The Application of Social Cybernetics in Organizational Analysis
The article is addressing the issue of social cybernetics in organizations and issues related directly to the acting-learning-understanding circular process. According to my research, which was carried out in connection with my thesis in 2012, I came to interesting conclusions. The research was conducted in a consulting firm, where impacts of various socio-cybernetic aspects on employees were examined.
The employees were asked in the survey questions in the following areas: information and knowledge in the organization and their use, employee training, relations of business and personal values, fulfillment of needs according to the Maslow’s pyramid, feedback, company unity and integrity, satisfaction in the organization, corporate culture, and more. Based on the evaluation of questionnaires and a series of interviews with the managers of the organization there was found out a different approach and understanding of reality in the organization. Due these two different perspectives there resulted a number of issues in the organization (e.g., a high staff fluctuation, dissatisfaction, low productivity, overtime, etc.)
The idea of this article is that if the management understands how the organization works and how problems arise among employees and when the management can respond appropriately, then the employees would work (act) better (work will be carried out more efficiently) and at the same time this will lead to understanding of various relationships in the workplace. This creates a positive circularity, when the more satisfied employees help managers better understand what is happening in the organization and regulate their behavior that will lead to effective problem solving and satisfaction of employees, who will, once again, know better what to do and how.
The question is whether the social cybernetics can become a tool for understanding the systemic relations and show managers how to work better and more effectively with subordinates in an organization, so that there are well used potentials of individuals and also possibilities of modern information technology.
The main issue is to understand the importance of individual observers (employees) within the system, their education so that they understand the values and content of their work, so that they are satisfied, and the subsequent actions, which should be appropriately guided by the authority (management) that fully understands the principles of social cybernetics, learning organization and systemic approach.
The article should clarify what affects the behavior within the organization. E.g. availability of information and documents, the right knowledge, both formal and informal communication, satisfaction, trust, other employees, etc. Is there a way to encourage the behavior of employees in the organization? The second stage is an influence on learning in the organization. This can be supported by quality of available information, the leaders in the organization, formal and informal relationships, feedback, etc. But, how can we motivate the employees to such learning? The last stage is understanding. When employees had done a good job somehow and for example undertaken some training, it does not mean yet that they have understood the issue. Understanding is tied to knowledge, especially with tacit knowledge of each employee. How to support understanding of the issues and challenges in a best way? It is said that everyone is replaceable but the organization could suffer greatly from the departure of some key employees. This is mainly due to their contribution in the field of knowledge, experience, and other relationships with other employees. What are the options for discovering such employees and is it possible to pass their knowledge and experience further?
The social cybernetics should be considered as an opportunity for organizations to better understand the circular process of learning, acting and understanding within the complex environment of organization.