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Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model. Features of the VSM. Based on the structure of the human nervous system Five levels or functions The five functions recur at each level of organization. Features of the VSM. Maximizes autonomy of units Minimizes bureaucracy

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features of the vsm
Features of the VSM
  • Based on the structure of the human nervous system
  • Five levels or functions
  • The five functions recur at each level of organization
features of the vsm1
Features of the VSM
  • Maximizes autonomy of units
  • Minimizes bureaucracy
  • Maintains control of essential activities
  • Evaluates results more than methods
the five functions
The five functions
  • System five – controls the rate of innovation, defines the organization’s values
  • System four – does long-range planning, designs the next product or service
  • System three – middle management, defines a “resource bargain” with the system ones
  • System two – coordinates the producing units
  • System one – the producing units
concerns of the viable system model
Concerns of the Viable System Model
  • Make sure that the knowledge and skills needed are available
  • Be sure that the information needed to make decisions is available
  • Design an organization that is adaptive
system one units and their environments
Present

Present

Environment

Environment

Management

Management

Operation

Operation

Local

Local

Operation

Operation

One A

One A

Environ

Environ

-

-

One A

One A

ment

ment

Management

Management

Local

Local

Operation

Operation

Operation

Operation

Environ

Environ

-

-

One B

One B

One B

One B

ment

ment

Management

Management

Local

Local

Operation

Operation

Operation

Operation

Environ

Environ

-

-

One C

One C

One C

One C

ment

ment

System One units and their environments
system four probing the future environment
Future

Future

Environment

Environment

System 4

System 4

All internal

All internal

All relevant

All relevant

functions

functions

developments

developments

concerned

concerned

in the

in the

with the

with the

environment

environment

future

future

oriented

oriented

to the future

to the future

System Four probing the future environment
relationships among systems 3 4 and 5
System 5

System 5

System 4

System 4

System 3

System 3

Relationships among Systems 3, 4, and 5
the viable system model
System 5

System 5

Future

Future

Environment

Environment

System 4

System 4

System 3

System 3

Present

Present

3*

3*

2

2

Environment

Environment

Management

Management

Operation

Operation

Operation

Operation

Local

Local

One A

One A

One A

One A

Environ

Environ

-

-

ment

ment

System 3

Present

3*

2

Environment

Management

Management

Local

Local

Operation

Operation

Operation

Operation

Environ

Environ

-

-

One B

One B

One B

One B

t

t

men

men

Management

Operation

Operation

Local

One A

One A

Environ

-

Management

Management

ment

Local

Local

Operation

Operation

Operation

Operation

Environ

Environ

-

-

One C

One C

One C

One C

ment

ment

Management

Local

Operation

Operation

Environ

-

One B

One B

t

men

Management

Local

Operation

Operation

Environ

-

One C

One C

ment

The Viable System Model
the vsm applied to the chilean economy
Ministry of Economics

Ministry of Economics

5

5

CORFO / ODEPLAN

CORFO / ODEPLAN

4

4

(National

(National

planning

planning

office

office

)

)

National

National

office

office

for

for

statistics

statistics

and

and

census

census

3

3

Filtre

Filtre

2

2

Sector Com.

Sector Comittee

A

Industry A

Industry A

Sector Co

Sector Comittee

B

Industry

Industry

B

B

Sector Comittee

Sector Comittee

C

Industry

Industry

C

C

1

1

The VSM applied to the Chilean economy
viable system model
Viable System Model
  • A diagnostic tool that can aid in understanding any organizational structure – line, staff, or matrix
  • Defines the variety that needs to be controlled and the structures to control it
  • Shows how both to ensure innovation and to regulate it
relevance to enterprise architecture
Relevance to Enterprise Architecture
  • The VSM provides a way of viewing the structure of an organization
  • It could, in principle, be used to design an information system for an organization
  • At least one software program has been created to help people analyze an organization in terms of the VSM
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