Close this search box.

The application of General Systems Theory to support the success of controls contractors companies

At the beginning of the 20th century, the political-military, economic and logistic (supply) problems caused by the First World War gave rise to the need for a holistic vision, present in the reflections that were given for the solution of the problems. This generated a first version of the Systems Theory that studied the functions of a part within a whole or system, the interaction between the parts of the whole, and the interaction of those parts and the whole with its environment. At that time, the Systems Theory was applied to particular disciplinary fields.

In 1947 the German biologist Ludwig Von Bertalanffy generalized the concept of system to all disciplines and defined the General Systems Theory (GST), as a result of his criticism of the division of reality into different areas or disciplines, arguing that nature is not divided, but is a whole. Von Bertalanffy then considered that systems theory was applicable to all disciplines, i.e., that the theory was “general”.

The fundamental principles of GST are applicable to biology, economics, social sciences, sociology, engineering, regulatory techniques and disciplines specializing in information and communication. Thanks to the bases provided by GST for the establishment of analysis models in various disciplines, the development of operations research, the mathematical theory of communication, cybernetics and organizational behavior, among other disciplines, was fostered.

Based on the above, it can be concluded that General Systems Theory provides an approach to the study of reality, which provides the basis both for describing the general relationships between the components of a system or between different systems, and for achieving the communication of different realities and between different disciplines. The GST proposes that systems cannot be fully understood if their parts are analyzed in isolation.

From his studies of the behavior of living organisms, Von Bertalanffy first established the concept of Open Systems. These organisms are composed of different but integrated parts, which are in permanent change and in relation to their environment. And thanks to Von Bertalanffy’s generalization of the Systems Theory and the consequent extrapolation of the concept to the business organization, it was possible to conclude that, due to its condition of living and open system, this type of organization exchanges information with the environment, and this exchange is a consequence of the interrelation of its internal parts of different nature.

In their book “Organizational Transformation and Learning – A cybernetic approach to management” the authors Espejo, Schulman, Schwaninger and Bilello state that business organizations can adopt multiple states and behaviors, which identifies them as hypercomplex open systems because they relate to their environment, are composed of several elements that have one or more attributes and are interrelated, and have rules that specify this interaction. In addition, as social systems, organizations are probabilistic, which means that their reactions to certain circumstances are not completely predictable; therefore, the influence of the external environment on them is relatively controllable.

And similarly, the behavior of the people who run organizations, the behavior of the consumers of their products, and the behavior of their suppliers is not easily predictable.

The interaction of organizations with multiple external systems increases their level of complexity and, as highly complex systems, business organizations need to be controlled.

In order to favor an adequate control it is necessary to keep in mind that organizations benefit when they are clear that their processes are integrated through the flow of information among them, a product of communication. According to Karl W. Deutsch, “communication is what makes organizations coherent; control is what regulates their behavior”.

In the book mentioned in previous paragraphs, Espejo, Schulman, Schwaninger and Bilello explain how to carry out a systemic management in the organization, which deploys the strategic direction of the organization towards its units or dependencies, and explain the importance of the proper functioning of the processes in the organization, and their alignment with the strategic direction.

The key to an integral systemic management in the organization is to ensure the success of the operational part by being intelligent in the strategic part and contributing to the whole from standards and guidelines, to achieve viability. For this to work, a more complex control structure is required than traditional feedback systems, and since not all organizational issues are measured in the same way, it is necessary to define, observe and measure the variables that control each issue.

It is important for managers to be clear about the need for systemic control and not only at the first level, since the results of the different levels are related, affect each other and generate changes to the organization’s processes.

To execute a strategy at all levels of the organization requires an appropriate structure, and it is necessary to be clear that the strategy is not only the responsibility of the organization’s management team, but must be managed in all units that are required to maintain viability. These units must be managed by integral leaders who recognize the relationship they have with the organization, with other organizational units and with their external environment.

The primary processes of an organization – those that produce the products and services that are part of its identity or reason for being- must be guided by the goals defined in the organization’s strategic direction. The management of a tiered structure in the organization is justified when the activities of the processes at each level add value to the activities of the previous level.

It is important to understand how communications between the primary processes can achieve alignment between the interests of the process owners, the organization and the environment in which the organization exists.

With all this in mind, CUBE USA conceived and works in the permanent strengthening of the integral software platform CUBE, to support and achieve maximum effectiveness in the operation and communication between the diverse areas of the companies of the controls contractors, and to provide easily visualized results that favor the decision making and the strategic redirection of your organization.

Want to learn more about CUBE?

Visit as or follow us on:

#WorkSMARTERnotHARDER #Makeefficiencyyourreality