The International Society for the Systems Sciences started in 1956 as the Society for General Systems Theory. The four founders soon suggested changing the name to SGSR, Society for General Systems Research to seem less a special interest group promoting a general theory and more a scientific enterprise working on research toward a GST. At that time SGSR was meeting annually with the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science — the largest scientific society in the world at that time) as an affiliate. Subsequently, some members insisted on describing the research effort work toward understanding a general theory of systems (GTS) rather than implying that an ideal “general system” existed as a thing in itself — they were looking for a theory of all kinds of systems, not one ideal system.
As VP and Managing Director of the SGSR for two successive terms from 1984 to 1990, I suggested the new name ISSS as a compromise between those who wanted to change the focus of the society from research on natural systems (Miller, Samuelson, Troncale) and those who wanted the society to focus more on systems applications (Ackoff, Churchman, Banathy). The ISSS won out in a vote by the SGSR Council of SIG (Special Integration Group) Chairs after a passionate debate. Ironically, the bulk of the work of ISSS since then has been on systems applications and management rather than natural systems and on the Isomorphies that underlie the Theory anyway.
I served as the 29th President of the ISSS in 1990.
The ISSS is on its 58th Annual Conference, has 700+ members, and x,xxx research articles in its official archives at CSPU.
Previous Presidents of the ISSS who recently passed away were memorialized in my Posters:
Since that time the ISSS has formed associations with several other systems-focused societies such as IFSR, and INCOSE that are also contained as sub-buttons here.