Structural aspects of LOs LO30354

From: Fred Nickols (
Date: 07/10/03

Replying to LO30343 --

Replying to Leo Minnigh in LO30343 --

Leo wrote:

>Any organisation represents a certain amount of energy (related to the
>mass). The total amount of energy of an organisation (Etot) is partly used
>for survival (Esurv), it means to maintain its structure; the energy which
>is then still available is the free energy (Efree), which could be used for
>work, production, learning, etc.and evolution (!). Thus
>Etot = Esurv + Efree

Fascinating, Leo. Years ago I created a rather large tree structure of
general energy equations that resonates with what you've just posted. To
my regret and chagrin, I misplaced them. I can see them still: little
tree charts scrawled on a small yellow note pad. Perhaps I'll try to
reconstruct them.

My starting point, however, was with productive energy expenditure: Ep.
That, in turn, was the difference between energy expended (Ee) and wasted
energy (Ew). This yielded a little structure something like the


         minus = Ep


Ee, of course, was a portion of available energy: Ea. The difference
there was between Ea and energy reserves: Er. Together, Ea and Er = Et or
total energy.


         plus = Et


Where we seem to have taken a different path is as follows: In my view,
available energy can be expended in two primary avenues: maintenance (or
what I believe you are calling survival) and production (that is, the
creation of outputs that can be exchanged for new inputs). Thus, Ee or
energy expended is the sum of whatever is being expended on maintenance
and whatever is being expended on production (which, because it brings new
inputs to the system is really a form of maintenance as well).


         plus = Ee


If, as is sometimes the case, the organization or organism is not
expending all the energy that is available, reserves increase.

Where I was headed with my equations was (1) looking at organizational
performance on the one hand and (2) individual performance on the other
hand. For example, if the aim is to maximize (or optimize, take your
pick) productive energy expenditures, you have to start looking for ways
of eliminating wasted energy and ways of reducing the amount of reserve.
In a very real sense, available energy (Ea) reflects the energy the
individual or organization is willing to commit to action. When people
withhold effort, they are in effect reducing the amount of Ea and, by
default, increasing their Er or energy reserves. However, what really
happens is that they tend to expend energy in other areas, namely, those
not related to work. So, there is a balance to be found and struck
between energy allocated to work (Ew) and energy allocated to other
pursuits (Eo).

One other place my fiddling around with these energy equations led me is
to the problem of increasing the amount of total energy (Et). When it
comes to people, proper diet and nourishment as well as exercise and
medical treatment are the most obvious means. But, I think you probably
get the point. For an organization to increase its total amount of
energy, at least the kind it obtains from people, it is necessary to get
people to shift their allocation from Eo to Ew and from Er to Ea.
Interesting problem, isn't it?

Thanks for the reminder, Leo.


Fred Nickols
"Assistance at a Distance"
Distance Consulting


Fred Nickols <>

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