Self-organising complex marketing systems LO26693

From: Chris Klopper (
Date: 05/18/01

[Linked to LO26664 by Chris Klopper]

Dear LO-

In response to preceding contributions on the topic of Self-organising
complex marketing systems:

Gavin raised the question (and the level of the discussion) of wholeness.
This in turn raised a number of related questions, none of which have been
sufficiently resolved yet. They are:

 1) how do we operationalise the term 'marketing' in the idea of
<self-organising complex marketing systems>? At least three different
meanings+understandings seems to be evident so far.
 2) How whole should wholeness be not to leave holes through which our
marketing thinking will fall (down)?
 3) Is 'marketing' as operationalised such a whole or not?
 4) If NO, what are the implications for the praxis (and theory) of
 5) If YES, (hmmmmm?) least I will rejoice because then what I think
I am doing will have become a little more meaningful and a little less

Two recent contributions were stunning, one from Winfried as part of this
thread, and one by Arnold Wytenburg (part of another thread on a another
list - an incidental gem):

Winfried wrote: As such, markets are always more complex than
organizations. Organizations encounter markets as open horizons in their
self-organizing sense making. Markets on the other hand "measure"
organizations by means of "expectations". One goal of an organization is
to sustain its identity in the field which the market forms. Marketing
takes place on a tacit level, as long as no formal marketing arises.

Arnold wrote: my experience suggests that, in abstraction:
 1) individual business enterprises are much like medical patients, each
being situationally unique
 2) taken as a whole, business seems to behave much more like biology
 3) executives tend to approach business as though it is more like
 4) academics and consultants tend to think that business is more like

The marketing that I think can usefully be thought of as a self-organising
complex system includes all the visible and/or measurable manifestation(s)
which become evident as a result of a way of looking at the whole system
(SY) in the context of and interacting with its surroundings (SU). The
only way I can describe *it* at present is to think of *it* as a
holographic image which appears in a multi-dimensional organisational
space. It is not a holographic puppet and there is no single puppetmaster.
My experience has brought me to the belief that among other things *it*
has the potential for PERSISTENCY or (to use Bergson's term) DURATION. If
we misuse (and here I am paraphrasing Bergson) this aspect of marketing to
reduce time to a sequence of instantaneous states linked by a
deterministic law, *it* disappears out of sight (that does not imply *it*
ceases to exist). In doing so we detatch selected marketing events from
*this fragile whole* and become trapped on poor local optima (after which
*it* may well cease to exist).

Thinking in ecological mode for a second it (this aspect of marketing)
reminds me of the rule: the bigger the brain the longer the maturation
period. Guinness is a mature adult with a large brain while the infant
mortality of new marketing concepts, on the other hand, is high. A brand
is not a thing, the thing we get used to(if it is visible - like NIKE for
instance) is merely part of all its visible maifestations. The aspect of
marketing I have in mind is a whole which I still find difficult to
articulate. This I do know: it is complex because I have looked at it
through the lenses provided by medicine, biology, chemistry and physics
(and a few more) and still stand in awe of its undisclosed mysteries. It
is self-organising because I have yet to meet the all-controlling
puppetmaster. It has DURATION outside of the organisation which has
custody because it can out-live its own origins, it can mutate, replicate,
bear off-spring and it can be destroyed/wasted by owners and regulators.
This dimension of marketing will continue to take place on a tacit level,
as long as no formal description thereof arises, or is it <emerges>?.

With kind regards

Chris Klopper


"Chris Klopper" <>

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