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What is the Viable Systems Model?

Beer's Viable System Model (VSM) is a management model that was developed by Stafford Beer, a British management cybernetician. The VSM is designed to help organizations manage complexity and adapt to changing environments by providing a framework for analyzing and designing management structures and processes.

The VSM consists of five key elements, each of which performs a specific function within the overall system:

System 1 - Operations: This element represents the day-to-day activities of the organization, including production, service delivery, and customer interaction.

System 2 - Coordination: This element is responsible for coordinating and integrating the activities of System 1, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and that goals and objectives are aligned.

System 3 - Intelligence: This element is responsible for gathering and analyzing information about the external environment, including market trends, customer needs, and competitor activities.

System 4 - Policy: This element is responsible for setting overall direction and strategy for the organization, based on the information gathered by System 3.

System 5 - Governance: This element is responsible for monitoring the performance of the other four systems and ensuring that they are aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the organization.

According to the VSM, organizaions that are able to effectively manage complexity and adapt to changing environments will have a higher likelihood of long-term viability and success. The VSM has been widely used in both public and private sector organizations as a tool for analyzing and improving management structures and processes.

Related Article: Viable Organisations with Beer

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