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INFORMAL NETWORKS

20). In this sense, a system any be considered "as any entity, conceptual or physical, which consists of independent parts" (Ackoff, 1991, p. 332).

Scott (1987, pp. 2994) classifies organizational systems as either rational, natural, or open. Structures have parts, and "an important aspect of the systematic structure of things is that the relationship among its parts is an important element in the structure and behavior of any system" (Boulding, 1985, p. 11). These relationships determine how a system functions, and the functioning of a system, in turn, determines the classification of a system. These points underlie the rationale of Krackhardt and Hanson (1993, pp. 104111) in their examination of the functioning of informal communications networks within organizations.

Scott (1987, p. 29) states that organizations are rational systems because they are designed to attain specified goals, wherein rational refers to a technical or functional process. Rational systems are largely defined by goal specificity and formalized organizational structure. Scott (1987, p. 51), however, views organizations as natural in character wherein the organization functions largely as a somewhat informal social system. According to Scott (1987, pp. 5255), goal complexity and an informal structure characterize the natural organization. These concepts provide the basis for the ro

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