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Metaphorum 2015: Managing Complexity with the Viable Systems Model

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Managing Complexity with the Viable Systems Model: 

Theory, Applications and Innovative Research


Sponsored by the Centre of Systems Studies, Hull University

It has been more than four decades since Stafford Beer, the father of organizational cybernetics, created and developed his systemic approach to management. Many of us understood, when he explained his theory that he was well ahead of his time. Not surprisingly, it was only recently – in the last decade or so – that we have witnessed an upsurge in interest in applying, developing and progressing VSM theory.

The Centre of Systems Studies at Hull University Business School has, for the last few decades, been providing a rich education and research context to develop his original ideas. The VSM has always been a core aspect of the systemic management module, and other systems modules at post-graduate and PhD level. There have been many PhD students exploring VSM theory and applications in the last decades, and the interest and numbers seem to keep growing.

When Stafford passed away in 2002, a close groups of friends, colleagues and followers met at Scarborough – at the ‘Staffordian Syntegration’ – to discuss ways to continue his legacy. As a result Metaphorum – an NGO aiming to keep Stafford’s legacy alive – was created. For about 8 years Metaphorum ran several national and international conferences and published several special issues in specialized systems journals. Over the last 5 years the conversation has continued, mostly through the Metaphorum listserve forum.

After a few years without meeting face to face in a conference, we want to revitalise this community by inviting all the people interested in VSM research and practice, to get together at a VSM workshop, where practitioners can get to know more about the basic principles of the theory, and VSM researchers can get to know each other and discuss interesting applications in organizations of different scales and types. We also want to provide a rich research context for researchers and PhD students engaged in academic research involving VSM theory or application, to come and discuss their research projects with their peers and colleagues. Therefore the event will culminate with a Master Class on Day 3 for such discussions with input from the key workshop speakers.

See details on the programme at Hull 2015 PROGRAMME

See bios from the participants at Hull 2015 SPEAKER_BIOS

See presentations at:

Paul Stokes. Associative Governance – Hull 2015

Angela Espinosa. VSM _Complex Mngt. Metaph Nov 2015

Ivo Velitchkov. The Mind of Enterprise – Ivo Velitchkov – Hull 2015 (1)

Stefan Wasilewski. Presentation SW

Trevor Hilder.  Metaphorum 2015 TEH

Wisontheera Mettanont. KM in CEs_8 Nov 2015

Jonathan Huxley. jonathanHuxley

Iffat Sabir. iffat s presentation

Pam Sydelko. CSS Metaphorum Workshop Sydelko

Peter Munday. 50.00 CSS PPT – PGM & VSM 05Oct15-5

Louie Gardiner. L Gardiner VSM presentation 2015-11-10