Seeing Organizations as Biological Systems

There’s a continuing struggle between complexity and robustness in both evolution and human design. A kind of survival imperative, whether in biology, engineering, or business requires that simple, fragile systems become more robust. But the mechanisms to increase robustness will in turn make the system considerably more complex. Furthermore, that additional complexity brings with it its own unanticipated failure modes, which are corrected over time with additional robust mechanisms, which then further add to the complexity of the system, and so on.

This balancing act between complexity and robustness is never done. The very same mechanisms that provide robustness in a system will allow for, or even facilitate fragilities to emerge. As the system then attempts to deal with these new fragilities, it can in principle get into a robustness-fragility spiral that can challenge its own survival. One of the most important biological mechanisms, for example, is the immune system, which guards against disease. But the immune system is subject to its own serious diseases, such as immunodeficiencies when its activity is abnormally slow, and autoimmunities, which are caused by a hyperactive immune system.

Notes:

- Other takeaways: Resilience, rather than efficiency. Holism, rather than reductionism. Plurality, rather than universality. Pragmatism, rather than intellectualism Experimentation, rather than deduction Indirect, rather than direct approaches

Folksonomies: evolution management organization

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/health and fitness/alternative medicine/holistic healing (0.894180)
/science/biology (0.857832)

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Concepts:
Immune system (0.954630): dbpedia_resource
Systems theory (0.831014): dbpedia_resource
Evolution (0.798485): dbpedia_resource
Medicine (0.787965): dbpedia_resource
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 A Biological Approach to Management
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Wladawsky-Berger, Irving (Nov 9, 2018), A Biological Approach to Management, Retrieved on 2018-11-20
  • Source Material [blogs.wsj.com]
  • Folksonomies: management