ever lay in the latter. While epistemological approaches enable the nature of knowledge to be explored, ontological approaches define types of being in away that enable complex cybernetic relationships to be expressed simply.This simplicity occurs because ontology (Poli 2001, 2005) can be repre-sented as geometry. To explain this, consider that a function of ontology isto define a frame of reference that topologically distinguishes between arbi-trarily defined distinct modes of being through the creation of a referencingsystem. Within a social context, this system then provides for the creationof a social geometry through which component properties and relation-ships can be expressed and analytically explored. In Beer’s work, the ontol-ogy was implicit (Yolles 2004) in that it analytically distinguishes betweentwo types of behaviour, metasystemic that is connected with worldview andknowledge, and systemic that is to do with phenomenal energetic behav-iour. The exploration of epistemological elements, however, was explicit,and resulted in Beer’s Viable System Model (VSM) that created an episte-mological approach capable of analysing and diagnosing complex problemsituations. An outline of VSM is provided in Figure 3, though the moreusual VSM map is provided in Figure 4 (from Yolles 1999).This model is defined in terms of distinct systemic functions that can besummarized as follows:
may be constituted as a single or multi-ple system;
can provide effective control, and has interests in alimited synergy across divisions of an organization, trying to harmonizethe culture and structure of the enterprise whilst also trying to reducechaos and introduce order while trying to amplify the capability for con-trol for the induction of self-regulatory operational behaviour.
) is concerned with effective regulation of the dynamic internalto the organization;
is important to the identity of the organization,and involves issues of development and strategic planning; policy is con-cerned with the establishment and maintenance of a coherent context forthe processes of the organization, and relates to what the organization setsout to do and defines.
Knowledge cybernetics: a new metaphor for social collectives
Link to operations onlyto collect deficit of S2
Figure 3:Ontological differentiations in the Viable System Model based on work of Stafford Beer.