Sociologist Richard B. Scott, an expert in the study of social organization, has described a useful way of understanding how social organizations work. Every social organization behaves, to some extent, in each of these three ways.

  • As a rational system: as a machine designed to accomplish a specific task.

  • As a natural system: as a group made up of real human beings who relate to one another in complicated ways.

  • As an open system: interacting with its environment, from which it takes both resources and social norms.