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The Organization Seen as a Social System

The systems

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 through sinergy.
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
Formal Organization
-Organizational Elements or Inputs
Informal Organization

Human Elements or Inputs

The businessmen in the organization, their managers and subordinates bring with them certain abilities, knowledge, needs, values, behaviors, and thoughts.

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:

Formal Organization

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.

Informal Organization

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.

 

 

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