This short article will present a summary of theory and methodology of postmodern organization (PMO) including the sketch of technology.
It seems that the most important problem in the world is lack of
There is an enormous demand for it but supply is too short.
The author of the theory of self-organization, based on the paradigm of non-linearity, irreversibility, and dependence, is Ilya Prigogine -- winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Before him the man was in opposition with nature (Monod and Jacob). Such philosophy is the result of Newton's paradigm based on mathematical assumptions of linearity, reversibility, and independence of relations. It started with Galileo and F. Bacon and Descartes as spiritual leaders of Modern age. While Aristoteles' view was based on perception, a modern age was based on cognition. Postmodern age includes senses, feeling, thinking and doing with permanent restructuring and reprocessing within and between subjects.
With deeper understanding beneath this antagonistic relationship (Galileo as negation of Aristoteles) there is harmonic relation, Galileo as negation of negation -- renegation -- of Aristoteles. The best modern scientists were inspired by Cartesian tradition, with only several, who tried to interpret reality according to philosophy of Leibnitz, and Hegel as the opponents to Newtonian paradigm.
Due to Prigogine's research we now have a new model of nature, that could be in harmony with human being and society. The key idea is freedom. Hegel's interpretation of nature is a challenge, because it helps in explaining non-linearity, irreversibility and interdependence of relations. Aristoteles philosophy, enriched with discoveries of Heisenberg's uncertainty, Bohr's complementarity and Prigogine's non-linearity and irreversibility demonstrate the spiral movement of postmodern science. This author is not competent to interpret Aristoteles and Hegel philosophy of nature, but is only a believer, owing to intuition in Bergson tradition. It is not a pure chance that scientists with Prigogine paradigm quote Hegel, while scientists with Newtonian paradigm ignore it. It requires a special research to discover relationship between religion, philosophy and science. Hypothesis behind this article is that autopoietic theory requires a better knowledge of religion, philosophy and the best scientific discoveries. Ignoring it we are falling into Newtonian paradigm, although we need not be conscious of that.
Modern paradigm is allopoietic (defined by outside) and defines the border in artificial nature (buildings, machines, economic products, and political relationships). With postmodern paradigm owing to autopoietic approach (defined by inside) we have capabilities to design products and relations that will be in greater harmony with man and nature. Economy and sociology are limited with idea of equilibrium. Prigogine with discovery of the behavior of nonequilibrium and nonlinear systems is predecessor of postmodern age. Nature is rarely in equilibrium. Life is now interpreted as self-organized phenomenon that is far from equilibrium.
Social sciences ignore this new paradigm resulting in low quality
products, low productivity, stagflation, wars, and environmental
From author's point of view autopoiesis and self-organisation are the bridge between causality and finality, necessity and freedom, nature and man. Without it we are forced to live in less efficient and less democratic organizations. High efficiency and high democracy with minimal pollution of nature could be way to freedom.
With deeper understanding of these three goals we could overcome sustained development, stagflation, and environmental problems, because knowledge of the purpose should eliminate much entropy.
The problem is how to design decision making to reach at least two goals (efficiency and humanness). It is the problem related to causa prima finalis.
Before postmodern age the humanistic and natural sciences were separated and objective function was split between developing efficiency and humanness. Human and cultural development prefers the second objective, while organizational and economic development prefers the first.
There is very little research on correlation of these two variables. Probably the reason is a lack of postmodern paradigm in contemporary social sciences. Author's hope is to help reinterpret viewpoint far from equilibrium, from modern paradigm toward postmodern paradigm, from chaos and necessity as opposites to freedom as a renegation of chaos and necessity. This prevalent, traditional reasoning is the result of division of labor (ignoring Durkheim), lack of understanding of the wholeness (ignoring Hegel, Capra, Wilber, Prigogine, Jantsch), lack of emotional involvement (ignoring Freud, Jung, Reich, Plutchik Kelley), lack of lateral thinking, lack of mutual understanding to be in the other's shoes (Vanek), and -- as synthesis -- lack of knowledge and understanding of development in general.
