Social Systems and Organizational Culture

Topics: Sociology, Culture, Social status Pages: 12 (3570 words) Published: February 15, 2012

A social system is a complex set of human relationships interacting in many ways. Possible interactions are as limitless as the stars in the universe. Each small group is a subsystem within larger groups that are subsystems of even larger groups, and so on, until all the worlds population is included. Within a single organization, the social system includes all the people in it and their relationships to one another and to the outside world. Two points stand out in the complex interactions among people in a social system.

First, the behavior of any one member can have an impact, directly or indirectly, on the behavior of ant other. Although these impacts may be large or small, all parts of the system are mutually interdependent. Simply stated, a change in one part of a system affects all other parts, even though its impact may be slight.

A second important point revolves around a system’s boundaries. Any social system engages in exchanges with its environment , receiving input from it and providing output to it (which then becomes inputs for its adjacent systems) Social systems are , therefore ,open systems that interact with their surroundings. Consequently, members of a system should be aware of the nature of their environments and their impact on other members both within and outside their own social system.

Consequently, members of a system should be aware of the nature of their environments and their impact on other members both within and outside their own social system.
This social system awareness is increasingly important in the twenty-first century, as global trade and international marketplaces for a firm’s products and services vastly expand the need for organizations and their employees to anticipate and react to changes in their competitive environments. SOCIAL EQUILIBRIUM

A system is said to be in social equilibrium when there is a dynamic working balance among its interdependent parts. Equilibrium is a dynamic concept not a static one. Despite constant change and movement in every organization, the system’s working balance can still be retained. The system is like a sea: There is a continuous motion and even substantial disruption from storms, but over time the sea’s basic character changes very little.

When minor changes occur in a social system, they are soon absorbed by adjustments within the system and equilibrium is regained. On the other hand, a single significant change (a shock, such as the resignation of a key executive) or a series of smaller but rapid changes may throw an organization out of balance, seriously reducing its forward progress until it can reach a new equilibrium. In a sense, when it is in disequilibrium, its parts are working against one another instead of in harmony. Here is an example:

American automobile manufacturers have faced a significant challenge in responding to the design, quality, and cost advantages of international automakers such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda. In particular the U.S companies sometimes found that it took them much longer to bring a new car to market (total time from its conception to early production)

Among many reasons offered is the internal struggle among seemingly competing units of an auto firm, such as product, design, factory engineering, and sales and marketing .An unfortunate and unproductive, disequilibrium sometimes exists. To combat this problem, Ford Motor Company creates cross-functional teams of line managers charged with the task of speeding product development. These teams are housed in the same work area, which makes communication much easier. They also share a common goal –reduction of product development costs by 20 percent. In this way, Ford maintains a more productive equilibrium within its system and keeps the functional subgroups working together. FUNCTIONAL AND DSYFUNCTIONAL EFFECTS

A change such...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Organizational Culture Essay
  • Essay on organizational culture
  • Social System and Organization Culture Essay
  • Organizational Culture Essay
  • Organizational Culture Organizational Behavior Diversity Essay
  • Essay about culture
  • Influence of Social Culture and Industry Culture on Organizational Culture Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free