Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Hall, W.P. 2006. Emergence and growth of knowledge and diversity in hierarchically complex organised systems: Genesis of a theoretical framework
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Hall, W.P. 2006. Emergence and growth of knowledge and diversity in hierarchically complex organised systems: Genesis of a theoretical framework


Published on

Presentation for [University of Melbourne Department of Information Sciences Research Seminar - 13 October 2006. Based on a paper and presentation "Emergence and growth of knowledge and diversity in …

Presentation for [University of Melbourne Department of Information Sciences Research Seminar - 13 October 2006. Based on a paper and presentation "Emergence and growth of knowledge and diversity in hierarchically complex living systems" for the Workshop "Selection, Self-Organization and Diversity CSIRO Centre for Complex Systems Science and ARC Complex Open Systems Network, Katoomba, NSW, Australia 17-18 May 2006.

Published in: Business, Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide
  • I started university in physics (before the time of pocket calculators!). I eventually proved to my own satisfaction that I couldn't do the arithmetic well enough to excel on exams. Changed my major to zoology because studying living things had always been a hobby. Lived on a boat, spent a good deal of my childhood immersed in the ocean and keeping things in aquaria. Also had a good compound microscope, so I was as familiar with protozoa and marine invertebrates as most people are with mammals and birds. My PhD research was on chromosome evolution and speciation in lizards. After having had four years of very high teaching loads, I was just starting a University of Melbourne Fellowship to begin writing up my research for publication. I couldn't why reviewers were having problems with my research publications - one, who had actually been my research assistant in much of the field work, claimed my writing was "unscientific" and proved his total failure to understand my method of argument by trying to rewrite the paper he criticized. I spent most of the two years (1976-79) at Melbourne studying what made theories scientific (i.e., epistemology), and the nature of scientific revolutions. E epistemology is the theory of knowledge , and answers the questions: What is knowledge? How is knowledge created? I found the solution to my writing problems, but not soon enough to salvage my career in biology. I also bought a personal computer in 1980, and discovered that computers were evolving vastly faster than lizards!
  • Transcript

    • 1. Personal ResearchEVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY OFSPECIES ANDORGANIZATIONS P. HallNational FellowAustralian Centre for Science, Innovation andSociety - University of MelbourneDIS: ICT 5.39 - 8344 1522Head Office / EngineeringTenix Defence, Williamstownbill.hall@tenix.comVisiting Faculty AssociateUniversity of Technology SydneyDept Info Sci - 13/10/2006Emergence and Growth of Knowledge andDiversity in Hierarchically ComplexOrganised Systems:Genesis of a theoretical framework
    • 2. Personal ResearchSome backgroundMy path to organisational KM is unique– physics (3½ years from 1957)– computers (all generations from cog-wheel calculators)– neurophysiology (2+ years as research assistant - signal processing)– comparative ethology, comparative anatomy and ecosystem theory– PhD Evolutionary Biology (Harvard, 1973) - genetic system, systematics– personal KM in the sciences with bibliographic search engines– studied epistemology and scientific revolutions (1977-1979)– I bought my first microcomputer in 1981 and it had to pay for itself– 1980s: computer literacy journalism, software tech writing, anddocumenting Hogan banking systems With Tenix Defence since Jan 1990– full life of the ANZAC Ship Project - On time, on budget, all the time– building content authoring/management systems– now working on cross divisional knowledge management solutionsThis gives me some different perspectives!