Autopoietic theory enables us to develop decision making that will harmonize these two either opposite or complementary approaches (technical versus humanistic, economic versus political, male versus female, man versus nature, discursive versus intuitive).
Causa prima efficiens has its roots in Darwin's law of survival of the fittest. It is a necessary condition, and a sufficient one could be the fight for power (Nietzsche).
How to achieve greater rate of return or how to survive?
Behind this behavior is either natural or social law of necessity. Behavior determined only with these laws is near equilibrium. It is based, in some way, on the second law of thermodynamics and the result will be according to the prognosis of maximal entropy and elimination of life. With optimistic view, the life is the only chance in the universe, pure gamble of roulette (Monod). It is owing to postmodern paradigm far from truth and freedom. Such behavior "near equilibrium" is demonstrated in the literature of XX century and every sensitive human being is conscious of it in everyday life.
Contemporary scientists are very often afraid to look after the thelos, and for many of them teleology is too similar to theology. The result is that we are too near the equilibrium, defined by chaos and necessity, without understanding of freedom as thelos. If we are defined only by causality we behave almost as spiritual animals in Hegel sense. With better understanding of the history of philosophy and development of the concept we could reach a better understanding of the concept of development.
Before Galileo there was a dominance of thelos with poor understanding of causality. With Galileo instead of why, the dominant question became how. It was negation of finality (not re-negation) and affirmation of understanding of causality. Descartes and Bacon developed the ontological frame for industrial and scientific revolution. Before Newton, as the "new Moses", nature and natural laws laid hidden in night and God said: "Let Newton be." World was changed and all was light (Pope) but we have lost the way. As Einstein said we don't know where we are going, but we will reach there soon.
In human development it is suggested to analyze human needs as A. Maslow has proposed understanding of human nature. Motivation depends upon probability of success and amount of benefit. The background is a conative aspect of personality. It is this writer's experience that the Plutchik theory of emotion is helpful as interface between nature and man, biology and psychology. The key problem is to overcome the need for security and need for prestige (fight or flight) through self-actualization, that is in fact a need for freedom. In Plutchik's model, self-actualization is more probable with orientation and exploration above 50%. Maslow's basic position is that when things are seen as a whole, the prospects are far more cheering than they look at the first sight. Pessimism is the outcome of "partialism". Whoever is nearer to the 5th level of needs is more capable for autopoiesis. Self-actualisers, says Maslow, are capable of more love than others, as well as of deeper relationships. They have a clear and pragmatic sense of difference between good and evil, although they are more capable of tolerance about other people's lack of it.
They are example of the behavior that is far from equilibrium in Prigogian sense. Their 'peak' experiences, the oceanic feeling, the sense of limitless horizons opening up to the vision is very similar to the Chinese experience of Tao or Indian experience of samadhi. Maslow saw a human nature as naturally self- transcending, as permanent re-negation, re-structuring and re-processing. Freud is within Newtonian paradigm, because he is unable to see far beyond ego-satisfaction, that is probably nearer to equilibrium. Rogers research (On Becoming a Person, Freedom to learn, etc.), specially coefficients of correlation before and after his psychotherapy, demonstrates that the more healthy a person is the better self-organized a person.
Maslow and Rogers did not use term SO or autopoiesis, but it is implicit in their theories of personality. Some psychologists use these terms but their approach is either negation or ignorance of postmodern paradigm. The criterion for differentiation is related with causa prima finalis. Skinner's experiment with operant conditioning helped very much in partial understanding of human nature, but when he tried to extrapolate his empirical work he reached the wrong conclusion -- there is no need for freedom and dignity. Discussion about his book "Beyond Freedom and Dignity", specially with C. Rogers, is well known. Author's experience is that the best criticism is when it comes within one's paradigm. Author asked Skinner: "Is the freedom the best reinforcer?" His answer (it could be if somebody is closed in room) proved that his understanding of freedom was very narrow, almost near equilibrium, and with such constraints in cognitive map, his conclusion is logical.
