System Design theorists are more pragmatic and concerned with changing and
improving the organization from the manager's perspective. Much of their
work is based on operations research and extensively used modeling and simulation
of organizational processes. They focus on the operational level of the
organization and decompose the total organization into analyzable parts
considered as "black boxes" with describable inputs and outputs.
Most often it's information flows that are analyzed.
One aspect of these highly probabilistic, interconnected systems is that
it's impossible to predict all the possible failure scenarios, leading to
"normal accidents" (Perrow, 1984). Negative synergy results in
a breakdown of the existing system.
Regarding individuals as contributors in systems, Haberstroh notes that
on the negative side, individuals have "low channel capacity, lack
of reliability, and poor computational ability". On the positive side
individuals have "large memory capacity, large repertory of responses,
flexibility in relating responses to inputs, and ability to react creatively
when facing unexpected situations" (Haberstroh, 1965).
"The challenge facing systems designers is how to create structures
that will overcome the limitations and exploit the strengths of each system
component, including the individual participants" (Scott p. 88).