Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Every human organisation shall start from System-I and ultimately end up with System-IV. Comment on Likert’s statement.

Rensis Likert’s statement about the progression of human organizations from System-I to System-IV reflects his theory on organizational development and leadership. Let’s examine and comment on this statement:

Likert’s Organizational Systems:

  1. System-I (Exploitative-Authoritative): In Likert’s model, System-I represents the most traditional and autocratic form of organization. In this system, decision-making is highly centralized, with a few individuals at the top exercising authority. Communication tends to be one-way, and employees have little input or influence in the decision-making process. The focus is on maintaining order and control.
  2. System-II (Benevolent-Authoritative): System-II is a transitional stage where there is some recognition of the need for a more participatory approach. While authority still resides primarily with top management, there is a limited effort to consider the welfare of employees. However, communication remains mostly top-down, and employees’ input is not fully integrated into decision-making.
  3. System-III (Consultative): In System-III, organizations emphasize more participatory decision-making. Managers actively seek input from employees and value their contributions. There is an effort to build trust and collaboration, and communication flows both ways. Decision-making is more decentralized, and employees have a sense of ownership in the organization’s goals and processes.
  4. System-IV (Participative Group): System-IV represents the ideal state in Likert’s model. Here, decision-making is highly decentralized, with employees at all levels actively participating in shaping organizational policies and practices. There is a strong focus on collaboration, teamwork, and employee empowerment. Communication is open, honest, and bidirectional, and there is a sense of shared responsibility for the organization’s success.

Commentary on Likert’s Statement:

Likert’s statement suggests that human organizations should ideally progress from a hierarchical and authoritarian System-I to a more collaborative and participatory System-IV. This progression aligns with the idea of organizational development and improvement over time.

Here are some key points to consider when commenting on Likert’s statement:

  1. Ideal vs. Reality: While System-IV is presented as the ideal, it may not be achievable or suitable for all organizations. The transition from one system to another is not always linear, and organizations may find themselves operating in a combination of systems simultaneously.
  2. Adaptation: The appropriateness of each system depends on factors like organizational culture, industry, size, and external pressures. Some organizations may need elements of all systems, adapting to different situations and challenges.
  3. Continuous Improvement: Likert’s model implies a journey of continuous improvement in organizational processes and leadership styles. Even if an organization cannot fully attain System-IV, the goal should be to move toward greater employee involvement, collaboration, and shared decision-making.
  4. Context Matters: The context in which an organization operates, including cultural, economic, and social factors, can significantly influence its ability to progress toward System-IV. Leaders should consider these contextual factors when implementing changes.
  5. Leadership and Culture: Leadership plays a crucial role in facilitating the transition between systems. Creating a culture of trust, respect, and open communication is essential for fostering a System-IV environment.

In conclusion, Likert’s statement serves as a valuable framework for thinking about organizational development and leadership evolution. While not all organizations will reach System-IV, the idea of moving toward greater collaboration and participation can lead to improved employee morale, innovation, and overall organizational effectiveness. The key is to recognize the unique needs and circumstances of each organization and strive for continuous improvement in alignment with its goals and values.