The general hypothesis for understanding of human development is that a free and creative person thinks as s/he feels, communicates as s/he thinks, and does as s/he say. These transformations of feeling in thinking, thinking in communication, and communication in deeds is ignored in modern psychological research. Without understanding and progress in 3C (from "connectivity" to "compatibility" and "coordination") in accordance with new paradigm we will be closer to the equilibrium. Chuck Kelley's research about an armor and the flow of the radix is promising.
Without more precise understanding of dialectical thinking through renegations, at least for decision-making which should be more efficient, effective and democratic, we have to know that the greatest constraints are the lack of knowledge. Triadic classifica- tion (technical, economic, and psychosociological knowledge) is necessary but not sufficient for designing a professional develop- ment. Author's research has discovered a very low correlations between knowledge levels and intensity of problems. Most people do not know that they do not know, specially about their own emotions.
How to overcome fear, anger, sorrow?
We propose to start learning with technical discipline (about material, energy, equipment, process, product), transform technical categories in economic (cost -- benefit analysis, marginal productivity, law of fair exchange) and economic ones in humanistic (need for work and love; how to achieve self-actualization and peak experiences).
The greatest problems are in the group dynamics from family development and team work to self-organizing in any organization.
Authors' theoretical and practical work on the theory of interaction could be classified into the three basic laws:
Y. The law of the relative deprivation
Z. The law of reciprocal behavior
The law of relative deprivation explains the emotional background of problems within and between human beings. An individual mainly compares oneself with better achievers in relevant economic and political values (money and/or status). All is simple if we use ABCD model. The result is relative deprivation -- either envy (D toward A) or injustice (B toward C), depending on relations in productivity and consumption. Self-actualisers are free of this law.
The law of reciprocal behavior explains actual behavior relating expectation and realization. There are three categories on qualitative level (help -- "+", indifference -- "0", and obstruction -- "-") and enormous quantitative differences. On qualitative level there are nine combinations, where three symmetrical ones are the most frequent. Anticipation and satisfaction of help are called familiarity, because it is initiated in the family, but in the life out of the family it has negative connotations. It is informal and infantile level of autopoiesis. Owing to the first and second law (X and Y) the next phase is an exchange of negative (-), instead of positive (+). Such a case is called the revenge (eye for eye, tooth for tooth as in Old Testament). The final stage in natural order is nearer to equilibrium -- (neither exchanges of "+" nor "-" but exchange of zeros) and returns to the anomy (Merton). Such spiritual death sooner or later leads into physical illness and death as cumulative of errors in work and interactions.
Postmodern paradigm opens enormous possibilities for human development (HD). Author suggests that with better understanding of religion, philosophy and modern discoveries in natural sciences, as stereoscopic view, we could understand much better problems in HD and define more creative questions and answers. Difference between Skinner and Maslow could be explained as behavior near and far from equilibrium. The first one point out the causality, the second one emphasizes the finality. With OD, ED and CD we will synthesize them. Without autopoietic interpretation it seems impossible.
In organizational development, beneath this area there are natural laws discovered in physics, chemistry and biology that have synthesis in technological development. In interaction with achievements in human development we could design postmodern organizations that could have higher rate of growth owing to alliance of man and nature. Ergonomy is an attempt to understand the interactions of man and machine without much insight in enormous potential of human being and nature.
Shigeo Shingo has proved that "improvement engineers" (in Maslow terminology -- self-actualisers) demonstrated the essence of his theory -- zero quality control as the production system, manufacturing with no defects. To achieve this ideal in many Japanese firms, two things were necessary:
His next enormous contribution is the Single Minute Exchange Dial (SMED) system that enables revolution in manufacturing and can be generalized as his discovery in quality policy. Again Shingo teaches us that the real problems are our mental barrier. Separating the inside exchange of die (IED) from the outside exchange of die (OED) he reduced setups from hours to minutes and seconds. With Just in Time (JIT) and SMED he and his collaborators in Toyota Motors did speed up the production flow by 1000% in comparison with American and European firms. Shingo is the best example of autopoietic paradigm in quality and productivity. Goethe in last century said that we can do nothing but love those better than ourselves. Due to the first and second law (X and Y) the results are order of magnitude worse.
