Images of Organization --Gareth Morgan "the universe is in a constant state of flux, embodying characteristics of both permanence and change." p.241
Chilean biologists. Varela was a student of Varela. Maturana is still alive, in his 80s, living in Chile and coming to Boston in August 2008 for a week of conversations. They developed Autopoiesis as a biological theory and clearly had reservations (p.246) about its application to social phenomenon. However, many folks have taken this living systems approach forward into organizational settings with generative results.
Living systems are characterized by autonomy, circularity, and self-reference
They are organized in ways that conserve for self-preservation and self-identity.
Patterns of interaction are always self-referential.
Interaction with "environment" is really self-reflection and part of the organization that conserves identity.
Closure (self-reference) is what defines a system as a system
Systems have no beginning or end because they are closed loops of interactions.
Self-referring systems can exist as parts within other self-referring systems
We see systems as distinct because we see them from OUR point of view.
When we look at their inner logic, we understand that they are self-conserving and structurally coupled with other systems
Relations with any environment are internally determined
Bees, Individual bee as organism with self-referencing physiology, Bee society - self-referencing relationships, Society & environment - also self-referencing, Bee system is structurally coupled with insect, animal, agricultural, human, and social systems. A change in one can transform the others., Changes are produced by variations within the overall system (not as a result of external influence), There's no such thing as external influence!
The Brain, Organizes its environment as an extension of itself, A biological basis for social constructionism!, Does not hold a representation of the environment in memory, Does not process information received from the environment as an independent domain, Creates images of external reality as expressions or descriptions of its own organization, interacts with these images, and modifies them based on experience.
Organizations, Act to conserve for self-identity and self-preservation, Org problems are connected to the conservation of a particular identity, Understanding org change requires paying attention to the patterns that embrace both the organization and its broadly defined environment., Enactment (how orgs function, what they pay attention to) is a core process that projects, defines & produces an organization's identity., Examples?
e.g. organizations and ecologies
Multiple systems of interaction that are both ordered and chaotic
Random fluctuations can produce new cascading patterns of systemic change
Coherence always emerges out of the randomness and surface chaos, Randomness, diversity, instability become resources for change
Attractors, Tensions that define the context in which detailed system behaviors unfold, Some pull system toward equilibrium, Others flip system into new configurations
p.254 "when a system is pushed far from equilibrium"
Bifurcation points, Always exist as latent potentials, e.g. Butterfly effect
Energy within system can self-organize in unpredictable ways into different system states
If old attractor is dominant, system reverts to a version of its former state
If new pattern is dominant, system can move into a new configuration
Rethink what we mean by organization, especially the nature of hierarchy & control, Order is natural but cannot be planned, Order evolves under the influence of simple systemic rules
Learn the art of managing and changing contexts
Learn how to use small changes to create large effects
Live with continuous transformation and emergent order as a natural state of affairs
Be open to new metaphors that can facilitate processes of self-organization
p.273 Study of opposites --- Miguel: Collaboration vs competition Dealing with polarities and living within the tension between the two.
p.273 "I Ching"s true function was to provide a means to understand the tendencies inherent in the present"
p.275 Capital puts people in a fundamental state of contradiction. Gain for one defines a loss for the other. p.279 "Problem solutions are constantly negated, and the process continues."
p.280f Corporate downsizing and restructuring are not solutions to problems, they are symptoms of deeper problems. "Ultimately they are best tackled through social and political initiatives that can address the "rules of the game"." p.281 [Bifurcation points or forks in the road usually arise around key paradoxes or contradictions that block the way to a new future.] p.283 "both dimensions of the contradictions that accompany change usually have merit." It"s both/and, not either/or. "Paradox cannot be successfully resolved by eliminating one side."
p.285 [Organizations must be prepared to innovate in ways that will undermine their current successes so that new forms of innovation can emerge.] Intel example: "operates on a philosophy of launching multiple projects that in effect aim to make their developing products obsolete before they hit the market."
Mutual causality -- loops, not lines
Positive & Negative feedback loops
Deviation amplification process
Illustrate the pattern of relationships to understand a system.
p. 270-1 Senge Systems are often unstable because of delayed feedback and response between elements. p.272 Forms of systems only become clear in hindsight. However, the process of mapping them is a useful way to begin to see key patterns. e.g. Clusters of positive feedback loops (vicious cycles) warn of potentially unsustainable drivers in a system.
p.250 The concept of "organization" reinforces an egocentric view. It implies a distinct entity that is separate from its environment and has its own identity. See survival as conditioned on the preservation of a narrowly constructed identity rather than an identity that includes the system of relationships in which they are embedded.
See themselves as discrete, functioning to survive against the pressures of the outside world
Fixed notion of who they are or what they can be, Often enact identities in pursuit of short-term goals
Try to sustain unrealistic identities & create identities that destroy important parts of their context/environment, E.g. fisheries, large scale agriculture, chemical plants
May not see environmental changes as relevant to their identity preservation, e.g. watch makers, typewriter manufacturers
Morgan implies this category but doesn"t really go into depth. He seems to mean the opposite of the egocentric org: Pays attention to the whole system as a whole; seeks an evolution of identity that desires an ever more complete understanding of wholeness; Realizes that that is a process, not an outcome, etc.
Survival is always WITH the environment, never against it
Self-image held in a systems perspective
p.289 --- Miguel: What about feelings, emotions? They seem to be outside the theory. "Chaos" avoids language of "crisis" - avoids a certain perspective where pain exists.
Small changes can produce large effects
Bohm was a theoretical physicist who also thought and wrote about philosophy and neurpsychology. He was part of the Manhattan Project. (b. December 20, 1917, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - d. October 27, 1992, London)
Implicate (Enfolded) Order
Explicate (Unfolded) Order
p.246 GS Note: Edmund Husserl, the father of transformative phenomenology, is also recognized as perhaps the first person to explore "Part-Whole" theory and logic. His explorations were philosophical in nature, and they remain "confusing" to the mathematical theorists who followed him.