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Strategy for Managing Complex Systems

A Contribution to Management Cybernetics for Evolutionary Systems

Strategy for Managing Complex Systems demonstrates that management and management theory have strong foundations in systems science, and most specifically in the cybernetics of truly complex—organismic, self-organizing, and evolving—systems. As Fredmund Malik shows, we live in a world of highly complex systems, many of which are both extremely fragile and extremely powerful. Nevertheless our institutions are ill-equipped to deal with changes in these systems, as we have little knowledge of their structures, the mechanisms of their behavior, and how to control them. This combination of societal ignorance and systems power, Malik argues, underscores the urgency of studying complex systems more thoroughly, rather than indulging in quick fixes.  Only when we understand and value complex systems’ potential for managing contemporary society’s institutions and organizations will we be able to implement necessary improvements. This book provides the basics of such cybernetic management, showing how we might create robust, self-organizing systems that are both functional and sustainably viable.

560 pages | 92 halftones, 22 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Economics and Business: Business--Business Economics and Management Studies

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Table of Contents

Preface to the 1st German Edition
Preface to the 2nd German Edition
Preface to the 3rd German Edition
Preface to the 4th German Edition
Preface to the 5th German Edition
Preface to the 6th German Edition
Preface to the 7th German Edition
Preface to the 8th German Edition
Preface to the 9th German Edition
Preface to the 10th German Edition
Preface to the 11th German Edition
Introduction to the 5th Edition
                Is This the Final Breakthrough?
                Misdirected Development
                The Potential of the Systems Approach
0. Introduction: Construction and Evolution
0.1 Premises, Frames of Reference, and Illusionary Worlds
0.2 Systems-Oriented Management Theory
0.3 Two Types of Management Theory
0.4 Seven Dominant Thinking Patterns
0.5 A Chance to Rethink
1. The Cybernetic Organization Structures of Management Systems
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Management Cybernetics
1.3 The Structure of Viable Systems
1.4 Principles of the Model’s Structure and Application
1.5 The Detailed Model for the Cybernetic Organization Structure of Management Systems
1.6 The Overall Model: Graphic Depiction at Several Levels of Recursion
2. Strategic Management and the Problem of Complexity
2.1 Strategic Management as a Means of Managing Complexity
2.2 Complexity
2.3 Controlling Complexity by Means of Order
2.4 Managing Complexity by Solving Problems
3. Strategies for Managing Complexity
3.1 The Reality of Managers’ Strategic Behavior
3.2 Strategic Alternatives
3.3 System and Meta-System; Communication and Meta-Communication
3.4 Cybernetic Systems Methodology: Systemic and Meta-Systemic Strategies
3.5 Strategies and Heuristic Principles
3.6 Applying the Viable System in Systems Methodology
3.7 Synthesis
4. Epilog: When the End is a Beginning
4.1 Experiences with Complex Corporate Development Processes
4.2 Interpretations of the Viable Systems Model
4.3 The Practice: A Case Example
4.4 Enlightenment or Clarification?

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