Management And Organisation Behaviour

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Management and Organisation Behaviour

Management and Organisation Behaviour

Section 1.

The basic premise of the open-systems view of organisations is that value creation takes place through complex dynamics between input, transformation, and output elements and processes in the context of the environment in which the organisation operates. Before we go any further, let's explore some of the key notions of systems thinking.

The basic premise of open-systems theory is that organisations have common characteristics with all other living systems-from microscopic organisms to plants to animals to humans. Understanding these characteristics allows us to work with the natural tendencies of an organisation rather than struggle against them needlessly. By understanding these similarities, we can apply the survival techniques of living systems to organisations and thereby increase our understanding of why certain organisations thrive while others fail.

For this discussion we shall define a VITA organisation system as an organized, unitary whole composed of two or more interdependent parts, components, or subsystems and delineated by identifiable boundaries from its environment. Systems of various parts are all around us. For example, we have mountain systems, river systems, and the solar system as part of our physical surrounding. The body itself is a complex organism including the skeletal system, the circulatory system, and the nervous system. We come into daily contact with transportation systems, communication systems, and economic systems. An open system means that the system depends on open interaction with its external environment. All living systems are open systems. Likewise, all organisations are open systems; a consumer purchasing an organisation's product is an example of an open interaction of the organisation with its external environment.

All systems have a system boundary (border) that separates one system from another. The boundary may be physical (building), temporal (a work shift), social

(a departmental grouping), or psychological (a stereotyped prejudice). The degree to which the boundary allows interaction with the external environment or other systems is called the permeability of the boundary. Excessive permeability can overpower the system with external demands; too little permeability can starve the system for resources. All systems have a purpose that guides their existence. In the pursuit of this purpose, systems develop internal targets or goals with which the system measures its progress. Inputs of materials and energy from the environment to a system are required for the survival and growth of the system. The inputs received into the system are subject to a transformation process, which converts the inputs into an output through a variety of processes. (See Figure 4-1.)

The transformation process yields outputs of materials and energy that are exported to the environment. The outputs are the system's attempt to fulfill its purpose. Feedback refers to the system's knowledge of how well it is accomplishing its purpose in terms of deviation measurements of the output from the purpose so that a correction can be made. Feedback also measures whether the purpose itself is appropriate in the current environment.

Everything outside the system's boundary is considered the ...
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