How Many Grapes Went into the Wine Stafford Beer on the Art and Science of Holistic Management Edited by Roger Harnden and Allenna Leonard In the frenetic search for a quick fix to meet the pace of change confronting us, it is frequently forgotten that issues to do with complexity and change are not a product of the turbulent 1980s and 1990s alone. Certain individuals and schools of thought have directly studied such matters in both natural and social sciences for the past half century. Today, many humanistic and innovative managers have lost patience with empty slogans that promise a single panacea for all their ills. They have come to see as counter–productive a black and white polarity between a hard–nosed bottom–line approach on the one hand, and the soft option of team work and empowerment on the other. Why cannot rigorous methods and goal alignment coexist with a concern for human beings? Does not everyone benefit if the enterprise maintains high standards and seizes its opportunities? In this book, the editors have selected papers which set out to trace the historical and intellectual progress of one man′s battle with this conundrum, and point to a strategy for its resolution. Stafford Beer′s early experiments on the self–organising properties of biological systems helped pave the way towards later connectionist models and neural–net computer architecture. They also evolved into a fully fledged holistic science of management, combining rigorous methodology with respect and space for the living, human individual.
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