Social System (glossary)

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An open system which includes human elements. (Created for SEBoK)


This definition was developed for the SEBoK.


Several definitions of "social systems" exist. For example, "the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships," (WordNet 2012) or "organized boundary systems of social roles, behaviors, and practices developed to maintain values and the mechanisms to regulate the practices and roles (Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 2009). These definitions, however, generally arise from sociology and do not take into account a "systems thinking" perspective. The definition provided above has been created for the SEBoK based on the systems science definition. See the Types of Systems topic for additional discussion.

Works Cited

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 21st Edition, s.v. "social systems", 2009.

WordNet: A lexical database for English, version 3.1, s.v. "social system", 2012.

SEBoK v. 2.9, released 20 November 2023