In the GWS Society, we understand managerial and social cybernetics as application field of cybernetics in business, politics and society. As application field, it combines diverse paradigms, scientific discourses, perspectives and contexts of systems thinking. Managerial and social cybernetics uses basic assumptions, perspectives, theories, concepts and methods that stem from social science, economics or management research.
Cybernetics is basically concerned with processes of communication and the processing of information in dynamic systems, with the aim of developing possibilities for their intentional regulation and control. The procedure to cybernetically analyze systems involves to step-by-step detail the system description, which means to describe the structure of the components (e.g., using the flow of money, material, energy and/or information) and the behavior they produce. With the system description, a theoretically and/or empirically based model is constructed, which allows to derive optimization calculus, or to explore useful target values or target value paths with the help of simulation tests.
Cybernetics is therefore a reflection language that enables an interdisciplinary discourse and that feeds back our systems thinking as we practice it in our application cases into the discourse itself. The design of communication processes and the processing of information is therefore also a core task of managerial and social cybernetics.
With a view to complexity and communication, Social Cybernetics wants to discuss questions of dynamics, self-referentiality and self-organization in groups and societies. Important perspectives and positions are provided by second-order cybernetics and the theory of social systems. Central aspects are observation, communication and information processing of the group members or members of a society, who construct a reality that suits their actions according to internal rules. The conditions of origin and the interpretation of the results of observations made are decisive.
Managerial Cybernetics addresses issues related to the structure, function and (non-linear) behavior of organizations from the perspective of management, design and leadership. Among other things, aspects of ethical and moral decisions as well as resilience and sustainability are considered. Important perspectives and positions are provided by system-theoretical approaches in management theory, organizational theory and organizational behavior, qualitative and quantitative modeling (e.g., system dynamics) as well as critical epistemological positions.
In addition to this understanding of managerial and social cybernetics, there are diverse links and feedbacks with other disciplines that themselves cultivate and apply cybernetic thinking, including engineering (e.g. control engineering) and computer science (e.g. artificial intelligence), neuroscience and cognitive science (e.g. Computational Neuroscience) as well as Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Design and Anthropology. The field is also open to aesthetic, performative and artistic discourses and worlds of experience.
The discourse on managerial and social cybernetics intends to overcome disciplinary boundaries between natural sciences, humanities and engineering and their academic communities and at the same time promote the formation of new, scientifically based perspectives and disciplines.