Organizational Cybernetics (OC) is one of the systems approaches which, deriving from the Cybernetics created by Wiener (Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 1948), applies the principles associated with “Communication and Control”, from Cybernetics, to organisations. O.C. was developed from both a theoretical and methodological point of view by Stafford Beer (1979, 1981 and 1985).

In the section "Introduction to Organizational Cybernetics (OC)" are shown some of the more relevant aspects of OC:

  • The concept of viability
  • The concept of variety as an indicator of the complexity
  • Ashby’s Law and its implications
  • Theorem of Conant-Ashby and its importance for managers of companies and organizations in general
  • Viable System Model
  • The rol of information and of information systems design for the viability of organizations

Also in that section we will review the 25 main organizational pathologies clasified into:

  • Structural
  • Functional
  • Related to Information Systems and Communication Channels

An in depth exploration of OC and in particular of the Viable System Model (VSM) can be found in the book Pérez Ríos J. (2012). Design and Diagnosis for Sustainable Organizations. The Viable System Method. Springer. Heidelberg, Berlin, New York.

For an overview of the extent and scope of the work of S. Beer, consult (in spanish) Stafford Beer's laudatio (Pérez Ríos, J., 2001) at his investiture as Dr. Honoris Causa by the University of Valladolid in 2001