UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A systems perspective of the human experience of change Penner, Raymond Henry


There are numerous fields of practise attempting to cause or enhance changes in human behavior and functioning and yet the concept of change remains an elusive quarry. This study has attempted to address the concept of the human experience of change from the perspective offered by systems theory. Initially the thesis was to be a study of the various conceptual explanations of the change process as applied to human functioning. However, the extensive literature search revealed that while there exists ample literature on various methods purported to assist in the change process, there is a scarcity of conceptual literature regarding the nature of the change process. The literature search also revealed that the area of systems theory held the potential for further insights into change process. The possession of a clear meta-perspective of change is particularly relevant to those engaged in various psychotherapeutic and educational endeavours. Therefor, the study was conducted with an intended audience of both professionals currendy engaged in the practise of facilitating human change or assisting people in coping with change in their lives. Since the terminology and concepts offered by systems theory are not widely known by this audience, particular attention has been given to outlining the relative aspects of systems theory as it relates to change. Of particular relevance to understanding change is the extraction of key variables in the human experience of change; change is obviously extremely individual and yet the dimensions on which change is experienced are shared among all human beings. Isolating these dimensions provides a potentially useful background upon which the actual projective space of individual change experience can be mapped. Change takes place simultaneously at many levels and the systems perspective offered in this study provides a conceptual perspective which encourages and assists in viewing change as the total of all the processes taking place. The concept of purposeful systems is particularly useful in this regard. In conclusion, this study offers a conceptual approach to change in human affairs, both adaptational and developmental. It is not a predictive model but hopefully furthers the understanding of the human experience of change toward further refinements of a suitable qualitative and quantitative model.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.