ERIC Number: ED206686
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Some Contributions of General Systems Theory, Cybernetics Theory and Management Control Theory to Evaluation Theory and Practice. Research on Evaluation Program Paper and Report Series. Interim Draft.
Cook, Desmond L.
This document, one of a series of reports examining the possible contribution of other disciplines to evaluation methodology, describes the major elements of general systems theory (GST), cybernetics theory (CT) and management control theory (MCT). The author suggests that MCT encapsulates major concerns of evaluation since it reveals that provision of information to a decision-maker is a key process, and that the management function of controlling involves the utilization of information in the making of decisions regarding goals, and allocation and effective use of resources to accomplish these. Since GST and CT are closely related to MCT they are also discussed. The basic GST conceptual model, categories of systems and their properties, and the role of GST are outlined. Special emphasis is laid upon the three related categories of artificial, temporary, and living systems because evaluation occurs within systems possessing structure, process and function: man made organizational settings; settings of an ephemeral nature; as well as within ongoing, but dynamic, "living" systems. CT is identified as the science of control and communication which enables systems to maintain activities towards prescribed goals; feedback constituting the mechanism for displacement of the system due to external factors. (Author/AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Northwest Regional Educational Lab., Portland, OR.