This paper is a case analysis of system theory and its application. It considers open system and its specific application to BP Company. An in-depth analysis will be carried out to establish the extent of application of systems theory by BP to the Deepwater Horizon Drilling station. The paper will further delve into inputs, outputs, and the transformation that will occur to be as an organization. The paper will also look at the elements that are in BP’s external environment and also identify the particular elements. In addition, the paper will evaluate BP as an open system and also consider how all of its subsystems interact. Finally the paper will consider the how organizations recognize subsystems and how each move within the organizations as well as the ethics of the situation and the leadership.
Systems theory can be defined as a transdisciplinary approach, which abstracts and considers a system as a set of independent and interacting parts. (Wiki, par 1). Bertalanffy in the 1930s introduced systems theory as a modeling devise that accommodates the interrelationships and overlap between separate disciplines. (“cs.unb., par1”, n.d). We will consider the application of systems theory in organizational theory. In his definition (McNamara, n.d) highlights an organization as a person or group of people intentionally put together to accomplish an overall, common goal or set of goals or set of goals. He goes further to point out that if one takes an organization to be a system then a system would simply be an organized collection of parts that is highly integrated in order to a accomplish an overall goal. For the system to be effective then it has to have various inputs in order to have several outputs that together accomplish the desired goal by the organization. The author further adds that they need to be an ongoing feedback between the inputs and outputs to ensure they remain aligned to the overall goal o the organization and that the expected results are arrived at. We shall now consider this aspect of the system theory in BP Oil Company as an organization.
BP Oil Company is a global company which majorly deals in: finding oil and gas, extracting oil and gas, moving oil and gas, making fuels and gas and selling fuel and products. This paper will consider the aspect of extracting oil and gas and take it as a system base d on our definition above and apply system theory in BP achieving its intended goals. Deepwater Horizon Drilling station is the particular system used by BP Oil Company in extracting oil and gas in offshore reserves. When shall limit our application of the system theory to the Deepwater Horizon Drilling Station of BP Oil Company as a whole. For a system to effectively exist there must be input and output as well as feedback to ensure that the outputs of the systems are what hey should be. In this system the output which refers to the materials the system may receive from the external environment and includes the machinery, manpower, technology and fuel. When the inputs are introduced into the system the process of extraction commences towards a desired result. Feedback is then assessed to be either positive or negative in which case a positive feedback is advancement towards the intended results while a negative feedback indicates variations and a likelihood of not achieving the intended results. The desired result is the output and in our case is oil or gas. The effectiveness of the Deepwater Horizon Drilling station would be the safe and proper extraction of oil and gas, which is the achievement of the initial goal.
BP Oil Company faces certain factors which fall within the internal or external environment. Internal environment of a system is the part of the environment in which it exercises control while the external environment is that part where it has no control. (“cs.unb., par 9 and 10”, n.d). Several elements exist that affect the external environment of the Deepwater Horizon Drilling station. They include:
- Governmental legislation
- Environmental factors like natural disasters, weather changes.
Worldwide, organizations have subsystems and usually each subsystem has its own boundaries of sorts and includes various inputs, processes and outputs geared to accomplish an overall goal for the subsystem ( McNamara, par 11). It further goes on to state that the examples of subsystems are departments, projects, programs and teams processes to produce products or services. In order for the project to come to conclusion successfully a number of subsystems exists which work may independently but also interact. Mcnamara also argues that subsystems are organized in a hierarchy needed to accomplish the overall goal of the overall system. The Operations department works to ensure that the intended outcome of oil or gas extraction is fulfilled. The finance department o the other hand ensures that all the financial needs are met. The subsystems being independent must interact effectively to succeed. The departments have different inputs for example, the finance department sorts all the financial data o come up with information inform of financial reports. The operation department likewise has manpower and machinery as the inputs to get gas or oil as the output. The finance department may occasionally seek feedback from the operation department in terms of the progress of purchases and pending supplies. The operation department as well may seek interim reports from the finance subsystem to enable the evaluation of the project progress.
Conflicts may a rise between the subsystems once in a while. The nature may be as to the failure of one subsystem which may adversely affect the other. The management should ensure that this is avoided and it can do this by setting up codes policies and procedures for each department as well as an integrated one which shall be run to affect the entire system
In conclusion we have seen the application of the system theory specifically in BP Oil Company’s Deepwater Horizon Drilling station in terms of input throughput and output including the feedback that is associated with them. We have also delved into the subsystems and their interactions and seen how it can be enhanced. The overall objective of the system is therefore to ensure the success of the organization. This responsibility fully lies with the leadership.