The Open System Essay

The Open System

     A system is group of units or elements that interact with each other. For example, in a company, you can have a personnel department, an accounting department, a production department, and a marketing department. Although each of these units have their own tasks or responsibilities, they still interact with each other and make up a system. There are two types of systems, namely, the open and closed systems. This paper however would just focus on the open system.

        The open system interacts with other systems or what may be referred to as the outside environment. For example, the United States Air Force is a system that has to interact with other systems such as defense contractors in spite of its being self-sufficient. The United States Air Force does so because it has needs that only outside systems can provide. This interacting with outside systems make the open system flexible.

      In the open system, independent subsystems and process of communication, feedback and management join the subsystems together. According to Fielder’s Contigency Model, there are many factors to consider in order for communication and feedback to happen smoothly. Fielder says that a good relation among the different subsystems  help ensure good communication and feedback . If the task is highly structured, the there will be a smooth flow of communication and feedback from and within among the different subsystems. One subsystem’s position of authority and power also dictates how well the other subsystems would respond. Also according to Fielder, either task orientation which focuses more on goals, procedures, or assignments or relationship orientation  which focuses more on interaction among the different subsystems would determine the success of achieving their goals. (Ruskin and Estes, 1995, p.  167)


Ruskin, Arnold M. W. Eugene Estes. (1995). What Every Engineer Should Know about Project Management.  New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.