2008/07/16 11:00 Special Integration Group on Systems Applications in Business and Industry, ISSS Madison 2008

ISSS Madison 2008, 52nd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the ISSS web site by David Ing.

Session chaired by David Ing

Three presenters

  • Doug McDavid (filling in a gap for Marianne Kosits, who cancelled last minute);  
  • Kambiz Maani;
  • Junyu Minegishi

Doug McDavid

What is a business that could have an architecture?

What is an architecture related to business?

Better term has already been co-opted by IT people:  would prefer enterprise architecture

  • Human social systems that have some economic developments

IT architectures, that have an enterprise class


  • 1. From Maturana, things intrinsically have an architecture, what is it composed of, what are the parts, what behaviours?  Structure and behaviour.
    • If I turn a tape recorder off, it will have changed the architecture of the tape recorder.
  • 2.  A representation of an architecture, blueprint, models
    • All models are wrong, but some are useful
  • 3.  Architecture as a discipline, creating things for a purpose, an existing phenomenon, or projected into a future

Examples of useful architectural views or models

  • Microscopic view of business, transactions and communications
  • Macro:  Viable systems models, 1 to 5, with communication levels, with strong recursion
  • Miller's living systems model
  • IBM Component Business Model
  • Ecosystem model of business, with definable enties don't exist in isolate, but in cooperation with each other, points to other paper, talking about social aspects of business, e.g. cultural architecture, e.g. boundary concepts


Ben Durzel:  abstract architecture

  • Everything is forming and dying, and forming and dying

Hierarchy theory?

  • Yes, both in Beer and Miller
  • Micro level, thinking of Pask types of communications

Enterprise development instead of entrepreneurism

View of architecture as semantic, with ontological content

Architecture and organizations?

  • Maturana, architecture as the eye of a frog, the cognitive architecture of the eye taking in, and the tongue coming out to take a fly, which may not be a fly
  • Not going to get in a discussion whether that is design
  • We do design social systems:  charter, constitution
  • Institutional architecture

Maturation, e.g. company starts in the vision of the founder, then revolt of the board to throw out a CEO

Kambiz Maani

Linkage to structure and performance

Case study for a master's thesis

Dysfunction, internal competition

  • People driven towards performance indicators

Food and beverage company, supply chain

Systems thinking in a real organization, how effective is systems thinking in the real world?

Documented company in four-level Senge model:  mental model, patterns of behaviour, events

  • Documented what went wrong, e.g. fill rate
  • Traced to patterns of behaviour
  • What is people's mental model

Across 7 companies, behaviour change?

  • Before:  pointing fingers at other people
  • After half-day workshop:  realized a little selfish, created problems for self, more exposure to other parts of business

Language and gestures change:  drawing causal loops in the air

16 months later, has behaviour sustained?

  • Collaboration have continued
  • Performance sustained
  • Use systems thinking to maintain culture of empowered organization:  one number principle


Performance measure?

  • Had one for each department

New measures?

  • Not an overhaul, people began to see their influence


  • Novice level, warehouse level, so used causal loop modeling on paper, in workshop

Trust, if only person does the job, then everyone. Relationships change?

Do away with performance measure, just trust?

Mandated performance measures to suggested performance measures

Corporate performance linked to strategic plan?

  • No, scope was supply chain

Applying systems thinking model to every enterprise?

Junyu Minegishi

Tool to help quality management auditors

Differences in auditors' abilities

  • e.g. standard for corrective action