It seems that we like to be near equilibrium and behave according to the natural law of least resistance. If this is true, then experiences of R. Fritz and DMA instructors could be a challenge.
Contemporary organizations failed to incorporate human factor and the result is the lack of OD. P. H. Mirvis, M. Beer and T. Mills had chance to promote OD but without SO some of them abandoned it. Without power of vision we stay near equilibrium. R. Merton, P. Blau, and W. Bennis with criticism of bureaucracy; R. Likert with model of a System 5 organization and linking pin model; C. Argyris with integration of individual and organizational needs; Blake and Mouton with managerial grid; M. Maccoby with gamesman; M. Porter with competitive advantage; A. Toffler with third wave; Ouchi with theory Z; J. Naisbit with megatrends; are all verified in Peter and Waterman studies of excellent companies and in K. Blanchard and N. V. Peale studies about power of ethical management. In theory and practice there is a gap between efficiency and humanness, and without autopoietic approach it can not be overcome. M. Zeleny as author and editor of Human Management Systems opens sky with autopoietic approach.
All these and many other authors with their propositions should promote a vision of harmony and ordering between man and nature, emotional and intellectual aspects, human and physical capital, means and ends in organizations.
Human development and organizational development can not be resolved without understanding of economic development.
Economy probably has a duty to keep us as far as possible from equilibrium. In economic development the function of law of value in Smith-Ricardo-Marx-Debreu tradition is the central point. Within controversy of labor versus capital we will not be far from equilibrium.
A. Marshall was the first who recognized that knowledge is the most powerful factor of production (book 4, pp. 138-39 -- quoted T. W. Shultz p. 73) but it is still ignored in contemporary theories and practice in investment.
In theory, economists try to reach Pareto optimum without necessary understanding of nature, human being, and technology. Without better knowledge about potential of resources (rate of return of human and physical capital) it is impossible to achieve optimal allocation.
Arrow was near autopoietic paradigm when he concluded: "the use of knowledge in productive activities obeys the law of increasing returns" (p. 164). With remarks that neither the demand for nor the supply of knowledge satisfies the condition of a competitive economy (p. 192), he remained within Newtonian paradigm. A. Lewis was thought by his mother to believe that anything that the developed can do, the developing can do too. He wrote in 1955 a thirty-five page chapter on "Knowledge" and did not agree with enormous literature initiated by G. Becker about human capital, that did not differentiate private and social rate of return in manpower.
T. W. Shultz even published the book Investing in People, but his theoretical background is too narrow to overcome Newtonian paradigm of equilibrium. Economy of human capital is very near equilibrium and it could be explained with Skinner operant conditioning.
Author has a very sad experience related with private versus social rate of return, and investment in human capital versus investment in physical capital through 25 years. Owing to autopoietic theory there is a possibility for the opening of a new approach to the relationship between production and consumption. If we look back in the history of the theory of OD we can recognize the attempts to understand the organization as a coalition of individuals where some of them are self organized into subcoalitions (Barnard, 1938, Simon, 1947, Cyert and March, 1959.). This was a research of bargaining, neglecting differentiation between above and beneath average in production, distribution, and consumption.
It was easier for this author to recognize the importance of it because there are lower positive correlations between production and distribution in former Yugoslavia and they could be even negative.
Here we have four basic categories in ABCD model (see graph):
All human beings on such logistic curve as best simulation of real behavior could be differentiated beneath and above it. The main proposition of this article is that the type "C" and human beings who are above curve are much better self-organized. It is differentia specifica of self-organization theory for social systems in comparison with natural systems. It is the law of necessity (causa prima efficiens) that forces "C" type to self-organize and without it they can not survive.
