© 2013

The System Concept and Its Application to Engineering


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages 1-13
  2. Part A The System Concept

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 3-10
    3. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 11-19
    4. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 31-52
    5. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 53-66
  3. Part B Engineering

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 67-67
    2. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 69-78
    3. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 79-106
    4. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 107-117
    5. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 119-133
    6. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 135-144
    7. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 145-151
    8. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 153-159
  4. Part C Applying the System Concept to Engineering

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-161
    2. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 163-175
    3. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 193-203
    4. Erik W. Aslaksen
      Pages 205-223

About this book


Systems engineering is a mandatory approach in some industries, and is gaining wider acceptance for complex projects in general. However, under the imperative of delivering these projects on time and within budget, the focus has been mainly on the management aspects, with less attention to improving the core engineering activity – design. This book addresses the application of the system concept to design in several ways: by developing a deeper understanding of the system concept, by defining design and its characteristics within the process of engineering, and by applying the system concept to the early stage of design, where it has the greatest impact.


A central theme of the book is that the purpose of engineering is to be useful in meeting the needs of society, and that therefore the ultimate measure of the benefit of applying the system concept should be the extent to which it advances the achievement of that purpose. Consequently, any consistent, top-down development of the functionality required of a solution to the problem of meeting a defined need must proceed from such a measure, and it is agued that a generalised form of Return on Investment is an appropriate measure. A theoretical framework for the development of functionality based on this measure and utilising the system concept is presented, together with some examples and practical guidelines.


Complexity Design Engineering Ontology Philosophy Return on Investment System Systems Engineering Usefulness

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Gumbooya Pty LtdAllambie HeightsAustralia

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
IT & Software
Consumer Packaged Goods
Materials & Steel
Energy, Utilities & Environment
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


From the reviews:

“The book is concentrated on the understanding of systems concept by first developing an understanding of system and then applying that as the tool for thinking about complex matters. … a book for engineers who want to consider their role in developing and upgrading systems. … I would recommend this book to anyone, engineer or not, who wants to understand the system concept and its application to any activity.” (Barney Morais, Insight, Vol. 16 (1), April, 2013)