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# Goals Systems Theory: Overview

Info: 1426 words (6 pages) Essay
Published: 26th Jul 2018

• Jenna Lyles

Section B

1. Equifinality: To understand the system property of Equifinality is to understand the old adage “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” This means that ultimately the guarantee of success is not reliant on taking/completing any singular path, procedure, or means of fulfilling a system goal. No one way is the only way, as there are multiple ways in which an organization can reach its goal(s).

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2. Multifinality: Multifinality is the system property that can best be epitomized in “the pursuit of multiple goals by means of a single activity” (Shah et al., 2002). Essentially, it is the notion that one act has the power to spawn multiple reactions. Multifinality is preferable to causes which produce one effect as multifinality is the equivalent of getting an exceptional bang for a regular buck, so to speak.

Multifinality Example: At Oakleaf High School when one class ends a bell sounds signaling that students are to proceed to their next class a minute before the tardy bell (which declares them late if they have not reached their next destination) sounds a “warning bell” sounds. This let’s students know that they have approximately 60 seconds to get to their next class. To say that the halls of Oakleaf High School remained, until the shrill of that warning bell blasted, packed, was an understatement. To reduce the socializing that took place in between classes (that which our three vice principals thought aided tardiness) our principal (Mr. Broski) did away with the warning bell. The first week of the new policy showed promising results in more regions than one: tardiness was at a low, there were less accidents on the stairs (since people were not flying down them, racing to class), and the hallways were finally navigable! In this way Oakleaf High School (the system) killed not two, but three birds with one stone! The stone, or goal in this case, being the pursuit of reducing socializing in between classes.

3. Negative Entropy: Negative entropy is the system property by which a system is able to preserve itself and additionally promote the system’s growth. The notion of negative entropy extensively harps on the significance of a system engaging in necessary exchanges–necessary in that these exchanges permit system survival and success– with its environment. In this way, negative entropy suggests that a system’s exhibits a definite dependence on a circulation of information/components shared between it and its environment.

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Negative Entropy Example: An example of multifinality can be found in the closing-down of Blockbusters nation-wide. Blockbuster was a booming movie and game rental business, before entertainment conveniences like Netflix arrived on the scene. Blockbuster remained closed to its environment in that by the time it considered incorporating methods liken to Netflix and OnDemand (online access to entertainment, mail services, etc.) it was too late and they had suffered irrecoverable blows to their revenue. Ultimately Blockbuster would go out of business, shutting down all of their corporate-owned stores. The CEO’s of Blockbuster primarily owe their failure to a stinted interaction with their environment. The failure to see and adjust to the world of entertainment around them, especially methods of renting/viewing entertainment from the convenience of your home, delineates how they ignored the very environment responsible for their system’s (Blockbuster’s) viability. An argument can definitely be made that the company might have otherwise avoided deterioration if they had maintained an ebb and flow of information between themselves and the progressing environment around them.

4. Requisite Variety: Requisite variety is another system property in which the imperativeness of the relationship between a system and its environment is addressed. Requisite variety is, in itself, self-explanatory. Put a simple “of” in the middle of requisite and variety and you end up with a concise explanation of the notion: requisite of variety. Meaning, the variety within a system (its inner workings, fundamentals, mechanics, etc.) imposes the requisition that the system’s environment be composed of a liken variety. Basically, the environment of a system should match the system’s innards itself, with regard to complication and diversity (for evolution and survival). Why is this necessary? A system that is ill-equipped to handle/adapt to the intricacies of its environment will be overrun with complication and falter.

References

J.Y. Shah, A. Fishbach, R. Friedman, W. Chun, and D. Sleeth-Keppler (2002), “A Theory of Goals Systems,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 34, M.P. Zanna, ed. New York: Academic Press, 331–78.

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