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December 14, 2004

The Causal Texture of Organizational Environments

F.E. Emery and E.L. Trist, ‘The causal texture of organizational environments’, Human Relations vol.18 (1965), pp. 21-32. Reprinted with Permission

A main problem in the study of organization change is that the environmental contexts in which organizations exists are themselves changing, at an increasing rate, and towards increasing complexity. This point, in itself, scarcely needs labouring. Nevertheless, the characteristics of organisational environments demand consideration for their own sake, if there is to be an advancement of understanding in the behavioural sciences of a great deal that is taking place under the impact of technological change, especially at the present time. This paper is offered as a brief attempt to open up some of the problems, and stems from a belief that progress will be quicker if a certain extension can be made to current thinking about systems. In a general way it may be said that to think in terms of systems seems the most appropriate conceptual response so far available when the phenomena under study – at any level and in any domain – display the character of being organised, and when understanding the nature of the interdependencies constitutes the research task. In the behavioural sciences, the first steps in building a systems theory were taken in connection with the analysis of internal processes in organisms, or organisation, when the parts had to be related to the whole. Examples include the organismic biology of Jennings, Cannon, and Henderson; early Gestalt theory and its later derivatives such as balance theory; and the classical theories of social structure. Many of these problems at the social level. It will show how a greater degree of system-connectedness, of crucial relevance to the organization, many develop in the environment, which is yet not directly a function either of the organization’s own characteristics or of its immediate relations. Both of these, of course, once again become crucial when the response or the organization to what has been happening is considered.

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Posted by ACASA on December 14, 2004 at 02:02 PM in Classics | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 03, 2004

A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership

By Russell L. Ackoff

Systemic Practice and Action Research, (1998), 11(1), 23-36

What do systems thinkers think about leadership? Russell Ackoff provides his response, and goes further to describe "transformational" leadership. Important distinctions are drawn between the concepts of leadership and transformation, efficiency and effectiveness, growth and development. Ackoff discusses four types of systems and emphasizes that leaders must understand the particular nature of their system in order to achieve transformation.

To read this article, click on the link: A Systemic View of Transformational Leadership.


A Systemic Transformation

Types of Systems: Deterministic, Animated, Social, Ecological

Transformational leaders are driven by ideas, not by the expectations of others. They are skillful at beating the system, not surrendering to it.

Transformational leaders must understand the nature of a system. A system is a functioning whole that cannot be divided into independent parts and be effective.

A system is transformed when the type of system it is thought to be is changed.

Posted by ACASA on December 3, 2004 at 02:26 PM in Systems Articles | Permalink | Comments (2)