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Open System Models

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Open System Models

  1. 1. Diagnosing Organizations
  2. 2. Introduction The Open Systems (OS) approach gave rise to a general model that can guide the diagnosis of entire institutional sectors, sets of organizations, individual organizations, divisions, or units within organizations.
  3. 3. System Components  Inputs  Raw, materials, money, people, equipment  Resources  Outputs  Products, services and ideas  Transfer its main outputs to public and use other internally
  4. 4. System Components  Organizational behaviour and processes  Prevailing patterns of interaction between individuals and groups  Technology  Refers to tools, equipment and techniques used to process inputs and transform them into outputs  Environment  External organizations and conditions
  5. 5. System Components  Structure  Relations between individuals, groups and larger units  Culture  Shared norms, values, beliefs and assumptions  System dynamics  Feedback of information and demands within and outside organization
  6. 6. Key Features of the Model  The model implies several important ideas for diagnosis: 1. The OS frame can be applied at several levels of analysis. 2. Any organizational system may be described as being composed of interdependent components. 3. When there is poor fit among interdependent components or functions, effectiveness suffers and signs of ineffectiveness appear.
  7. 7. Key Features of the model 4. An organization’s effectiveness and success depend heavily on its ability to adapt to its environment, shape that environment, or find a favourable environment in which to operate. 5. Organization use many of their products, services, and ideas as inputs to organizational maintenance or growth 6. People are a vital system resource
  8. 8. Key Features of the Model 7. An organization’s effectiveness depends substantially on its ability to meet internal system needs – including typing people into their roles in the organization, conducting transformative processes, and managing operations – as well as on adaption to the environment. 8. Developments in and outside of organizations produce pressures for change as well as releasing forces for inertia and stability.
  9. 9. The Model as a Diagnostic Guide  Consider all major system components when starting a diagnosis  Does not concentrate too soon on an evident and easy-to-study issue  Help assess the broad context affecting operations within a particular organizational function  Also help assess the organizational context of specific problems or challenges
  10. 10. The Model as a Diagnostic Guide  By looking at the system characteristics of the client organization, practitioners can better understand both immediate and more distant forces affecting the focal problem or issue  Thus, can focus on those system components and subcomponents that are most directly related to the focal problem
  11. 11. The Models as a Diagnostic Guide  The systems model also draws attention to interactions between system components and can guide the assessment of fit among components
  12. 12. SWOT Analysis  Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Thr eats  Focus attention on to crucial external challenges and ways to enhance competitive advantage  Can also be defined more broadly to guide diagnosis of current success factors and combinations of internal conditions.
  13. 13. CASE 5  Strengths  Staff loyalty  Staff connections  Staff Shared Values  Weaknesses  Employees aged  Employees being replaced
  14. 14. CASE 5  Opportunities  Restructuring  Professionalize  Threats  Turnover was increasing  Difficulty in recruitment
  15. 15. CASE 5  If developments within an organization or its environment are eroding the basis for past successes, consultants and clients must decide whether incremental adjustments in one or more system components will preserve effectiveness or whether more fundamental, strategic changes are needed.
  16. 16. Example  Customers and management of a resort hotel complain about the quality of quest services.  The hotel manager attributes the problem to the hotel’s inability to recruit experienced staff which stems from non-competitive wage rates.  By searching for links between the presented problem and other system components, the consultant might find weaknesses in:  Employee training problems  Definitions of job responsibilities  Use of outmoded equipment  Inadequate coordination and control of work  Improvement in these areas could enhance the quality of employee service, regardless of the employees’ past work experience.
  17. 17. Redefining Presented Problems  System model can also help practitioners redefine problems or challenges initially.  Redefinition occurs whenever consultants treat problems presented as symptoms of broader or more fundamental conditions.  The decision to examine all system components in a broad diagnosis includes an assumption that the forces behind presented problems or shaping organizational effectiveness may lie beyond the issues initially presented by the client.
  18. 18. Gathering and Analyzing Data 1. Background to diagnosis 2. Outputs 3. Goals and strategies 4. Inputs 5. Environment 6. Technology and work processes 7. Structure 8. Behaviour and processes 9. Culture 10. System dynamics
  19. 19. Basic organizational Information  High level managers or their assistants  Statistics on these subjects  Official statements of organization goals and missions  Charts of the organizational structure  Organizational histories  Site visits  Subsequent investigations
  20. 20. Additional data  Interviews with top managers and head of departments or divisions whose work is related to focal problems or challenges  Interviews, questionnaires and focus groups  Will provide:  Richer and more valid information on basic system features and on underlying forces affecting presented problems and challenges.  Also reveal important differences in the ways that people from diverse functions, backgrounds, and levels view the organization and its problems
  21. 21. Measurement of Data  Abstract and difficult to measure  Thus practitioners must content themselves with non-rigorous measures  Practitioners often have to settle for global assessments of very complex conditions.  More time consuming methods should only be contemplated if the topic is of particular importance to the diagnosis.  Independent assessments  How respondents are coloured by their own distinctive views and experiences
  22. 22. Summarizing and Analyzing Data  The lists of basic organizational information and system components can serve as accounting schemes for organizing and summarizing diagnostic findings  Straightforward approach is to make a separate file or database entry for each system component
  23. 23. Summarizing and Analyzing Data  In very small organizations, divisions and other major subunits will probably differ substantially from one another in terms of system features such as technology, structure and processes.  Thus summaries should note the distinctive profiles of each division along with features common to the whole organization.
