Complexity and the Viable System Model: A Proposal
Two striking features of this model are the fact that it can be used on both private and public organizations and the fact that it is recursive, as viable systems contain others of its kind that can be modeled using an isomorphic description, i.e. another viable system model. However, there are shortcomings on the original model, such as the lack of elaboration of what constitutes an environment; also, the perception of variety seems too unified, it does not take into account subjectivity from the subsystems.
Many of these aspects were corrected by Espejo, a close collaborator of Beer; he adds complexity management to the model and improves it a great deal, however, he changes the core model and makes it more rigid. For this paper I will review existing literature on the model and I will retake Beer’s original model and adding some of Espejo’s improvements, I will further adapt VSM by adding: a) network theory and dominant coalition theory to both the relevant environment and the composition of the VSM, b) subjectivity in the perception of variety and c)organizational states in the perception of variety (homeostasis as low variety, dynamic equilibrium as changing varietal states and hypercomplexity as untenable variety).