7 junio, 2024

Systems: what it is, meaning, types and examples

We explain what a system is, the types that exist, and give several examples

What is a system?

A system It is the composition of several elements that are connected to each other to achieve a specific objective. These elements must be ordered according to the tasks that must be fulfilled to achieve the proposed purpose.

The system concept can be used in different areas and environments where there are elements that must be related to each other to carry out a specific task. That is, the term system is not exclusive to a particular discipline, but to a large number of them.

Systems can have any number of related elements and are not limited in size. However, each component must have a certain function that makes it useful within said system.

It is important to highlight that systems can be physical or material, or ideas or abstract, where the important thing is not what each of its components can do separately, but what they can do together, whatever their nature. .

System types

Within the universe of what systems are, two large groups can be defined according to the type of elements that make them up. These are:

Real or material systems

It can be said that this type of systems are those in which its parts or components have a physical nature, that is, they are material or tangible. In this way, its elements can be more easily identified by the senses of the human being.

In real systems, each of its parts physically interacts with the others and fulfills a specific role. That is, each part can interact with others in a material way, exchanging energy, which in turn influences the functioning of the system as such.

One of the most important characteristics of the elements of a material system is that each one has a location in space and time. In other words, as they are physical pieces, they have a tangible presence within a defined area.

Some examples of real system can be:

The nervous system in the human body.
The solar system.
Planet Earth.
A work team in a company.
A bee hive.

Systems of ideas or abstract

These systems are those in which their parts are not material, like those of a real system. Unlike the latter, the pieces of the system of ideas are made up of concepts or symbols that are not tangible to the senses of the human being.

Although its components cannot be physically manipulated, each of these has a specific function that makes the system work as a whole.

That is to say, although its parts cannot be easily seen, they must be equally ordered so that their idea can be understood mentally, giving meaning to the behavior of said system.

It can be said that abstract systems or ideas require the human mind to perceive them according to the order they have. Thus interpreting the meaning of this organization and therefore achieving the objective that said system has formulated.

As examples of abstract systems or ideas we have:

A computer software and its lines of code.
Mathematical or algebraic problems.
A language or language.
The metric system.
A political or economic ideology.

Once the two large types of existing systems have been defined, some existing systems that are part of one of the aforementioned groups can be detailed. These are:

Computer system

They are systems that interrelate both physical and abstract elements, such as hardware (physical, such as keyboards, screens, processors, etc.) and software (abstract, such as operating systems, databases, network protocols, etc.).

These systems are designed to process data and information in order to support the tasks of the users who use them.

Computer systems additionally require human interaction so that they can be fully developed, since in this way their real and abstract parts are related; if a person does not make them interact, the system as such will not achieve its purpose.

biological system

This type of system is characterized by the formation of physical or material elements that are alive. Thus, it can be physically seen how each of its components fulfills a specific task by interacting with the other parts of the system.

Within these systems there are, in turn, other compositions where their elements interact. That is, they can be formations with others inside that give life to the general system through the interaction of its parts, such as systems of living organisms.

It is important to say that in a biological system there are hierarchies and levels of importance in its elements that must be respected for the system to function correctly.

Examples of biological systems can be the cardiovascular, immune, nervous system, etc.

business systems

Business systems are compositions that involve both physical and abstract elements, where some of its material parts (people) must interact with each other, but there are other non-material elements (such as language or information) that are also part of the system.

Business systems are compositions that have a common objective defined by the organization, and where its parts must rely on multiple physical and abstract relationships to carry out said purpose.

If this combination is not successful, the corporate objective will not be achieved.

Examples of systems

Next, examples of both physical and abstract systems will be presented, in order to give clarity to each of these:

Examples of physical systems

The human body.
A fast food chain.
A constellation of stars.
The Amazon jungle.
A marine ecosystem (corals, fish, algae, etc.).
A military army (air, sea, or land).
A football team.
A family.
An anthill.
A textile factory.

Examples of abstract systems

A word processing software.
The Spanish language.
Capitalism or socialism.
The musical notes.
The philosophy.
A programming language.
A gastronomic recipe.
The theory of relativity.
The TCP/IP network protocol.
A mathematical equation.


Spacey, J. (2016). Examples of systems. Retrieved from simplicable.com
System. (2021). Retrieved from biologyonline.com
What Is a System? (2015). Retrieved from managementhelp.org
What is a system? (2017). Retrieved from systems-sciences.uni-graz.at/

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *