Open Systems

Topics: Systems theory, Organization, Organizational studies Pages: 4 (1227 words) Published: February 10, 2010
Why Open Systems Theory?: The open systems approach has been chosen to study the above issues because it has been commended for its potential usefulness in "synthesizing and analyzing complexity" (Simon, 1969) in "live" organizations. Comprehension of a system cannot be achieved without a constant study of the forces that impinge upon it (Katz and Kahn, 1966). Leavitt, Pinfield and Webb (1974) also recommended an open- systems approach for studying contemporary organizations which now exist in a fast-changing and turbulent environment. Ramstrom (1974) propounds increased emphasis on systems thinking to comprehend the increased interdependencies between the system and its environment, and between the various parts of the system. Classical and neoclassical organization theories have been found wanting because of their emphasis on organizations as fragmented and closed social systems acting independent of external forces (Baker, 1973). Scott (1961) argued that "the only meaningful way to study organization is to study it as a system" and had observed that the distinctive feature of modern organization theory was in its conceptualization of an organization as an open system. Though several empirical studies have been done for analyzing the impacts of IT at individual level, there is no conclusive evidence if these results would be consistent at the organizational system level. "Whether individual performance implies organizational effectiveness?" still remains a moot issue.

Open Systems Theory & Hypotheses about Environmental Change: It was Bertalanffy (1956) who had propounded the notion that closed system theory cannot apply to what he called "open systems," which characterize living entities, including individuals, groups, and organizations. To conceptualize an organization as an open system is to emphasize the importance of its environment, upon which the maintenance, survival, and growth of an open system depend. A systems approach to organizations begins...
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