Variety, innovation and readiness for change in organizations

Christine Welch, Tammi Sinha, Chris Milner

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    This paper considers organizations as dynamic open systems, seeking to maintain viable relationships with their environments. It recognizes the endemic nature of change and how modern organizations must respond by innovating in order to remain sustainable and progress, and must promote a culture of readiness. The possible tension between continuous improvement for efficiency in processes and a holistic perspective for innovation is noted, taking into account a need to capture contextual knowledge from all levels in the business. The authors suggest that the Viable Systems Model (Beer, 1985) may be a useful tool for reflection on design of effective management in a balanced and flexible organization. This model attempts to balance variety between organizations and their environments, and between operational units and management, through recursive levels of autonomy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)133-155
    JournalThe Systemist
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2020


    • Viable Systems
    • Requisite Variety
    • Innovation
    • Business Process Improvement


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