Norbert Wiener, who is credited with being the discoverer of cybernetics, called teleological systems to those that have their behaviour regulated by a negative feedback. Negative feedback occurs when some function of the output of a system, process, or mechanism is fed back in a manner that tends to reduce the fluctuations in the output, whether caused by changes in the input or by other disturbances.
The first and fundamental revelation in this regard is the provided by Darwin with the theory of natural selection, showing how a blind mechanism can produce order and adaptation. In the case of the companies that “blind mechanism” is the company culture.
The other day Martin Migoya told me about a “research” made in which a group of people was into a closed room. A new person entered into it. At a particular time, a bell rings and all the people but the new stand up. The bell rings again and everyone takes a seat. The situation is repeated again. The third time, the new person in the room, stands up and have a seat with the bell like the rest of the people.
One by one, the original people leaves the room while new people enter to the room. At the end, everyone stands up and have a seat with the bell, even when nobody from the original group is there.
Companies’ culture behave like a “Blind mechanism” that induces certain behaviors in the company. Some of them are virtuous behaviors and some others are vicious behaviors.
As a mental model determines the interpretation and behavior of people, the “Companies’ culture” determines the behavior of the company. So what is a “logic” behavior for each person in the company (Logic= is the use and study of valid reasoning) is transformed, when the person is behaving into a company, into a erratic common behavior.
Returning to Norbert Wiener, he presented a simple mathematical representation of Brownian motion, the Wiener equation, which assumes the current velocity of a fluid particle fluctuates randomly.
wiener_ecuation where v is velocity, x is position, d/dt is the time derivative, and g(t) may for instance be white noise.
If we think organizations (which are systems) are, as we mention in previous posts, like pipelines with particular inputs, processes and outputs, and we design the measurement system as such (Flow sensors instead of KPIs) the Wiener Ecuation makes much sense and brings to the discussion the “random” behavior of the systems, against a potencial logic behavior of a group of people that can behave in a logical way.