Do managers operate in an open system or closed system?
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There are both closed system and open system models of management. That means that some people see managers operating in closed systems while others see them operating in open systems. My own view is that essentially all managers operate in open systems in today’s world. Let us look at the two kinds of systems to see why I say this.
Closed system models assume that the workplace is essentially closed to outside influence. In this model, things like technology, culture, politics, and the law are all rather predictable. These are the influences that are external to the system. Since they are not going to change in unpredictable ways, they do not need to be paid attention to.
By contrast, open system models assume that the workplace in which managers operate can be affected by outside influences. For example, open system models assume that a firm’s customers can have a significant impact on the firm and that the behavior of the customers cannot be easily predicted. This led to such models as the Total Quality Management model, in which firms constantly consult with their customers.
My own view is that the open system model is more realistic. In today’s world, there are so many external influences that can affect the workplace in unpredictable ways. These can include such things as the political environment within a country (as in the recent government shutdown) and it can include things that happen in faraway countries.
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