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In this module you should be able to:
1. define and explain the meaning of some terms used in Systems Analysis
2. identify the factors or variables that interact within a social system
To start with, let’s define some terms used in Systems Analysis
What is a system? A system is a collection of entities or things (animate or inanimate)
which receives certain inputs and is constrained to act upon them to produce certain outputs, with
the objective of maximizing some functions of inputs and outputs. Others define system as a
complexity of elements in mutual interaction in such a way as to constrain action toward the
accomplishment of the purposes for which the system exists. Simply stated, a system is a set of
interrelated elements that functions as a unit for a specific purpose.
Within a system are inputs, process outputs. Inputs are the human, materials, financial,
or information resources used to produce a product or a service. Through technology and
administrative functions the inputs undergo a transformation process. In school, the interaction
between the students and teachers is part of the transformation or learning process by which
students become educated citizens. Process is what transforms input into output. It is also
called throughput.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Outputs include the organization’s products and services. Graduates as educated citizens
are examples of outputs. In the interrelationship between the input and output, feedback plays a
very important function. Feedback is the information concerning the outputs or the process of
the organization may lead to changes both in the process and the future outputs. Feedback is like
a reaction a performer gets from the audience. Similarly, the school system gents information
from the environment or society as to how it has performed / Feedback tells whether a certain
plan should be continued or not. For this reason, all educational development plans are made on
a rolling basis, meaning, they are subject to modifications, revision, or changes depending on the
feedback after some time of operation.
In the study of a system, we can come across with the terms subsystem, and suprasystem
Subsystem is a small system within the big system. It has its own purpose and is there for the
purpose of the system. It has its own parts and components which are determined by the overall
purpose of the system for which it is a part. The components of a subsystem work in an
integrated or interrelated manner. Subsystem is also called microsystem.
Suprasystem is the largest system that includes both the system and its subsystem. The
suprasystem has its subsystem such as the political system, educational system, cultural system
and economic system. Suprasystem is also called macrosystem.
When we analyze a specific system, we have to consider what we call System
Boundaries. System Boundaries determine what is to be included or excluded from the system.
For example, the educational system may be defined by levels, that is, elementary, secondary,
and tertiary level.
Any kind of system is always situated in a environment. Environment is what surrounds
the organization which includes the social, political, and economic factors that impinge on the
organization. Basically, all organizations are considered an open system since all the factors
outside the organizations can influence their stability. System stability is a condition when all
the components are in harmony at all times. However, this is not always possible because there
are changes that occur in the environment or the society which are not commensurate with the
existing conditions of the system. Thus it is the task of the system, like the school system to
adjust continuously if stability is to be maintained.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
The foregoing gives us definitions of significant terms used in analyzing a system.
Let’s check our understanding by performing the following exercises:
1. In all the foregoing definitions, which of the following attributes could be deduced from the
term System. Check the blank that corresponds to your answer.
___________1. A system is made up of people
___________2. A group or a set of components
___________3. Is composed of leaders and members
___________4. There is a goal to fulfill
___________5. Requires input, process, and output
II. Give one example for each of the following:
1. Subsystem
2. Suprasystem
3. System boundaries
4. Internal environment
5. Feedback
6. Input
7. Process
8. Output
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
In this module, you should be able to:
1. gain knowledge and skills on the theories and approaches used in Systems Analysis
2. explain how to utilize the Systems theory in analyzing an organization or an institution
3. expound on the interrelationships among the basic elements of an organization
Systems Theory
The utilization of Systems Analysis in understanding an organization or an institution is
anchored on the Systems theory.
This theory holds that an organization is a system. It is a way of viewing organization as
whole unit taking into consideration the interrelationships among its parts and its relationship
with the external environment. In other words, in order to understand an organization, we must
adopt a holistic view of it before we analyze its individual parts. It is a way of organizing and
relating dependent parts of the whole system for some purposes.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Figure 1 depicts the basic system theory of organizations which has five parts namely;
inputs, a transformation process, outputs, feedback, and the environment.
