Use of metaphors LO5424

Enrique Fuentes (
Wed, 7 Feb 1996 10:49:59 -0700

Replying to LO5380 --

I would like to contribute a little on this... I will edit as I go

On Feb 4, 7:54pm, Michael McMaster wrote:
> Chester says that it's time that executives and managers realise that
> they are part of the same organisation - like different cells in the
> same body? I think the biological analogies will help this
> understanding.
> There is a biological design principle that I use to help this occur
> in practice as well as thinking. It's a way that is designed for the
> integration to become part of the culture without the explicit
> understanding being necessary. (Metaphors and analogies are useful
> for this.)
> The principle of "self-similarity" is what I've borrowed from
> biology. This principle proposes that each element of the system
> have the same basic design and variations of function even though the
> specific function of that element may be unique. That is, cells of a
> body at a fundamental level come from undifferentiated cells.

This is a very valid asumption, but the basic problem resides in getting
different people, who are to become part of an organisation, to FEEL
undiferentiatiated so that they can become a part of the WHOLE. It is
important to consider that oll cells of an organism have the same
information to begin with, even though they only use a part of it to do
their specific job (they all share the same vision and mission

> As they differentiate, they appear to become different - but that they
> emerged from the same (appearing) cells, they are similar.
> In an organisation, this might mean that leadership, decision making,
> intelligence, learning, production, etc., etc. must be elements of
> each persons job or they will not get done well. Certainly, if this
> is not the case, we are likely to end up with specialisation,
> compartmentalisation and reductive separation and find ourselves in
> an "us/them" environment.

The body appears to work as a distributed system, excerting self control
up to a point in which homeostasis is achieved. Each part receives
constant infromation on what the whole is like and it acts accordingly...
There also is a monitoring system that does not interfere with each part
as long as situations are "normal", but this monitoring/control system is
capable of sending explicit information that is not "open to discussion"
to the parts under certain circumstances.

> If you make decisions and I don't, then we
> are different creatures - with all that implies.
>-- End of excerpt from Michael McMaster


In distributed control systems this has to happen, the difference is that
the points of take over are very clearly defined. Certain messages are not
subject to the control of the parts, even if they do belong to the whole.

I strongly feel that this TRUST is an essential part of belonging that
comes with the "knowledge" of the efficiency of the control system.

I'm sorry if I pushed the metaphor too far, but I sincerely feel that if
we are to look for analogies, we might as well do it as deep as we can. I
sincerely feel this is the right track... not just because I'm a
biologist, but because of a strong "gut feeling"... I wonder if this
turning towards nature (the biological) is to become the cornerstone to
define a philosophical perspective that will become the
so-long-searched-for substrate to plan our technological development in
the future?

Enrique Fuentes O.

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