What is the General Systems Theory?

The general systems theory is the interdisciplanary study of systems in general. The purpose of GST is to study the applicable principles to apply to the systems in any stage of systemic investigation.

In 1950 Ludwig von Bertalanffy raised the general theory of systems proper. Later, in the seventies, Humberto Maturana developed the concept of autopoiesis, which accounts for the organization of living systems as closed networks of self-production of the components that constitute them. W. Ross Ashby and Norbert Wiener developed the mathematical theory of communication and control of systems through feedback regulation (cybernetics), which is closely related to control theory. In the same decade, René Thom and E.C. Zeeman raised the theory of catastrophes, a branch of mathematics according to bifurcations in dynamic systems that classifies phenomena characterized by sudden shifts in their behavior.
In 1980 David Ruelle, Edward Lorenz, Mitchell Feigenbaum, Steve Smale, and James A. Yorke described chaos theory, a mathematical theory of nonlinear dynamical systems that describes bifurcations, strange attractions, and chaotic motions. John H. Holland, Murray Gell-Mann, Harold Morowitz, W. Brian Arthur, and 90 others posit complex adaptive system (CAS), a new science of complexity that describes emergence, adaptation, and self-organization. It was established primarily by researchers at the Santa Fe Institute and is based on computer simulations. It includes multiagent systems that have become an important tool in the study of social and complex systems. It is still an active research field.
GST emerged in the 20th century as a new effort in the search for valid concepts and laws for the description and interpretation of all kinds of real or physical systems.
Although GST emerged in the field of Biology, its ability to inspire developments in different disciplines was soon seen and its influence on the appearance of new ones was appreciated. This is how the broad field of systemics or systems sciences has been constituted, with specialties such as cybernetics, information theory, game theory, chaos theory or catastrophe theory. In some, like the last one, Biology has continued to occupy a prominent place.
Going from partial solutions for solving complex problems to the General Systems approach is analogous to when companies and organizations went from the focus of separate departments to those of transversal processes, much more inclusive.

Practical Application for the Theory of General Systems

Ever since the System Dynamics and the multivariable model of the world (Forrester, 1970s) or the Problem Solving (Rusell Ackoff, 1970s), even the actual jobs of the Institute of San Fe about Complex Adaptive Systems (2000s), passing through the Viable System or P. Checkland’s Soft System Methodology (1078), the applications are incessant.