The type "D" is the most similar to Prigogine dissipative structures in inorganic nature, where input energy and the state far from equilibrium defines the behavior of hypnons. They reach the so called bifurcation point where they choose either "B" or "C" type of behavior. If they work and live according to social norms they could reach "A" phase that could be in some way autopoiesis in Maturana-Luhmann-Zeleny sense. Although there is an autopoiesis on biological level, on social level it is very important to define precisely the necessary and sufficient conditions. It could be the opportunity for reconciliation of causality and finality, materialism and idealism, science and philosophy, work and love, man and nature.
It would be a short cut if the economy were our final point. Its
is to force us to go far from equilibrium, to go in conflict or
on the market fighting for consumers. Without under- standing of CD we
will postpone our future. There is no synthesis between efficiency and
humanness, ends and means without under- standing that exchange of
goods and services is much easier than fair exchange of nonmaterial
and services. To be healthy, happy, and free it requires further effort.
The cultural renegation is required to resolve recognized problem,
it can not be resolved within economy.
Until we do not invest much more in developing motivation (toward self-actualization), knowledge (in technical, economical and humanistic fields), and self-organization within and between organizations, we will perpetuate low quality of life. In cultural development we have to recognize moral problems (from Kant to kOCohlberg and Rawls), legitimacy (from informal social norms to international law), politology (capitalist versus communist, left and right wings in political parties), ideology (from religion and philosophy to science of science) and art as final expression of human being (sense of life, work, love and death as the greatest challenge).
The bridge between economy, as eternal law of causality, and religion, philosophy, science, and art as eternal law of finality, could be built through G. Homans theory of social exchange. Although the theory is conditioned by Skinner theory of operant behavior, his research and interpretation of social experiments of others are very important for the development of postmodernity in social science. It is not pure chance that even in sociobiology Wilson tried to synthesize Maslow and Homans. This author will try to do it inspired with autopoietic paradigm.
The first Homans' proposition is:
From this conclusion, and sociobiological research about altruistic behavior we can deduct the relationship between efficiency (economy) and democracy (politics). Without understanding of autopoiesis it is small probability to reach it. There are enormous barriers in behavior of human being above and beneath logistic curve. Familiarity is more probable above curve and revenge beneath curve. In a short run causality is stronger than finality. With deeper understanding of transformations within human being (between emotion, cognition, communication, and doing) and between them (Homans' and author's proposals) combining with technological and economic knowledge we are more and more capable for creative and free (efficient and fair) solutions.
Theories of self-organization and autopoiesis are helpful to harmonize all elements and their relations through their mapping and ordering with help of suggested criteria. There is no reason for low efficiency and fairness on this level of human, organizational, economic, and cultural development. Roots are either lack of morality (too much selfishness) or lack of knowledge (too much ignorance). The important question is a degree of correlation between these variables. Author's research suggests a high positive relationship between them that could be the framework for a better policy.
Causa prima materialis enables the analysis of all the relevant components (statistical units) and variables explaining objective function either simple or complex. In human development, this is the primary level of motivation transformed in level of relevant knowledge for decision making and decision implementing. We can classify all sorts of knowledge in three branches: technical, economical and psychosocial knowledge. There is a reverse relationship between intensity of thus classified knowledge and intensity of such classified problems in any organizational unit. Because of that, postmodern paradigm has enormous chance of developing and application. Besides that, it is of enormous importance to apply social psychology, especially group dynamics (G. Homans -- 1 through 4) and rules of social exchange (laws X, Y, Z).
In the domain of organization there is a problem of transformation of material, energy, and information to a high quality product with zero defects and recycled waste in the most efficient way (for example just in time, SMED, Canban, CIM, etc.).
On economic level the most important problem is an optimal allocation of resources. Moreover, if G. Becker and his followers have good conclusion, we should invest 50% in human capital. There is no organization where such allocation is applied, although the most developed nations and organizations invest more and more in human capital. In the sphere of culture there is a problem of contents (need for good versus evil, need for truth versus fiction, need for beauty versus ugly, kitsch). In constricted sense it is saturated with feeling, thinking and free interaction and (non)verbal communication. In a broader view it is a collection of all relevant components and relations that are "raw materials" for autopoiesis.
