There are several theories of management. There are classical and contemporary. One of the contemporary theories of management is that of the management systems theory. The management systems’ school of thought focuses on understanding the organization as an open system that transforms inputs into outputs. This is based on the Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s works. Bertlanffy was a biologist who believed that a general systems model could be used to unite science (Helms 2006:514). The other contributors to this school included Kenneth Boulding, Richard Johnson, Fremont Kast, and James Rosenzweig (Helms 2006:514).
In the 1960s, management systems theory started to have a significant and strong impact on management paradigms about managing techniques that would allow managers to relate different specialties and parts of the company to one another, as well as to external environmental factors. The theory focuses on the organization as a whole, its interaction with the environment, and its need to achieve equilibrium. However, its influence on management paradigms have diminished somewhat. It has been criticized as too abstract and too complex.
Nevertheless, many of the ideas from the theory have become the basis for the contingency school of management. Balancing the Organization’s Management Needs with Bottom-Line Effectiveness Management theories such as the systems typically praise standardization and aim to decrease complexity. The question however is, who is better in claiming about diminished complexity? (Andras & Charlton, slide no. 7). The systems theory claims that an organization is a system of interrelated parts and structures, such as departments and several stakeholders (Kinicki & Willims 2008: p.
52). In the same book by Kinicki and Williams, the management systems theory identifies the vital elements of an organization such as Inputs, Transformational Processes, Outputs and Feedbacks. In the Management systems theory, factors such as the human resources, financial, materials, information, data and other documentation are regarded as inputs which are necessary to trigger the transformational process factor. The transformational processes are the elements which help to transform the inputs into outputs.
In the Management Systems Theory, an organization must consider several elements which belong to its internal and external environment. For example, an organization’s management needs must be balanced with the bottom-line effectiveness to its operations and the quality of its products. For example, an organization may be requiring a new program or system to be implemented in order for it to expedite data processing and communication. However, the new data and information would result to a lot of adjustments on the part of the customer such as they complained to the management regarding the adjustments required of them.
In this case, the organizations needs to review the implementation of the program in order to ensure that it caters to the organizational need but does not compromise the satisfaction or requirements of other stakeholders such as the customers, the employees or even the community. Using the Management Systems Theory as a framework means that we view the management control systems much like the biological organisms that exist in a constant commerce with their environment.
If an organization is an open system in constant commerce with its environment, then it follows that the environment will be very important in determining and explaining its behavior and controlling its fortunes. The implication is that a study of the management control systems must begin by understanding and characterizing an organization’s environment. Organizational environments can be benign (limited threats) or uncertain and dynamic (rapidly changing). Effective management control systems must meet the needs of their environment (Ansari 2004:7). Factors to be considered in a Change Management Initiative
The management of an organization needs to observe several steps such as involving key people, developing a plan, supporting the plan, and communicating regularly (Helms 2006:520-521). Involving the Key People The first step in implementing change is involving the key people; this typically means upper-level management and other executives whose processes and employees will be affected by the change. For instance, if a new computer system is to be installed in all areas of a company, key people would be not only top managers, but also lower-level managers who supervise the employees’ use of the new technology.
In a cost-cutting program, a different set of key people would be involved. If the company is reducing its operating budget in a specific division, the managers of that division and also human resources personnel should be involved. In any circumstance in which there is a change to personnel policies or in which demotions, transfers, or layoffs occur, the human resources department should be involved to manage this change (Helms 2006: 520-521). Developing the Plan The second step in implementing change is to develop a plan for effective transformation.
The plan should help define the responsibilities of the key people involved while also laying out short-term and long-term objectives for the changes. Because change can be unpredictable, the plan should also be flexible enough to accommodate new occurrences (Helms 2006:521). Supporting the Plan The third step in implementing change is supporting the plan. This means that management follows through on the plan it created. It is important to enable the employees to adapt to the change. Employees may need training, reward systems may need to be adapted, or hiring may be required.
If the organization does not provide the support necessary for the plan to take effect, it is unlikely to succeed (Helms 2006: 521). Supporting the Plan The final step in successful change implementation should occur throughout the change process. Communicating with employees about what is occurring, why the changes are being made, and how they will develop is critical. Because change can create a lot of fear, increased communication can be used to calm employees and encourage their continued support. In addition to downward communication, managers should pay attention to any upward communication that occurs.
They should be available to take suggestions or answer questions that employees might have. Creating opportunities for employee feedback, such as holding meetings or having an open-door management policy, may facilitate change more successfully (Helms 2006:521). My Recommendations Regarding the Management Systems Theory There are several recommendations that I have for using or applying the management systems theory. One is that since this system recognizes the interrelatedness of all elements involved, each must be designed with due consideration of the consequent impact to the other related elements.
Henceforth, structural components of an organization must be appropriately combined with the behavioral and cultural components to achieve a unified and dynamic management system (Ansari 2004:8). Another recommendation is one concerning the interaction between the organization and its internal and especially, the external environment (Ansari 2004:8). Basically, the organization recognizes the feedback and inputs from its environment. These inputs are then applied or taken into consideration in designing the appropriate processes and design parameters to create or generate the desired output.
To achieve this, it must be determined where and what in the environment must be considered to identify the appropriate and applicable inputs. Henceforth, the appropriate transformation process shall be defined as well to create the desired output. It is also important to consider feedbacks. Feedback systems are less efficient but also less costly to design and implement (Ansari 2004:8). Another very important concern regarding the management systems theory is continuously striving for areas for improvement. Any organization which undertakes this theory in its management systems should not aim for the status quo.
Applying the management systems theory means always taking into consideration both internal and external environments. Both of these are constantly evolving. Thus, the organization cannot remain static, but continuously strive to be in stride with the times. Another recommendation is that several alternatives must be considered in implementing change initiatives or redesigns in the process management. Factors such as efficiency of a process or task, productivity or accuracy of an employee and the superior quality of a product are not dependent on only one way of improvement.
For each of these elements, there may be several alternatives possible. The management or the process designer must review and consider all possible and feasible and select the best mode of improvement to achieve the best possible improvement. References: Ansari, S. (2004). Teaching note systems theory and management Control. Helms, M. ,Ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of management. 5th Ed. United States of America: Thomson Gale. Kinicki, A. & Williams, B. (2008). Management: A practical introduction. (3rd Ed. ) Singapore: McGraw Hill. Pp. 52-55. Andras, P. & Charlton, B. (n. d. ). Management from the perspective of systems theory. [A presentation].