Understanding the world requires one to understand at least some of the fundamental systems contained within it, along with some of the key theories, concepts, and principles underlying them. Even a simple organization is an open system whereby material, information, and energy are exchanged with its environment as some material or ideas are transformed into outputs or goods or services. For example, a coffee shop serves as a concrete example of an open system. Coffee beans are purchased by the coffee shop along with water, electricity, milk, etc. Coffee is ground and expressed, milk is steamed, and coffee and milk are combined to create a drink called espresso, which is then sold to customers. Waste products include extra heat energy from the building, used water, as well as coffee grounds. This simple model of a system can be used to explore societies, cities, ant colonies, technology, and the economy in detail. The journey of learning about general, complex, and evolutionary systems is just ahead.
Review the resources and reflect upon your perceptions of general systems theory with application to organizations.
Using the APA sixth edition writing guidelines, write a two page paper including references and give an explanation of how you think the concept of systems might affect your understanding of organizations with respect to your understanding of leadership and management. Finally explain how you see this concept shaping the way you lead and/or manage.
Boulding, K. E. (1956). General systems theory: The skeleton of science. Management Science (Pre-1986), 2(3), 197 208.
Meadows, D. H. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.
Oshry, B. (2007). Seeing systems: Unlocking the mysteries of organizational life. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Uhl-Bien, M., & Marion, R. (Eds.). (2008). Complexity leadership, part 1: Conceptual foundations. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Von Bertalanffy, L. (1972). The history and status of general systems theory. Academy of Management Journal (Pre-1986), 15(4), 407 426.
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