Systems Theory

Systems Theory



Systems Theory

Question 1

The open systems theory is a concept, which posits that a firm’s behavior, organizational structure, and overall success will be highly influenced by external environmental factors. The environment is a strong force which is likely to affect an organization from a social, economic, technological, cultural, and political dynamic (Griffin, 2016). An assumption of the open systems theory is that an organization needs to interact with its environment in an open and free manner in order to thrive. This means that there is need to provide a good flow system where goods, services, and information are easily accessible by stakeholders. It facilitates establishment of an efficient and agile organizational structure. Within the open systems, there exist subsystems, which work individually and independently from others, but works towards a common organizational goal. The subsystems are able to communicate with each other and provide a network of coordination.

Question 2

An open systems theory can be used to understand an organization through finding out specific ways in which it interacts with its environment to thrive. Most companies today are faced with challenges of staying ahead of the competition while trying to provide superior quality products and services. Use of the open systems theory helps us to understand how their behavior is affected by certain environmental, social, market, cultural and technological factors. One of the most important factors to consider is the customer needs, which affect the type and quality of product and service that firms will provide. Financial needs will affect the economies of scale as well as ease of business operation within that environment. Cultural needs will affect the manner in which an organization will conduct its internal and external structure, communication, and overall conventional behavior. It will also affect how firms assume their corporate responsibility to improve overall stakeholder needs (Griffin, 2016).

Question 3

In General Mills, the open systems theory can be applied in a number of ways. Through a close and efficient network with its market base, it can be able to examine consumer behavior to find out specific food needs and other important preferences. As an American multinational company that manufactures and sells branded foods, it is likely to meet competition from numerous other food and beverage companies such as Nestle, Kellogg’s, Campbell Soup, Kraft, ConAgra Foods, and Seneca Food Corporation, among several others. Such large producers of the same goods are also likely to affect the manner in which General Mills will tackle competition in an ethical and responsible manner.

Question 4

The best organizational development model that can be applied to General Mills is the good-grounded approach. It is a qualitative method that applies systematic generation of information through research procedures. Such a model would fit into the General Mills business framework in providing opportunities for researchers to examine consumer behavior more closely. It will thus give the firm better chances at attraction of a larger market base through diversification and expansion. The qualitative approach within the good-grounded model allows researchers to establish a more in depth examination of its market through examining its characteristics rather than simply providing numbers as shown in many quantitative approaches. The good-grounded model will also help researchers to establish a better understanding of the market, thus being able to formulate hypotheses and solutions to current challenges within the firm.

Question 5

As a large corporation, General Mills has a vast and intricate network of environmental resources. As such, the strategies that need to be implemented need to factor in how the external environment will affect them. The marketing strategies employed are both responsible and creative to apply to consumers. It focuses on the role of family as a basic cultural unit in which individuals identify and appreciate themselves and others (General Mills, 2016). As such, the marketing is both audience appropriate for both children and adults. Due to this, their marketing strategies are extremely flexible as compared to those of its competitors.

Question 6

Within the organizational level, the outputs are products and services provided to consumers. They include refrigerated manufactured foods such as yoghurt, ice cream, cereals, flour, snack foods, dough, and vegetables, among several others. Outputs at the organizational financial level include the overall revenue from sale of products. As of 2014, the operating income of the company was estimated at 2.95 billion dollars while net profit was 1.82 billion. Output was divided into several business units of operation such as within the bakery, manufacturing, and processing units. In the individual level, output is described by key performance indices of an organization, which is evaluated for every employee and other stakeholders (Watrous, 2015).

Question 7

Organizational learning is defined as the process through which a firm will create, obtain, retain, and transfer knowledge throughout from one section of the organization to another (Francescato & Aber, 2015; Janicijevic, 2006). The concept draws from the fact that through experience, an organization will become more defined in its role in the external environment (Wick, 2006). As such, operations and flow of information will become more coordinated and efficient. In addition, experience allows the company to create information, which helps in enhancing success. Information can range from business operation to social, political, and technical factors. For instance, a company that has operated for a decade has over time gained sufficient information to increase productivity, improve investments, and promote a good customer service relationship.

Question 8

While organizational learning is based on obtaining information based on experience, a learning organization is based on the development of a culture where stakeholders are keen to identify and respond to change and other environmental factors in a bid to become successful firms. For a learning organization, there exists a process of consistent detection of errors, followed by determination of ways to correct them (Christenson, 2016). As such, we can be said to be anthropomorphizing organization because firstly, there is the establishment of a culture where learning phenomenon is constant and secondly, the information obtained leads to positive change for the firm.

Question 9

General Mills can be described as a learning organization. It has employed collaborative learning, which is led by learning directors throughout its subsidiaries worldwide. It also has learning services, most of which take place digitally. Learning objectives include brand building, adaptation, supply chain management, marketing strategies, and building partner relationships, among other fields. General Mills also takes seriously the need to train its employees in order to enhance competency within the firm (Whitney, 2013). Throughout the years of operation, General Mills has been able to learn that there needs to exist not only a suitable learning environment for stakeholders, but also a good execution strategy that facilitates change based on the information.


Christenson, B. (2016). Consumers come first: General Mills at CAGNY 2016.

Francescato, D. & Aber, M. (2015). Learning from organizational theory to build organizational empowerment. Journal of Community Psychology, 43(6), 717-738.

General Mills. (2016). Responsibility: Marketing and advertising.

Griffin, D. (2016). Open system organizational structure. Chron Small Business.

Janicijevic, N. (2006). Organizational learning in the theory of organizational change. Ekonomski Anali, 51(171), 7-31.

Watrous, M. (2015). General Mills lays out roadmap for retail. Food Business News.

Whitney, K. (2013). General Mills: Making learning collaborative. Chief Learning Officer Media.

Wick, C. (2006). The six disciplines of breakthrough learning. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

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