Management information
: design of a system for change identification

  • Gabriel A.R. Ramirez Mendez

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis deals with the problem of Information Systems design for Corporate Management. It shows that the results of applying current approaches to Management Information Systems and Corporate Modelling fully justify a fresh look to the problem. The thesis develops an approach to design based on Cybernetic principles and theories. It looks at Management as an informational process and discusses the relevance of regulation theory to its practice. The work proceeds around the concept of change and its effects on the organization's stability and survival. The idea of looking at organizations as viable systems is discussed and a design to enhance survival capacity is developed. It takes Ashby's theory of adaptation and developments on ultra-stability as a theoretical framework and considering conditions for learning and foresight deduces that a design should include three basic components: A dynamic model of the organization- environment relationships; a method to spot significant changes in the value of the essential variables and in a certain set of parameters; and a Controller able to conceive and change the other two elements and to make choices among alternative policies. Further considerations of the conditions for rapid adaptation in organisms composed of many parts, and the law of Requisite Variety determine that successful adaptive behaviour requires certain functional organization. Beer's model of viable organizations is put in relation to Ashby's theory of adaptation and regulation. The use of the Ultra-stable system as abstract unit of analysis permits developing a rigorous taxonomy of change; it starts distinguishing between change with in behaviour and change of behaviour to complete the classification with organizational change. It relates these changes to the logical categories of learning connecting the topic of Information System design with that of organizational learning.
Date of Award1981
Original languageEnglish


  • management information
  • design
  • system
  • change identification
  • information
  • viability
  • adaption

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