Maturana and Varela (1980, p. 78f) provided the following definition of autopoiesis: “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components that produces the components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in the space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.” This definition shows that for Maturana and Varela, autopoietic systems are systems that define, maintain, and reproduce themselves. The notion of machine that they employ in the definition might seem a bit misleading because we tend to think of machines as mechanistic and nonliving, but Maturana and Varela (e.g., 1987) in later publications have preferred to speak of autopoietic organizations.
Fuchs, C. and Hofkirchner, W. (2010), "Chapter 6 Autopoiesis and Critical Social Systems Theory", Magalhães, R. and Sanchez, R. (Ed.) Advanced Series in Management (Advanced Series in Management, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 111-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1877-6361(2009)0000006007Download as .RIS
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