ERIC Number: ED203803
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Towards a Natural Systems Theory of Organizational Effectiveness: Integrating Geopolitical, Darwinistic and Strategic Planning Perspectives. ASHE Annual Meeting 1981 Paper.
A theory of organizational development is developed from turn-of-the-century geopolitical studies by combining the following: Smithian and Darwinian perspectives; the firmer concepts of management; and strategic planning views. An attempt is made to explore natural organizational processes by considering geopolitical, economic, biological, and management views. Six strategic characteristics of an organization are proposed based on: the historical work of Alfred Mahan, who analyzed the elements of British sea power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Halford Mackinder's 1904 analysis of pivotal land positions; Likert's (1967) work on participative models; Peterson's et al. (1967, 1970) studies on institutional vitality of colleges; Mott's (1972) work on organizational effectiveness; and the work of Cameron (1978), Katz and Kahn (1978), and others on characteristics, processes, and structures of healthy organizations, including colleges. Three of the strategic characteristics pertain to competitive advantage, and three pertain to the capacity to adapt. Those characteristics of effective organizations providing competitive advantage are as follows: productive centers of distinctive strength with internal and external links; pivotal locations (geographic and technological); and quality products. Those providing the capacity to adapt are as follows: permeable boundaries related to segmented markets; preponderance of staff employed in adaptive substructures; and executive-level encouragement to develop new products. It is suggested that since the strategic planning perspective emphasizes the organization's capacity to fulfill expectations in external environments, it also bridges both organization and supersystem theories, and closed and open systems theories. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: ASHE Annual Meeting; Darwin (Charles); Smith (Adam); Strategic Planning
Note: Revision of a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Washington, DC, March 3-4, 1981).