    • 3. Personal ResearchThe work summarised here began ~1977 in responseto paradigmatic misunderstandings over my PhD PhD Evol. Biol. Harvard 1973 University of Melbourne Research Fellow in Genetics 77-78– Problems with reviewers of papers following my PhD led to studies inepistemology and history and philosophy of science Worked with computers since 1981; Tenix Defence since Jan 1990 Technical writers holy wars in 2000 over content oriented vs pageoriented writing & management led to book project– Co-evolution of cognitive tools and human cognition– When I got to KM organisations I found my understanding of"knowledge" differed from what my peers thought it was– Had to stop writing until I understood the difference Solution re-formulates org theory and KM on evolutionary principles– Reformulation now well underway with peer-reviewed published papers– I am also reinventing the theory of life itself• theory of self-organizing hierarchically complex dissipative systems• evolutionary epistemology• autopoiesis
    • 4. Personal ResearchKM is a mess in several other areas as well with toomany poorly understood paradigmsEpistemology (theory of knowledge)– personal knowledge (Michael Polanyi)– objective knowledge (Karl Popper)Organization theory (Donaldson recognises 15 paradigms)– resource view– environment view– autopoietic viewHow to analyse knowledge in the organization– individual view– social view– critical view– alternative viewsHow organizations create knowledge– cognitivist view– connectionist view– autopoietic viewDonaldson, L. 1995. American Anti-Management Theones of Organization, Cambridge,UK: Cambridge University Press – see also McKelvey, B. 1997. Quasi-naturalorganization science. Organization Science 8:352-380
    • 5. Personal ResearchFoundation Problems in KM:We can’t even define knowledge consistentlyA few definitions from the literatureAuthor(s) Data Information KnowledgeWiig (1993) Facts organised to describea situation or conditionTruths and beliefs,perspectives and concepts,judgements and expectations,methodologies and know howNonaka and Takeuchi(1995)A flow of meaningfulmessagesCommitments and beliefscreated from these messagesSpek and Spijkervet(1997) *Not yet interpretedsymbolsData with meaning The ability to assign meaningDavenport (1997) Simple observations Data with relevance andpurposeValuable information from thehuman mindDavenport and Prusak(1998)A set of descrete facts A message meant to changethe receiver’s perceptionExperiences, values, insights,and contextual informationQuigley and Debons(1999)Text that does notanswer questions to aparticular problemText that answers thequestions who, when, what,or whereText that answers thequestions why and howChoo et al. (2000) Facts and messages Data vested with meaning Justified, true beliefsStenmark, D. 2002. Information vs. Knowledge: The Role of intranets in Knowledge Management. In Proceedings ofHICSS-35, Hawaii, January 7-10, 2002 ** Full text free to the web
    • 6. Personal ResearchConflicting paradigms of knowledge in KMMichael Polanyi (1958, 1966): personal/tacit knowledge– Focus• knowing subjects• knowledge of doing, personal skills• belief, faith and intuition final arbiters of "truth"• followers tend to denigrate explicit knowledge to mere "information"– Popularised in KM and organization theory by Nelson & Winter,Sveiby, Nonaka, von Krogh & RoosPopper (1972): epistemology without a knowing subject– Knowledge grows through conjecture & refutation, i.e., criticismagainst reality– Different kinds of knowledge:• Subjective or dispositional – as embodied in instantaneous structure• Persistent or objective – in codified form– Joe Firestone of Macroinnovation Associates one of few KMpractitioners using Popperian epistemology
    • 7. Personal ResearchIncommensurability of the paradigmsSearch dates: 11/02/2002, (15/08/2002), [14/07/2004]Michael Polanyi "Personal Knowledge"– Google hits = 1,760 (1,450) [4,040]Karl Popper "Objective Knowledge“– Google hits = 1,850 (1,570) [3,730]Both together– Google hits = 64 (55) [88]Only 1.1% of authors citing either book cited both!Conclusion– Writers concerned with one authors thinking were notinterested in or could not cope with discussing the otherauthors thinking in the same document - even to the extentof listing them in a single bibliography.
