Publication 1212

Zeleny M. (1997) Autopoiesis and self-sustainability in economic systems. Human Systems Management 16(4): 251–262. Fulltext at
A newly emerging organizational mode shifts our thinking from the traditional vertical hierarchy of command to horizontal patterns of market-oriented networks of autonomous agents. This organizational mode is characterized by self-management, autonomy and self-sustainability, the trio of prerequisites for a successful and self-sustainable enterprise. Self-sustainable systems must be autopoietic, i.e., self-producing. They must be capable of producing themselves, not only of producing something else. Employees, managers and community stakeholders are striving to create a self-sustaining organizational milieu by pursuing decisional autonomy, self-management and shared participatory ownership. Like biological “amoebas,” they should adapt to the ever changing circumstances in terms of size, shape, function and interaction. Relevance: This paper builds on the theory of autopoietic systems based on the work of Maturana, Varela and Uribe.


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