As the figure shows, the organizations is situated in an environment. We start by
identifying the inputs and have them subjected to some processes to produce the desired output.
However, as we go along, we have to gather some information through a feedback mechanism to
inform us on how we are getting along. We should have a sort of monitoring system that can
provide signals if what we are doing should be continued or not. As shown, the feedback loop
goes back both to the process and the inputs.
Transformation Process
Figure 1. Basic Systems Model
(Adapted from Lunenburg, 1991, P. 18)
An analysis of the elements of a system is the essence of systems analysis. Systems
analysis is a determination of what needs to be done in order to attain a stated goal effectively.
After having understood the Systems Theory we can now utilize the Systems Approach
in studying a school as a system in itself. Systems approach is a strategy which utilizes
analysis, design, and management to attain stated goals effectively and efficiently. Figure 2
portrays the systems view of school administration.
Figure 2 shows the pattern of interrelationships among the factors within a school system.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Inputs. The environment provides it with personnel, financing, theory, knowledge. The
national and local governments enact laws that regulate the school. In addition, other groups
may make demands on the school. Students, for example, want relevant curriculum that will
prepare them for employment. Teachers might want higher salary, better working conditions,
and fringe benefits. Similarly, the community expects the school to provide quality education.
In this situation where each group has its demands, it is the job of the school administrator to
integrate these diverse goals into a viable plan of action.
Process. This includes the internal operation of the organization or school and its system
of operational management. The administrator has to utilize his technical competence in
communication, decision making, curriculum development, motivation, developing
organizational culture and his leadership styles in transforming the inputs into outputs.
Outputs. These include student achievement, growth, dropout, attitude toward school,
teacher performance, employee job satisfaction, employee-management relations and schoolcommunity relations, among others.
Finally, the external environment or the suprasystem reacts to these outputs and provides
feedback to the school system. If the feedback is positive, then the school’s stability can be
maintained. If negative, it can be used to correct deficiencies in administrator’s operational plan
of action which in turn will have an effect on the school’s output.
The Systems Theory is popularly used by researchers in assessing or evaluating existing
programs in selected organizations or institutions. It is used as the research paradigm which
indicates the input, process, and output. In this simplified form the paradigm is presented as
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Figure 2. A Systems View of School Administration
(Adapted from Lunenburg, 1991, P. 19)
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Figure 1
Research Paradigm
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Reasoned Reaction. Write A if you Agree with the statement. If you Disagree, write D
and support your stand.
_______________1. A system is more than the totality of different acts
_______________2. Input is actually the load of the system which consists of all the things that
enter into it.
_______________3. Anyone who intends to analyze a system should include all the elements
that impinge upon the system.
_______________4. The school operates as a system of the community.
_______________5. There is always stress and tension in a system.
_______________6. The cycle of the input-output design can be reversed depending upon the
purpose of the researcher.
_______________7. The individual in a social system while interacting with other individuals
operates as a completely unique individual.
_______________8. Teaching methodologies are inputs rather than processes.
_______________9. Negative feedback from the external environment should be ignored.
_______________10. Results of research study are examples of outputs.
Using the input-output (
IPO) research paradigm, formulate a research problem that
requires assessment of existing conditions. Indicate the inputs, Process (s) and Outputs.
Explain your paradigm and justify the inclusion on each factor or variable as input, process,
or output.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
In this module, you should be able to:
Identify the general properties of an educational system
distinguish between the different types of subsystems
explain how the different types of subsystems affect the operational of the school
describe the relationship between the subsystems in the school system and the subsystems
in the society
Subsystems in the School System
In analyzing the school as a system in itself, it is necessary to identify all the subsystems
within the school environment. It is through the interaction among these subsystems that the
school is able to maintain its stability, perform its various functions and eventually attain its
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Within the school system are the social systems, cultural systems and economic systems.
