Systems Theory-Part 1-What is a System

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Systems Approachesy:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole Systems Approachesy Part 1: What Is a System?

I. Introduction:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole I. Introduction Metaphor The organization as an organism B. Origins Electrical engineering – Cybernetics Biology – General Systems Theory

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory Definition A system a set of interdependent components with a boundary that gives the system coherence and separates it from its environment

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory B. Characteristics of Systems They are hierarchical Society Industry Organization Group Individual

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory B. Characteristics of Systems 2. Interdependence Gives structure to a system Part of what holds a system together

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory B. Characteristics of Systems 3. Boundaries Sets system off from “the rest of the world” Permeable

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory B. Characteristics of Systems 4. Subsystems Each part of the system forms a unique context Defined by relationship to other parts

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory B. Characteristics of Systems 4. Subsystems: The Tops live in a world of complexity and responsibility The Bottoms live in a world of invisibility (the tops don’t pay much attention to them) and vulnerability (the Tops are always doing things to them—reorganizing, changing the health plan, launching new initiatives) The Middles are torn: They have to go to the Tops to get things for the Bottoms. The Bottoms come to them for things they need, but Middles have no control over things that can meet the Bottoms’ needs.

II. Systems Theory:

copyright Marshall Scott Poole II. Systems Theory B. Characteristics of Systems What is likely to happen if one of the Middles writes a memo to the Tops about a problem in production? The memo is meant to be helpful… How are the Tops likely to react? How are the Bottoms likely to feel about what the Middle has done? How is the middle likely to respond?

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