    • 8. Personal ResearchKey ideas for answering “What is knowledge?”Evolutionary biology and evolutionary epistemology– J.D. Watson & Francis Crick (molecular genetics)– Ernst Mayr (was still writing in his 100thyear), Steven J. Gould– Donald T. Campbell– Karl Popper’s mature epistemology: 1972 and later – published inhis 70thyearAutopoiesis (auto = ‘self’ + poiesis = ‘production’)– Humberto Maturana & Francisco Varela• Chilean neurobiologists working in the 1970’s• Defining what it means to be aliveEmergence of complex hierarchical systems– Hebert Simon, Ilya Prigogine, Stuart KauffmanBiosemiotics– Howard Pattee, Luis M Rocha, Hoffmeyer & Emmeche
    • 9. Personal ResearchWhat is knowledge?Karl Popper - a philosopher who studied science– "All life is problem solving"– Knowledge is solutions to problems– Epistemology summary• Knowledge is fundamentally based on external reality• The ultimate authority for deciding the truth of a claim toknow is its correspondence with external reality - but....• Claims to know are cognitively constructed• Impossible to prove any claim to know is true (or false)– Any number of favourable tests are logically falsified by a singlefailure– Any falsification can be "immunised" by auxiliary hypothesesKnowledge is fallible (Firestone & McElroy 2003)
    • 10. Personal ResearchPoppers three worldsPolanyis epistemology ofpersonal knowledgeencompassed withinPoppers World 23.Expressed languageComputer memoryRecorded thoughtLogical artefactsHeredityReproduction/Production2.Cyberneticself-regulationConsciousnessCognitionDrive/EnableRegulate/ControlDevelopment/RecallInferredlogicDescribe/PredictTestObserve1.EnergyThermodynamicsPhysicsChemistryBiochemistryExistence/RealityWorld 1Organismic/PersonalKnowledge exists inWorld 2Emerges fromWorld 1 processesObjectiveKnowledgeforms World 3Persistent logicalContent produced /evaluated by World 2processes© William P. Hall
    • 11. Personal ResearchKarl Poppers "tetradic schema" or"general theory of evolution"Pn a real-world problemfaced by an entityTS a tentative solution ortentative theoryEE a process of erroreliminationPn+1 changed problem asfaced from by anentity incorporating asurviving solutionTS1TS2•••••TSmPn Pn+1EETS1TS2•••••TSmPn Pn+1EETS1TS2•••••TSmPn Pn+1EE TS may be embodied in W2 in the individual entity, or TS may be expressed in words as a hypothesis in W3, subject to objectivecriticism Objective expression and criticism lets our theories die in our stead As an iterated cyclic process, solutions can approach reality
    • 12. Personal ResearchJohn Boyds OODA Loop process wins conflicts An organisations success in a competitive environment depends critically its ability todo a better job of assimilating information, increasing its epistemic quality to generatestrategic power, and reducing decision cycle times. See of Test)OBSERVATIONPARADIGMSEXTERNALINFORMATIONCHANGINGCIRCUMSTANCESUNFOLDINGENVIRONMENTALRESULTS OFACTIONSORIENTDDECIDE(Hypothesis)OCULTUREPARADIGMSPROCESSESGENETICHERITAGEMEMORY OF HISTORYINPUTANALYSISSYNTHESISACT(Test)GUIDANCE AND CONTROLPARADIGMSUNFOLDINGINTERACTIONWITH EXTERNALENVIRONMENT
    • 13. Personal ResearchSome OODA definitions Observation assembles data about the world in which the adaptive entityexists (including the entitys own effects and those of its competitors onthat world). Data is given a context relating to the entitys interactionswith the world. Orientation processes that observations into semantically linked knowledgein the form of a world view comprised of– new information,– memories of prior experience (which may be explicit, implicit or even tacit,– genetic heritage (i.e., "natural talent"),– cultural traditions (i.e., paradigms), and– analysis (destruction) of the existing world view, and synthesis (creation) of arevised world view including possibilities for action. This generates intelligence (ina military sense). Decision selects amongst possible actions generated by the orientation,action(s) to try. Choice is governed and informed by– wisdom based on prior experience gained from previous OODA cycles, and– the synthesis (creation) of new possibilities to try. Action involves putting the decision to test by applying it to the world. Theloop begins to repeat as the entity observes the results of its action.