(Zwaenepoel, 1985). These three systems are integral parts of the school systems. Any change
in one of these systems affects the others. They are closely interrelated. For example, a high
drop-out rate affects the economic stability of the school system. In effect, this causes a social
problem to the school. At the same time, students belonging to the low-income class may be
deprived of participating in socio-cultural activities. The faculty members may also be affected
in terms of their salary rate. On the other hand, increases in tuition fees among private schools
could affect the smooth relationship between administrators and students.
In addition to the above classification of subsystems Hanson (1991) identified eight types
of subsystems and the related variables under each type. He calls these as the general properties
of an educational system.
1. Decision process components subsystems include monitoring diagnosis, selection,
transformation and intervention
2. Activity units subsystems consist of learning units, teaching units, administering units,
facilitating units, and interpersonal units.
3. School conceived as behavioral science subsystems deals with the cultural, economic, social,
political, and psychological aspects.
4. Institutional roles and activities subsystems is composed of command, instruction, and
supporting services
5. Subject matter basis for curricular subsystems includes all subjects areas
6. Grade level basis for curricular subsystems consist of early childhood, primary, intermediate,
and secondary levels
7. Individual school units subsystems consist of school buildings. Each building is a subsystem.
The total system of all buildings within a school district is a kind of multi-system; each
classroom is a kind of micro social system.
8. Instructional technology subsystems include database, control, display, monitor and
information analysis.
The Subsystems within the School System in Relation to the Subsystems in the Society
It is enough to identify the subsystems within the school and the subsystems in the
society. We have to look into their relationships since they are inseparable entities of which one
affects the other.
The school is considered as an open system which receives inputs from society like the
students, and transform them into outputs, i.e. the kind of citizens that society needs. These
outputs have to satisfy society in order that society would be able to maintain the school system,
since the school system receives all its support from society. Thus, the utilization of knowledge
and skills and attitude and values by the students in their respective environment is referred to as
the functionality of the school. The 1973 Constitution spells this out when it states that “the state
shall establish and maintain complete, adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to
the goals of educational development. In essence, relevant, adequate, complete, and functional
could refer to the contribution of the school system to the social, cultural, economic, political,
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
and technological subsystems of the society. The relationship therefore between the school
system and the subsystems of the society is one that is functional, that is, while the school system
influences the social, cultural, economic, political, and technological subsystems of the society,
the society influences the school in return in the same aspects.
Thus, if want to determine the contribution of the school system to the various systems of
society, we have to identify the needs to the society that the school is supposed to satisfy. These
needs are: social, cultural, economic, political and technological.
In the social aspect, the school must consider the socio-economic mobility of the
graduates, that is, they would be able to move to a higher status, lesson the social problems in the
community, and minimize social and discriminating social stratifications in the community.
In the cultural aspect, national security, national identity, solidarity, Filipinism, have to
be strengthened in the school curriculum.
In the economic realm, the manpower needs of the community must be determined in
relation to curriculum offerings. There ought to be a linkage between the schools, and business,
and industry in order to ensure the employability of the graduates. Briefly, there should be a
balance between the quantity of educational output and the market demand for labor.
In the political arena, the school must develop among the students and the community, a
critical, logical, analytic, and rational mind, especially in the choice of leaders in the local,
regional, and national levels. Political consciousness and awareness must be developed among
the students in appropriate subject areas.
In the technological aspect, the advances in science and technology call for curriculum
enrichment, revision, and modification and re-training of teachers in these areas.
The foregoing has defined the relationship between the subsystems within the school and
the subsystems in the society. We have learned that their relationship is functional rather than
cause-and-effect relationship.
Indicators of the Contribution of the School System to the Social, Cultural, Economic,
Political, and Technological Subsystem of Society through the Individuals
The extent to which the schools have contributed to the growth and development of
society toward advancement, can be determined through the individual student – the knowledge
he has acquired, skills, values, and attitudes developed, are indicators which can signify
observable changes and benefits for the student himself, his family, or the society in general.
