What is a theory? A “map of reality” that helps us navigate unfamiliar territory and make decisionsAn abstract system of concepts that specifies the relationships among those concepts to help us understand a phenomenon.A way to describe, explain, predict, and control something. Gives us perspective; “a view” not “the view”Concepts – words or terms that label the most important elements in a theory. Nominal concepts unobservable Real concepts Observable Relationships – specifications for the ways in which the concepts in the theory are combined.
What is general systems theory? What are the key concepts? SYSTEM: set of elements that functions as a whole b/c of interdependent relationshipsA group is made up of several elements and how they together affect and are affected by its surroundingsDefinition: A way of examining and describing how a system’s parts are interrelated even while they are continuously changing Theory used to describe interrelated (interdependent) parts Explains how parts work together Have to understand the parts to understand the whole of the system COMMUNICATION connects are relevant parts of the group Ex. This theory would suggest we need to examine many factors to understand a group, such as personalities of members, reason for group formation, leadership, influence from parent group/environment, pass successes and failures