Systems Theory, originally developed in the natural sciences to politics, and known via David Easton as the “open systems” framework, is based on the belief that policy could be considered a response by a political system to various forces and pressures from its environment.
There are two reasons why this concept is important;
• Although, less than sophisticated, it’s intuitive, instructive and useful as a model for understanding of an often extremely complex process. Some public policies take quite a length of time to go from concept to actualization. Due to a lack of certain data points, this abstract model needs to be straightforward and easy to understand to help in the policymaking process.
• Systems analysis is important because it creates a cohesive bigger picture to see how parts of systems are interrelated. Policies which governments choose to pass or choose not to pass are response to a host of supports and demands which are placed on the local political system. A trigger in one system is usually caused by a change in another part of the system.
Notice the following key features:
• Environment: Environment surrounds the city government with the following factors serving as stimuli for inputs to the system, usually as supports or demands.
• interest groups
• intergovernmental relations
• natural and man-made disasters
• neighborhood groups
• Inputs: Inputs from the environment are transmitted to the political system. These come in the form of support and demands.
Similar to Systems Theory, the Lynch Model uses intervening variables in the place of environment. Input goes into Process and then Outputs and Outcomes. All of these categories of the model feedback via Feedback Loops to Input and consider the Intervening Variables along the way.