The individual as members of the society might have contributed to the society through his field
of specialization. His contribution will apparently indicate the functionality of the school system
to society. In the system approach, the changes of individuals as individual or individuals as
members of society would then become the variables to be analyzed. Similarly, the benefits
accruing to the individuals and to society is often termed the external productivity of an
educational program.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
For example, the following are some indicators which measure the contribution of the
school system to the economic system of society.
1. Distribution of labor force by occupation
2. Supply of output of graduates into the labor market
3. Amount of on-the-job training given annually to the labor force by occupation, formal
education, and industry.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
1. Which of the subsystems in the school system should be given priority in making a
annual action plan?
2. How does the relationship between school policy and teacher behavior, differ from the
relationship between the subsystems in the school and the subsystems in the society?
3. Explain why in Systems Analysis, all the components of the school system must be
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
At the end of this module, you should be able to:
1. define the role of systems analysis in conducting research
2. identify problem areas and the factors to be considered in conducting research within the
school system
3. acquire skills in constructing a questionnaire as the research instrument for gathering data
4. categorize and classify the various subsystems in the school system that should be
considered in conducting research
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Systems View of the School System
System approach in education is a method of examining an educational system or
program not as an isolated entity with independent parts but as an organic whole having critical
interrelationships with other educational subsystems and with the socio-economic environmental
at large (Zwaenopoel). The focus of system analysis is the critical relationship, both inside the
system and between the systems and its surroundings, as well as the dynamic changes taking
place in these relationships. This means that if education is regarded as a system, then it follows
that its problems cannot be solved in isolation from the total system.
Basically, the environment must be considered because it constraints and system
resources. It contains political, economic, technological, social and cultural forces that impinge
upon the system. It causes system problems and it also can provide system solutions to these
problems. Summarily, systems analysis as an approach of research, could be used either
particular problem areas of a school system or to analyze a whole school system or a subsystem
en toto.
For example, the problem on why teachers stay for many years in a particular school is
research on a particular problem. Questionnaire could be designed which will indicate the
various reasons which may explain why faculty members prefer to stay. These reasons may
belong to the social subsystem, the cultural subsystem, and the economic subsystem of a
particular school or school system. Thus, the questionnaire based on the systems approach
would include items belonging to the social subsystem, cultural subsystem, and economic
A model questionnaire (by Zwaenepoel, 1985) is given here for better understanding of
the systems approach (Note: The emphasis is on the items under each type of subsystems. No
instruction is given for the participant to do)
A. Items Belonging to the Social Subsystem
The principal supports teachers who encounter difficulties with parents and students.
The parent-teacher relationship is characterized by mutual support and cooperation
The school and the community do not restrict my personal life.
My co-teachers are very helpful both in my professional development and social well-being.
I enjoy working with my co-teacher; they accept me and have confidence in my abilities
My students are well-behaved and are eager to learn.
The principal is consistent and practical
I would find it difficult adjusting again if I transfer to another school.
I like the way the school administrators, the faculty, the students and the community people
interrelate with one another.
10. I like my student and enjoy working with them.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
B. Items Belonging to the Cultural Subsystem
1. I am a native of this community.
2. I like the religious atmosphere within the school.
3. The goals and ideals of the school are consistent with the community and national
development goals.
4. I speak the dialect in the community.
5. The philosophy of the school is compatible with mine.
6. The desirable Filipino values like “pakikisama,” “utang-na-loob,” “hiya” etc. are keenly
observed here.
Step: 1: Identify the goals and aims of the educational program.
Step: 2: Gather quantitative and qualitative data on the economic, social, and cultural subsystem
of the educational program and their interrelationships.
