Self-organising complex marketing systems LO26643

From: Chris Klopper (
Date: 05/07/01

[Arbitrarily linked to LO26632 by your host]

Replying to preceding contributions on this subject:
Dear Gavin, At and felLOw-readers, (Gavin and At apart, no gender implied)

In an earlier post I suggested ...snip... that Marketing can be thought of as a
complex self-organising system within which we will find different
self-organising complex marketing systems. ..unsnip..

Gavin responded with the following observation ...snip... 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 <unsnip> and in a subsequent post
added ...snip... Marketing is in my opinion only a discipline and not a
whole ...and... I can't see how any marketing concept can complexify if it
is not a whole...and later still.... What I was saying a marketing
division can never self-organise because it is not a whole ...snip....

This debate is of great importance to me and I am greatful for the
response so far. To make progress we need to be sure what it is we are
talking to each other about and I need to make sure that I remain open to
views with which I might have difficulty at first blush.

I agree with Gavin that it may be difficult or futile at this time to
think of Marketing (the discipline) as a complex self-organising system. I
will reserve my opinion until I understand the necessary and sufficient
conditions for complex self-organising systems. I also agree that a
marketing department or who-ever is responsible for the disciplined
application of the principles of marketing in an organisation is probably
not a complex self-organising system, for all the reasons Gavin mentioned.
Bear in mind that some sage observed 'marketing is far to important to
leave in the hands of a marketing department'. That is about as far as I
can go with agreeing (maintaining openess as best I ought).

After I have subtracted these two aspects of marketing from what I
understanding the whole of marketing to be about, what (may you ask) is
left?: the praxis of marketing. For more years than what I care to mention
in good company I marketed things: medicine, cars, chocolates, insurance,
the list is a long one. What I refer to when I use the concept
'self-organising complex marketing systems' (note the syntagmatic order)
reminds me of Gilbert Ryle's story about explaining the game cricket to
someone who has never heard about it. Team spirit in cricket is not a
category alongside bails and bats and balls. The praxis of marketing is
not a category alongside marketing plans, principles and pipes (or
tubing). If these (see below) are the necessary and sufficient conditions
for deciding whether this part of marketing is a self-organising complex
system, I will have to understand each one of these terms very well before
I hazard a guess:

Process (flows) and only part (demand side flow)
Structure and only demand side
Boundaries and limits
Interconnections and associations
Cognition and logic (differences {JND} and similarities)
Value laden
Tensegrity and only the demand side
Law of energy conservation
Degree of Freedom
Categorical identity
Law of entropy production
order and disorder

However, it is because I understand some of them (creativeness, emergence,
openess, adaptation, order-disorder etc) that I am (still) convinced that
at least some part of marketing can usefully be thought of as a
self-organising complex system.

With kind regards

Chris Klopper


"Chris Klopper" <>

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