Systems Theory and Change
How does systems theory relate to organization development and change? In fact, systems theory lies at the heart of the discipline. Part of the answer is in the interactivity among all processes in the system. Every organizational process directly or indirectly affects every other. No one in any self-organizing system acts alone. Everyone is under the constant barrage of sensory inputs from events, people, and information all around.
Those relentless inputs overwhelmingly affect the unconscious thinking, decisions, and behavior of every individual within the system. In this sense, the emergence and inevitable structuration of an organization obey physical laws, rather than being the mechanistic products of their planners’ intentions. Organizations are nonrational, self-reinforcing, sociopsychological structures.
In addition to the human side of organizations, however, the paradigm of self-organizing systems provides insights into the sources of value creation in organizations. The highly abstract concepts of dynamic morphology, dynamic homeostasis, and nonlinearity, in particular, reveal some of the deeper ways in which scientifically construed systems dynamics produce value.