Integrated Systems

‘Dynamics’ signifies the coordination of processes at the systems level.

All natural systems have processes that integrate, coordinate,and control dynamics at the systems level. In terrestrial ecosystems fire events can cause changes in species composition that favour more future fire events, starting a positive feedback loop that amplifies fire frequency over the whole system. Small adjustments over many iterative cycles can lead systems to adapt considerably over time. What role do systems level dynamics play within systems themselves? Think about what it would be like within an organisation if there were no way for feedback to be given or received by anyone. How would this affect the ability to achieve organisational goals? How does feedback operate to either enhance or diminish a process within a system? What effect does making small changes to control mechanisms at the systems level have on the rest of the system? How could you balance existing Dynamics or integrate new ones into a system in your life to improve how it is organised? How does Dynamics serve to coordinate systems?


Significance:The Dynamics Pattern represents integration, coordination, and control at the systems level itself.

Role: The role of Dynamics is to provide highly leveraged means for integrating, coordinating and controlling systems level operations that support the attainment of goals.

Effect: Dynamics demonstrates the often very highly leveraged effects of integrations, coordination, and control at the systems level.

Balance: Dynamics must be balanced so that, on the one hand, integration, coordination, and control processes are effectively leveraged for meeting goals; but, on the other hand, care must be taken not to apply too much leverage causing systems dynamics to be thrown out of control.


The arrows leading around a circuit illustrate the integration and coordination of processes that provide controls at the systems level. The two inner shapes represent ‘parts’ which are encompassed by the larger oval into a ‘whole’ system.This basic part/whole configuration indicates the role of Rhythm as an Aspect of Source.


Processes that effects goal directed integration, coordination, or control at the systems level.


The principle of systemic leverage:

The enduring health and evolution of any system depends on the appropriate balance and integration of:

  • the use of systems level leverage with the need to avoid throwing systems out of control, for a given context.

Aspect: (see the Holarchy Chart)

Dynamics is one of 7 primary Aspects of Source, the most foundational Pattern in the PatternDynamics™ framework.


Nature: Organisms, Ecosystems, and Biosphere

Organism:The human nervous system is constantly taking measurements of ambient temperature, which then feed back to adjust activity levels and the body’s overall metabolic rate. If the iteration period of cycles of adjustment is left too long the system will swing wildly from extreme to extreme. If the cycles are too frequent the system will become stressed from the constant activity of adjustment.

Inquiry: What would happen if the body’s ability to measure ambient temperature was faulty and it increased metabolic activity when ambient temperatures rose?

Ecosystem:Coral Reefs are formed by a symbiotic relationship between a calcium carbonate secreting polyp and a photosynthetic algae, which lives within its tissues. This dynamic synergy allows these tiny creatures to build vast reef systems. If the individual organisms give up too much autonomy the reef system will lose adaptability. If the different organisms do not cooperate fully enough a reef system will not be possible.

Inquiry: How does the level of integration at the level of the reef system itself determine the ongoing viability of the greater marine ecosystem it supports.

Culture: Individuals, Organizations, and Socio-Economic Systems

Organizations:Incremental adjustments to a business’s core operating system over many cycles may help improve organizational performance. If the adjustments to the system in each iteration are too large, too much energy is used up in making adjustments and not enough is available for productive activity. If the adjustments are smaller the organization may be more stable, but lose market share over time as competitors evolve more rapidly.

Inquiry: What are factors in determining how much to use the lever of iterative change on an organizational system?

Socio-Economic Systems:Central banking institutions provide feedback that adjusts the rate of growth in the economy through the manipulation of interest rates. If the central bank cuts prime lending rates too much the economy will overheat as businesses borrow money and expand their operations. If the bank is too slow to cut rates during a slowdown the economy may go into recession.

Inquiry: Have interest rate controls ever caused over corrections in the economy?