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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2019

Markus Schwaninger

This paper aims to revisit the viable system model (VSM) discussing it from both the theoretical and the empirical standpoints, and ascertaining its relevance for…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to revisit the viable system model (VSM) discussing it from both the theoretical and the empirical standpoints, and ascertaining its relevance for organizational governance.

Design/methodology/approach

A combination of theoretical and empirical components is used: introduction to theory and critique on the one hand; case studies and a large sample empirical study on the other.

Findings

The VSM has proved to be a powerful means of governance for organizations in turbulent times. It conveys a durable, reliable knowledge. This has been corroborated in both case studies and a large-scale empirical study.

Practical implications

Application of the model under study can activate a huge potential for the improvement of organizations.

Originality/value

This contribution tests the VSM in an unseen fashion – qualitatively and quantitatively. The results suggest that a high confidence in the model is justified. It conveys to managers and leaders an unconventional, superior approach to both diagnosis and design of their organizations.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Markus Schwaninger

This study aims to explore an exemplar of the design and application of a systemic framework for higher education. The field of application is in the social sciences and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore an exemplar of the design and application of a systemic framework for higher education. The field of application is in the social sciences and the perspective long-term, covering three generations of faculty and many generations of students.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is exploratory. It contains a conceptual component and an empirical component with a long-term case study from a European university.

Findings

A cybersystemic approach to higher education has been shown, at the focal university, to be a powerful amplifier of individual and institutional capabilities, and it still has great potential. The crucial prerequisite is that the approach is virtuously designed and implemented.

Originality/value

A case study ranging over 50 years is presented. The respective university has been a role model for other educational institutions for many years. Its influence in the German-speaking countries, and more recently also internationally, has become significant.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 17 April 2007

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 36 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

Kristjan Ambroz and Alda Derencin

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how system dynamics (SD) modeling can help in cases where the management models used by an organization are not adequate for the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how system dynamics (SD) modeling can help in cases where the management models used by an organization are not adequate for the task at hand.

Design/methodology/approach

Two specific cases of management model inadequacy are discussed in this paper – namely management model obsolescence and management model inappropriateness. Each of the two cases is being demonstrated with the use of a specific practical case study. SD simulation models have been constructed based on a more comprehensive view than the ones used at the outset in order to come up with more robust and reliable management models, which were appropriate to the situations at hand. The cases conducted were exploratory in the tradition of action research and the findings are preliminary.

Findings

The inadequacy of prior management models was demonstrated by the superior results obtained – as derived from the SD models – if more appropriate management models, leading to new value potentials, were used.

Practical implications

The use of complete systems models prevented the organizational obstacles hindering the assessment of management models used for their adequacy. The paper is addressed primarily to the academic research community; however, the findings are of interest to practitioners as well.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the research on management models, and the use of SD in organizations more generally.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 39 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

Markus Schwaninger

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and conceptualize the topic of Model‐based management (MBM) in organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and conceptualize the topic of Model‐based management (MBM) in organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The relevance of different types of models for management is elaborated, and a research agenda for this new topic is proposed.

Findings

An analysis of the concept, role and function of models in the context of management and organization, as well as an outline for a new understanding of both the concept and role of models for management, grounded in system science is found.

Practical implications

Ultimately, MBM can enhance the intelligence, adaptiveness and viability of organizations of any kind: private, public, non‐profit, large or small.

Originality/value

Taking models as the pivot of a research project on general management is unconventional. The gain promised by such an innovative scope derives from its high potential: both theory and practice can benefit from the envisaged research. Theoretically speaking, advances in management and organization science can be achieved, while on the practical side, the insights gained will caution managers and leaders against succumbing to the traps of complexity, while radically improving their managerial effectiveness.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 39 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Markus Schwaninger

The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic structural framework for a sustainable renewal that embraces all relevant contexts – individual, organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic structural framework for a sustainable renewal that embraces all relevant contexts – individual, organizational, local-regional and worldwide. This should help humanity achieve a future in which society, economy and ecology are united in an evolutionary process based on multiple symbiosis.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrative concept for sustainable renewal is presented, based on Beer’s Viable System Model (VSM). The core of that concept is a recursive structure, which organizes the tasks necessary for such renewal. The approach is both analytical and synthetic, proposing a design for the levels of recursion, making up a coherent whole.