Data on the economic subsystem
financial resources
human resources
physical resources
Data on social subsystem
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Data on cultural subsystem
curriculum in terms of relevance
methodology in terms of effectiveness
instructional materials in terms of relevance of content
The data gathered on the different subsystem could be analyzed in terms of their
interrelationships with given standards. For example, data on the interrelationships on the
economic subsystem could be compared with given standards in terms of: per student cost; salary
structure; budgeting system income-expense, and percentage of expenses for salaries, etc.
Step 3:
Construct an evaluative instrument which can gauge the students’ knowledge,
skills, attitudes and values after the educational program had been implemented.
Administer the instrument to students at the entry level and exit level of the educational
program and subsequently compare the results of the evaluation at the entry level and exit level
in order to determine what the students have acquired in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes,
and values.
Step 4:
Analyze and interpret data gathered about the inputs and its processes (obtained
under Step 2) and the outputs (obtained under Step 3) which is the level of
knowledge and skills acquired and the attitude and values developed among the
students. Vis-à-vis the aims and objectives of the educational program being
The foregoing discussion presents in a capsulized form how to utilize systems analysis in
conducting research. As pointed out, research can be conducted on specific problem within the
school system or an academic department of a college or university.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Using the questionnaire on why teachers prefer to stay in a certain school, construct a
questionnaire to determine why students prefer to study in a certain school.
Have 5 items for each category as follows:
Items belonging to Economic subsystem
Items belonging to Social subsystem
Items belonging to Cultural Subsystem
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
At the end of this module, you should be able to:
1. acquire a working knowledge on the concept and importance of educational planning
2. identify the factors to be considered in planning
3. demonstrate how to use systems approach in making educational plans
4. appreciate the advantages of using the systems approach in educational planning
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Concept of Planning
According to Zwaenepoel (1985) planning is both an organizational function and a
responsibility of school managers or administrators. It is required because of the need to shape
the future in desirable directions to take account of change, and to manage the major
achievements that may entail. It is endemic in all types of organizations, whether economic,
political, or social. Planning results in concrete plans in all types of organizations whether
operational, procedural, conceptual, or strategies. The process and skills or relating the present
to the future and to desired goals are embodied in the concept of planning.
In planning, we don’t wait for problems to occur before taking action. We should
continuously assess progress, objectives, and past decisions by observing present conditions and
by studying trends, forecast and predictions.
Gleaned from the foregoing discussion, we can define planning as an executive action
that involves anticipating influencing, and controlling the nature and direction of change.
Planning also means thinking that takes place prior to actions or decisions. It is done to decide
what to do and how to do it before taking concrete action.
Managerial Problems in Planning
There are four managerial problems that may enter into the process of planning. These
are evaluation or assessment of present conditions, time factor, collection and analysis of data,
and the existence of a hierarchy of plans within the school as an organization.
Evaluation of present conditions or situational analysis. In assessing/evaluating existing
conditions, inadequacies that would lead to the desired change must be recognized. The planner
must be aware of dissatisfaction with present conditions because from such dissatisfaction will
arise the controlled and planned changed that is intended to prevent or minimize problems or
alleviate problems that have arisen.
The factor. The time span which planning covers ranged from relatively short-term to
long-term duration. The planner faces a time span ranging from the immediate present to the
indeterminate future. Short-term planning is concerned with the near future, like plan for one
school year or the next two or three years. Long-term planning may cover the next five to ten
Collection and analysis of data. Planning depends for its effectiveness on the quality and
quantity of data available to the planner. It is necessary to identify reliable sources of
information, evaluate the worth of these sources and judge the value of the materials.
Information in planning may be classified as internal and external. Internal data consist of
records of costs, production sales, labor requirements, knowledge of quotas, objectives, and other
strategic matters describing the existing conditions. External sources include a large number of
regular newspapers, periodicals, and other publication from industry, community, and
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Hierarchy of plans. This pertains to plans that are arranged according to degree of
importance. The higher the level of the organization, the broader and longer the scope and
coverage of the plan is. Judging the degree of importance of the various plans in the school
system helps the planner to see how his particular planning must fit into the other existing or
contemplated plans. For example, in the preparation of the overall budget for the school year,
each unit of department prepares its particular budget by requesting its subdivisions to prepare
their budget. Thus each level plans its budget and the successively higher levels incorporate the
budgetary plans of those below.
