Systems Theory

Relevance to HRD theory, research and practice

Authored by: Richard J. Torraco

The Routledge Companion to Human Resource Development

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415820424
eBook ISBN: 9780203386446
Adobe ISBN: 9781136727061


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Since systems theory provides a common conception of organizations or any system, it can serve as a conceptual framework or organizer through which the field of HRD can ensure a holistic understanding of its work. Systems are viewed as unitary wholes composed of parts or sub systems; the system serves to integrate the parts into a functioning unit (Boulding 1956). Although systems vary in different ways – in size and complexity, for example – they have a number of common characteristics by virtue of being systems, and those properties can be applied to systems as any level.

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