The Systems Approach: Its Variety of Aspects | Richard Mattessich | 1982

An informed view of the Systems Approach from 1982.  (Richard Mattessich was a well-respected professor at UBC when I started in the doctoral program in 1982, but I wouldn’t get to appreciate the Systems Approach as described by C. West Churchman until the ISSS 1998 meeting).

In his latest work [The Systems Approach and its Enemies], Churchman (1979) continues the search for generality and for a design of social system. Here, the major themes, with many variations, are the “environment fallacy” and “the enemies of the systems approach.” The latter expression is not meant in the personal sense and does not refer directly to such opponents of systems thinking as Berlinski (1976) or Lilienfeld (1978), but refers to the traditional approaches to politics, morality, religion, and even aesthetics. Of course, this could easily be misunderstood, and its full comprehension is hardly possible without reading Churchman’s entire treatise. [pp. 389]

I see from the Mattessich profile at UBC of a “Tenure Professorships … 1959-1967 University of California, Berkeley”, and he would be an accounting professor in the same business school that Churchman had joined in 1957.

Mattessich, Richard. 1982. “The systems approach: Its variety of aspects.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 33 (6): 383–94.  Cached at and

Mattessich (1982) The Systems Approach


#churchman, #mattessich, #systems-approach