Chapter 4

Maintaining Stable Viability

This chapter expands upon a key concept introduced in the comparison between biological and organizational life. We mentioned the ability to manage variety and to maintain stability amidst various flows. In order for your business to remain viable (capable of life) it must be able to call upon controlling services that provide requisite variety, a concept introduced by Ross Ashby, a leading pioneer in the field of cybernetics (Ashby 1956). You can think of a variety in terms of disturbances, ­unexpected ­occurrences, and just plain noise and complications of doing business. In order to keep these disturbances at a level where they don’t destroy your business, controlling mechanisms need to have as many ...

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