Systems & Complexity Theory

There are many similarities found in the literature between systems theory and complexity theory. However, there are also some distinctive differences. Between the two there is some overlap. Now when to apply systems theory (systems thinking) and when to apply complexity theory (complexity thinking) when looking at social systems (e.g., teams, groups, organizations).

This article identifies some of the similarities and differences between system-type theories (e.g., general systems theory) and complexity-type theories (complex adaptive systems).


Turner, J. R., & Baker, R. (2019). Complexity theory: An overview with potential applications for the social sciences. Systems. Advance online publication. doi:10.3390/systems7010004




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