The practitioner as a teacher, practice as the best "faculty"
Ross Ashby once called cybernetics "the science of practice". He was a psychiatrist and one of the very great pioneers of cybernetics. He plays a central role in the work of Stafford Beer. His most important basic principle - the celebrated "Law of Requisite Variety" - states basically that the only way of mastering variety is with variety. The absolutely fundamental principle of cybernetics is to trace the effect of a process back to what originated the process: circular or operational closure, the generation and use of feedback.
The creation of loops allows systems that are naturally open, dynamic or chaotic to be closed in terms of organization and thus stabilized. If this is done in the right way, it produces a constructive dynamic in what would otherwise be unstable systems.
It is characteristic of cyberneticists that they apply their findings to themselves: in this way Professors Beer and Malik made sure that they would acquire the information they needed on the functioning of their teaching in practice. What marks the careers of both of them is that they used feedback from practitioners and the practical world in their own thinking and actions. They were not satisfied to live in the ivory tower of science. And that was also the reason why they never confined themselves simply to teaching.
Throughout the whole of his career, Stafford Beer worked as a top manager, scientist, consultant and as a teacher of management. The same is true of Fredmund Malik, who as well as this also assumed responsibility for the corporate management of Management Zentrum St. Gallen.
Feedback from management practitioners is the only way of ensuring that management cybernetics will continue to develop in an effective, user-friendly way that is appropriate to management practice. What the partners of the Cwarel Isaf Institute stand for is therefore
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