Plenary Lecture

Sustainability According to the Viable Systems Approach. The Relevance of the Philosophical Values of the Kybernetes

Professor Gandolfo Dominici
Vice President and Scientific Director
Business Systems Laboratory (Italy)
Tenured Assis. Professor of Business Management
Dep. SEAS – University of Palermo

Abstract: An organization is viable if it survives, remains united and is complete; it is homeostatically balanced both internally and externally and furthermore has mechanisms that allow it to grow, learn, develop, and adapt, and thus become increasingly more effective in its environment. The more the organization is able to preserve and regenerate, the more possibilities it has to maintain viability in the long term.
Therefore viability assumes the relevance of "time" as an important factor in decision-making and action. If we consider the organization to be a dissipative system, then in order to counterbalance the consumption of relevant resources, it is necessary to think ahead to a time horizon that extends beyond the mere achievement of functioning resources in the short to middle term.
Therefore, we can consider sustainability as systemic viability in the long term. This broader time horizon entails that the role of the "kybernetes" not be limited to the quest for functioning resources within a limited timeframe but rather must be developed in a more general way as a philosophy guiding the kybernetes in every decision and action.
This implies that it is essential to involve "values" in the decision-making and action-taking processes. For these reasons, the kybernetes’ role, values and education are of extreme importance to the sustainability –and thus the long-term viability – of human organizations.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Gandolfo Dominici is a Ph.D. in Business Management at “Sapienza” University of Rome in 2004. In 2003 he was visiting researcher at the Faculty of Economics of Nagasaki University, Japan developing a research about the cultural roots of Japanese Toyota Production Systems.
Since 2005 he is Assistant Professor of Business Management at the University of Palermo (Italy), where from 2006 he holds the Chair of Marketing and from 2008 of Systems and Organizational Processes. He got his tenure at University of Palermo in 2008.
He is co-founder, Vice President and Scientific Director of the scientific nonprofit association Business Systems Laboratory (B.S.Lab -, board member of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetice (WOSC- and the Consorzio Universitario di Economia Industriale e Manageriale (CUEIM - He is author of about 50 published articles and books and member of the editorial board of 14 international peer reviewed journals.
His main research interests are: Systems Thinking, Managerial Cybernetics, Marketing, Consumer ethnography, SCM and Innovation Management.
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