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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2011

Roland Holten and Christoph Rosenkranz

The viable system model (VSM) provides a way to understand communication structures in an organization. It gives us a means to visualize and analyze information channels…

Abstract

Purpose

The viable system model (VSM) provides a way to understand communication structures in an organization. It gives us a means to visualize and analyze information channels relating the functions in an enterprise, a corporation, or any other kind of organization. At the heart of the VSM is the application of Ashby's law of requisite variety. The resulting models help to analyze and discuss what variety attenuation of operations and what variety amplification of management can establish requisite variety. Many studies and applications show that the complexity management laws described by Ashby and Beer hold, and that managerial, operational and environmental varieties tend to equate. The amplifiers and attenuators, however, should be designed to do so with minimum damage to people and to cost. The purpose of this paper is to determine to what extent the design of amplifiers and attenuators is possible if these are realized based on linguistic communication, and whether this design can be automated in these cases.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses logical presentation of ideas along with examples from cases. The basic argument is that the design of information channels – amplifiers and attenuators – relies on self‐organizing processes that depend on an operation called linguistic predication.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that linguistic predication is not computable based on the model of the Turing machine so that this operation is restricted to be carried out by human agents. In these cases, technology is limited to providing a technical means for communication and social processes.

Originality/value

While there is a large knowledge base of literature in the field of applications of the VSM there is less work providing concepts and guidelines for designing information channels. This paper offers a conceptual and logical argument for their characteristics based on linguistics and philosophy of language.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 40 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Hans‐Martin Lönngren, Christoph Rosenkranz and Harald Kolbe

The purpose of this paper is to address the management of supply chains within the construction industry. Supply chains in this sector evidence a marked tendency to waste…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the management of supply chains within the construction industry. Supply chains in this sector evidence a marked tendency to waste and inefficiency. One approach to improving this situation, which is the subject of intense discussion by both scientists and practitioners, is the establishment of strategic partnerships integrated with the scientific observation of the processes involved. This paper aims to present a case study of such a strategic alliance among German building contractors whose goal it is to cover the entire life cycle of a building, from its planning to its ultimate facility management. The paper seeks to focus on the establishment and implementation of an aggregated strategic alliance and its success factors.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology is based on a case study of a German network of builders and trade contracting companies. Data collection tools included observation of workshops and meetings, semi‐structured interviews and access to key documentation, IT‐infrastructure and archives of the network.

Findings

Key factors of success in strategic alliances within the construction industry are: central coordination among the partners employing decentralised task management; application of an appropriate IT‐solution; and mutual trust among the cooperating partners.

Originality/value of paper

While there is growing literature in the field of supply chain management within the construction industry there is less empirical evidence providing practical examples of managing supply chains in this area. Strategic alliances are a crucial requisite for the successful management and integration of services and production within the construction industry.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Anders Segerstedt and Thomas Olofsson

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a special issue about the construction industry and the management of its supply chains. It aims to discuss and point to some…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a special issue about the construction industry and the management of its supply chains. It aims to discuss and point to some differences and possible similarities with traditional manufacturing and its supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is mostly a literature review and contains official statistics.

Findings

The market of the construction company is mostly local and highly volatile. The long durability of the construction “product” contributes to the volatility. The product specification process before the customer order arrives shows different degrees of specifications: engineer to order, modify to order, configure to order, select a variant. (The common make‐to‐stock in traditional manufacturing does not exist.) A construction company only executes a small part of the project by its own personnel and capacity. This is a way of risk spreading and risk mitigation and to compensate for an unstable market. If a construction company wants to establish a new concept, from “engineer to order” to e.g. “configure to order”, it must be engaged earlier in the business process and with other than usual customers, which might complicate the process.

Research limitations/implications

Experiences from Sweden and Swedish developments are the main source of information.

Originality/value

The paper introduces the articles that are a source of scientifically generated knowledge regarding various problems and opportunities associated with supply chain management in the project‐based construction industry.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 14 October 2010

Michael Hülsmann, Bernd Scholz-Reiter, Philip Cordes, Linda Austerschulte, Christoph de Beer and Christine Wycisk

The intention of this article is to show possible contributions of the concept of autonomous cooperation to enable complex adaptive logistics systems (CALS) to cope with…

Abstract

The intention of this article is to show possible contributions of the concept of autonomous cooperation to enable complex adaptive logistics systems (CALS) to cope with increasing complexity and dynamics and therefore to increase the systems' information-processing capacity by implementing autopoietic characteristics. In order to reach this target, the concepts of CALS and autopoietic systems will be introduced and connected. The underlying aim is to use the concept of self-organization as one of their essential similarities to lead over to the concept of autonomous cooperation as the most narrow view on self-organizing systems, which is discussed as a possible approach to enable systems to handle an increasing quantity of information. This will be analyzed from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view.

Details

Advanced Series in Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-833-5

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