The Organization as an Open System
The system is in constant interaction with their environment and achieves a stable state. The survival of the system would not be possible without a continuous inflow, processing and output stream.
The system must receive a sufficient inflow of resources to maintain its operations and also to export environmental resources processed in amounts sufficient to continue the cycle.
The Organization as a Complex System
A number of authors and researchers have observed that see an organization as decision-making body, composed of hierarchies and relationships as illustrated in a flowchart, it does not correspond to the way the organization actually works. In other words, the organization represents only one of the many channels of communication between people in an organization. If we want to see the organization as a complex system we see more real elements.
Organizations can be thought of as systems where groups fit perfectly with each other and these groups are connected through people who serve as "link" between the groups.
In studies to determine how to make the organization to set goals and make decisions, they concluded that an organization is actually a complex coalition of individuals and groups. The coalition members use various forms of "meliorate" others to join them in the task of achieving certain goals.
One of the biggest difficulties is to properly define the scope of any organization. How far ?, the company reaches its departments, suppliers, etc. and determine the most appropriate means (society in general, the economic and political system, competition, the union).
Organizations pursue various purposes and perform many functions. Some of these functions are primary and secondary.
The primary function is to make your product, provide a service with a profit.
The secondary function is to provide security and rationale to members of a community.
The organization has representatives de0l external environment. Employees are not only members of the organization that employs them, but are also part of society, other organizations, unions, consumer groups and others.
The nature of the medium is changing very quickly. This can be easily seen in the tremendous growth that has been technology. The demands of a turbulent environment require that the organization has a different capacity to respond to them
Effects of differentiation and integration: Lawrence and Lorsch.
Lawrence and Lorsch developed in 1967 a way to see the organization that made it possible to explain why different types of organization are more or less effective in different media types and with different technologies. The fundamental premise is that each functional part of an organization, whether production, research and sales, you have to understand a particular part of the environment and the people working in that area develops a cognitive point of view that reflects their particular adaptation to that specific part of the medium. This process is known as differentiation.
The other key process that every organization has to understand is the integration, which is to bring together different cognitive styles and strategies of problem solving in a coherent set of activities geared towards achieving goals
The model Galbraith (1973, 1977) begins with the assumption that the organization is a complex system whose main problem in their relationship with the environment, is the collection and use of information.
The design of the structure of the organization is a process that occurs over time. Is the one who decides how to maintain consistency between strategies, possibilities of division of labor (differentiation), processes coordination of the various units (integration), ways to integrate the staff of the organization, and finally how to change the elements above in order to facilitate the adaptation of the organization to environmental changes.
These alternatives can be seen as mechanisms to develop and evolve as the organization goes from being a small and simple to large and complex organization.
1. Hierarchy of authority: If you need to coordinate the efforts of two or more people, the simplest and most efficient way to process information that exists between them is direct communication. However, if the two people are dispersed geographically, if there are many people there is no consensus among them in goals (the essence of the organizing activity), the simplest processing mechanism is to create a hierarchy and make all information flow vertically from top one.
2. Rules, programs and procedures: The basic purpose of the program rules and procedures is to keep the channels of free information not relevant information to facilitate the upward flow of information related to special circumstances. Galbraith makes the observation that each identified another mechanism does not replace but adds to others; therefore, rules, programs and functions do not replace the hierarchy.
3. Planning and goal setting: As information processing needs increase, a response is to delegate more autonomy to the lower levels where the information is, but this response will only work if the organization has some form to ensure that the employee has more autonomy can give the correct answer from the point of view of the goals of the organization. Two mechanisms to ensure this happens, consists of:
• Increase technical and professional training of employees so that they can be appropriated those goals.
• Increase planning actions to ensure that the employee understands, in advance, what the organization is trying to do.
4. Changing the hierarchy reducing the scope of control: If the organization is still loaded, another alternative is to reduce the scope of control, placing fewer people under the responsibility of each supervisor. However, this action increases the total number of supervisors. This mechanism is therefore expensive and not very efficient, since the total number of organizational links where the information must flow is also increased.
5. Management of the environment: Organizations can accommodate your basic strategy for controlling information overload, trying to control parts of the medium
6. Creating additional resources: One way to reduce the pressure that causes the charge in the reporting process is to reduce production standards, not meeting scheduling or hiring (buying) additional resources to meet these peak periods.
7. Creation of autonomous tasks: As organizations grow, they acquire more commitments in terms of tasks and products, manage complex technologies and therefore must process more information, at some point in its evolution suffer a considerable change of design going from a "functional" way to an organization oriented for the "product" (or market). This problem can be solved if small autonomous units that perform tasks according to a particular product or geographic region are created. In this organizational action is also known as "decentralization" or "divisionalization".
8. Investment in better vertical information systems: As the hierarchical form of organization can, if properly used, spread quickly and reliably information, a solution is reassessing information systems to ensure the ability to transmit information faster and reliability. To achieve this, the organization must add people, computers, information systems, and analytical procedures.
