Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bob L. Johnson Jr. & Michael A. Owens
Homeostasis is a concept used to describe the tendency of living entities to maintain a stable, steady internal state despite change, disturbances, and variations in their external environments. Although its roots are found in the natural sciences, the concept has been used by social scientists to describe the tendency of social collectives—social systems, formal and informal organizations—to maintain their identities, in whole or in part, in the face of planned or unplanned change forces. The word homeostasis is derived from two Greek words ( homo: “same” and stasis: “state”). Its literal meaning is “same” or “steady state of being.” Both the idea and nominal concept have their roots in the field of physiology. The Frenchman Claude Bernard (1813–1878) was the first to articulate the idea of homeostasis. The term itself was later coined by Walter Cannon in 1932. Physiologists used homeostasis to describe the ability of the body to homeostatic ...