Educational Planning
Educational planning is defined as a rational scientific method of choosing alternatives
covering the needs of education in its social subsystem, cultural subsystem, and economic
subsystem and relating them to the social, cultural, political, and technological system of society,
in order to perform a responsible choice and implement the chosen option.
The necessity of educational planning is due to the following factors:
1. Rise in the student participation rate in higher education
2. Economic or financial resources are getting scare for education
3. The educational system is not adjusted to the requirements in the labor market which
results in the oversupply of graduates.
4. Unemployment is increasing while educational cost per student is rising
5. There is discontent among the youth on many issues against the school
Systems Approach in Planning
In using the systems approach to planning we start by conducting an appraisal of the
existing conditions through feedback or through measure of external productivity, that is, the use
of benefits gained. Our purpose is to determine if there is a difference between the desired
outcomes (objectives) and the observed products (benefits). Then we identify the extent of
integration, extent of congruence, and extent of relevance of the objectives and the benefits. This
is followed by the optimization of benefits through improved internal efficiency, increased
relevance (better matching of course offerings and societal needs), and improved societal
absorptive capacity. The paradigm below shows how to use they systems approach in
educational planning.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Paradigm on Planning
Assessment or evaluation
results on the following
Congruence on program
output vs. institutional
Design plan according to
Improved quality
educational services
Taking into consideration
provisions for effective
linkages and feedback
mechanisms for on-going
assessment of plans made
Availed to clientele
qualified graduates
individual and societal
Advantages of System Approach
Harry M.W.J. (1982) gave the following advantages of using systems approach in
educational planning.
1. It assumes that a system has a plan which is systematically working towards the
accomplishment of specified and operationally defined achievements. Meaning the system is
always having an aim.
2. A system is adaptive, flexible, and will take the options and constraints of its environment
into consideration while trying to reach its aims.
3. It assumes that the system has a built-in mechanism of quality control, that evaluates the
adequacy of all components in the system and provides feedback about the progress in the
direction of the aim.
4. A system will try to minimize the input needed and the same time maximize the output.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
1. Complete the following group of words:
1. Planning is required in order ________________________________________________.
2. Time
3. Information
4. One factor that necessities planning for change in the school system is
5. The
2. Explain the various steps you are going to undertake if you intent to determine if there is a
reasonable balance between the numbers of college graduate and the demand for
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
At the end of this module, you should be able to:
analyze the components and principles underlying small group as an open system
list and explain the major input, throughout, and output variables in a small group
system and provide examples of their interdependence
demonstrate skills in the use of system theory in analyzing a group as a system
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
The Small Group as an Open System
Through experience we have observed that when a new person joins a group, the group
changes in some ways. For example, when a new baby is brought into a family all family
relationships will change, including between parents, between the other children, and between
the parents and the children. Eventually, new relationships must be accommodated between
everyone else and the new baby. This illustrates how the situation in the family is transformed
into a system where a set of relationships among interdependent, interacting components and
forces is established. As we have learned in the previous modules, general systems theory is
built upon an analysis of living entities as they attempt to remain in dynamic balance with the
environment by constant adjustment. This situation is also true with a small group like groups
formed during seminars and workshops.
There are principles to be considered when analyzing a small group as an open system.
An open system is a situation where the group interacts freely with the environment. Open
principle is what we call interdependence which states that the parts of a system do not operate
in isolation but continuously affect each other. For example when the cheerful chair of a
committee comes to a group meeting a grouchy mood, the members will feel uneasy and the
group’s normally effective decision-making will be impaired. This happens because being
independent in the actions we take, sometimes there are unanticipated consequences that will
affect all the members of the group.
