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Management cybernetics is the field of cybernetics concerned with management and organizations.

The notion of cybernetics and management was first introduced by Stafford Beer in the late 1950s.[1]

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1 Cybernetics and complexity 2 Cybernetic approach to business 3 Cybernetics of the First and Second Order 4 Management cybernetics in practice 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links


and complexity

Complexity is inherent in dynamic systems because their processes are often non-linear and therefore hard to observe and control. However, the only way to overcome complexity is to realise its existence in the first place. Knowledge about how regulation, control and communication function in every form of system needs to be applied – this knowledge is known as cybernetics. Norbert Wiener defines cybernetics as the study of regulation, control and communications in life forms and the machine. In a business context, such an approach can help managers understand complex situations and therefore deal with them better. [edit]Cybernetic

approach to business

The following are a set of features specific to management cybernetics and the way in which it can be applied to a business context.  Management cybernetics involves the study of what things do and how they interact with one another, not just what they are.  It is a field of knowledge which can help us to gain further knowledge in situations where we cannot obtain any concrete knowledge  It helps us achieve the right approach to complexity  It is the realisation of one’s own responsibility, with which one can make others aware of their own responsibilities  It is an approach that does not completely eradicate complexity, but shows the ways in which it can be best handled  It provides the chance to maintain long-term acceptance

focusing on the application of the natural laws of cybernetics in organisations. William Ross Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety essentially reinforces the fact that complex situations can only be dealt with at least the same amount of complexity. [edit]Management cybernetics in practice Many managers fail to realise that they are actually using methods derived from cybernetics in everyday business activity. recursive. This in turn makes for a more stable. Another distinguishing feature of Stafford Beer’s work is that he endeavours to make all processes that occur within systems closed. these forms are fundamentally different with regard to the way in which a system is observed. i. First-order cybernetics: Views the system as being completely independent to the observer. enterprises and institutes. Although Beer’s models are relatively few in number. The influences of this theory can be clearly seen in Beer’s work. their organisations (and they themselves) may become more able to react effectively and appropriately when faced with complexity.  It is an approach that everyone understands when they apply it to their own situation It is an approach that everyone has already practised. The following list compiles Stafford Beer’s most influential models:   Team Syntegrity The Viable System Model . they are merely different. By viewing reality “from a level that is high enough to allow all the factors that operate in complex systems to be separated out and presented in a form in which they are clearly recognizable and comprehensible to anyone who is curious” (Cwarel Isaf Institute. whether they realise it or not [edit]Cybernetics of the First and Second Order Heinz von Foerster. One of the most unique features of his work is that he did not try to simplify reality in any way. 1. 2002). As a result. they provide managers with interesting insights into the ways in which they can tackle complexity. This is achieved by viewing processes as being circular. sustainable and flexible business. Viewed from this perspective. Stafford Beer is known as the father of management cybernetics. processes are ongoing. The idea of control loops and feedback are well known but many fail to realise that they originate from a cybernetic standpoint. ‘The observed system’ 2. Second-order cybernetics: Refers to systems that observe themselves. In the context of business. they are taken back to the beginning. cited two forms of cybernetics. ‘The observing system’ It is important to note that neither approach is better than the other. one of the more prominent academics in the field of cybernetics. For managers this helps processes to become more visible and clearly defined – thus enabling them to be dealt with more efficiently. his models automatically encompass the right way to approach complexity.e. individual entities because when they end.