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Systems Thinking Paradigm Coursework

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Updated: Jan 14th, 2022


The social understanding of organizations in the economic system has been evolving with time. Several theories have been put forward in an attempt to explain the role of organizations in society, their effect on the socio-economic and political systems as well as the relationship between society and the organizations. Models of organization theory have been elaborated with the paradigm of organizational management being developed over the years. The inclusion of technology in the management of organizations has been a key in the development of new theories and postulates on how organizations are managed and their relationship with the environment as well as society in general. Three major paradigms of perception on organizations have been elaborated in the table below; rational, natural, and open paradigms.

Systems Thinking Paradigm Table

Rational paradigm Natural paradigm Open paradigm
Organizational theory Taylors scientific management, bureaucracy, and Fayol’s administrative theories (Davis, 1996. P. 56) Bureaucracy, scientific management, Theory XY Leadership, Weber’s theory. Scientific management, Reflexive and reflective theory.
Key characteristics Goal attainment – the organizations are developed with an aim of meeting certain specific and defined goals and/or objectives (Scott, & Gerald, 2007).
The roles are derived from standard rules which are distant from personal attributes.
The social norms and roles are strongly formalized and the goals are very specific.
This was a result of rational model censure.
Since there the formal social systems are reduced and it has a complex goal, organizational behavior is found more appropriate.
Recognizes that human behavior is not necessarily guided by rules, thus the rational system does not always produce predictable results (Davis, 1996, p. 47). Many goals are to be pursued, where individuals must perform and operate within their personal interests (Scott, & Gerald, 2007). Organizations possess more than one goal but which may be in conflict with each other or may be very contradictory (Davis, 1996, p. 57). “Sometimes informal social structures are powerful and more important in defining the lines of communication and authority” (Scott, 2003, p. 143).
There is recognition of the interdependence of the organizations and interactivity with the external environment.
It studies, recognizes and deals with the wider settings. These settings can be economic social or political. It also focuses on financial aspects. These techniques can be described as organic because the organization together with the stakeholders is forced to face the external settings.
Advantages Goals are clearly defined, have directions and clear objectives
Formalized, bound by rules and impersonalized.
Clear definitions reduce misunderstandings.
Roles, power, and specificity of procedures facilitate easy organizational replication. The company development, therefore, results in numerous benefits. It is not focused on individuals.
Even though the personal roles are formed informally, a lot of credibility are attached. It provides that organizations have matching objectives and that those organizations are conflicting and complex in nature.
It is open to changes (Scott, & Gerald, 2007, p. 67). Recognizing other parties that share the goals such as the stakeholders (Jones, 2004, p.26) may drive the complexity of the organization, as the behavior.
Since the overlapping, conflicting, and complexity aspects of an organization are recognized, organizational results are predicted easily.
There is more focus on the common points of view that are shared by social responsibilities to achieve the goals (Scott, 2003).
Recognizes and acknowledges the process of globalization and cultural integration. It focuses on external threats and competition.
The independence of resources can easily be recognized since it works with external settings.
There is hierarchical and clustering characteristic of the relationships reported in the organizations. Maximization of ideas due to continued adaptation to the external environment (Scott, 2003).
Disadvantages Little creativity
No innovation and change since it works in a stable economy
Domination by win-lose methods, where the winners are the ones with power (Jones, 2004, p. 54).
There are natural conflicts due to the powerful oppressing the less powerful.
Goals are loosely coupled and the organizations are more abstract. The divergent nature of goals can cause mistaken analysis and organizational misunderstanding.
Industry Chain stores
The military
Manufacturing, Technology, Finance. Internet-based companies, e-commerce based industries, virtual companies (Scott, & Gerald, 2007, p. 34).
Company example MacDonald’s, the bank of America, the phoenix university in America The apple corporation company, Microsoft corporation, Nokia corporation, Samsung corporation (Jones, 2004, p. 58). Facebook, Twitter, the Amazon, Dell international.


Considering the rational paradigm, it is possible to observe the roles of bureaucracy and other theories described above. This gives systematic instructions to the employees and further requires clear authority for each of the transactions carried out in the bank. This is a form of bureaucracy (Scott, & Gerald, 2007, p. 54). Furthermore, the University of Phoenix is a typical organization that exhibits scientific management (University of Phoenix, 2010, p. 43-55). The natural paradigm system allows new ideas to be integrated into the old system of organizational management (Jones, 2004, p. 92). For instance, Microsoft Corporation allows those with greater power have the roles of decision making on the growth and allotment of funds (Dionne, Yammarino, Atwater, & Spangler, 2004, p. 176). In addition, there is the domination of the upper management, but which can be challenged in decision making, layoff as well as outsourcing (Bruno & Jordan, 2002, p. 110). The open systems allow e-commerce firms to meet social requirements through emerging and social mechanization technologies. The interaction of the organization with the environment, competitors, and clients is enhanced through technology (Dionne, Yammarino, Atwater, & Spangler, 2004, p. 186). The systematic analysis of the three traditional paradigms shows that their applicability exists even in the modern world, where management and organizational leadership is defined by improved and increased use of technology. The natural systems were mainly developed to address the uniqueness of human resource needs (Scott, 2003, p. 67).


  1. Bruno, R., & Jordan, L. (2002). Lean Production and the discourse of dissent: Radicalizing the shop floor at Mitsubishi motors. Working USA, 6 (1), 108-127.
  2. Davis, C. R. (1996). The administrative rational model and public organization theory. Administration & Society, 28 (1), 39-60.
  3. Dionne, S. D., Yammarino, F. J., Atwater, L. E., & Spangler, W. D. (2004). Transformational leadership and team performance. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 17 (2), 177-193.
  4. Jones, G. R. (2004). Organizational theory, design, and change. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  5. Scott, W. R., & Gerald F. D. (2007). Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems Perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  6. Scott, W.R. (2003). Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  7. University of Phoenix. (2010). Faculty handbook 2009-2010. Phoenix, AZ: University of Phoenix Press.
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