Individual Actions as Community Informative Resources. A Collective Informative Systems Approach

Vilalta-perdomo, Eliseo Luis and Herron, Rebecca (2018) Individual Actions as Community Informative Resources. A Collective Informative Systems Approach. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 31 (6). pp. 581-598. ISSN 1094-429X

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This paper conceives communities (in this case, partnerships) as being able to become collective informative repositories of individual and collective actions that may better-inform their members. This paper presents one approach for studying if a community has become such an informative repository. The approach used here consists of introducing a formal language (Viable Systems Modelling, VSM) into one of the community nodes (a participant) and tracing if its use is seen in another node (another participant) - indicating the presence of a process of diffusion. This research design has been tested in a crime reduction partnership in the UK. One of its members was asked to engage in the design and testing of this approach as a co-researcher. As a result, a questionnaire to map communication
and control devices inside an organization was jointly developed. In keeping with VSM principles, the questionnaire encouraged participants to reflect on attenuation and amplification processes within their communications channels. To test the quality of the outcomes of this approach, members from another crime-reduction partnership were also invited to answer the survey; this was to confirm that VSM notions were not evident for those outside the development and testing of the questionnaire. The questionnaire indicated also its capability to make visible communication and organizational processes within collectives and its potential to stimulate self-organization, for those individuals who became familiar with VSM. Furthermore, this approach provided the authors with the capability to study information flows inside the two collectives, and contributed to an understanding of these flows as a model for building and maintaining a Community Informative System.

Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords:Collective informative systems, Individual action, Collective improvement, Viable system model
Subjects:L Social studies > L540 Community Work
N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:33947
Deposited On:31 Oct 2018 12:53

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