Magnus Ramage (Department of Computing and Communications, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
David Chapman (Department of Computing and Communications, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Chris Bissell (Department of Computing and Communications, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 2 February 2015


Ramage, M., Chapman, D. and Bissell, C. (2015), "Editorial", Kybernetes, Vol. 44 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-12-2014-0305



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Kybernetes, Volume 44, Issue 2.

Shortly before this issue went to press, we heard sad news of the death of Ranulph Glanville. Ranulph was a distinguished cybernetician who made many contributions to the field. He was president of the American Society for Cybernetics, a member of the editorial board of this journal (as well as other journals), and guest editor of a number of our special issues. He will be greatly missed. We are grateful to Michael Lissack, incoming president of the American Society for Cybernetics, for allowing us to publish his obituary of Ranulph.

There are ten refereed papers in this issue (in addition to the obituary of Ranulph Glanville).

Sari discusses a little-considered problem in supply chain management: the value of reducing errors in inventory information. The paper compares the impact of this approach with that of lead time reduction and supply chain collaboration. It does this through the use of a simulation model closely related to the Beer Distribution Game. The results of the model lead the author to draw conclusions about which of the three methods contribute best to three metrics for supply chain management.

Hildbrand and Bodhanya discuss the use of the viable systems model (VSM), which as they observe has been proved in a wide range of case studies but for which little literature is available for complete novices. Their paper seeks to give advice on the use of the VSM as well as discusses their own case study, a sugarcane production and supply system in a developing country.

Hsieh and Yuan present an approach for handling technology spillovers, the way in which new technologies move from one company or industry to another. They analyse these spillovers using input-output analysis in terms of service-dominant logic (which they contrast with goods-dominant logic). They illustrate their approach with the use of an exhibition service system.

Buyukozkan and Görener look at decision making in the context of fast-moving product development processes. They are concerned with the selection of partners for product development, a problem in multi-criterion decision making which they analyse using the Analytic Hierarchy Process in combination with the VIKOR ranking method. They compare the method with other processes for decision making.

Li, Qin and Li also look at decision making in a complex environment. Their context is the execution of construction projects, and they specifically look at the selection of methods for project delivery. After describing a set of criteria for effective project methods, they introduce an approach for method selection, the unascertained measure model. They apply this approach to a real-world case study, part of a metro construction project in Nanjing.

Bartscht also looks at uncertain environments, those he describes as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. He examines the conditions needs for systems to thrive in such environments. Drawing heavily on system dynamics as well as cybernetics, the paper looks at the risk that such environments lead to optimisation rather than exploration, and consequently the importance of taking a clear epistemic stance upon the behaviour of the system.

Kose and Forrest present an analysis using a combination of game theory and grey systems, to look at N-person grey games with uncertain data. They first present the concept of an N-person grey game, and contrast it with an N-person classical game. They then apply this concept to the analysis of a “currency war” between nations, the use of foreign investments or other economic activities to damage the economy of another nation.

Lastly, Yolles and Fink, in a series of three linked papers, present a general theory of generic modelling. They look at the need for modelling that draw on living systems theory and cultural agency theory, and distinguish between simplex and complex modelling. They outline in some detail the ways to use such modelling to understand various orders of cybernetic analysis, and look at the different philosophical positions connected with different forms of modelling.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Magnus Ramage, David Chapman and Chris Bissell