Systemic Governance

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Meyer stipulates that an alternative to governance through oversight is systemic governance, implemented by replacing oversight controls with systemic controls to induce desired behaviours (Meyer, 2004). Meyer further associates the systemic controls with forces prevalent in the market economy, forces that align every business with the needs of its clients and the economy as a whole (Meyer, 2004). Systemic controls, acting in the same manner as market forces, would be adjusted within an organisation to induce desired behaviours and combined with other governance systems, would constitute systemic governance of organisations.

Meyer’s research identifies five organisational systems that constitute governance within an organisation: culture, structure, internal economy, methods and tools, and metrics and rewards (Meyer, 2004). An observation can be made that these five systems that are prevalent in organisations comprise both technical and social systems as well as implied socio-technical relationships. Although Meyer does not conclude on the significance of the socio-technical relationships (Meyer, 2004) other authors have acknowledged that they play a significant role in realising benefits within an organisation (Balloni & Bermejo, 2010).

Balloni & Bermajo describe a socio-technical system as a relationship between technical and social systems derived from a socio-technical approach designed to build a holistic view of technical and social systems that exist within organisations (Balloni & Bermejo, 2010). The socio-technical approach is aimed at obtaining a systemic view of an organisation, including people and everything that surrounds them. The approach relies on systemic thinking, focusing on systemic risk and the performance of the system as a whole (Balloni & Bermejo, 2010). An observation can be made that socio-technical approach is aimed at enabling the design of organisational systems to work in unison to produce a holistic and well-coordinated system of influences, similar to the aim of systemic governance perspective defined by Meyer (Meyer, 2004).


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