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The Application of Living Systems Theory to the Analysis of Organisations

by Backlund, Alexander

Abstract (Summary)
Living systems theory provides a conceptual model the use of which might help to improve the understanding of an organisation and its problems, thus helping analysts to find solutions to these problems. A method to guide the application of living systems theory to the analysis of organisations is needed. In this work, a number of methods based on living systems theory are analysed, and a method for analysing organisations that consists of nine steps based on fundamental living systems theory concepts and, to some extent, the aforementioned methods is proposed. The steps of the method range from the initial problem, i. e. the reason to undertake the analysis, to the evaluation of the final solution. The method is iterative – the analyst will have to go back and forth between the steps of the method – and is also supposed to be continually applied. Together with this method a number of description techniques are proposed. Several of these description techniques are graphical, which will hopefully enhance readability and maintainability. 1. INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... 1 2. BACKGROUND ..................................................................................................................... 2 2.1 LIVING SYSTEMS THEORY AND ORGANISATIONS: CONCEPTS AND IDEAS........................ 2 2.2 GROUNDS AND PREVIOUS WORK ......................................................................................... 6 2.2.1 WHY MILLER’S MODEL?................................................................................................... 6 2.2.2 PURPOSE............................................................................................................................... 9 2.2.3 PREVIOUS WORK.................................................................................................................. 9 2.2.4 PROBLEMS.......................................................................................................................... 11 2.3 CONCEPTS AND ASSUMPTIONS ........................................................................................... 12 2.3.1 RELEVANT LEVELS ............................................................................................................ 12 2.3.2 THE PURPOSE OF ANALYSES.............................................................................................. 13 2.3.3 UNDERSTANDING ............................................................................................................... 13 2.3.4 INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PROPERTIES ............................................................................ 13 2.4 WHAT TO STUDY AND ACCOMPLISH.................................................................................. 14 2.4.1 THREE ASPECTS ................................................................................................................. 14 2.4.2 OTHER BASES..................................................................................................................... 15 2.4.3 EXPECTED RESULTS ........................................................................................................... 15 3. METHOD .............................................................................................................................. 17 4. AN INTERPRETATION OF JOHNSTONE’S STUDY ................................................... 20 4.1 A GENERAL DESCRIPTION.................................................................................................. 20 4.2 STEPS .................................................................................................................................... 20 4.3 COLLECTED INFORMATION ................................................................................................ 22 4.4 RESULT................................................................................................................................. 23 4.5 COMMENTS .......................................................................................................................... 23 5. A DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODS USED BY BRYANT AND MERKER,
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Högskolan i Skövde

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:living systems theory organisation analysis method description techniques

ISBN:

Date of Publication:12/12/2007

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