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< previous page page_112 next page > Page 112 the VSM can, in fact, be generated from cybernetic first principles, constructing the model this way in The Heart of Enterprise . We would be the first to admit, however, that cybernetics itself is stronger in articulating the "complexity" metaphors of machine, organism and brain than the "participant" metaphors of culture and politics. (b) One of the main cybernetic principles that underlies the work of Beer is the "law of requisite variety": that only variety can destroy variety. The VSM can be seen as a grand design for a variety engineering organisation. Yet variety has been criticised as a poor measure inappropriate for scientific work, and as unexceptional when applied to the management of social organisations. Poor measure it may be, but it is possibly the only type of measure appropriate to the science of organisation and it does seem to yield insight when reflected upon in practiceas the worked example of Fleet Division perhaps showed and the case study of the next section may convince the reader.
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