  24. 24. Summarizing and Analyzing Data  Responses in interviews  Start by grouping together responses to each question that make the same point and number of people giving it  Practitioners can present the entire range of responses to specific questions as feedback to stimulate analysis of the operations and suggestions for improvement  Or they can aggregate and summarize findings using accounting schemes such as SWOT or one based on the categories in the systems model.
  25. 25. Assessing effectiveness  Effectiveness is multidimensional and difficult to measure.  The OS frame, when supplemented by a view of organizations as political arenas and a systematic approach to concept development and measurement, can help consultants and decision makers make appropriate choices among the wide range of possible effectiveness measures.
  26. 26. Assessing effectiveness  In deciding how to define and measure effectiveness, practitioners of diagnosis face choices about five topics, listed here from the most general to the most specific: 1. Assessment Approach 2. Domains 3. Criteria 4. Operational definitions and measures 5. Standards for analysis and evaluation
  27. 27. Assessment Approach  Output-goal approach  View organizations as tools for goal attainment  This approach assesses effectiveness in terms of attainment of clearly defined objectives and production of specific outputs.  Organizations pursue multiple and even competing objectives and production of specific outputs  Therefore several output-goal domains and multiple criteria specifying these domains can all be relevant to single organization.
  28. 28. Assessment Approach  Internal System Status  Draws on OS and human resources frames  Employee Satisfaction and Quality of work  Introduce these criteria into diagnosis because they assume that organizations can more readily attain their output goals when internal processes , such as coordination and communication , operate smoothly and efficiently and when these processes enhance the motivations and capacities of members.
  29. 29. Assessment Approach  System resources and adaption  Derive mainly from OS theories  Evaluate effectiveness in terms of the organization’s ability to obtain scarce and valued resources from its environment, adapt to external change and obtain a favourable competitive position within the environment.
  30. 30. Assessment Approach  Multiple Stakeholders  Defines effectiveness in terms of an organization’s ability to satisfy a diverse set of internal and external constituencies  Research has shown that organizations that are more responsive to the expectations of multiple stakeholders are generally more adaptable than comparable organizations in which less attention is given to stakeholders.
  31. 31. Effectiveness Domains  Second decision  There are many possible sources of tension between domains that fall within the same theoretical frame and even among criteria drawn from a single domain  No matter what type of effectiveness domains and criteria they use, people can simultaneously favour conflicting effectiveness and standards.
  32. 32. Criteria  Criteria for assessing each domain  The implications of any given assessment domain depend directly on the nominal definition of its criteria.
  33. 33. Operational definitions and measurement  The operational definition and measurement of effectiveness criteria.  Procedure is identical to that of developing any kind of research measure  Have to define and measure effectiveness in ways that allow them to analyze available data or data that can be gathered quickly and inexpensively.
  34. 34. Standards for Analysis and Evaluation  Standards for analyzing and evaluating data on effectiveness and providing feedback  Following comparisons can be used:  Current versus past levels of effectiveness  Effectiveness levels among units within the same organization  Client organization compared to others in the same industry or field  Current state versus some minimum standard  Current state compared to an ideal standard  Feedback containing appropriate comparisons can contribute directly to constructive problem solving.
  35. 35. Making Choices About Effectiveness  Making considerations guide practitioners and their clients as they confront choices among effectiveness criteria.  These are summarised under five guiding questions: 1. How applicable and appropriate are particular effectiveness criteria to the focal organization.
  36. 36. Making Choices About Evaluation 2. How well do specific effectiveness criteria fit the goals and setting of the diagnostic study? 3. How relevant are effectiveness criteria to clients? 4. Are there strong normative or value reasons for preferring particular criteria, measures or comparison standards. 5. Will feedback based on the selected criteria, contribute to constructive problem solving.
  37. 37. Assessing feasibility of change and choosing appropriate interventions  The political and open systems frames can help practitioners and their clients decide what steps, if any, will help clients solve problems and enhance organizational effectiveness.  Analytic and Process Issues: 1. Does the Organization need incremental or strategic change?
  38. 38. Analytic and Process Issues 2. Is there a readiness for change? 3. How will internal and external stakeholders react to proposed interventions? 4. Does the organization have the capacity to implement change? 5. Will the proposed interventions achieve the desired results without having undesirable consequences?
  39. 39. Methodological Issues  Because it is difficult to predict behaviour only from general attitudes, people’s broad reactions to a proposed intervention do not provide significant guidance as to how they will act after the intervention is implemented.  Peer pressure and shift in opinions might play role  Because of this difficulty to anticipate the consequences of interventions and people’s reactions to them, managers and consultants sometimes adopt a more experimental approach to implementation