Schools as Open System Organizations

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Traditional theories regarded organisations as autonomous and isolated from the outside world and failed to take into account many environmental influences that affect their efficiency. ‘The term Open Systems reflected the newfound belief that all organizations are unique partly because of the environment in which they operate and partly because they should be structured to adapt to unique problems and opportunities’ (, 2014) . Hanna (1997) similarly describes an Open System as a combination of parts (or elements) with interdependent relationships and open interactions with the external environment (p. 13). Furthermore, he describes the interactions of these elements as dynamic, fundamental systems processes (Hanna, 1997). Using the attributes of Open System Theory, I will apply them to my current workplace Figtree High School (FHS), specifically to the Flametree Complex (FC) and the Sydney Distance Education High School (SDEHS) program utilised by the school. Ludwig von Bertalanffy, a biologist, was the first to formulate the principles of the general theory of systems (French & Bell, 1999). According to his definition a system is a ‘set of elements standing in interaction’ or ‘a complex of interacting elements’ (BCSSS, 2014). Webster defines a system as a ‘regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole,’ which ‘is in, or tends to be in, equilibrium’ (Bernard, 1990). The literature provides various definitions of ‘system’, however, overall the concept of system indicates interdependence, interconnectedness and interrelation between its parts within a whole (French & Bell, 1999). The Open System model ‘conceives an organisation as a combination of parts with independent relationships and op... ... middle of paper ... ...s%20Schooling%20V1%20N1%202010.pdf Nadler, D. A., Hatvany, N. G., & Nina, G. H. (1980). Frameworks for organizational behaviorManaging Organizations: Little Brown. Retrieved from Scott, W. R. (1992). Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems. London: Prentice-Hall International. Sundarasaradula, D., & Hasan, H. (2004). Open systems and organisation theories: A unified open systems model for explaining organisational change. Retrieved 28th of March, 2014, from Thien, L. M., & Razak, N. A. (2012). A proposed framework of school organization from open system and multilevel organisation theories. World applied sciences journal, 20(6), 889 - 899.
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