In the context of systems, function generally refers to non-human systems, while purpose refers to human ones. This function or purpose is often the least obvious, but the most crucial determinant of a system's behavior.

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Some strategies to escape common traps in systems thinking include: understanding the complexity of the system, recognizing patterns and interconnections, focusing on the purpose or function of the system, and being aware of the potential for unintended consequences. It's also important to avoid oversimplification and to consider the system as a whole rather than focusing on individual elements.

A system responds to external influences based on its internal patterns and structures. While outside factors can trigger certain behaviors, the system's response is largely determined by its internal elements, interconnections, and function or purpose. For instance, the market economy can be influenced by politics, but its natural ups and downs are not solely driven by them. The response of a system to external influences can also be altered by changing any of its vital parts or its purpose.

No, a system cannot function without one of its elements. Each part of a system is vital to its function. If you take away or change any one of those elements, you alter or break down the system's function.

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Thinking in Systems: A Primer

How do you avoid wasted time, money, and resources from short-sighted decisions? When you think in s...

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