CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2019 Edition
| Editors: Sami Chatti, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart, Tullio Tolio


  • Kosmas AlexopoulosEmail author
  • Konstantinos Efthymiou
  • George Chryssolouris
Reference work entry



A system is an integrated composite of people, products, and processes that provides a capability to satisfy a stated need or objective.

Theory and Application


The transdisciplinary study of systems which aims to identify and determine principles, applicable to all types of systems independent of the scientific field, is the field of the system theory. System theory as a minimum includes parts/wholes, system/boundary/environment, structure/process, emergent properties, hierarchy of systems, positive and negative feedback, information and control, open systems, holism, and observer. The term “system theory” is originated from the work “general system theory” of von Bertalanffy who first recognized the application of the aforementioned concepts across various disciplines (Bertalanffy 1968). System theory is associated with a vast number of theories of specific disciplines such as cybernetics, soft systems and problem...

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kosmas Alexopoulos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Konstantinos Efthymiou
    • 1
  • George Chryssolouris
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation (LMS), Department of Mechanical Engineering and AeronauticsUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

Section editors and affiliations

  • Günther Schuh
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungsinstitut für Rationalisierung (FIR) e. VRWTH AachenAachenGermany