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2022 ◽  
Mirta Galesic ◽  
Daniel Barkoczi ◽  
Andrew Berdahl ◽  
Dora Biro ◽  
Giuseppe Carbone ◽  

We develop a conceptual framework for studying collective adaptation: the process of iterative co-adaptation of cognitive strategies, social environments, and problem structures. Going beyond searching for “intelligent” collectives, we integrate research from different disciplines to show how collective adaptation perspective can help explain why similar collectives can follow very different and sometimes counter-intuitive trajectories. We further discuss how this perspective explains why successful collectives appear to have a general collective intelligence factor, why collectives rarely optimize their behaviour for a single problem, why their behaviours can appear myopic, and why playful exploration of alternative social systems can be useful. We describe different approaches for the study of collective adaptation, including computational models inspired by evolution and statistical physics. The framework of collective adaptation enables the integration and formalization of knowledge about human collective phenomena and opens doors to a rigorous transdisciplinary pursuit of important outstanding questions about human sociality.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 17 (1) ◽  
pp. e0261255
Elise M. van der Elst ◽  
Mitchelle Abuna ◽  
Clara Agutu ◽  
Fred Ogada ◽  
Aisha Galole ◽  

Systematic efforts are needed to prepare persons newly diagnosed with acute or chronic HIV infection to cope. We examined how patients dealt with this news, looking at how readiness to accept an HIV diagnosis impacted treatment outcomes, prevention of transmission, and HIV status disclosure. We examined vulnerability and agency over time and considered implications for policy and practice. A qualitative sub-study was embedded in the Tambua Mapema (“Discover Early”) Plus (TMP) study (NCT03508908), conducted in coastal Kenya between 2017 and 2020, which was a stepped wedge trial to evaluate an opt-out HIV-1 nucleic acid testing intervention diagnosing acute and chronic HIV infections. Diagnosed participants were offered antiretroviral therapy (ART), viral load monitoring, HIV partner notification services, and provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to their uninfected partners. Data were analyzed using thematic approaches. Participants included 24 individuals who completed interviews at four time points (2 weeks and 3, 6, and 9 months after diagnosis), including 18 patients (11 women and 7 men) and 6 partners (1 woman, 5 men, of whom 4 men started PrEP). Acceptance of HIV status was often a long, individualized, and complex process, whereby participants’ coping strategies affected day-to-day issues and health over time. Relationship status strongly impacted coping. In some instances, couples supported each other, but in others, couples separated. Four main themes impacted participants’ sense of agency: acceptance of diagnosis and commitment to ART; positive feedback after attaining viral load suppression; recognition of partner supportive role and focus on sustained healthcare support whereby religious meaning was often key to successful transition. To support patients with acute or newly diagnosed chronic HIV, healthcare and social systems must be more responsive to the needs of the individual, while also improving quality of care, strengthening continuity of care across facilities, and promoting community support.

2022 ◽  
Vol 1 ◽  
pp. 78
Paul Cairney ◽  
Sean Kippin

Background: COVID-19 had a major global impact on education, prompting concerns about its unequal effects and some impetus to reboot equity strategies. Yet, policy processes exhibit major gaps between such expectations and outcomes, and similar inequalities endured for decades before the pandemic. Our objective is to establish how education researchers, drawing on policy concepts and theories, explain and seek to address this problem. Methods: A qualitative systematic review (2020-21), to identify peer reviewed research and commentary articles on education, equity, and policymaking, in specialist and general databases (ERIC, Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane/ Social Systems Evidence). We did not apply additional quality measures. We used an immersive and inductive approach to identify key themes. We use these texts to produce a general narrative and explore how policy theory articles inform it. Results: 140 texts (109 articles included; 31 texts snowballed) provide a non-trivial reference to policymaking. Limiting inclusion to English-language produced a bias towards Global North articles. Our comparison with a review of health equity research highlights distinctive elements in education. First, education equity is ambiguous and contested, with no settled global definition or agenda (although some countries and international organisations have disproportionate influence). Second, researchers critique ‘neoliberal’ approaches that dominate policymaking at the expense of ‘social justice’. Third, more studies provide ‘bottom-up’ analysis of ‘implementation gaps’. Fourth, more studies relate inequity to ineffective policymaking to address marginalised groups. Conclusions: Few studies use policy theories to explain policymaking, but there is an education-specific literature performing a similar role. Compared to health research, there is more use of critical policy analysis to reflect on power and less focus on technical design issues. There is high certainty that current neoliberal policies are failing, but low certainty about how to challenge them successfully.

