C5 Landscape Projects Research Venues Prospectus Opportunities Personnel
Landscape, Projects, Research, Venues, Prospectus, Opportunities, Personnel
  RCSP Research

Emergent Enterprise: the Autopoietic Rhythm

enterprise development, emergent, languaging, observer, consensual domains, structural coupling, self organization, interactivity, recursive, shared orientation

In the field of organization science, the pursuit of a general understanding of how organizations work has turned from a mechanic perception of an organization towards an organic understanding. Autopoiesis, a term developed by the biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to denote a form of system organization where the system as a whole produces and replaces its own components, and differentiates itself from its surrounding environment on a continual basis, is being applied in such diverse fields as software engineering, sociology, economics and law. The issue of how autopoiesis can or should be applied to social systems is an ongoing topic of debate, but possible benefits to enterprise development fuel an active pursuit in this research direction.

Organization science explains autopoiesis in terms of social systems as realized primarily in linguistic, consensual domains. Language, as a consensual domain, is a patterning of behavior that possesses a shared orientation. Social systems exercise influence on individual participants through allowances for, and regularities in, their interactivity. This influence is recursively employed on the emergent social system through the participants' continued interaction.

Everything said is said by an observer   Methodology
This experiment serves to demonstrate properties of autopoietic theory employed as design considerations in generating data from an emergent social enterprise, involving multiple surveillance probes. Potential applications include: computer hardware and software design, artificial intelligence, urban planning, enterprise development, and corporate knowledge building.

Five Radio Controlled Surveillance Probes and their assigned operators function in an emergent enterprise resulting from the interrelationships of the five components (RCSP and operator) and their evolving specializations. Although specialized and semi-autonomous, the components possess a shared orientation - a consensual domain of rhythmic language, music being the medium this system functions in.

Interactivity of an Emergent Enterprise
  An observer is a human being, a person, a living system who can make distinctions and specify that which he or she distinguishes as a unity . . . and is able to operate as if he or she were external to (distinct from) the circumstances in which the observer finds himself or herself. Everything said is said by an observer to another observer, who can be himself or herself.

- Maturana, "Biology of language," p. 31.

    The functioning of this enterprise as a structure-determined system, with the potential of disintegration, theoretically should lead to adaptation and evolution. A flexible, structure-determined system that is autopoietic will need to evolve in such a way that its activities are appropriatley coupled with its medium.

Of particular concern is the emergence of structural coupling leading to the formation of a consensual domain from which the enterprise emerges and the role of the observer in generating distinctions in this consensual domain.


[ Home ] [ RCSP Research ]