Another principle is the system property of nonsummativity (nonadditivity) which states
that the whole system is not the sum of its parts with either positive synergy or negative synergy
operating. A strong basketball team for instance is not just the sum total of the abilities of each
member of the team but rather how they observe teamwork then they play. Similarly, a group of
intellectuals as one group, does not necessarily produce the best output. It all depends on how
they interact, synchronize, and harmonize their individual resources and efforts. Sometimes, in
other areas of endeavor, groups frequently design technologies beyond the collective capacities
of the individual members. In other words, no one can predict whether a group will experience
positive or negative synergy. This brings us to the concept of ambiguity which sometimes
characterizes group behavior. It is said that the amount of ambiguity determines the types of
obstacles the group will encounter. In any case, the communication behavior of the group
members is the principal determining factors for the group’s gains and losses.
Another principle is multiple causation which states that whatever happens in a system
is not the result of a single, simple cause, but is produced by a complex interrelationships among
multiple forces. At this instance, we can invoke the argument that “the act of one is the act of
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
Variables in a Small Group
The variables of a system are its characteristics or dimensions. They are classified into
individual-level or system-level. Individual-level variables are the properties of individual
members, such as their traits, skills, abilities, expertise, values, and attitudes. System-level
variables are characteristics of the group as a whole such as societal and cultural norms, degree
of cohesiveness, and procedures the group uses. The individual-level and the system-level
variables are interdependent within themselves and with each other. However, there may be a
situation where the individual-level variable is not congruent with the system-level variable. For
example, the information (individual-level) a member wants to share during a group discussion,
is not acceptable to the majority of the members due to moral norms (system-level). This will
adversely affect the output of the group work.
In a small group, the input variables are the components from which a small group is
formed and that it uses to do its work. These may include the members, their reasons for the
formation of the group, resources such as information, money, expertise, and tools; and
environmental conditions influences the group. These variables determine the success of the
The throughput variables of a small group consist of how the group functions or what it
actually does to transform the inputs into final products. Examples are roles, rules, norms, and
procedures that the group follows, leadership style or behavior, and communication among its
The output variables of a group are the tangible work accomplished such as written
reports, and policies developed, changes in members’ commitment and increased self-confidence
among others.
Feedback is a response to the group’s output. It may be in the form of information or
criticisms which can help the group determine whether or nor it needs to make adjustments to
realize its objectives or reach its goals.
Just as input, throughout, and output variables are interdependent, so is a group highly
interdependent with its environment or the setting in which the group exists. Most groups are
part of a larger organizational structure and must interact with individuals and other groups
within that structure. The reason for this is that, most groups are not self-groups are not selfcontained entities but are highly dependent on their environments. Figure 1 shows the
interrelationships of the variables in a group as an open system.
The figures shows that there are many variables, included in each of the main system
categories. The inputs flows into the machinery of the system where they are processed and
changed during the throughput process. The exit channel at the bottom represents the system’s
outputs. The tube on the right side represents the feedback channel that provides responses to
the system’s outputs.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
1. Give one concrete example (situational) for each of the following principles underlying a
small group as an open system.
a. interdependence
b. nonsummativity
c. multiple causation
2. Explain how you would reconcile different ideas expressed by each group member in
order to arrive at wise decisions.
3. Assuming that you are the chair of one of the groups formed during a workshop on
Values Education. Your output would be an action plan on the identification of core
values that the school aims to adopt and integrate into the curriculum. Make a
comprehensive explanation/ discussion how your group will be able to come up with an
action plan by utilizing the different categories of variables as show in Figure 1, page.
Systems Analysis in Educational Management
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Henry, Nicolar. Public Administration and Public Affairs. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall,
Lunenberg, Fred. Educational Administration: Theory and Practice. New York: McGrawHill, 1991.
Rosenbloom, David H. Public Administration. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
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