Why Inside, Outside and Between?
Posted by: daviding
Date: June 19, 2004 06:53AM
In my role as moderator, I've clustered these four papers into a discussion for the 120-minute session.
Systems theory (or systems thinking) often seems to help us in understanding a lot of what happens in businesses, as social systems. One of the basic concepts that arises is "system boundary". A traditional view of a business (and, in particular, of a corporation) is as an open system. As we move away from industrial age business towards information-age / knowledge-based / network-forum / postmodern / (insert your favorite description here) business, how does this define or redefine our metaphor / model / representation of a business as a system.
As a provocation, I will assert two choices of positions on the understanding of businesses as systems.
(a) The "deeper thinking required" position: Our thinking about a business as a system has the right conceptual foundations, and we just need to clarify some of the fine points for these new examples that "new economy" people cite; or ...
(b) The "updated model needed" position: The common conception of a business as a system has been frozen in 1970s model, and needs to be updated to reflect new forms and different ways of operating than the old industrial age view.
In the interest of systemic thinking as synthesis -- i.e. trying to create something jointly in our face-to-face interactions, than we can not produce alone -- I will try to guide the authors to use their papers and background knowledge to address concurrence and issues with each of the above positions.
Our discussion isn't limited to these topics, but I suggest that this focus will help us to stimulate conversation. Please make online comments on the papers that may help prime our discussion when we're all together, face-to-face.