Human Organizations as Systems

The analysis of human organizations as systems is the common practice of most of the disciplines concerned with them. However, they typically confine themselves to such abstract analytical dimensions as economic allocation, information flows and allocation of power and responsibility. When the substantive organizations [1] are considered it is usual to find * (a) a closed-systems approach, and * (b) an either-or approach to the social and technical systems -- the sociologists isolating the social system for consideration in itself and the systems engineers doing the same for the technical system. [p. 259, editoral paragraphing added] * * [1] See Levy, M. J., _Structure of Society_, Princeton University Press, 1950, for a full discussion of this distinction between analytical and substantive.

There is no doubt that social systems analysis has advanced our knowledge of organizations much more rapidly than was being achieved by the earlier attention to part problems such as personnel selection and incentives. In view of the conceptual developments reflected in the preceding sections it does not seem possible that the social sciences can remain long at this level.

In the following readings we can sense some of the directions' of development. [p. 259]