System Classifications

System Classification Framework

A System Classification Framework provides a way to position a system-of-interest in a wider context of systems. This System Classification Framework is used to:

  • Identify types of systems.

  • Promote reuse across a set of systems and system types

  • Ensure alignment of similar types of systems and reduce duplicate definitions.

The System Classification Framework provides the following benefits:

  • A top level set of system types that can be used for any system-of-interest.

  • A way to reuse aspects of systems using generalizations that allow inheritance of the key elements of a system.

  • A way to integrate across systems based upon consistent references to defined systems using a single abstract system class..

  • A way to reuse AD Elements across the full set of defined systems (e.g. viewpoints, views, view components, other system descriptions, etc).

The top level System Classification Framework is based upon Peter Checkland's system classification model. Peter Checkland includes a system classification approach in his book Systems Thinking, System Practice. The following form the top level set of systems in this classification scheme:

System Classification based upon Peter Checkland's Model

The top level System Classification Framework is described in the book from page 102 to page 122. Figure 4, page 112 highlights the 5 system classes. These classes are used as a top level classification for system types.

Link to the Top System Classifications PDF

Russell Ackoff's System Classification

Russell Ackoff's System Classifications were also considered. The following types of systems comes from Re-Creating the Corporation

  • Deterministic System
  • Animated System
  • Social System
  • Ecological System.

These classifications were considered; however, they use are use "Purposeful System" as a differentiator between system types and was considered too narrow for this System Classification Framework.

Current Systems in the System Classification Framework

. The current systems that have been identified using the top level classification types are shown in the diagram below:

Current System Classification based upon Peter Checkland's Model

Note: that all of the types of systems are based upon a single definition and model of an abstract system. Each system inherits the single definition of system. This provides a consistent way to describe each type of system using a System Description based upon the SysDesc ADF.