Self-organising complex marketing systems LO26629

From: Gavin Ritz (
Date: 05/04/01

Replying to LO26626 --


Dear At and Chris

> >I have just got around to read this message and would
> >like to comment of some of the issues of marketing.
> >
> >This might sound really crazy but in my opinion there
> >is no such thing as a self -organizing complex market
> >system. Self organization can only work with wholes.
> >
> >By the above label implication one could then assume
> >that there is such a thing as a marketing system.
> >(categorical identity). Can it be identified categorically?
> >My answer to that is I don't think so.
> Greetings dear Gavin,
> I understand exactly what you mean. There are far too many specific
> businesses in which their marketing division do not operate as a
> self-organising system.

They only try operate as a self-organising division because the only
wholes are the people themselves. I believe that concept of marketing can
never be a whole. This is an example in business (not only marketing)
where the mental boundaries of real wholes and the boundaries of fake
wholes clash and it's where we get massive amounts of mental trauma. I
once mentioned before it is like me turning up on my neighbors doorstep
and wanting to behave like their children's father. We get Massive role
confusion. This is unfortunately the way things have been set up in
business. In fact one of the main reasons behind systems thinking and
managerial cybernetics is to sort this psychiatric problem out.

> And the reason is in many cases exactly
> what you identified -- too litle wholeness within themselves as the
> marketing division and too little wholeness in the rest of the
> organistion. But tell it to them, even as a consulatnt paid to do
> so, and see what happens!

The definition of a whole is what has eluded most people. A whole is more
than the sum of its parts but what does it really look like?.

It is very simple really, a whole is: (tube-pump-tube,
input-transform-output, flow1-convert-flow2).

Process-structure (content-form, i.e. {(input) tube (material)}-{(pump)
transformer (mixed material)}-{tube (new material) output}. Herein lies
the key to a whole. It has specific form and content. (pull-pump-push).

The key is to test this model with the human (whole), recursion down, say
the respiratory system (a whole), recursion down cellular level (a whole).

In business the whole firm is the whole, the next recursion down the
transforming processing structure. (Production). There might be a few
wholes in the transforming process. (pull-pump-push, flow1-convert-flow2).
A sales dept. could be a whole if it was transforming within the above
process structure. e.g. a wholesale company transforms distribution.

Hence, finance, marketing, production control, board of directors, R&D,
sales dept., customers services can never be wholes. A good way to check
this, if it is a controlling dept. the chance is that it is on the balance
sheet and hence not a whole. The roles in those departments are hence not
wholes but the person in the role is a whole. Hence my quote from Stafford
Beer to Bob Mac on another thread.

" But in terms of management, the way in which a life is conducted,
dimensionality becomes important: many psychiatric problems are rooted in
inter-dimensional conflict that is not understood because boundaries
[wholes, categorical identity and process-structures ] have not been
recognized. The same goes for your firm".

My words in parenthesis. Of course we could put in your quantity-limit 7E
there too.

These definitions are very hard to swallow for most people in business and
you are correct when you say tell them and see what happens. Separation
from one's role has survival value.

> Wholeness for me has two important feature -- unity and associativity.
> If one of these two features gets impaired, wholeness decreases. The
> unity is not by far as big a problem as the associativity, i.e. assuring
> commuting structurers of the form X*Y*Z within marketing itself with Y
> as commutator. Furthermore, increasing wholeness cannot be forced
> upon the marketing system, it has to to develop from within. Many
> businesses do not allow their marketing division to self-organisise

What I was saying a marketing division can never self-organise because it
is not a whole. I absolutely agree with you on unity and association, but
if I take your 7E's as an example. Each and every one of the 7E variables
are associated, it is like they are all bi-conditional on each other. If
anyone is impaired (and I have checked this out, you are 100% correct).
Self-organization, creativity can never happen.

> according to whatever principles (7Es or not). Usually it is the
> command&control structure taking the lead -- "you cannot do what
> is good unless I give you permission".

Yes this is the impairment of the freedom of association. However remember
a command and control pocessing structure is a whole as it is modeled on
the nervous system. (Brain and nerve tubes, flow1-convert-flow2). If my
mind wanted to survive but I just have the whim to jump off a 1 km cliff
without any parachute. How much degrees of freedom should I have? Well no
freedom after I have jumped. This is similar to your lion in the desert
association analogy.

Do have a pleasant weekend.


Gavin Ritz <>

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