2022 ◽  
pp. 111-125
A. S. Geyda ◽  
T. N. Gurieva ◽  
V. N. Naumov

The results of the review of the subject field on the research of the digital transformation of economic and social systems is carried out (part II). We reviewed main theoretical, mathematical tools which could allow solving unsolved problems. The review of such main theoretical tools that can become the basis for developing the “activity paradigm” of research is carried out.

2022 ◽  
David Matthew Markowitz

Gender and ethnicity biases are pervasive across many societal domains including politics, employment, and medicine. Such biases will facilitate inequalities until they are revealed and mitigated at scale. To this end, over 1.8 million records from a large US hospital were evaluated with natural language processing techniques in search of gender and ethnicity bias indicators. Consistent with non-linguistic evidence of bias in medicine, physicians often focused on the emotions of female compared to male patients and focused more on the scientific diagnoses of male compared to female patients. Physicians reported on fewer emotions for Black patients versus White patients and physicians demonstrated the greatest need to work through diagnoses for Black women compared to other patients. This work provides evidence of gender and ethnicity biases in medicine as communicated by physicians in the field and requires the critical examination of institutions that perpetuate bias in social systems.

Evaluation ◽  
2022 ◽  
pp. 135638902110646
Denise E. De Souza

Pawson and Tilley’s acknowledgment of programs embedded in multiple social systems has gained little traction in realist synthesis and evaluation practice. A practice focusing on fairly closed systems—explaining how programs work and do not work—has emerged. This article negotiates the boundaries of knowledge pertinent to have in program design and evaluation from a realist perspective. It highlights critical realism as another possible response to systems thinking in evaluation. Moving one level up a program, it theorizes about social structures, mechanisms, and causes operating in a complex system within which an education-to-work program is nested. Three implications of the approach are highlighted: it foregrounds the relational nature of social, psychological, and programmatic structures and mechanisms; enables policymakers to develop a broader understanding of structures needed to support a program; and enables program architects to ascertain how a planned program might assimilate and adapt to social structures and mechanisms already established in a context.

2022 ◽  
Sezer Ülkü ◽  
Chris Hydock ◽  
Shiliang Cui

The traditional queueing literature assumes that service time is largely independent of social influences. However, queues are social systems; and social considerations are therefore likely to impact customers’ service time decision to the extent they have control. Through a series of experiments, we show that when others are waiting in line, customers tend to accelerate their own service time, and in doing so, sacrifice their own consumption utility. This behavior is driven by concern for others. Notably, the effect is diminished when they themselves have waited, as it is perceived as fair to let others wait if one also had to wait. We further show that obscuring the visibility between customers in service and those waiting in line diminishes the negative effect of others queueing on one’s own service time. This paper was accepted by Jay Swaminathan, operations management.

