A systems approach in ten points

To conclude this chapter of the complex organization and its management, the following ten points is an attempt to sum up in systemic terms what has been discussed.

  1. Organizations change according to processes that take place on its own organizational level. The individual members only set the specific control parameters that define its behaviour range of possibilities and constraints.
  2. The organizational environment is both natural and social. It is part of biosphere as well as sociosphere.
  3. The organization is neither a natural system like a cell nor an artificial system such as a processing plant. It is the result of both human interaction and conscious design.
  4. The organization, although composed of both human beings and artifacts, is not reducible to the sum of their parts. It evolves functions and attributes which are typical of its own level. One of these is the capacity to replace its parts (both humans and artifacts) and to change its structure according to external or internal fluctuations.
  5. Although a suprasystem is in relation to its subsystem, the organization’s structural complexity is less than of its individual human members. Systems on higher levels of organization are initially always simpler than the subsystems which compose their main components. Therefore a new systemic (or organizational) level imply a simplification of the total system function.
  6. Organizations evolve by developing progressively higher organi­zational levels through convergence. With an increasing flow of M/E and information formal boundaries are transcended and new systemic levels are formed.
  7. The organization is operated by human beings but are not entirely under control of any individual. The individual position seldom permit a change of the overarching rules.
  8. When destabilized by uncontrollable fluctuations, an organization may disintegrate but survive on a lower systemic level as groups of various kinds. Its component may also compose parts of other organizations which integrate them.
  9. The organization is a self-determined system which evolution cannot be predicted. However, it can be controlled by humans who act from within in the right way, at the right place and at the right time.
  10. The organization is a system where the parts are conscious while the whole is not.

Source: Skyttner Lars (2006), General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspectives, Practice, Wspc, 2nd Edition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *