The Experimental Arche: Ashby’s Cybernetics

  • Jan AchterberghEmail author
  • Dirk Vriens


In this chapter we introduce Ashby’s cybernetics – a theory about the regulation of all kinds of systems. Ashby’s cybernetic theory is fundamental to our perspective on organizations as “social systems conducting experiments” because it provides us with the conceptual tools to describe the “experimental arche” of organizations (see Chap. 1). In particular, Ashby’s theory on regulation enables us to arrive at a first description of organizations conducting experiments, making apparent (1) that the objects organizations experiment with – goals, transformation processes, infrastructural parts or operational regulatory activities – are related to three types of (organizational) regulation, and (2) how conducting such experiments should be regulated itself. Moreover, because Ashby’s notion of regulation is intimately tied to the survival of systems, his theory can be used to make explicit how conducting organizational experiments is linked to the survival of organizations.


Transformation Process Operational Regulation Regulatory Move Essential Variable Concrete System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fac. Management SciencesRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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