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First, one of the greatest aspects of our country is the ability to provide opportunity; one of the saddest part of our country is when that opportunity forgets its original mission, serving others. I make these arguments for this post this week because I ask my fellow peers: how does system thinking (ST) create a space that hinders and destroys its’ original goal? Well, let me first begin by examining the recent closure of over sixty-three Sam Club stores in the United States on Friday, January 12, 2018. According to CNBC, “Walmart is taking prudent steps to prepare for the next generation of retail warfare” (Thomas and Wells, 2018). However, what Walmart fails to the report is the number of employees who went to work yesterday and with no warning, lost their jobs! Whose best interest is at heart? The employee or the stakeholders?
Secondly, I would argue that organizational culture produces an organizational climate; in terms of communication, basically, how communication interactions are positively or negatively carried in a culture, they can have an incredible impact on the climate. An organizational climate can be reciprocal and can clearly influence a culture – look again, at Walmart Sam Club store closings. Thus, I posit this question: what does the leader have an ability to execute? Next, how well can they sell that vision?
According to our text, authors, Uhl-Bien, Schermerhorn, and Osborn (2014) elucidate, “one of the most accepted conclusions of scientific research to date is that there is no single best way to handle people and the situations that develop as they work together in organizations” Uhl-Bien., et.al, 2014). Thus, for the staff at Walmart the transformation process was ignored and employees (and yes, some stakeholders) were deeply affected by the lack of transparency executed by ST in a clear and evidently broken system. Sadly, socioeconomic class plays a vital role in a lot of decision making for larger corporations in terms of whom they decided to provide goods and services to consumers.
- How are the stakeholders in an organization interconnected and interrelated?
Stakeholders in organization are interconnected and interrelated because of the division of labour that a company demands upon its employee and its’ primary products and good that are being provided. Not only are goods and services important to the stakeholder, so are the finances. The stakeholder carries a vested interest in a company’s: assets, portfolio, stock, and lastly people (in no particular order), “the realities are that conflicting interests add to the complexity faced by decision matters which can influence any institution (Uhl-bien, et.al., 2014). This is cumbersome. I want to clearly surmise that ST is not directly responsible for the abuses of corporate America; however, I would argue there needs to be a better systemic conceptualization of how to offer clear checks and balances in organizations that clearly abuse ST for their own benefits. According to Seilgman, “the result of a great ST project is not a set of elegant casual loop diagrams, but a new capacity for reflective dialogue, deep insight, and shifting entrenched mental models (Seilgman, 2005).
Seligman, J. (2005). Applied systems thinking: Use the power of structure to create lasting change. Reflections, The Society for Organizational Learning Journal, 6 (4/5).
Thomas, L., and Wells, Nick. (2018). CNBC. Here’s a list of where Walmart is closing more than 60 Sams Club stores. CNBC, Retrieved from:
Uhl-Bien, M., Schermerhorn, J. R., & Osborn, R. N. (2014). Organizational Behavior (13th ed.).Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
How does systems thinking apply to an organization’s culture, goals, and structures?
Systems thinking applies directly to an organizations culture, goals and its structure according to research. This concept focuses on the organization in terms of communication, employee rewards and measurable goals. Systems thinking is comprised of both closed and organic systems defined. Closed systems are like more of the traditional hierarchy systems where one person sits at the top of the organization and provides task and or goals which are filtered down through management.
Organic systems are comprised of many different components of the organization both internal and external. An organic system is getting more common in organization as it relates to organizations that adopt a philosophy of team work from all sources to complete one goal. This level of teamwork can compensate for any challenges or pitfalls that are lacking from one individual by having multiple teams on a single project to pick up those areas or individuals that might fall behind.
How are the stakeholders of an organization interconnected and interrelated?
Stakeholders of an organization make up the systems mentioned in the above paragraphs as they are the links to the chains. In a closed system that link is exposed more as an individual rather than a component to the team. In an Organic system, the individual is more a part of the team and looked as an asset to complete the overall project. The connection and relation to both is based on the organization and how they used their employees. In the traditional closed system employees are look to be top performers in moving the needle to complete the project, whereas in an organic system that same individual might be considered as a key contributor to assisting with moving the needle to complete the project.
Bertalanffy, L. V. (1969). General systems theory (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: George Braziller Inc.
Seligman, J. (2005). Applied systems thinking: Use the power of structure to create lasting change. Reflections, The Society for Organizational Learning Journal, 6(4/5)
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