Management cybernetics : computer simulation models of operational management organizations
Cybernetics is the science of effective organization, i.e. the science that describes the general principles of growth, learning and adaptation in complex, dynamical systems. Stafford Beer regards his viable system model as a design for effective formal organization. He also declares that since his model is explicitly based upon the principles of cybernetics, it facilitates consideration of what is and is not possible within formal organizations and provides guidance in creating efficient structures. The purpose of this research is to demonstrate and test Stafford Beer's ideas on the viable system model via the simulation of certain business activities. A methodology for getting access to the cybernetic body of knowledge is given as well as examples of cybernetic laws relevant to managerial and business practice. An important part of the work is devoted to the explanation and discussion of Stafford Beer's viable system model, and the importance it represents as a cybernetic method for the design of organizational structures. Simulation models incorporating the major activities of a business firm are represented and used as case studies to investigate how basic industrial organizations based on Beer's viable system model work under operational conditions.