Self-organising complex marketing systems LO26640

From: Gavin Ritz (
Date: 05/07/01

Replying to LO26632 --

Hi John

John Zavacki wrote:

> This has become a fascinating thread. With Gavin's experience and
> expertise in marketing, I was tempted to hold back, but I did some
> internal inquiry and decided it was time for some advocacy.
> First, I seek marketing not as a discipline, but as a whole. Most of what
> manufacturing organizations do can be subsumed under marketing.

That's precisely what the problem is. One of the best exercises ever done with
this, was by Stafford Beer in the Heart Of Enterprise. Identification of the
whole and its elements. Page 417, Identity an exercise. If this doesn't blow
your socks off nothing will.

> The
> academic description of a marketing (sub)system may not entail product
> development, prototypes, trial runs etc., but the indutrial model must.
> There are complex psychological reasons for choosing brands, styles, and
> the like, and this too, is marketing, but if the product cannot be
> produced on time, with first time quality expectations met, at a cost that
> allows a price which is consistent with the markets expectations all of
> the time and energy spent in conceiving it and bringing it to the market
> must be charged to the "lessons learned" account.

The whole (entire organization) is the whole. The next recursion down that is
a whole is what the firm transforms (e.g. a mayonnaise production line which
includes its inputs and outputs). If one goes two recursions up from here the
next whole would be the corporation.

A simple way to look at it is, can you hive off the organization? (yes), and
what other parts can you hive off, normally the transformation processing part
and its inputs and outputs. One cannot hive off the marketing department or
the financial department or the board of directors or the maintenance
department. This revolves around the whole issue of viability. Of course if
one totally closes down the marketing department the produce (outputs) might
not get sold too well. But it is possible to produce something and not have
any sales or marketing department.

> In this view, there is
> a whole.

The definition of a whole is this. Z(n) attached to X*Y*Z attached to X(n).
where X, Y and Z is the whole. With;
1) in the concrete X becomes (or has the potential) Z through the
transformation at Y.
2) or in the abstract X becomes (or has the potential) Z through the
transformation at Y.
notice the output Z(n) of another whole is attached to the input (X) of this
XYZ whole and the output Z is attached to the input X(n) of another whole and
so on and so on.

X=inputs, flow1, supply , Y= transformation, mixed flow, converter, Z=
outputs, new flow2, demand.

Examples of wholes are the brain (the transformer) and nervous system, inputs
outputs and tubes. The lungs (the transformer) and respiratory systems as
inputs and outputs. A cell. A firm. A processing plant with inputs and
outputs. A tree. (not the branch). A human being (has input and output plus
transformational (abstract and concrete capabilities par excellence).

The biggest problem in our scientific studies has just to do with this issue
of boundaries and wholes. e.g. if I look at entropy at only the
transformational stage (Y) then I have to deduce that entropy is disorder. If
I view it from the whole. I have to deduce that it is first order, then
disorder then order again. I now have both order and disorder. No wonder
scientists are having continuos battles over the issue of entropy. Where are
they drawing the boundaries?

By my deduction marketing is an element of the whole (still important though).
It is the same as my arm. My arm is an element and not a whole but it is
still important for my proper functioning. I can live without it but with
diminished capabilities (of course depending on what I do).



Gavin Ritz <>

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