VSM Subsystems

Here we give a brief introduction to the cybernetic description of the organization encapsulated in a single level of the VSM. The model is derived from the architecture of the brain and nervous system - wikipedia

**Systems 3-2-1** are identified with the ancient brain or autonomic nervous system. These subsystems are concerned with the 'here and now' of the organization's operations.

**System 4** embodies cognition and conversation. It is concerned with the 'there and then' – strategical responses to the effects of external, environmental and future demands on the organization.

**System 5**, the higher brain functions, include introspection and decision making. It is concerned with balancing the 'here and now' and the 'there and then' to give policy directives which maintain the organization as a viable entity.

# Flows and incentives

Algedonic alerts (from the Greek αλγος, pain and ηδος, pleasure) are alarms and rewards that escalate through the levels of recursion when actual performance fails or exceeds capability, typically after a Timeout (telecommunication).

# Individual subsystems

A viable system is composed of five interacting subsystems which may be mapped onto aspects of organizational structure.

1. System 1 in a viable system contains several primary activities. Each System 1 primary activity is itself a viable system due to the recursive nature of systems as described above. These are concerned with performing a function that implements at least part of the key transformation of the organization. 1. System 2 represents the information channels and bodies that allow the primary activities in System 1 to communicate between each other and which allow System 3 to monitor and co-ordinate the activities within System 1. Represents the scheduling function of shared resources to be used by System 1. 1. System 3 represents the structures and controls that are put into place to establish the rules, resources, rights and responsibilities of System 1 and to provide an interface with Systems 4/5. Represents the big picture view of the processes inside of System 1. 1. System 4 is made up of bodies that are responsible for looking outwards to the environment to monitor how the organization needs to adapt to remain viable. 1. System 5 is responsible for policy decisions within the organization as a whole to balance demands from different parts of the organization and steer the organization as a whole.