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Organizations as Brains. Gareth Morgan. G.R. Taylor’s Opening Observations/Questions. Is it possible to design “learning organizations” that have the capacity to be as flexible, resilient, and inventive as the functioning of the brain?

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g r taylor s opening observations questions
G.R. Taylor’s Opening Observations/Questions
  • Is it possible to design “learning organizations” that have the capacity to be as flexible, resilient, and inventive as the functioning of the brain?
  • Is it possible to distribute capacities for intelligence and control throughout an enterprise so that the system as a whole can self-organize and evolve along with emerging challenges?
herbert simon
Herbert Simon
  • Why did Simon argue that organizations can never be completely rational?
    • Because their members have limited information processing abilities.
    • Argued that people a) usually have to act on incomplete information; b) are able to explore on a limited number of alternatives; and c) are unable to attach accurate values to outcomes.
    • He concluded that individuals and organizations settle for “bounded rationality” of “good enough” decisions based on simple rules of thumb and limited search and information.
cybernetics
Cybernetics
  • What is cybernetics?
    • The ability of a system to engage in self-regulating behaviour depending on the process of information exchange involving negative feedback.
4 key principles of cybernetic theory
4 Key Principles of Cybernetic Theory
  • Systems must have the capacity to sense, monitor, and scan significant aspects of their environment.
  • They must be able to relate this information to the operating norms that guide system behaviour.
  • They must be able to detect significant deviations from these norms.
  • They must be able to initiate corrective action when discrepancies are detected.
guidelines for learning organizations
Guidelines for “Learning Organizations”
  • Scan and anticipate change in the wider environment to detect significant variations.
  • Develop the ability to question, challenge, and change operating norms and assumptions.
  • Allow an appropriate strategic direction and pattern of organization to emerge.
  • Evolve designs that allow them to become skilled in the art of double-loop learning, to avoid getting trapped in single-loop learning processes.
organizations as holographic brains
Organizations as Holographic Brains
  • How does Morgan describe the metaphor of the holographic brain?
what are the principles of holographic design
What are the Principles of Holographic design?
  • Build the “whole” into all the “parts.”
  • The importance of redundancy.
  • Requisite Variety
  • “Minimum Specs”
  • Learn to Learn
      • See chart in text to help discuss examples
critical analysis
Critical Analysis
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the brain metaphor?
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