Political Cybernetics in Social Communities -- Maurice Yolles, July 10, 2003
47th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), Hersonissos, Crete, July 10, 2003.
July 10, 2003, 5:30 p.m., Special Integration Group on Organizational Transformation and Social Change
This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the IBM Advanced Business Institute ( http://www.ibm.com/abi ).
Traditionally talk about organizations as open
Form or organization.
Technology goals, strategy plans.
Then Stafford Beer comes along: following Whitehead
and Russell and Gunter, then not only have the system, but the meta-system.
VSM: certain systemic functions expressed in
About meaning and communication channels.
Had some worries with Stafford's work:
coordination not assigned to anything.
Philosophy underlying theories:
Positivism, many constructivism.
Constructivism: Postpositivism, Social
Have ontology: nature of reality.
Have epistemology: nature of knowledge and
If can define different epistemologies, and can
define epistemological migrations (what does this mean)?
Epistemological migration related to knowledge
Encode, put into pattern of knowledge, transmit,
The more distant the cultures, the more difficult
All knowledge is therefore new
The only way to correct is through feedback, hence
Can also then talk about ontological
Trying to improve Stafford's model by looking at
Habermas' three world models.
e.g. situation in China on change, based on WTO
Actor (a system) with system (infrastructure) and
This is an epistemology.
Have viritual images to enable us to do
Enable us to establish polity or order.
Existential domain: values, beliefs, use of
Model not only has domain of a system and a domain of
meta-system, but also a domain of virtual systems.
Close to Eric Schatz's works.
Autopoesis and autogenesis.
Can talk about this as autological
e.g. Markus' idea of operational management:
people can identify with a mission.
The paper published in proceedings is changed through
Interest in political processes in social
Government, political temperament
Political process to self-produce political
Autogenesis may be self-production.
Had considered single and double-loop learning, but that
model was too simplistic.
Derived from Habermas, interest in technical, practical
Emancipation: if want to maximize viability and
variety, then need to maximize the potential for emancipation
Can then harness people for creating
Two more rows:
Some empirical studies on governance: political
In factor analysis, found political
temperament: communist, fascist, socialist, conservative.
Similar to Foucault, who came from a different
Chart: x-axis governance-political management;
y-axis political temperament.
As firms became more complex, power was more
distributed -- centrifugal
Think of this as power fluidity
If move to politcal temperament to zero, political
management to zero, power fluidity to zero, then talking
If move to (1, 1, 1) have hierarchy, minimizing
Question: Autopoesis and autogenesis?
Parts of this go all the way down into
Something in culture determines political
temperament, but they're also manifested in image.
Schatz: two sources, in Soren Brier's journal,
and chapter in Yolles (1999)
Question: Swapping dimensions?
Have Ph.D. student working in Taoism in
Too constraining to use the word "cognitive" if the
student was going to use it.
Work primarily in social system, can use
Eric's term is "existential" domain.
Used to find the virtual domain the organizing
Then called it automorphosis.
Question: Group or society?
Tender-minded and tough-minded individuals
Once social theories were used for theories of
management; now management theories are being developed directly.
Difference between an organization and a social
community has to do with complexity.
Individual, group, larger group, community, that
which surrounds the community, are merely focuses
Shifts by Stafford.
Can at least be used as metaphors.
Thus, can talk about conscouisness,
Question: Healthy systems, unhealthy systems?
Stafford discussed pathologies.
Autopoetic pathology; creating the image and
making it phenomenal, then can't modify the manifestation so that no longer
have the cycle, and don't have feedback.
Many types of pathologies, even Habermas has
In drama theory, three types of pathologies, some
that related to Stafford Beer.
Some organiztions are not viable because of
Look to heal by eliminating
Question: Skills. No reference to
skills. No just individuals, but do organizations have skills?
Most organizations are strategic, with hierarchy and
power at the top.
Probably aren't any knowledge-based organizations,
that allow flexible development.
Easy to say movement from (1,1,1) to (0,0,0) but
Question: Virtual organizations as
Virtual organizations don't have to be
knowledge-based, but the mediation is just as tough.
Send an e-mail, and sometimes don't get a
If e-mail EasyJet, don't know if will or won't get a
Not a great deal of difference between real and
Question: Left and right.
Maybe should leave these out.
Comment: Reverse axes? When trying to get to
flat organizations, trying to get to zero.
Had done knowledge profiles of groups, in three
classes, related to each of the three domains.
Tried to create landmark values to turn qualitative
Set up properties of three domain as questions, on
a 1-to-10 scale.
Did some numerical shifting to get to 0 to 1.
This was arbitrary.
Comment: Management dealing with pathologies.
Problem is that autopoesis and autogenesis is often described as a
pathology. E.g. a company will buy a successful software company, and then
get rid of all of the parts that made it successful.
50% of all joint alliances fail.
Wouldn't be surprised of 50% of takeovers
Don't create a new culture from the parts.
A joint venture needs a new culture, to give coherent
meaning and knowledge that relates to that coherent meaning.
Takeovers usually don't use VSM or other model to
understand the organization; they just use gut feel.
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