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Archive for the ‘Networks’ Category

Cohesion – The Making of Society

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This book attempts to address some of the interesting questions that revolve around the formation and dissolution of human societies in general. Specifically whether, and how, we can shape the nature of cohesion present in modern societies. Some example questions we will review include: Why are complex systems able to form stable structures at all? Why are there companies, states and societies in such diverse forms? In particular we will attempt to understand what makes any culture, or organisation stable, and whether it is possible to increase the degree of social cohesion? The first two chapters lay the groundwork by introducing some key topics from the fields of Complex Systems, Networks, and computer-based modelling of social systems.

This book aims to address these questions and provide some ideas on how we may understand the principles that guide the development, stability and growth of complex social systems. The question which will be returned to is: what forces create and sustain an integrated whole? In other words, what exactly is ‘cohesion’, and why should we be concerned with its scientific investigation.

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Written by learningchange

November 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm

The Global Superorganism – an evolutionary-cybernetic model of the emerging network society

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The organismic view of society is updated by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary  theory, and complex adaptive systems. Global society can be seen as an autopoietic network of self-producing components, and therefore  as a living system or “superorganism”. Miller’s living systems theory suggests a list of  functional components for society’s metabolism and nervous system. Powers’ perceptual control theory suggests a model for a distributed control system implemented through the market mechanism. An analysis of the evolution of complex, networked systems points  to the general trends of increasing efficiency, differentiation and integration. In  society these trends are realized as increasing productivity, decreasing friction, increasing division of labor and outsourcing, and increasing cooperativity, transnational mergers and global institutions. This  is accompanied by increasing functional autonomy of individuals and  organizations and the decline of hierarchies.  The increasing complexity of interactions and instability of certain processes caused by reduced friction necessitate a strengthening of society’s capacity for information processing and control, i.e. its nervous system. This is realized by the creation of an intelligent global computer network, capable of sensing, interpreting, learning, thinking, deciding and initiating  actions: the “global brain”. Individuals are being integrated ever more tightly into  this collective intelligence. Although this image may raise worries  about a totalitarian system that restricts individual initiative,  the superorganism model points in the opposite direction, towards increasing freedom and diversity.  The model further suggests some specific futurological predictions for the coming decades, such as the emergence of an automated distribution network, a computer immune system, and a global consensus about values and standards.

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Written by learningchange

October 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Organizational Models For Social Business – VSM and Networks

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In the social business context I consider the most significant approach to be Stafford Beer‘s Viable Systems Model (VSM). The VSM has two central concepts. One is the concept of feedback, which enables an organization to constantly learn and adjust to experience and to new variables in its environment. The other is that the organizational pattern is fractal.

Networks support communication across channels you didn’t predict in advance. They cross any organizational unit you might have defined – even following the VSM. For all these reasons networks are great sources of innovation – and that innovation is emergent.

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Read also: The Viable Systems Model – a guide for co-operatives and federations

Problematizing Problem-Solving Methods for Exploring the Management of Social Enterprises

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October 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Global Action Networks: Creating Our Future Together

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The world’s governments are overwhelmed with climate change, war and unrest, the global financial crisis and poverty but there is a promising invention in Global Action Networks. GANs mobilize resources, bridge divides and promote the long-term deep change and innovation work that is needed to address the global challenges.

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Written by learningchange

October 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

Posted in Action, Networks

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The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations

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In today’s flatter organizations, collaboration in employee networks has become critical to innovation and to both individual and company wide performance. Executives spend millions on new organizational designs, cultural initiatives, and technologies to promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise across functional, hierarchical, and divisional lines. Yet these efforts have achieved disappointing results.

Rob Cross and Andrew Parker argue that’s because most managers have little understanding of how their employees actually interact to get work done. In fact, formal “org charts” fail to reveal the often hidden social networks that truly drive–or hinder–an organization’s performance. In this eye-opening book, Cross and Parker show managers how to find, assess, and support the networks most crucial to competitive success.

Based on their in-depth study of more than sixty informal networks within organizations around the world, Cross and Parker show how managers can implement a wide range of specific and inexpensive actions-from bridging strategically important disconnects in a network to eliminating information “bottlenecks” to recognizing key connectors-that will enhance the powerful impact networks can have on performance and innovation.

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Written by learningchange

September 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Networked: The New Social Operating System

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Daily life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and responses, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages, tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking.

Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of “networked individualism” liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks. Rainie and Wellman outline the”triple revolution” that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals.

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Written by learningchange

September 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Methods and Tools for Collaborative Networked Organizations

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Collaborative Networked Organizations represent one of the most relevant organizational paradigms in industry and services. A large number of developments in recent years have turned Collaborative Networks into a pervasive phenomenon in all socio-economic sectors. The main aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive set of reference materials derived from the results of the ECOLEAD project in one organized volume. The ECOLEAD project, a large 4-year European initiative, involved 28 organizations (from academia, research and industry), from 14 countries (in Europe and Latin America). Three main types of results from ECOLEAD are presented: (i) Conceptual frameworks and models, (ii) Methods and processes, and (iii) Software tools and systems. Furthermore, the experience and lessons learned with a number of large pilot implementations in real-world running networks of enterprises are also included as an indication of the assessment/validation of the project results. Methods and Tools for Collaborative Networked Organizations provides valuable elements for researchers and practitioners involved in the design, implementation, and management of collaborative forms in industry and services.

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Written by learningchange

September 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm

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