Findings

A structure is developed that enables agents at all recursive strata to generate variety in balance with the complexities they face. The organizational architecture based on the VSM, applied to each one of those levels, ensures the necessary and sufficient structural preconditions for the sustainability of the system under study.

Practical implications

The concept proposed here is ready to be used as a blueprint for organizing the efforts for sustainability. It can help decision makers understand that the quest for sustainable renewal is a recursive issue involving all planes, from individual to global.

Originality/value

The quest for the ecological sustainability of planet earth at this stage is not at all successful. The cybernetic model used here organizes the efforts for sustainability in a more effective way than conventional approaches. It also delivers powerful clues for sustainable renewal that are new, in particular a key to the sufficient structural preconditions for sustainability. This paper is an extended version of the Ross Ashby Memorial Lecture delivered by the author at the European Meeting of Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna, 24 April 2014, under the title “Organizing for Sustainability”.

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

José Pérez Ríos

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a framework, based on Beer's viable system model (VSM) that enables managers of public and private organizations to cope with the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a framework, based on Beer's viable system model (VSM) that enables managers of public and private organizations to cope with the complexities faced by their organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on concepts from organizational cybernetics (OC) an heuristic is elaborated for the design or diagnosis of any organization, from the point of view of its viability.

Findings

An outline of the process that enables managers to diagnose or design the organization they manage is formalized in a structured sequence which, starting with the clarification of an organization's identity, purpose and boundaries, guides the whole process of structure creation and the detailed diagnosis of all its structural components from the point of view of its viability. A taxonomy of frequent pathologies that affect organizations is also presented.

Practical implications

This kind of framework can guide managers to apply the cybernetic concepts for higher organizational performance, thereby overcoming the oft‐bemoaned difficulties in applying these concepts in practice.

Originality/value

The paper tries to fill the gap between the conceptual deep theoretical works in OC by Stafford Beer and other researchers, and the need of managers for a structured process that can guide their application. The framework presented tries to provide that kind of guide. It integrates different components within a single framework, which covers the creation of the general structure, the diagnosis of each particular organization within it, the evaluation of the degree of coherence between organizational levels, and a taxonomy of organizational pathologies to facilitate such a structuring. Another contribution is the introduction of the VSMod software, created precisely to facilitate the implementation of the VSM.

Content available
Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

Markus Schwaninger and Jose Perez Ríos

Abstract

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 39 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1985

Markus Schwaninger

Einleitung Dieser Artikel hat den Zweck, den heutigen Stand des Wissens auf dem Gebiet der strategischen Führung auf die Fremdenverkehrsunternehmung zu übertragen. Zweck…

Abstract

Einleitung Dieser Artikel hat den Zweck, den heutigen Stand des Wissens auf dem Gebiet der strategischen Führung auf die Fremdenverkehrsunternehmung zu übertragen. Zweck der folgenden Ausführungen ist' es, die Orientierungsgrössen der strategischen Führung in ihrem Zusammenhang darzustellen. Es soll gezeigt werden, dass die entsprechenden, bisher im industriellen Bereich erprobten Denkkategorien auch für Fremdenverkehrunternehmungen gültig und mit Nutzen auf diese anwendbar sind. lm Rahmen dieses Artikels können nicht alle für die Tourismusbranche spezifischen Gegebenheiten vollumfänglich berücksichtigt werden. Die theoretischen Ausführungen werden jedoch anhand von zahlreichen konkreten Beispielen aus dem Tourismus‐ und Freizeitsektor erläutert. Neben Beispielen aus Fremdenverkehrsunternehmungen im engeren Sinne werden auch solche aus Fremdenverkehrsorten dargestellt, bei denen es sich in bestimmter Hinsicht urn unternehmungsartige Gebilde 1) handelt.

Details

The Tourist Review, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0251-3102

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