Organizational Theory * Part 2 Systems Theory

Case Study
Considering one of the theories/approaches, what are issues with this
scenario? How should it have been handled and why?
Organizational Theory – Part 2
Systems Theory
Chapter 4 Recap/Lecture
Organization = System
 Organization as system of interdependent parts
 Open system: environment provides input and receives
 Interdependence
 Consider relationship among different parts
 Division of labor – impact?
 “organizational effectiveness depends on the
coordination of the total enterprise” (p. 97)
Other Important Factors
 Environment
 Examples: competition, industry changes, potential consumers
 Boundary spanners
 Changing environment
 Need for adaptability and contingency plans
 Interrelationships
 parts and processes
 Communication – importance?
Other Important Factors
 Feedback
 Goals
 “…negotiated among interdependent factions in the
organization and are heavily influenced by its environment” (p.
 ‘may differ across system levels’ (p. 106)
 No ‘one size fits all’ approach
 Openness, order, contingency
 Equifinality (more than one way to reach same goal)
 ‘Two tenets of contingency theory: No one best way and all
ways not equally effective’ (p. 108)
Examples of Theories
 Peter Senge’s Learning Organization
 Systems thinking, personal mastery, flexible mental
models, a shared vision, team learning
 “participate and holistic notion of effective organizing” (p.
 Reflective openness
Examples of Theories
Karl Weick’s Sense-Making Model
Equivocality reduction
Same facts – multiple interpretations. Make sense of it all
Model of organizing
Look for threats and opportunities
Importance of environmental scanning
Communication  collective sense making
Retroactive sense making
Loose coupling
Partial inclusion
Organization = community or social setting
Emphasis on Relationships
 Classical Management: manager/worker relationships
 Human Relations and Human Resources: quality of
relationships? (latter: more than just venting session)
 Systems theory: importance of interrelationships
 Cultural studies: ?????? (discuss next week)
 Should be fostered inside or outside of the organization?
Or both?
Group Activity
 Environmental Scanning
 Look for issues that may impact Wal-Mart (be able to
explain how/why)
 Look at other issues; what organizations might be
affected? How so?
 Be prepared to informally share findings