system. In fact, it often determines how a system must function.

  1. Boundaries and Interfaces:

A system should be defined by its boundaries- the limits that identify its components, processes, and interrelationships when it interfaces with another system.

Types of System

Physical or Abstract Systems

  • Physical systems are tangible entities. We can touch and feel them.
  • Physical System may be static or dynamic in nature. For example, desks and chairs are the physical parts of computer center which are static. A programmed computer is a dynamic system in which programs, data, and applications can change according to the user’s needs.
  • Abstract systems are non-physical entities or conceptual that may be formulas, representation or model of a real system.

Open or Closed Systems

  • An open system must interact with its environment. It receives inputs from and delivers outputs to the outside of the system. For example, an information system which must adapt to the changing environmental conditions.
  • A closed system does not interact with its environment. It is isolated from environmental influences. A completely closed system is rare in reality.

Adaptive and Non Adaptive System

  • Adaptive System responds to the change in the environment in a way to improve their performance and to survive. For example, human beings, animals.
  • Non Adaptive System is the system which does not respond to the environment. For example, machines.

Permanent or Temporary System

  • Permanent System persists for long time. For example, business policies.
  • Temporary System is made for specified time and after that they are demolished. For example, A DJ system is set up for a program and it is dissembled after the program.

Natural and Manufactured System

  • Natural systems are created by the nature. For example, Solar system, seasonal system.
  • Manufactured System is the man-made system. For example, Rockets, dams, trains.

Deterministic or Probabilistic System

  • Deterministic system operates in a predictable manner and the interaction between system components is known with certainty. For example, two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen makes water.
  • Probabilistic System shows uncertain behavior. The exact output is not known. For example, Weather forecasting, mail delivery.

Social, Human-Machine, Machine System

  • Social System is made up of people. For example, social clubs, societies.
  • In Human-Machine System, both human and machines are involved to perform a particular task. For example, Computer programming.
  • Machine System is where human interference is neglected. All the tasks are performed by the machine. For example, an autonomous robot.

Man–Made Information Systems

  • It is an interconnected set of information resources to manage data for particular organization, under Direct Management Control (DMC).
  • This system includes hardware, software, communication, data, and application for producing information according to the need of an organization.

    Man-made information systems are divided into three types −

  • Formal Information System: It is based on the flow of information in the form of memos, instructions, etc., from top level to lower levels of management.
  • Informal Information System: This is employee based system which solves the day to day work related problems.
  • Computer Based System: This system is directly dependent on the computer for managing business applications. For example, automatic library system, railway reservation system, banking system, etc.

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