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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

Systems Theory January 28, 2013  Dominant organization theory in the 1960s  Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn – concept of the „open‟ system (vs. closed system)  Focus is on the external environment of the organization Katz & Kahn’s Open System  9 common characteristics o Importation of energy o Throughput  Some work gets done in the system o Output  Products – take in product and put it through the throughput process and exporting it out o Cycle of events  Products ultimately have a cycle that they follow – products provide new sources of energy to create new products o Negative entropy  All systems will lead to a breakdown without continuous acquisitions of inputs o Information input, negative feedback and coding  Organizations will get information about input and the environment  Negative feedback is the simplest sort of information – customer/employee surveys o Steady state, dynamic homeostasis  System ultimately becomes self regulating in nature  Preserving the character of the system through growth and expansion o Differentiation  Social organizations lead to greater specialization of function o Equifinality  Notion that a system can reach the same end stage through a variety of different ways Organizing to Govern  Governments have any options at their disposal  Design options o Organizational structure – department, crown corporation, regulatory agency, separate agency, special operating agency o Accountability relationships o Personnel o Fiscal resources o Support services o Operational plan  Complex undertaking  Structure of government is confusing – 42 different labels o Line/operating department – most common  Canadian heritage  Department of transportation  Infrastructure Canada  Fisheries and oceans Canada Government Departments January 30, 2013  Most stringent accountability o Minister – political head  Individual and collective ministerial responsibility o Deputy minister – career public servant; administrative head  Legal definitions provided in Financial Administration Act and Public Service Employment Act  J.E. Hodgetts – “An administrative unit comprising one or more organizational components over which the minister has direct
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