Open System in Management: Definition & Example

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  • 0:00 What Is an Open System?
  • 0:28 Examples of an Open System
  • 2:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

An open system is the core concept behind open system analysis, which is one of the leading methodologies in analyzing an organization. In this lesson, you will learn what an open system is, see how it applies to organizations, and be given some examples to explain the concept.

What is an Open System?

An open system is a system, or a group of parts creating a whole, that interacts with its environment by exchanging energy, materials, and information with an aim of system renewal and growth. A feature of an open system is negative entropy, where the open system continues to import energy, information and resources to function while becoming more heterogeneous and complex.

Examples of an Open System

This definition is a bit abstract, so let's explore it a bit. A perfect example of an open system is a living organism such as a human being. We actively interact with our environment, which results in changes to both the environment and us. For example, we eat to acquire energy. We are subject to the sun's radiation and the climate of our planet. We are exposed to natural and artificial chemicals that can either help or harm us. We also gather information whether it is learning the seasons for agriculture or studying super string theory on the Internet. Of course, interaction is a two-way street. We act upon the environment to gather, grow, or hunt food. We mine and harvest. Our technology has transformed the surface of the earth and even the space above it with orbiting satellites.

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