A new management for enduring company success

William F. Christopher (Management Innovations, Walnut Creek, California, USA)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 3 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to explain how the system science and cybernetics in Stafford Beer's viable system model (VSM) will help management structure and manage their company to achieve on‐going success in a fast‐changing world.


The author worked with Stafford Beer in the 1970s, applying his VSM in the corporation he then worked for and has used the VSM ideas in work with companies in 16 countries, always with success. The VSM instructs in how to structure and how to manage. For what to manage the author used Peter Drucker's key performance areas, and has more than 50 years of experience working in these areas.


The author has found, during his long career in industry and in consulting, that the VSM is the best available guide for structuring and managing a business enterprise for success in turbulent times.

Practical implications

In the 1950s, Ralph Cordiner “decentralized” General Electric into 120 businesses, pioneering a new, better way to structure and manage a corporation. After 50 years, we have the next revolutionary advance in management, the system science and cybernetics in Stafford's VSM. The VSM includes information and environments in structure, enabling companies to change as appropriate for achieving on‐going success in a world of huge and fast‐growing variety.


The paper shows how a simple form of the VSM includes all the system science company management needs to structure and manage their company for enduring success in fast‐changing times.



Christopher, W. (2011), "A new management for enduring company success", Kybernetes, Vol. 40 No. 3/4, pp. 369-393. https://doi.org/10.1108/03684921111133638

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