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System Dynamics Glossary

What is the meaning of Root Defintion?

A root definition is a concise, tight construction of a human activity system which states what the system is; what is does is then elaborated in a conceptual model which is built on the basis of the definition. Every element in the definition must be reflected in the model derived from it. A well-formulated root definition will make explicit each of the CATWOE elements. A completely general root definition embodying CATWOE might take the following form:
     A (...O...)-owned system which, under the following environmental constraints which it takes as given: (... E...), transforms this input (...) into this output (...) by means of the following major activities among others: (... ... ...), the transformation being carried out by these actors (... A ...) and directly affecting the following beneficiaries and/or victims (... C ...). The world-image which makes the transformation meaningful contains at leas the following elements among others: (... W ...) (Checkland, 1993: 317).


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