19 terms

Chapter 4 Systems Theory

System defined by Littlejohn, 1996
A set of objects or entities that interrelate with one another to form a whole.
System defined by Cutlip, Center & Broom, 2006
A set of interacting units that endures through time within an established boundary by responding and adjusting to change pressures from the environment to achieve and maintain goal states.
Wholeness and Interdependence
- the whole is more than the sum of its parts
- the parts are interdependent
Environmental Change pressures
Organization-public systems change in response to many types of environmental pressure.
Anything that generates change pressures - information, energy, and matter inputs - on a system
The measure of the level of disorder in a closed but changing system. If they are unmanaged and non-purposive in their responses to the environmental changes, systems tend to degenerate to maximum order.
Subsystems & Suprasystems
A component - a subsystem - in one system may be itself analyzed as a system in another context. Likewise, a system defined as such for one purpose may be but a component at subsystem in a higher-order suprasystem when the reason for the analysis changes.
Self-Regulation & Control
goal oriented, activities controlled by aims or goals
Interchange with environment
- input from environment and output into environment
- system and environment affect each other
Balance (Homeostasis)
Systems seek balance. For example, a balance between the environment and the organization.
Refers to goal states that, although relatively stable, are subject to change as a result of system input.
Change and Adaptability
Systems must adapt to survive in a changing environment
- achievement of Goal of System
- Goal may be achieved in various ways & from different starting points
Characteristics of Systems
- Open- open to the environment to varying extents.
- Wholeness and Interdependence
- Environmental Change pressures
- Subsystems & Suprasystems - Hierarchy
- Self-Regulation & Control
- Interchange with Environment
- Balance (Homeostasis)
- Change and Adaptability
- Equifinality
Systems Theory in PR
PR person helps organization to communicate with its public and therefore resulting in:
- achieves balance/homeostasis with the environment
- maintains interdependence among public
- alerts the organization the need for change
- works to achieve the goals for the organization
- plays a role in maintaining the organization
Monitoring organization's environment
1. The degree of conflict/competition with the external environment, typically related to the extent of involvement with and dependence on government.
2. The degree of dependence on internal support and unity.
3. The degree to which internal operations and the external environment are believed to be rationalized, that is, characterized by predictable uniformities and therefore subject to planned influence, and affecting all of these.
4.The size and structure of the organization, its heterogeneity of membership and diversity of goals, its centralization of authority.
Closed Systems
- Have impermeable boundaries - so they cannot exchange matter, energy, information with their environments.
- do not adapt to external change and eventually disintegrate.
Open Systems
- exchange inputs and outputs through boundaries that are permeable
- responsive to environmental changes.
- adjust and adapt to counteract, accommodate environmental variations.
- must continually adjust to maintain states of equilibrium, balance - changeable goal states - homeostasis
Changes in the structure and process element in the open system model.
Cybernetics in Open Systems
Study of this input-output self-regulation process in systems.
Five elements in this model:
1. goals established in a control center.
2. Outputs related to goals, which have impact on the state of the system and its environment.
3. Feedback to the control center on the effects of the output.
4. A comparison of the new system state with the goal state.
5. Control center determination of the need for corrective output.