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Open Systems ISA, Inc.
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Whether one goes to a large medical facility or to a free community clinic, step one is generally the same: Someone in the organization initiates both a financial and a physical assessment of your condition. It's as if the doctor needs to know your symptoms and what resources are at hand before he or she can even consider how to plot out their response. Medical health conditions are not standalone realities; they are intimately linked to one's ability to condition solutions to affordable possibilities.
The relevance of this for companies whose health and wellness is tied both to their business organization and to the optimization of the planet's environment have learned this duality of diagnostic imperatives over time. They have had to develop how to use recycling or reclamation practices that emerged from outside of the confines of a traditional business model. The complexity and interplay of factors and the cost considerations that grew exponentially with the public's awareness of this issue required a far different blending of the values and implications of bottom line sustainability. It soon would become evident that the diagnostic "feedback loop" of prescriptive intervention would need to be nearly instantaneously responsive to a very broad, very localized set of conditions that seem to exist without regards to any easily defined boundaries. An entirely new appreciation for the blending of the values of health and sustainability had to learn to incorporate social, ecological and profitability into triple bottom line considerations like never before.
It was not deemed feasible until recently for companies like Industrial Services of America, Inc., to either exist or to claim two consecutive years of recognition of Forbes' list of top small cap companies. Reclaiming, recycling and repurposing the economic value of waste materials was simply financially unfeasible; cost factors were far outside of those used in making items from freshly manufactured materials. Today, however, those conditions have changed to the point where it may no longer be possible for some manufacturers to make raw materials into enough materials to allow goods to be made from once-used items. Apparently certain alloys require more resources than can be easily mined. Instead, these producers now need to rely on what ISA offers and ISA needs to be able to prepare for and react to positive and negative health indicators of enormous variability if they are going to successfully "take pride in every pound" of their productivity. As their current website says directly,
We are committed to complying with all environmental laws, regulations, permits and standards of practice applicable to our operations, and plan ahead for future requirements. We will monitor, evaluate and continuously improve the effectiveness of our environmental practices through mandatory periodic audits, reviews and the successful implementation of new environmental initiatives.
Such organizational openness requires more than just a singular sensitivity to one or even a few operational elements of effectiveness. It requires an ever changing deep organizational congruence of considerations that enable high-performance action and reaction to well blended and interwoven bottom line awareness. Which, not surprisingly, is exactly the kind of diagnostic capability that is now within the reach of certain progressive investment strategies.
ORGANIZATIONAL DIAGNOSTIC MODELS
The leading recognized Organizational Diagnostic models are presented below in light of their applicability to these contemporary sustainability considerations, even if such considerations were not necessary at the time of the outlining of the models. Instead, this assessment seeks to review how the blending of environmental business elements has come together into double or even triple levels of possibility, even if this awareness is not fully ready to use the best of diagnostic opportunities at this point. Following these necessarily brief summaries, the ISA case is made for its own type of diagnostic sensitivity and sustainability.
Force Field Analysis (1951) -- An equilibrium model, this approach assumed that the ideal situation for operational efficiency, which is a common belief for all of these models, emanates from a balance of the good (driving) and bad (restraining) forces that motivate organizations to move and change to efficient functionality (often associated with profitability first). This continuous balancing presumed to allow for a sufficient sense of organization comfort that enable this movement to not obstruct the goals of product or purposive success. From today's perspective such zero-sum expectations would not allow for anticipating complex interactive implications that fundamentally altered the driving or restraining factors over unbounded time periods or other conditions.
Leavitt's Model (1965) -- A task-based analysis, this model envisions the interplay of certain administrative and personnel elements that range from what equipment is used and the readily available supplies or resources that are needed for human elements to put them together into the desired outcome. Thought to be more interactive than its predecessor, this approach remained closed to outside environmental elements that were not self-contained within the tasks at hand.
Open Systems Theory (1966) -- When initially introduced, this perspective was thought to address the deficiencies noted above. It suggested that there was in fact a highly-relevant interplay with "environmental" elements outside of the organization, though its focus was not specifically ecological. Its introduction of these outside elements was still tied to traditional business measurements vis-a-vis bottom line returns. Only later would this outlook be allowed to grow into the generally encompassing perspective of openness that provides far greater dimensions of feedback a practical reality. Making effectively minor adjustments to allow for outside influences is a much different perspective than allowing for wholesale green, chemical or socio-economic potentials and disbursements that are now required for opening the doors to values blending.
Likert System Analysis (1967) -- A staple of social analysis, the Likert scale first allowed for detailing quantitative differences the elements that needed to be "counted" in order to mathematically assess their probability of impact. One advantage of this perspective was its ability to make qualitative considerations quantitative. Numerical scaling would thus allow operational elements to be empirically assessed under internal or external realities, at least within reasonable parameters associated with participatory and beneficial or exploitive considerations.
Weisbord's Six-Box Model (1976) -- Focused still on typical business production and leadership elements, this box of considerations did introduce the factor of operative relationships between purposes, structures, rewards and other helpful (or presumably unhelpful) mechanisms. Formally or informally, these forces can lay outside of the boxes of understanding and are at least thought to be their own opening to external factors.
Congruence Model for Organization Analysis (1977) -- Characterized by an awareness of inputs, outputs and throughputs, this assumption is a return to its own appreciation of a balance between critical factors and results. The strategies that are needed to understand and appreciate the "fit" between certain components of one sector of the organization with the same elements of other sectors of the organization becomes paramount, even if it may be difficult to understand these elements when they are located outside of traditional organizational boundaries. It is the degree of the fit that ties what works with what doesn't and presumably leaders to be better balance of the equilibrium or tasks noted in other models.
McKinsey 7S Framework (1981-82) -- Bought and paid for through hands on consultancy experience, this approach is yet again a return to internal elements that share commonalities that are tied to each other through their "s" words. Their framework of shared value levers demonstrated how an alignment of these considerations could provide for a healthy congruence, though their model did not truly factor in these influences from external environmental factors.
Tichy's Technical Political Cultural (TPC) Framework (1983) -- An emergent model, this approach looks at what comes out of the interactive realities of inputs, throughputs and outputs. Levels of authority and responsibility are assessed in regards to external environmental factors and historical considerations, and viability is mostly linked to the dynamics fit with or are aligned with other expected missions and goals.
High-Performance Programming (1984) -- Every organization can do better. They can act, react or respond more efficiency than they are, and one can judge this efficiency by way of Likert-style surveys of performance. Leadership is key to organizational balance and the exchange of open feedback and support as new efficiency is coached into future improvements.
Diagnosing Individual and Group Behavior (1987) -- Individual and group dynamics and quality of work factors are assessed here and offered as external and environmental factors. The boundaries of the organization are effectively dropped or at least minimized since it is what individuals and groups bring to the performance…[continue]
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