The final question is about causa prima formalis. It means to precisely define answers to next questions: who, why, to whom, what, how, when, where, how much, at which cost, by whom, with what, and with which price. These twelve questions define different combinations, and with an objective function, constraints, data base, and deterministic or heuristic algorithm, it is possible to optimize (satisfice) a solution that can be combined with self-empowerment in short and/or long run.
In the field of human development in final sense Heraklit defined that men are mortal gods and gods are immortal men. Charismatic persons (they think as they feel, talk as they think, do as they say) are near self-organization and autopoiesis, but too strong for their social environment. With sincere feedback of members of groups they are more capable to modify behavior than the others in the group. For self-organization everybody is mature who is ready to overcome need for power and prestige in Maslow's sense, who has normal and average capabilities for learning, and who is ready to confront in an efficient and fair way the challenges of the environment, especially market requirements of quality and productivity and political requirement of universal human rights.
In the domain of organization the chance for self-organization and autopoiesis is the greatest in conditions of high technology but is possible anywhere. Flow of material, layout, optimization of design through CAD, optimization of process through CAM and complete optimization through CIM is well known, but without knowledge about autopoiesis, as is obvious, it is expensive and less efficient and human. We must not forget that only operation adds surplus value while transport, control, and inventory reduce profits.
Postmodern paradigm has the greatest possibilities in economy. If we agree that economy is optimal allocation in resources, the main problem is the rate of return from man and machine. Chicago school has developed a theory about similar rate of return, while our research has shown that investment in human being is 15-25 times greater than investment in physical assets. Although there are firms (Intel, Motorola, IBM, etc.) and states (Japan) where investments in human power are greater than elsewhere, nowhere are they even close to the theory of Chicago school. When author asked M. Friedman where is his theory of freedom the best applied, his answer was -- Hong Kong. Will Hong Kong fight main China, will freedom be stronger than power? If citizens of Hong Kong fully apply autopoiesis and postmodern paradigm they could not only survive but introduce freedom in communist China. I am too far to know will it be, but it is challenge for all of us. In allopoietic society there is a lack of self-organization. Human beings are not subjects. Postsocialist countries are the best demonstration of lack of human development. It is not important what the cause is -- lack of motivation for development or lack of knowledge, capital or market. Postmodern theory opens new perspectives. Research has shown that more capable persons and firms impute themselves for their failure while less capable accuses others. Postmodern economy enables relationship between producer and consumer in a new way (Toffler conproducers).
On cultural level (policy of firm or state) there are constraints on one side and limitless opportunities on the other side. With more ethics (Blanchard, Peale), knowledge and beauty embodied in products and services there is more profit, democracy and freedom. Causa formalis enables greatest surplus value because it is under control every detail of human, technical, economical and social process. Whatever pollutes efficiency and fairness is recycled as soon as possible.
Self-organization and autopoiesis will be developed and applied easier and better with higher level of motivation, knowledge, group dynamic, level of technology and organizational culture. If these factors are at a lower level, it will be determined more by law of causality and less by law of finality, more by need for survival and less by need for freedom.
Self-organization is a stochastic process and it is necessary to monitor from emotion to quality control, but not in a Big-brother, Orwellian way (1984).
We have to know that Peter principle and Murphy law are unavoidable as is a second law of thermodynamic. Owing to described discoveries we can fight through design of irreversibility. As there are managers who do not know that they know, there are managers who develop and apply postmodern approach unaware of it. Theory and methodology of autopoiesis will help them to multiply effects. Through self-organization we will in a more natural way achieve the third wave of A. Toffler and all other great ideas of great thinkers. Without understanding of postmodern age we will have a gap between theory and practice, ends and means, causality and finality.
All depends upon us.
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