9. Creation of lateral relations, integration and roles of parent organizations: The last, but also the most interesting and complex decision organizational design involves the abandonment of such a principle advocated that organizational authority must be distributed hierarchically. If the uncertainty of task and information overload determine that supervisors or workers talk to each other under who has the information and not because of who is in control of who, for the organization can legitimize such communication sponsoring forms of communication lateral, creating roles liaison between groups that are at the same level, making meetings or creating special groups to facilitate the exchange of information.
Technology is the organization and application of knowledge to achieve practical purposes. It includes physical manifestations such as machines and tools, but also intellectuals and processes used to solve problems and get desired results techniques.
An example is the computer represents an aspect of technology or software programs but are equally important.
Impact of Technology on the Organization.
For technology organization means the set of techniques used in transforming inputs into outputs.
Technology applicable to all organizations.
The technology is easy to understand in a process of physical transformation, as in an assembly line, but is also suitable for other organizations such as a hospital or university.
It is based on knowledge and equipment used to perform tasks.
It affects the types of inputs and outputs of the system coming into the organization.
Structure concept: Creates the formal scheme and determines how tasks are performed.
Many scholars have focused specifically on the relationship between technology and organizational structure. Joan Woodward and colleagues conducted a very extensive research in 100 industrial enterprises in England. The researcher divided into three companies, based on differences in technology.
This resulted in the number of vertical levels of management in the departments of direct production increased with relative size of its management group.
Woodward A similar study by Zwerman, who used 56 companies in the Minneapolis area, generally confirmed the initial results.
A series of studies conducted by the Research Unit Industrial Management Aston University, England, provided information on the relationship between technology and structure. They classified into three components technology. operational technology is the technique used in workflow activities. Materials technology refers to the nature of the materials used in the transformation process. Technology knowledge refers to the characteristics of knowledge used in the organization.
Aston operational group found that technology did not have a great effect on the structural relationships, except for those structural variables which were focused on the workflow. They concluded that the operational technology revealed structural variables affect only those directly linked to the workflow. Technology is a key determinant of the structure in the production line.
However, remember that the study analyzed only Aston "operational technology." It is likely that these two components of the technology would have had an effect on all levels of the structure.
These various studies suggest that the relationships between technology and structure are complex.
Technology has not only eliminated several routine jobs, but has restructured the functions of other workers and requires changes in attitude and behavior.
Traditional management theory hardly take into account how technology affected the Psicosocial system. The technical system was considered as given and unchangeable, and it was assumed that people would adapt. Fortunately, humans are adaptable and have responded to the rapidly changing technology. Technological advancement of complex organizations in the last 100 years have required major adjustments of social systems. Bureaucracy techniques, scientific management and mass production required fundamental changes. The latest innovations in automation and computers now have a very important effect; however, it has been little studied the relationship between technology and psychosocial systems.
Haire says about it: our industrial production plans are created to use the technique of production, machine characteristics and qualities of the material to its maximum level. The operator is regarded as a dependent variable. It is expected to adapt and adjust. It is interesting to speculate what would happen if we abocáramos to create a production line designed to maximize Human Resources and motivations of operations of operators. And then we consider the machine as suit the requirements of a system designed to maximize human potential.
Technology affects members of organizations in various forms. It is a key to determining the required tasks and the degree of specialization factor. Often determines the size and composition of immediate work group and outside contact with other workers and supervisors. Often determines the degree of physical mobility. It affects the various functions and positions of people in organizations: generally have higher technical skills means getting a better position, more pay and other rewards. It includes more to determine the specific design of the work of each employee. Technology, particularly in mass production operations, imposes a time dimension workers. Punctuality required to start the process and sets a certain rhythm of work.
Technological changes could create insecurity and anxiety in employment and workers. The skills developed over a period could be obsolete, which vitally affects their self-perception and motivation.
One of the main consequences of changing technology has been the increasing specialization of knowledge. The administrative system in most organizations includes many participants with specialized skills and training. Many specialists with adequate training in administrative positions are: research and development, communications experts and industrial sociologists and psychologists.
The modern administrative system is not composed of a single person who has knowledge and absolute power; It is formed by a team of trained specialists who contribute their skills to good performance of the organization. Usually are the "catalysts" that help the organization to use and adapt new technological advances.
Computer technology and other relations with them are having a major effect on all levels of organizations. At the operational level, automation, numerically controlled machines, industrial robots and flexible manufacturing systems are examples of this technology. Automation represents the current phase of a long-term trend toward greater complexity and modernization of technological systems for the production of goods. It includes linking computerized control processes and machinery in an integrated production system. Numerically controlled machines (computer) have great flexibility and adaptability compared with traditional machine tools one purpose. They can be programmed to perform various operations in different parts without an overhaul elaborate.