Organizations as Open Systems

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Systems theory is an extension of the humanistic perspective that describes organizations as open systems characterized by entropy, synergy and subsystem interdependence. The systems theory is one of the recent historical trends of organization and management (the other two are contingency view and total quality management). General systems theory grew out of the organismic views of L. Bertalanffy and other biologists during1950s and K. Boulding, D. Katz, R. Kahn, F. Kast, J. Rosenzweig, W. Buckley, R. Ackoff, K. Back, D. Easton, A.D. Hall, R.E. Eagen, E.J. Miller, A.K. Rice, T. Parsons made contributions to theorizing and operationalizing the systems view to management and organizations. The classical and management science perspectives…show more content…
An open system may attain a state where the system remains in dynamic equilibrium through the continuous inflow of materials, energy, and information. • Feedback: The concept of feedback is important in understanding how a system maintains a steady state. Information concerning the outputs or the process of the system is fed back as an input into the system, perhaps leading to changes in the transformation process and/or future outputs. Feedback can be both positive and negative, although the field of cybernetics is based on negative feedback. Negative feedback is informational input which indicates that the system is deviating from a prescribed course and should readjust to a new steady state. • Hierarchy: A system is composed of subsystems of a lower order and is also part of a suprasystem. Thus, there is a hierarchy of the components of the system. • Internal Elaboration: Closed systems move toward entropy and disorganization. In contrast, open systems appear to move in the direction of greater differentiation, elaboration, and a higher level of organization. • Multiple Goal-Seeking: Social systems appear to have multiple goals or purposes. Social organizations seek multiple goals; they are composed of individuals and subunits with different values and objectives. • Equifinality of Open Systems: In mechanistic systems, there is a direct cause and effect relationship between the initial conditions
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