2022 ◽  
Vol 14 (2) ◽  
pp. 606
Zhuyu Yang ◽  
Maria Fabrizia Clemente ◽  
Katia Laffréchine ◽  
Charlotte Heinzlef ◽  
Damien Serre ◽  

Critical infrastructures serve human activities and play an essential role in societies. Infrastructural systems are not isolated but are interdependent with regard to social systems, including those of public health and economic and sustainable development. In recent years, both social and infrastructural systems have frequently been in dysfunction due to increasing natural or human-made disasters and due to the internal and external dependencies between system components. The interconnectedness between social-infrastructural systems (socio-economic systems and technical-infrastructural systems), implies that the damage to one single system can extend beyond its scope. For that reason, cascading dysfunction can occur and increase system vulnerability. This article aims to study the functional interdependencies between social-infrastructural systems and to propose a methodology to analyse and improve the resilience of these systems. Combining Actor Network Theory and the Functional Models approach, the social-infrastructural Interdependence Resilience (SIIR) framework was proposed. To assess the applicability of the approach, the framework was applied to study the interdependence of a social-infrastructural system in the Nantes Metropolis. The studied system was composed of the local Highway Infrastructure (an infrastructural system) and the Emergency Medical Service (a social system). The results (1) show the feasibility of SIIR for investigating the interdependencies of two urban systems, and (2) provide a guideline for decision-makers to improve the functional interdependencies of urban systems.

Systems ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 10 (1) ◽  
pp. 8
Nthabeleng Tamako ◽  
Joyce Chitja ◽  
Maxwell Mudhara

Smallholder farmers’ social knowledge systems are evolving in connecting key actors within and outside their knowledge systems. These key actors play a vital role in navigating the complexity and the dynamics of organisations, and effectively influence the community. This study identified the opinion leaders of smallholder farmers and measured the extent of their influence on the quality of these farmers’ knowledge of agriculture. Furthermore, the study explored the reasons why farmers choose their opinion leaders. A structured questionnaire was administered to 219 purposively selected smallholder farmers in the rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Data were captured and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 26 and STATA to run multinomial logistic regression model (MNL). The results showed that farmers participated in field visits and attended farmers’ group meetings to communicate with agricultural advisors and group leaders. In addition, the findings showed that interactions could be a crucial element of knowledge and learning for farmers. This showed that the farmers required a consistent flow of material resources and knowledge. The time and energy spent by farmers building social relationships with these opinion leaders reflected the accumulation of information and resources gathered. Issues related to accessibility, availability and, quick feedback regarding farmers’ problems emerged, which seemed to influence the farmers’ choice of an opinion leader. The language and accessibility to sources of knowledge and feedback were crucial to the smallholder farmers included in the study. Furthermore, the results revealed that farmers’ educational level, farmers who engaged in agriculture for household consumption, and opinion agricultural skills have statistical significance on farmers’ choice of opinion leaders. Considering the findings, it is suggested that efforts to improve farmers’ active knowledge systems and access to the opinion leaders within these active knowledge systems should take into consideration the socio-economic factors that influence farmers’ choices and participation in social systems and social interactions. These findings may help agents develop a better understanding of the dynamics of local communities and the social complexity that shapes farmers’ environments and decisions. To be a progressive and effective opinion leader, constant, continuous assessment is needed to increase leadership skills. In addition, the enhancement of programmes, which will recognise the active opinion leaders within the communities, are needed to strengthen the efforts and impact for more resilient outcomes.

Systems ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 10 (1) ◽  
pp. 7
John Turner ◽  
Dave Snowden ◽  
Nigel Thurlow

The substrate-independence theory utilizes sensemaking techniques to provide cognitively based scaffolds that guide and structure learning. Scaffolds are cognitive abstractions of constraints that relate to information within a system. The substrate-independence theory concentrates on the flow of information as the underlying property of the host system. The substrate-independence theory views social systems as complex adaptive systems capable of repurposing their structure to combat external threats by utilizing constructors and substrates. Constructor theory is used to identify potential construction tasks, the legitimate input and output states that are possible, to map the desired change in the substrate’s attributes. Construction tasks can be mapped in advance for ordered and known environments. Construction tasks may also be mapped in either real-time or post hoc for unordered and complex environments using current sensemaking techniques. Mapping of the construction tasks in real-time becomes part of the landscape, and scaffolds are implemented to aid in achieving the desired state or move to a more manageable environment (e.g., from complex to complicated).

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