Stafford Beer to Fritjof Kapra LO13104

Ethan J. Mings (
Thu, 3 Apr 1997 06:47:13 -0500

Replying to LO13095 --

On 2 Apr 97 at 12:51, Harrow, Stuart C. wrote:

> Could you please tell us more about the Viable Systems Model?

I would suggest that you consult one of the following books for some great
information on Viable Systems models.

Stafford Beer has taken great effort to write two books on this subject.
One is called the Heart of the Enterprise and the other is called Brain of
the Firm. Both books were produced by John Wiley and Son's Ltd through
their Chichester Office in England. If you want to read about Viable
System Model in the context of the systems theory, check out Robert L.
Flood and Michael C. Jacksons book, Creative Problems Solving - Total
Systems Intervention (also printed by John Wiley and Sons). One can also
review the book, The Viable System Model - Interpretations and
Applications of Stafford Beers VSM edited by Raul Espejo and Roger Harden.
Finally, the latest book I have by Stafford Beer is called Beyond Disput
-- The Invention of Team Syntergrity.

In a nutshell, while working for a international not-for-profit, we
utilized the services of Stafford Beer to complete an Operations Review
and look at our organizational structure. The insights from the VSM model
were quite helpful but a real struggle to learn. I found VSM changed my
whole way of looking at issues, organizational structure and
organizational performance. I say this because you may find his writing
'dense' and slow going. (That's how its been for me)

I wish you luck on your journey through his material. As we say, "the
juice is well worth the squeeze!".


PS. One more book. A very short book which works in concert with the
Brain of the Firm and the Heart of the Enterprise is Diagnosing the System
by Stafford Beer.

The Desk of Ethan J. Mings
*Facilitated Planning* *Mentoring* *Quality Management* *Results Measurement*
Ask about "Mentoring Inside the Organization".
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