The theories regarding organizations that are discussed in the books by Katz and Kahn, Pfeffer and Salancik, and Rainey are very visible in the real world. The characteristics of organizations define their level of competence, which in turn can result to either satisfaction or dissatisfaction on the part of the end-user or the customer. Moreover, in reading the principles mentioned by the said authors have allowed me to connect them with my own experiences, not inside the classroom, but within the community where I am presently a member and a consumer of various goods and services.
I can relate with the principle mentioned that organizations are ‘open systems’, which is similar with the one found in nature. Organizations are open systems because they are “acutely dependent upon the external environment” (Katz and Kahn 410). As such, similar with the one found in the natural world, the open system character of organizations forces them to provide good services to the end-users. This assures that all members of any given society are all content with the roles performed by one another, and that failure will mean dissatisfaction by other members. An example of this problem is my experience with a telecoms company where I availed a cell phone exclusively with their postpaid plan. Here, after paying the required activation fee and the initial down payment for the high-end cell phone unit, I later learned that the telecoms company has wrongly given me a defective unit. More so, it took me two months in proving to the company that I was not to blame for the defective unit, and that it was already damaged when the sales counter gave it to me. The customer service and the sales departments may indeed be faultless in giving me a defective unit, but surely the error must be on another department. After all, the cell phone was defective so there must be an error somewhere.
The reason why I mentioned my experience as a customer is not to pass blame, but to show that errors in organizations cannot be avoided 100%. This is true since in the inter-relationship quality of an open system, “Problems arise not merely because organizations are dependent on their environment, but because this environment is not dependable” (Pferrer and Salancik 450). Even more important, it is accepted in organization theory that the more successful a company becomes, the more they become ‘differentiated’. This is a situation where the many departments “differed more and more from one another in their goalsand the formality of their structure. This increased the potential for conflict and disorganization” (Rainey 83). Hence, this may explain why the telecoms company where I purchased my unit still has a faulty system despite of them being one of the largest, or perhaps the largest, telecoms company.
Taking the organization theory of open systems even farther than my terrible experience as a cell phone buyer is the realization that the nation’s political structure has the same character and problems. This explains why there are many government departments, such as the justice system and providers of basic needs, where the public are not satisfied with what they are getting. This is because the largeness of the government and its open system quality makes it impossible to provide one hundred percent service without encountering any problems.
What do you think is the best way to minimize problems in an open system organization?
Can sharing of responsibilities among managers help or make the organization environment more problematic?
Katz, Daniel, and Robert Kahn. The Social Psychology of Organizations. CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1966. Print.
Pfeffer, Jeffrey, and Gerald Salancik. The External Control of Organizations. New York: Harper & Row, 1978. Print.
Rainey, Hal. Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 3rd ed. CA: Jossey-Bass, 2003. Print.