Productivity Improvement

Open Systems Approach

An organization is a complex system, irrespective of it's function and size. Internally, it is composed of interrelated and interdependent parts. Externally, there are components that impact on and / or are impacted by the organization. Just as it is in the human body when say a physical injury to one part of the body affects not only the general physical well being, but also the mental well being, so it is with an organization.

This article sets out to describe the open systems approach. The uses to which this technique can be used are manifold. It will enable you to better plan and coordinate the activities of your organization, or part thereof, in line with an internal and external vision of the strategically important factors that impact on the organization, or are impacted by it.

Open systems concepts

Article Objectives

  • To describe the following fundamental approaches to management to which the some business schools and large organizations subscribe.
    • The Business Economics Approach
    • The Systems Approach
  • To use the systems approach to identify the main components (systems) required in a firm.

Article Contents

Open Systems Approach Definitions

Open systems approach definition of termsThere are certain terms which will be used repeatedly in this guide. At the onset these need to be defined so that there is no ambiguity when such terms are used. More about: Click for definitions used in the open systems approach.


Open Systems ApproachApplicability

Problems encountered when applying systems approachMankind, throughout recorded history, has sought to be in control of his environment and the parts thereof. The systems approach has been developed to better facilitate this need to control.

Though this article is written from the viewpoint of the commercial organization, it's application is by no means restricted to this province. More about: Click for more on the applicability of the open systems technique


Open Systems ApproachConcepts

Systems approach conceptsThough the article logically flows in a sequence, you may like to jump straight into the subject by turning to this page first. It will give you a good background to the open systems approach to organizational development and design. More about: Some important concepts to understand in the open systems approach.


Open Systems ApproachDesign of systems and systems analysis

Sequence to be used when using the systems approachThis part of the article gives an overview of the general sequence of steps needed to conduct a systems approach. More about: Summary of steps involved in open systems analysis.


Open Systems ApproachThe organization as an open system

Practical application when using systems approach to analysis of organizationSome practical principles to help you in applying the concepts contained in this article to the development of an open systems model for your organization. More about: Using the open systems approach to look at an organization.


Open Systems ApproachAnalysis of the organization as a system

DemoTheoretical guidence on concepts to be understood in order to construct practical conceptual models of your organization, using the open systems approach. More about: Using the open systems approach to analyze an organization.


Open Systems ApproachPractical guidelines

Practical gudie to constructing models of the organization using open systems approach.This page brings it all together and offers practical guidance when attempting to construct a conceptual model of your organization using the open systems approach. More about: Practical guidelines on using the open systems approach in your analysis of a 'system'.