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Reading the other responses to you, Harold, I think I now understand  
your question.

I have a somewhat different take on VSM, one that I discussed in some  
detail with Stafford.

In brief - the VSM applies to what I call 'formal social structures'.  
It DOES NOT apply to something that I call 'human relations'. The  
formal social is constituted by categories, labels, roles etc.  
Humanity is constituted by the recurrent interactions of human beings  
with one another as they cross the barriers and identities of various  
social forms in their natural flow of living.

These are two quite distinct domains of reality. They are  
complementary necessities for our lived experience. Human does not  
involve social ORGANISATION, even though our interactions enable the  
emergence of social infrastructure, and many of our character traits  
are drastically shaped (or damaged) by our social identities.

Exercise: take the VSM at any social scale, and drop levels of  
recursion to the lowest 'atom' (lowest S1). You will NOT discover a  
human being. You will find  a constitutive role or a function for the  
given system-in-focus. You will NOT discover a constitutive element  
for humankind (ie a human being). And it is impossible to do the same  
exercise for system-in-focus 'humanity'. There are only just two  
mutually constitutive elements to this reality - the set of all human  
beings, and each and every one of the individuals. That is what  
humanity IS.

When taken on board, the above is not a limitation of the VSM, but an  
enormous strength - which was what underlined my original query to  
you, Harold. A model such as the VSM (or anything`) HAS TO HAVE  
limitations, otherwise it is not a model, but an ideology. The VSM  
concerns SOCIAL forms - whether institutions or more informal  
organisations, such as clubs. But in any case, they are SOCIAL forms.  
People ignore this at their peril, and to the detriment of the model.

Roger

On 2 Dec 2008, at 17:48, Boris G Freesman, Q.C. wrote:

> Arthur,
>
> I think you misunderstood what Barry said.
>
> Of course the VSM applies to corporations and all kinds of  
> organizations because it is a model for viability rather than any  
> specific form or type of organization. It is like one of those coats  
> that fits everyone in general and no one in particular... and  
> because it fits no one in particular, fits no one. [<= feeble  
> attempt at humour!]
>
> Boris
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Arthur Dijkstra" <[log in to unmask] 
> >
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 11:05 AM
> Subject: VSM scope of application (was:RE: is there anyone out  
> there????)
>
>
>> Barry,
>> You wrote: IMHO, the VSM applies very well to governments and  
>> societies. The
>> VSM is a framework for viability, not for corporations or any other
>> particular form of entity.
>>
>> Why can't the VSM be applied to corporations ? What makes the  model
>> ineffective for a corporation ?
>>
>> How do others see this ?
>>
>> Thanks,
>> ARthur
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>> Van: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Namens BARRY A CLEMSON
>> Verzonden: 02 December 2008 16:09
>> Aan: [log in to unmask]
>> Onderwerp: Re: is there anyone out there????
>>
>> Harold,
>>
>> I do not believe that Stafford failed in applying the VSM to society.
>> In the case of Chile in particular the project only lasted 18 months
>> before the coup and had some notable successes in that short time.  
>> And
>> the coup was instigated and funded by the CIA and was unrelated to  
>> the
>> work Stafford did. Also, Stafford did some very interesting work with
>> Canadian Indian tribes.
>>
>> IMHO, the VSM applies very well to governments and societies. The VSM
>> is a framework for viability, not for corporations or any other
>> particular form of entity.
>>
>> You do raise a good question tho, "Where doesn't Stafford's work
>> apply?" The answer to this depends upon which aspects of the work:  
>> The
>> VSM doesn't say much about the process of planning, but Syntegration
>> does. Neither Syntegration nor the VSM say much about how one tries  
>> to
>> understand the inner workings of some complex process, but Decision
>> and Control does in the sections on modeling. Staffords work provides
>> very powerful tools for an immense range of situations and purposes.
>>
>> Having said that, i also think that there are other critical tools/
>> frameworks that need to be used. For instance, Ackoff's idealized
>> planning is a critically important methodology. And Ackoff's circular
>> organization is a way to make large organizations both more effective
>> and more democratic. Further, both idealized planning (as a VSM  
>> system
>> 4 methodology) and the circular organization (as a way of  
>> organizing a
>> corporation or government entity) are completely compatible with the
>> VSM. I don't know of anyone ever trying this, but I have thought for
>> years that the circular organization would be a management structure
>> that would facilitate the use of the VSM.
>>
>> Barry
>>
>> On Dec 2, 2008, at 2:36 AM, Garderen, Harold van wrote:
>>
>>> Like many others that responded thus far, I'm interested and try  
>>> to do
>>> some collaborative work at time.
>>>
>>> One thing worries me and that is the - at times - almost
>>> fundamentalistic focus on Stafford. A few questions:
>>>
>>> * Where doesn't Staffords work apply?
>>> * What progress have other made in the meantime.
>>> * What of that work can we integrate to make more VSM ideas readable
>>> in
>>> todays terms.
>>> * Isn't VSM used outside its validity boundaries when applied to
>>> society
>>> (Stafford failed there)
>>>
>>> And the most vital one:
>>>
>>> * How do we achieve 200,000+ page views a day on the wiki?
>>>
>>> One suggestion: find better names (and use them) for S1-S5. Nobody
>>> will
>>> understand that for a long, long time.
>>>
>>> This work is in dear need of newbies. So go and wiki!
>>>
>>> Harold
>>>
>>> Now blogging at http://fragmentedliving.blogspot.com/
>>>
>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>>>> Roger Harnden
>>>> Sent: maandag 1 december 2008 23:21
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: is there anyone out there????
>>>>
>>>> Is anyone interested in the wiki??? I know the few who are,
>>>> but how about others?? Or is it just not of interest; is it a
>>>> pile of shit; is it irrelevant to other people's needs; is it
>>>> difficult to engage in??????
>>>>
>>>> Best wishes,
>>>>
>>>> Roger
>>>>
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>> ===================================================
>>
>> BARRY A CLEMSON
>> [log in to unmask]
>>
>> 757-692-6673
>>
>> Cybernetica Press at www.cyberneticapress.com
>>
>>
>>
>> "It's not how much you do - it's how much love you put in it.... Do
>> small things with great love."
>>            --- Mother Teresa ---
>>
>> The true warrior may be killed, but he can not be defeated.
>>   --- my paraphrase of Sensei Hamada ---
>>
>> And peace rolled down like a mighty river.
>>       -- Inspired by the prophet Amos 5:24--
>>
>>
>> "An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard."
>>           -- Gene Knudsen Hoffman --
>>
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