In the previous section, we discussed the structures of systems. In this section, we will focus primarily on how systems work.
In principle, all systems can be thought of as different stocks and flows of energy, matter or information. System behaviour describes how these stocks and flows change over time, either as a result of processes within the system or as a result of external influences on the system. System behaviour can be stable and predictable, or it can be cyclical and even chaotic, depending on the feedbacks in the system (more on these in a moment).
The ability of systems to tolerate disturbances and adapt to changing environments is, of course, an important functional property of both natural and man-made systems. System diversity, modularity and hierarchy are important system structural features in this respect.
In today's world, the functioning of systems is threatened by the ever-increasing interconnectedness between social, technical and natural systems. This interconnectedness increases systemic risks, i.e. systemic crises that are transmitted and amplified from one system to another, with potentially huge consequences. The Covid-19 pandemic is one example of a realised systemic risk. Unfortunately, managing these risks appears to be a very difficult task.
This second section is divided into five chapters, each of which you will find in its own tab.
At the end of the section, you will be able to test your knowledge in a multiple-choice exam. Please note that the exam contains statements covering the whole section, so study the whole of the first section 2.1 to 2.5 and then answer the exam questions.
Finally, after studying this second section you can test your competence with the exam. The exam is below.
Take the exam in order to pass the second section of the course. The statements in the exam are either true or false. Which one is the right answer?
Just answer the questions, and after you have finished your exam and completed it you will get your test result. You need 8 out of 12 questions to be right to pass the exam. You will get the results and feedback right after finishing the exam.
You will be able to try again until you pass the exam.