Self-organization is a popular theme in current studies of human social activity, enterprises, and information technology. This document introduces one well-developed theory of selforganization (autopoietic theory) and discusses its application to enterprises and their management. The term self-organization, after decades of specialists’ interest, has become an increasingly popular label for phenomena which appear to determine their own form and process(es). There is now widespread interest in applying theories of self-organization to analysis and (re-)engineering of enterprises. ‘Enterprise’ is used here to denote purposeful social collectives of any scale. This term is employed for two reasons: (a) it carries the dual connotation of ‘the actors’ and ‘the activity’, and (b) its usage avoids confusion with the very specific usage of the term ‘organization’ in the framework introduced and discussed later — autopoietic theory.
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