The systemic approach in management studies the organization as the sum of the interactions that take place within it.
Although nurtured by systems theory, the systemic approach cannot be reduced to it. System theory is a kind of external analysis of a system, while undertaking the systemic approach to a structure is like placing oneself as an integral part of it.
The first approach, which is more theoretical, is a kind of tool for the external understanding of a company. The systems theorist studies a model that is foreign to him, from which he stays away. The second approach is more practical, in that it includes taking a closer look at the interactions, and encourages the theorist to invest himself in his environment, his system, focusing on the consequences and reciprocity of his practical actions. A systemic approach involves studying one's own interactions, that is, one's own place in a system.
Like systems theory, the systemic approach analyses the place of an entity in its environment, seeking to identify in all their complexity the interactions that exist around that entity.
In concrete terms, this approach conceives a whole, the place of an element in this whole, and all the links that can exist around this element as well as with it.
For example, an employee in a company is much more than the link in a decision-making chain, placed between two hierarchical levels. His decisions have far more impact beyond his direct supervisors, in the same way that he is concerned by realities with which he may have no direct contact.
The systemic approach, like systems theory, deconstructs the idea of compartmentalization in the study of the components of an organization.
Everything is connected and interconnected, even when these links do not appear explicitly.
Understanding the reality of these connections makes it possible to initially define more precisely how a system works, and then to administer the system with greater wisdom and relevance.