Optimisation and sub-optimisation LO20701

Mark W. McElroy (mmcelroy@vermontel.com)
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 09:54:13 -0500

Replying to LO20690 --

Bob Williams wrote:

> I am trying to track down a coherent explanation of the principle that in
> order to run an organisation optimally, the parts of the organisation must
> be run sub-optimally. The notion has its origins in systems engineering
> (and I can trace it as far back as a paper by Gwilym Jenkins from the
> early 70's), but I want an article that specifically warns against trying
> to improve the running of an entire organisation by maximising the
> operational efficiency and/or effectiveness of each part of that
> organisation independently of each other.

You might try looking into Ikujiro Nonaka's work on "The Knowledge
Creating Company" (Harvard Business Review Nov./Dec. '91). In that
paper, he refers to the importance of redundancy and chaos in business
models as a way of stimulating the creation of new knowledge. He says
"new knowledge is born in chaos." Hope that helps.


"Mark W. McElroy" <mmcelroy@vermontel.com>

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