Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems--from simple to complex--in nature, society, cognition, engineering, technology and science itself. To systems scientists, the world can be understood as a system of systems. The field aims to develop interdisciplinary foundations that are applicable in a variety of areas, such as psychology, biology, medicine, communication, business management, engineering, and social sciences.
Systems science covers formal sciences such as complex systems, cybernetics, dynamical systems theory, information theory, linguistics or systems theory. It has applications in the field of the natural and social sciences and engineering, such as control theory, operations research, social systems theory, systems biology, system dynamics, human factors, systems ecology, systems engineering and systems psychology. Themes commonly stressed in system science are (a) holistic view, (b) interaction between a system and its embedding environment, and (c) complex (often subtle) trajectories of dynamic behavior that sometimes are stable (and thus reinforcing), while at various 'boundary conditions' can become wildly unstable (and thus destructive). Concerns about Earth-scale biosphere/geosphere dynamics is an example of the nature of problems to which systems science seeks to contribute meaningful insights.
Systems ecology is an interdisciplinary field of ecology, taking a holistic approach to the study of ecological systems, especially ecosystems. Systems ecology can be seen as an application of general systems theory to ecology. Central to the systems ecology approach is the idea that an ecosystem is a complex system exhibiting emergent properties.
Systems ecology focuses on interactions and transactions within and between biological and ecological systems, and is especially concerned with the way the functioning of ecosystems can be influenced by human interventions. It uses and extends concepts from thermodynamics and develops other macroscopic descriptions of complex systems.
Systems engineering techniques are used in complex projects: from spacecraft to chip design, from robotics to creating large software products to building bridges, Systems engineering uses a host of tools that include modeling & simulation, requirements analysis, and scheduling to manage complexity.
Selected systems scientist
Gary S. Metcalf (born 1957) is an American organizational theorist, management consultant, and faculty member in the Organizational Systems concentration at Saybrook Graduate School. He received a Ph.D. in human science at Saybrook under the mentorship of Béla H. Bánáthy focused on Social Systems Design and Organizational Development.
Gary Metcalf is known for his 2001 book "The management of people in mergers and acquisitions" with Teresa A. Daniel. They explain that financials alone don't make mergers and acquisitions deals work. Human resource executives act as "change agents during the delicate maneuverings before a deal is done, and then after, when it's time to tackle the fine-grained problems of integrating disparate corporate cultures and the people who vitalize them".