The Organization Seen as a Social System
A quite modern way -in historical terms- of analyzing the organizations
of any type and size, consists on visualizing them as a dynamic whole.
In such dynamics take part all and each one of the parts that compose
the system or organization. When the parts interact with each other
in harmony, the phenomenon called SINERGY is produced, according to
which, the result obtained from the harmonic interaction is highly
superior to the outcome which would be obtained if each component
acted in an isolated and autonomous way. A clear example would be
that the result obtained by the different organs of the digestive
apparatus (liver, vesicle, stomach, etc.) working in a harmonically
coordinated way is the DIGESTION. A goal which can be only obtained
Taking these concepts to the field of the Behavior, we can also focus
on companies as big unities where the behavior is processed as a result
of the interaction. And this will be as favorable or unfavorable as
the sinergy degree we had been able to implement in the social body.
In this case, we refer -sharing with Seiler- to the system composed
by a set of people and groups, strongly interrelated with each other,
that permanently interact willing to reach specific objectives.
Elements or inputs
In order to understand the human behavior in the organization, we
must consider that the external environment affects the organizational
system, among other ways, simultaneously with the addition of inputs,
which, in order to continue with this point of view, would be:
-Human Elements or Inputs
-Technological Elements or Inputs
-Organizational Elements or Inputs
Human Elements or Inputs
The businessmen in the organization, their managers and subordinates
bring with them certain abilities, knowledge, needs, values, behaviors,
Relation with other elements or inputs:
-The technology used by the organization will determine which technical
abilities are required from the individuals who will enter the organization.
-The organizational structure also affects the kind of person who
enters the company, per example, according to the work conditions
and the levels of wage offered by the organization will be determined
if the elements or inputs can attract or not the people of higher
or lower level of qualification.
Technological Elements or Inputs:
Letís remember that the kind or branch of business in which an organization
is operating will establish the kind of technology with which the
employees will have to work.
Relation with other Elements or Inputs:
-In the manufacturing branch, the kind of machinery used affects
the physical position of the individuals on their work place, and
therefore affects the communications.
-Also, the levels of noise will determine, per example, if the individuals
will be able to communicate with each other or not.
-The increase of the use of PCs could lead to each person working
isolated from the group.
-The space technology and the electronics tend to be associated to
a fast lost of use. In those companies which are dedicated to such
production or services branches, there is many times a high rotation
of employees, and therefore in this kind of companies there are week
relations and the commitment made by people towards the company is
week as well.
Organizational Elements or Inputs:
When we say "formal", as we have seen, we refer to the
structure established by the company and which is a result of the
departmentalization. It is also the politics, the norms and formal
procedures, the leadership styles, the punishments and rewards established
by the company and which are specifically destined to influence the
behavior in a way that is favorable to the organization. Per example:
it is pre-supposed that a system of incentives will increase the productivity,
but these organizational designs often have unexpected consequences
as well. George Elton Mayo, with his experiences in the Western Electric
Company, found important evidences on the fact that the norms of the
informal group, per example, established that it shouldn't give up
until reaching or surpassing the standard. The origins of such informal
norms (non-written) were based, among other caused, on the workers'
fear to a dismissal.
The organizational behavior -taking into account that human beings
are sociable animals and generally work in a group- can not be understood
or foreseen only through the analysis of the formal organization,
since its behavior is also guided by the presence of the informal
organization, with its own structure, the leaders and informal norms.
The last aspect leads to the fact that the behavior of each individual
will be determined also:
-by what could be approved or disapproved by his co-workers
-by the need of keeping the acceptance within the company from those
people whose affection and respect the worker values.
Besides this, the informal norms are also generally accompanied by
a group of rewards and punishments established by the informal group,
Those norms, which are characterized, most of the times, by the fact
of not being explicitly written, exist within every informal group
influencing the behavior developed in a system, and generally do not
greatly coincide with the formal norms established by the company.