Here is an Enterprise Architecture framework based on Stafford Beers' Viable System Model (VSM).

Viable System Model (VSM)

Stafford Beer wrote about his Viable System Model in the book Diagnosing the System for Organizations.


In his model, Stafford Beer distinguishes a set of functions which ensure the viability of any living system, organizations in particular. These functions and their interrelationships are specified in a comprehensive theory. which can be summarized as follows:

1). An enterprise is viable if and only if it disposes of a set of management functions with a specific set of the interrelationships, identified and formalized in the model:

  • System 1: Regulatory capacity of the basic units
  • System 2: Attenuation and amplification to damp oscillations and coordinate activities via information and communication
  • System 3: Establishing overall optimum among basic units, e.g. via resource bargain
  • System 3*: Investigation and validation of information 1-3 and 1-2-3 via auditing/ monitoring activities
  • System 4: Dealing with long term and overall outside environment
  • System 5: Balance the interaction of ‘3’ and ‘4’, embody supreme rules and norms

2). Any deficiencies in this system, such as missing functions, insufficient capacity of the functions or faulty interaction between them impair or endanger the viability of the organization.
3). The viability, cohesion and self-organization of an enterprise depend upon these functions being recursively present at all levels of the organization.
A recursive structure comprises autonomous units within autonomous units.
Moreover, a viable organization is made up of viable units and it is itself embedded in more comprehensive viable units.
Each unit, inasmuch as it is producing the organization's task, rather than servicing or supporting this producing, replicates - in structural terms - the totality in which it is embedded:
It has all the functions outlined under (1.), to be able to manage, from start to finish, the processes for the purpose of which it exists.

Ths VSM Systems are illustrated in this diagram:


Source: "Diagnosing the System for Organizations" by Stafford Beer.

VSM EA Framework

My Enterprise Architecture Framework based on the VSM uses a Zachman style Matrix with each row replaced by a VSM System.
There is more detail that could be added to this EA framework, so if anyone reading this takes it further then please let me know.


VSM EA Framework
Blog on VSM EA

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