Open System Definition of Organization

Organizations are not stable and easily defined, but are shaped and are porous to their environments. Environments "shape, support, and infiltrate organizations. In this view, participants do not necessarily hold common goals or even routinely seek the survival of the organization. Participants in effect have transitory coalitions (Scott p. 25)

Using a open system perspective, Scott defines organizations as "systems of independent activities linking shifting coalitions of participants; the systems are embedded in -- dependent on continuing exchanges with and constituted by -- the environments in which they operate" (p. 25).

Katz and Kahn add that:
"All social systems, including organizations, consist of the patterned activities of a number of individuals. Moreover, thesee patterned activities are complementary or independent with respect to some common output or outcome: they are repeated, relatively enduring, and bounded in space and time." (p. 20).