What positive and negative results are likely effects of taking a systems approach?
Can these be safely predicted?
- The culture of the organization is built around the people within the organization.
- Organization goals are supported by the skills, goals, and development of their employees.
- Managers critically and carefully analyze their decisions before taking action.
- Manager actions are focused on the cause of a problem, not the symptoms.
- All people in the organization have an analytical view of the organization.
- Requires a comprehensive view of the complexity of the organization’s system.
- Identifies the causal relationships of the separate parts of the system.
- The subsystems of the larger system are identified, even if they are unofficial and not part of the org chart.
- The process of the complete system may be defined and improved.
- Acceptance of the possibility of negative outcomes and unintended consequences.
- Short- and long-term consequences are transparent and tracked in relation to each other.
- Support for multiple means to achieve goals.
- Supports a whole-person view of employees.
- Accepts and supports individual differences.
- Requires uncovering, understanding, and accepting different perceptions.
- Motivates behavior of the employees through engagement, empowerment, and transparency.
- Provides employees with opportunities within the organization, supporting the desire for involvement.
- Values people beyond mere tools to achieve the organization’s goals.
- The multiple variables of the system–those identified–may be in conflict.
- Managers may disagree on the variables of the system because of its complexity.
- Managers and employees may disagree on the causal relationships of “separate” parts of the system.
- The subsystems of the larger system may be misidentified and misinterpreted.
- Members of a subsystem or unofficial group may misrepresent that subsystem or group.
- The larger system may be divided into too many subsystems, with too many overlaps, to the extreme that there is little by which to identify the larger system.
- Because processes are dynamic, their changes may not be known or understood by separate parts of the organization.
- The nature of input-process-output may be assumed, incorrectly, to be self-sustaining.
- There may be great disagreement on the causes of negative results–many individuals involved, some may become very defensive.
- There may be great disagreement about the actions to take to avoid further negative results because many managers and employees are involved in the approach.
- Short- or long-term consequences may be viewed out of balance–too much attention on one or the other.
- Equifinality may cause divisions between the different parts and echelons of the organization.
- Disagreement and conflict may result from many people working independently to identify causes.
- Cost-benefit analyses may be in direct conflict.
- Managers might abuse the approach, even unethically, by making decisions and taking actions, then reverse-engineering an analysis such that it only supports them.
- Explaining the approach, holistic view, and processes to stakeholders and shareholders could be extremely difficult given their separation from the machinery of the system.
- May cause and support behavioral bias.
These positive and negative results can be safely predicted if
- The entire organization understands the approach and the reasoning behind its application.
- The entire organization is aware of the potential positive and negative results.
- All members of the organization are actively involved in the approach.
- All members of the organization are honest, transparent, and take responsibility.
- The organizational structure is generally flat, and all parts may freely communicate with each other.