Supporting the Design of Competitive Organizations by a Domain-Specific Application Framework for the Viable System Model

DSM 2016: Sustainability in modern project management - Proceedings of the 18th International DSM Conference, São Paulo, August 29th and 30th, 2016

Year: 2016
Editor: Marly Monteiro de Carvalho, Steven D. Eppinger, Maik Maurer, Lucia Becerril
Author: Sadi, Tarek; Wilberg, Julian; Tommelein, Iris D.; Lindemann, Udo
Series: DSM
Institution: Chair of Product Development, Technical University of Munich; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
Section: Analyzing and Managing Organizations
Page(s): 077-087
DOI number: 10.19255/JMPM-DSM2016
ISBN: 978-85-63710-01-7


Industrial companies face the challenge of a rapidly changing environment and struggle to keep up with the pace needed to be competitive. Organizational deficiencies are often reasons for failure. The Viable System Model (VSM) supports organizational diagnosis and design to ensure viability and avoid deficiencies. The objective of this paper is to further support the application of the VSM in industry. Therefore, we conducted a literature review and analyzed twenty-five VSM case studies in order to derive a common application pattern. The results showed that the main assessment criterion was the existence of all VSM subsystems. However, interrelations within the VSM subsystems are often ignored. This paper presents an extended framework for applying the VSM, emphasizing subsystem relations when diagnosing as well as designing organizational systems. The extension is provided in the form of four Domain-Structure-Matrices, which reveal necessary interrelations and connections for a should-be organizational design.

Keywords: Systems thinking, Viable System Model, Management Cybernetics, Organizational Cybernetics


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