Organizations as social systems

When I retired from my company , where I worked 37 years and the last 15 years as  business leader of the European Branch, I received from my employees and workers the most magnificent gift I could dream off: 150 people wrote their opinions about me.

Reading them , the tears were flowing because they were nothing else than congratulations,words of thanks and putting me as an example of their ideal boss: a people manager.

And so it is , managing and leading a company is leading people…..Leading the company as a social system.It’s not easy, because still today company’s are seen as a dynamic organism, but where the dynamic is done by machines , rules, procedures and policies.

Because of internally and externally pressures, corporate leaders became aware of the need to take into account the concerns , interests and objectives of :

-  The people who are directly part of the system: workers, employees, customers, suppliers, subcontractors

-  The larger systems that contain them:society, legal systems, family’s…

- The purposes of the  different systems

For me , all members of the whole system were my customers which I respected: by listening to them, sharing my experience , helping them to give solutions , helping by giving the resources for development. In my mind ,the corporate “shareholder”, was rapidly replaced   by the “Stakeholder”


I want to give you some critical points, I’ve used to manage my organization. I think there are also the critical skills of each business leader today:



1.Be aware that most employees today can do their jobs better than their bosses can . Therefore the traditional notion about supervision is old-fashioned . The important thing is to create working conditions under which the subordinates will function well, feeling respect ,with a culture of trust.

2.You have the obligation , to enable your people to do better tomorrow, than the best they can do today.Therefore a “Thank you” is more important than a salary increase to motivate.Be open for experiences and learning from failure.

3.In developing a quality system, we just wrote procedures on the interactions between departments and people .Managing relations between people and departments will give the maximum contribution for the whole.

4.I focused more on stakeholder satisfaction (as well internally as externally), than on performance indicators of specific actions They are also important , but a balance has to exist.

5.Decision has to be made at different levels , so that the organization can change very rapidly and effectively.

6.Finally, this is for me the most important one :Self development!! Because I’ve got the freedom to developed myself , I’ve seen the big benefits of it . Therefore personal mastery has to be encouraged, because the organization has to be capable of rapid learning and adoption. Learning effectively from others, will happen when a culture of constructive dialogue is created


There is a proverb who say’s : “a boss can only be good , if  his subordinates are good”

I can only confirm this !!

Organizations as social systems 5.00/5 - 1 x gestemd