Open Systems Theory

Open Systems Theory

1) What is your opinion on MARCUS’S ANSWER to the QUESTIONS below?

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In the past, traditional theories viewed organizations as closed systems that were isolated from everyone else in the outside world, then in the 60’s holistic ideologies materialized. This came about as the traditional theories failed to take into account the environmental factors that influences the effectiveness of organizations. The term open system refers to the belief that all organizations are typically unique in their own way because of the way that they operate. The theory is that organizations need to be structured to facilitate their own unique issues and opportunities.

Open systems theory that can be used to understand an organization’s environmental influences can be viewed as either specific or general. The specific refers to competition, distributors, and network of suppliers that the organization conducts business with. The general normally refers influences that originate from the geographic area that the organization operates from. There are four environmental influences to assist the organization and they are cultural values, legal environment, economic situations, and quality education. With the open system organizations are capable of visualizing the whole big picture and obtaining meaningful results from all parties involved.

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QUESTIONS????????? For this initial module of the MBA capstone course, we will discuss open systems theory.

1) What is open systems theory?

2) How can open systems theory be used to understand an organization?

2) What your opinion on ROBERT’S ANSWER to the QUESTIONS above?


What is open systems theory?

Open systems theory (OST) is a description of an organization that regularly interacts with its business environment and exchanges and processes feedback (Griffin, 2015). This open systems theory was developed by Bertanlanffy and then applied to organizational structures in the 1960s. Open systems theory believes that an organization’s survival is dependent upon its relationship with the environment. Therefore OST encourages open communication permitting feedback flow from inside and outside the business. To be successful as an organization, leadership will maintain situational awareness to their external and internal environment plus the needs and reactions of the customer and shareholders (Griffin, 2015). Open systems are willing to make changes and adapt to the environment based on the feedback whereas the closed systems will not change course from the business plan regardless of the environment. For example, it was found during the 1960s that closed system organizations typically failed to be successful in environments where technologies or markets were swiftly fluctuating (Levasseur, 2004).

How can open systems theory be used to understand an organization?

An organization that is structured based on the open system theory would understand that the company can’t control all the environmental factors and would be capable to somewhat prepare and execute changes needed to deal with the changes. Some of these external forces can include disasters, social changes, technology changes, political changes, employees’ personal problems, etc (Griffin 2015).

Bastedo, M. (2004). Open System Theory. Retrieved from

Griffin, D. (2015). Open System Organizational Structure | Retrieved from

Levasseur, R. E. (2004). Open System Theory and Organization. Futurics, 28(3), 82-88. Retrieved from

Marcus is correct, the open systems theory originated from the need to acknowledge that external forces that could not be controlled were influencing business operations. Once businesses’ develop policies to attempt to …

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Open Systems Theory is examined.

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