Re: Proper Rate Of Learning LO1305

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Fri, 19 May 1995 10:17:30 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO1276 --

> Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 14:49:51 -0400
> From:
> Message-Id: <>
<<< some deletions here >>>

> [Stafford] Beer expresses it sort of like this: the organization
> must maintain internal stability (homeostasis) while it simultaneously
> adapts - evolves - changes at an appropriate rate to maintain its
> unique identity within its chosen environment. Beer also makes it
> very plain that learning is a major component of this change.
> The first half of the imperative (maintenance of internal stability)
> is of course crucial - paychecks must be prepared on time and widgets
> must be manufactured and shipped.....
> The second half says that the rate of change must be APPROPRIATE in
> terms of the identity (vision, mission, business they are in, style,
> etc.) and the particular environment they have selected for themselves.
> While most organizations struggle to change fast enough to keep up with
> their environments, it is possible for the organization to change too
> fast for its environment.
<<< some deletions here >>>

I am not so sure that this theory/model is totally accurate.
Beer's model seems to be telling us that there two different/separate
actions or efforts in organizations. One is the internal stability and
the other has to do with external alignment! This is fine, until we try
to separate them. The way I have experienced and studied organizations is
that the internal stability is affected by external forces (brought in by
employees, suppliers, distributors, stockholders, customers, governments,
etc.). It could also be the other way around, that internal changes in
one organization create the need for realignment in other organizations
playing in that particular environment (e.g., what competition does!).
So, the way I see it is that when an organization must realign itself with
its external environment, what it is doing is adjusting internal
components to match external conditions! Organizations are always looking
for internal stability so that some things can happen at the right time
and the right way (e.g., your paychecks example). At the same time, they
must move the internal pieces and components to adjust the whole to the
external environment, which creates new internal instablity although just

Introducing systems thinking and loops, Draper Kauffman ("Systems
One: An Introducction to Systems Thinking," Future Systems, Inc., 1980),
uses a bicycle rider as an example. We can borrow this example here, and
say that the person, the bicycle, and their interaction form the system
which should be stable. If it is not the rider will fall off the bike.
But there are other forces, external to the relationship between the biker
and the bike (wind, bumps on the road, turns, etc.), which make the rider
make constant adjutsments to stay on the bike safely...


  R. IVAN BLANCO, Ph.D.                        Voice 305 899-3515
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     "Las naciones marchan hacia el termino de su grandeza, con
  el mismo paso que camina su educacion." "The nations march      
  toward their greatness at the same pace as their educational    
  systems evolve." Simon Bolivar