Organizations are complex social systems, and dysfunctionalities can settle in very quickly and almost unnoticed, costing valuable time and resources. In a highly volatile and complex world where mistakes are virtually unforgivable, the ability to rapidly and accurately diagnose dysfunctionalities, and familiarity with the right governance and leadership principles, have thus become vital for organizations’ success.
This volume, the second in a set of three, introduces readers to the Viable System Model (VSM)-based diagnosis and governance of organizations. Readers will be familiarized with a broad range of dysfunctional patterns that can impede an organization’s viability, while also deepening their understanding of organizational viability gained in Volume 1. This volume examines in detail the highly dynamic nature of organizations, the multiple equilibrium systems that need to be kept in mind, and the intricate nature of leadership in organizations. It addresses fundamental organizational and managerial issues/topics such as the functioning of hierarchies, the “right” degree of centralization, the various challenges throughout an organization’s lifecycle, and the vital role of conflicts for organizational health.
The insights derived from the VSM in this volume will provide readers with a comprehensive, nuanced, and sound conceptual foundation for questions concerning the diagnosis and governance of organizations, the tasks, challenges and principles of leadership, and the implementation of strategies in organizations.
This compendium is a most welcome contribution to Organizational Cybernetics. Lassl provides a detailed analytical and insightful perspective on the currently most powerful organization theory, which is a key to mastering complexity: the Viable System Model. The author also finds new, creative ways of showing the practitioner how to make the model work. If you apply it properly, you can reap huge benefits: the viability of your organization and a prosperous future."
Prof. em. Dr. Markus Schwaninger, University of St. Gallen
"There is nothing more practical than a good theory" (K. Lewin). This is exactly what Lassl’s books exemplify and prove. By advancing the VSM-based organizational theory and providing ample application-related examples, these books allow the readers to look at their organizations and management from a new perspective, and provides them with the knowledge to trigger and implement practical organizational changes.
I have been able to draw upon many cutting-edge examples from Lassl’s books for my lectures on the VSM, which have repeatedly convinced students of its value and enabled them to gain an in-depth understanding of the VSM. Particularly Lassl’s elaborations on variety management and on the axiom of requisite vertical eigen-variety are cornerstones for every organizational design project, for value-oriented management, and for the overall viability of the organization. I highly recommend the book to all managers looking for ideas for future-oriented design of organizations and of value creation."
Prof. Dr. Matthias Müller-Wiegand, Vice President Department Business and Law, Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln/University of Applied Sciences