This is not intended to be an introduction to or commentary on Beer's work. I believe that the nature of management has changed with the introduction of the personal computer and will change even more radically with the use of networked computers. Therefore, I have adapted Beer's work to fit the new organizational reality.

Beer's Viable System Model

Note to those who know the VSM: This language is a way tostart talking specifically about learning in organizations and organizational change based on the VSM. It is important to stress the fact that the things which Beer calls systems are actually functions of all systems. (Beer himself is clear on this.) This is why he insists that the system as a whole is recursive. People tend to associate boxes and systems with organizational entities and to confound them with the organizational chart. (I am not saying that Beer intends that they be confused just that they are in practice) In order to make the transition from Beer's notation to this notation I have tried to use shapes which reflect the original. Thus, system one is :...: rectangle, three star is * star, two is /\ triangle, three is # box, four is {~} cloud, five has no shape association in Beer's scheme, I have made it a [H] hexagon because it is a many faceted shape. I would suggest calling the functions by their iconic descriptor - rectangle, star, triangle, box, cloud, and hex.

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