Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Socio-Technical-Systems, Sustainable Work, Open Systems Theory

I’ve received news about an Aalto University course on  “Socio-Technical Systems Paradigm: History and Further Developments” [see pdf], led by Frans M. van Eijnatten (Eindhoven University of Technology) and Mari Kira (Academy Research Fellow at sustain.tkk.fi), scheduled  for September 27-28 in Espoo, Finland.

The course is associated with the Sustain Research Program that “focuses on creating sustainable work in contemporary working life”.  I also noticed a book on Creating sustainable work systems:  developing social sustainability, edited by Peter Docherty, Mari Kira and Abraham B. Shani (Taylor & Francis 2008) [preview at Google Books].

We would seem to be at the leading edge of research with this topic.  Since I’m active in the systems community, I was intrigued by a reference to an article in 2008 article in Systems Research and Behavioral Science by Mari Kira, and Frans M. van Eijnatten, “Socially sustainable work organizations: A chaordic systems approach”.

This 2008 article has led to a yet-to-be-printed (in 2010) SRBS research note by Merrelyn Emery, “Refutation of Kira & van Eijnatten’s critique of the Emery’s open systems theory” [available in early release].  She points out that the Emery variant of Open Systems Theory (OST) comes with a history of divergence in Social-Technical Systems (STS) thinking.  Emery cites continuing work with OST in a 2007 chapter by Emery and DeGuerre “Evolution of Open Systems Theory” [preview at Google Books in The change handbook:
the definitive resource on today’s best methods for engaging whole systems
, (Peggy Holman, Tom Devane, Steven Cady, editors)].

The Emery refutation is followed by a yet-to-be-printed (in 2010) SRBS research note by Mari Kira and Frans M. van Eijnatten, “Socially sustainable work organizations and systems thinking” [available in early release].  The coauthors thanked Emery for her criticism, and clarified some aspects of the original paper.

The foundations cited for research into sustainable work leads back to articles in a 2004 The Learning Organization special issue on “Chaordic systems thinking for learning organizations, guest edited by Frans M. van Eijnatten and Goran D. Putnik.

The research debate amongst these authors reflects evolution in the systems sciences from the heritage of the Tavistock Institute (circa 1941-1989) with Fred Emery and Eric Trist, and the newer interest in chaos and order by Dee Hock (circa 1991-2001) in the chaordic perspective with chaordic initiatives.

On a brief look at the articles, I’m interested in digging into them.  If I’m going to do the reading, I should seriously think about registering for the course.  (I was planning to be in Finland around that time, already).  Some alternatives that will require fewer air miles include web movies of lectures by Frans Eijnatten at videolectures.net.

P.S.  I hadn’t seen The Learning Organization journal before.  While I was there, I noticed a 2007 special issue on “The relevance of systems thinking and systems dynamics“.  The first article is by an acquaintance in the Ackoff community, Jamshid Gharajedaghi, with an article on “Systems thinking: a case for second-order-learning”.  Jamshid had helped me (both in his writing, and over the telephone) by clarifying some basic concepts when I was climbing the systems learning curve in 1998 with Steve Haeckel and the Adaptive Enterprise / Sense and Respond research.  Jamshid’s 2007 article seems to be a finalization of a draft that appeared on the Ackoff Center Weblog in 2004.

The change handbook:

the definitive resource on today’s best methods for engaging whole systems


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: “In the #anthropocene, humans can impact less.…” April 17, 2022
      In the #anthropocene, humans can impact less.> The report shows that Canada's economy can grow without increasing carbon emissions. The country's GDP grew 22 per cent between 2005 and 2020, but carbon emissions declined by 9.3 per cent over that period.https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/climate-change-pandemic-emissions-canada-1.6420159
    • daviding: “With #CodeForCanada , a presentation + workshop guide for #C…” April 15, 2022
      With #CodeForCanada , a presentation + workshop guide for #CanadianDigitalService on "#SystemsThinking through Changes: An #ActionLearning guide" is available CC-BY-SA https://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/systems-thinking-through-changes/ . A milestone release by #SystemsChanges Learning Circle for practitioners, alongside publication in review
    • daviding: “When there is a larger threat from outside, attention is dra…” March 25, 2022
      When there is a larger threat from outside, attention is drawn away from internal struggles within. #RobertReich puts a historical perspective on current affairs in the USA. > Putin has brought a fractured Nato together. Maybe he’s bringing America back together too. It’s the thinnest of silver linings to the human disaster he’s creating, but […]
    • daviding: “For those who are critical about "design thinking", #KarelVr…” January 27, 2022
      For those who are critical about "design thinking", #KarelVredenburg makes the strong distinction between design and pseudo-design. https://www.karelvredenburg.com/home/2021/10/9/cr2h7dllvanrttb1tn8cfx1zjuhqol
    • daviding: “"Why Science Does Not Know: A Brief History of (the Notion o…” December 4, 2021
      "Why Science Does Not Know: A Brief History of (the Notion of) Scientific Ignorance in the Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries" https://journalhistoryknowledge.org/articles/10.5334/jhk.40/?s=09
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • The Aesthetics of Nature | Carlson and Berleant (2004)
      Towards a non-anthropocentric view of aesthetics, we explore the legacy of work in the aesthetics of nature. The collection of essays in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments (2004), edited by Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant, illuminates some of the issues and debates on this perspective. In the Acknowledgements for the 2004 book is a trail […]
    • Genealogy of Systems Thinking | Debora Hammond | 2002
      In the history of science of systems thinking, Debora Hammond related the backgrounds and connections of the founder of the Society for General Systems Research, that is now the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Boulding (1956) plays a large role in framing two orientations towards “general systems theory”. Kenneth Boulding used to distinguish between […]
    • Moral character in human systems (Geoffrey Vickers) | Adams, Catron, Cook (1995)
      Geoffrey Vickers saw human systems as different, with moral character distinguishing from natural and manmade systems. Gregory Bateson, in a more general view of systems, saw morality as entering in systems processes.
    • Protein remover tablets (RGP)
      As protein remover tablets for RGP contact lenses become more difficult to find, the hydrogen peroxide solutions are an easy-to-find alternative.
    • Book review of ZHANG, Zailin (2008) “Traditional Chinese Philosophy as the Philosophy of the Body” | Robin R. Wang | 2009
      In this review of a philosophical work written in Chinese, a comparison is made between Chinese philosophy centering on the body, in comparison to Western philosopy centered on the mind. (I found a reference to this book, tracing back from Keekok Lee (2017) Chapter 9, footnote 8.
    • Approche systémique
      The translation from English "systems thinking" to French "la pensée systémique" misses meaning. "Approche systémique" has lineage to "Conférences Macy", "General System Theory (Bertalanffy)" and "Gregory Bateson"
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2022/09 Moments September 2022
      A month with much activity, starting in NYC for a weekend, returning to Toronto to care for my father in the hospital, and ending the month in Madrid, Spain.
    • 2022/08 Moments August 2022
      Busy social calendar of summer family gatherings and local festivals, interspersed with otherwise invisible journal article writing.
    • 2022/07 Moments July 2022
      Enjoying summer with Toronto Jazz, then road trip to Iowa and Chicago.
    • 2022/06 Moments June 2022
      Social calendar for month was full with Toronto Biennal of Art, Luminato, Taste of Little Italy and Toronto Jazz Festival, plus family dim sum and dinners.
    • 2022/05 Moments May 2022
      Spring return from California visit, into Toronto coming back to life with city activities.
    • 2022/04 Moments April 2022
      Spring sees art exhibitions opening up around Toronto, then a trip to the Bay Area in Northern California to visit family and friends.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal