Re: [xmca] A question on CHAT and systems theory

From: Elaine Parent (
Date: Wed Jan 18 2006 - 13:42:43 PST

Hi Yrjo,

Nice to hear from you and have you addressing a question that has
been bugging me for a very long time.

Personally, I think the best way to approach the question - - and it
is a gradient step - is have your colleague become familiar with the
Human Activity System developed by Checkland (Peter), of Lancaster U
in 1981. He subsequently updated the book, entitled Systems
thinking, Systems Practice in, I believe, 1992. He's in the
management game and really hard to get feedback from, or at least
that is my experience.

  Personally, I have adapted Checkland's Human Activity System
(HAS) which refers to groups, to a personal use as a framework for
viewing the individual person/environment interaction. Environment
here refers to the subjective or personally-experienced environment.
A tool for investigating the latter (in a counseling context) is have
the individual work toward self-discovery and self-understanding via
identifying his/her personal meaning system. Self-talk (or the self-
monitoring, information feedback system), is the mechanism. So it is
the information/matter-energy framework that I think, via James Grier
Miller, that applies to all living systems but in this instance, we
are referring to life energy: mental, emotion and physical/

Or so I believe.... And activity theory does refer to living, human
systems, right?

I don't know whether this information is helpful.... I used it as a
metaframework in my book for doctoral students, flyer enclosed! P.S.
come back and see us, if not join us!


On Jan 18, 2006, at 12:36 PM, Yrjö Engeström wrote:

> Dear XMCA participants, a colleague is asking the following question:
> I will be very grateful if you could help me with a specific
> question I have concerning activity theory, namely what are the
> similarities and differences between general systems theory and
> activity systems theory? Can you suggest
> any specific references that address this question?
> I would be grateful for any literature suggestions.
> Yrjö Engeström
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

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