Open systems theory, when applied to business or social systems, means that “all systems are characterized by an assemblage or combination of parts whose relations make them interdependent” (Rollag). Within mechanical systems, parts are tightly constrained, while, typically are loosely constrained. However, a large similarity is the flow of energy, information, and materials across all systems that separate the systems from the environment. Open systems undergo two processes: morphostasis (organizations to preserve the system) and morphogenesis (to elaborate on or change the system). (Rollag). “Simpler systems transmit primarily energy, while higher-order systems transmit information” (Rollag). The open systems theory began under the subject of mechanics, but it describes a very well-oiled machine that recognizes that each of its parts, its resources and the outside environment, play an important role in how it is able to run. A business is much like this well-oiled machine; there are levels and facts that are absolutely necessary to its success.
Through an organizational diagnosis, applying the characteristics of the open systems theory can help one to understand an organization better because both describe machines that are made up of many moving, interdependent parts. These parts should all run smoothly to guarantee the business’ success in its environment. There are several characteristics of open systems theory that are easily applied in business. Rollag describes that the importation of energy (resources and people from the environment), the transport of such resources, output, systems, input, information cycling and negative feedback (n.d.). These components are important for running a successful business. The importance of managing resources, where they come from and where the product goes, is crucial for the prevention of negative feedback and the promotion of profits. Input and output are both a part of the information cycle, which allows all levels to be on the same page as far as what is happening for the company as a whole.
Baptist Health of South Florida is on Fortune’s Top 100 list of the best places to work. It is South Florida’s largest private employer and, within the last two years, grew by 17 percent. “The majority of new hires came from employee referrals – and more than 1,000 workers returned to Baptist after stints elsewhere” (2011). In their 2012 Annual Report, Baptist Health was in the top 27 percent of hospital safety scores in the country, and met the industry’s standard for ‘improving surgical care.’ In 2012, Baptist Health provided its community with $279 million in benefits, which means that they gave more charity and received more patient revenue than any other hospital in Miami-Dade County (2012). In their reports, Baptist Health also reports some of the other higher scores on these scales, for patient and doctor care, and it allows the reader to see the very best hospitals in the area, even if they are not Baptist Health. It becomes clear that Baptist Health cares about the individual as well as their business and management.
The company’s website gives the impression that it would allow all patients or potential patients to see their electronic health records, earnings, etc. This is a good sign for a business because it almost guarantees that they are doing well. As a medical organization, it means that they have faith in their doctors, nurses, and patients. As well, the open systems theory of business does apply to Baptist Health of South Florida. Because they publically release their annual reports, it is clear that many aspects and departments make up the functions of the hospital as a whole.
Baptist Health South Florida. (2012). Annual Report. Retrieved from https://baptisthealth.net/en/media-center/documents/2012annualreport.pdf.
CNN Money. (2011). 100 Best Companies to Work For. Fortune Magazine. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2011/snapshots/42.html.
Rollag, K. (N.d.). Open Systems Theory. Babson College. Retrieved from http://faculty.babson.edu/krollag/org_site/encyclop/open_system.html.