    • 14. Personal ResearchMaturana and Varela: autopoiesis defines life Autopoiesis (= self + production) is the condition achieved by abounded and self-regulating autocatalytic set of processes able tomaintain its existence as an autonomous entity in the face ofenvironmental perturbations; i.e., that which gives a living entity theproperty of life. Recognizing an autopoietic entity (see von Krogh & Roos)– Self-identifiably bounded (membranes, tags)– Individually identifiable components within the boundary (complex)– Mechanistic (i.e., metabolism/cybernetic processes)– System boundaries internally determined (self reference)– System intrinsically produces own components– Self-produced components are necessary and sufficient to producethe system (autonomy)
    • 15. Personal ResearchParadigm of the autopoietic organised systemMaturana and Varela (1980) - Autopoiesis & Cognition –properties of living things– Early 1970s quest to define the property of life– Autonomous entities defined by self regulation and self productionEmergence– I. Prigogine - Nobel Laureate• Principles of non-equilibrium thermodynamics– H. Simon (1962) – Architecture of Complex Systems– H. Morowitz (1968) – Energy Flow in Biology:• Systems forced through time to evolve increasingly complex cycles totransport energy/matter from sources to sinks– J.J. Kay (1984) – Self-organization in living systems– S. Salthe (1985, 1993)• emergence in a scalar hierarchy– S. Kauffman (1993) – Origins of Order:• "autocatalytic sets"• "organization for free"
    • 16. Personal ResearchComplexity theory: Hierarchically complex dissipativesystems and the focal level (complex triad)HIGH LEVEL SYSTEM / ENVIRONMENTSYSTEMSYSTEM SYSTEMSUBSYSTEMSboundaryconditions,constraints,regulationsFOCAL LEVELPossibilitiesinitiatingconditionsuniversallaws"material -causes"Emergentproperties• Synthesiscannot predicthigher levelproperties• Behaviour isuncomputable• Boundaryconditions &constraintsselect• Analysis canexplain• Stanley Salthe (1993) Development and Evolution: Complexity and Change in Biology
    • 17. Personal ResearchEmergence of knowledge Cognition is the cybernetics of autopoiesis (Maturana) Emergence = establishment of a complex system at a new level in thehierarchy between two pre-existing levels of complexity (Salthe) Early autopoietic systems emerge close to thermodynamic equilibriumbetween coalescence/disintegration (Kauffmans autocatalytic sets)– Autopoietic systems produce more components that favour autopoiesis– Dis-integrationg systems lose history, but return components to theenvironment that have previously worked in autopoietic systems• Knowledge of autopoiesis is inherent in the environment, thus shared promiscuously• Promiscuity impedes specialisation because random components need to work together– Early reproduction requires only growth and fragmentation - where fragmentswould retain some of the parents history Selection for self-stabilization evolves towards clonal reproduction awayfrom equilibrium, to preserve structural history that worked Knowledge defines the nature and behaviour of the autopoietic system Meaning = knowledge of solutions to life embodied in dynamic structure Knowledge = heredity = historically accumulated information controllingautopoietic cybernetics to regulate problem responses
    • 18. Personal ResearchThe nature and growth of autopoietic knowledge Turbulent flow from available energy (exergy) sourcesto entropy sinks forces conducting systems to becomemore organised (state of decreased entropy) -Prigogine, Morowitz, Kay and Schneider, Kauffman) Coalescent systems have no past. Self-regulatory/self-productive (autocatalytic) activities that persist for atime before disintegrating produce components whoseindividual histories "precondition" them to formautopoietic systems. Each emerged autopoietic systemrepresents a tentative solution to problems of life.Those that dis-integrate lose their histories(heredity/knowledge). Stable systems are those whose tentative solutionsenable them to persist indefinitely. Competition amongsuch systems for resources is inevitable. Survivors thusperpetuate historically successful solutions into theirself-produced structure to form dispositional or tacitknowledge (W2). Those that fail to solve new problemsdis-integrate and lose their histories. Replication, transcription and translation. Withsemantic coding and decoding, knowledge can bepreserved and replicated in physiologically inert formsfor recall only when relevant to a particular problem oflife. Objective knowledge may be shared across spaceand through time. - Howard Pattee (1965-2000)series of papers; Luis Rocha (1995-) series of papers.Knowledge: a phenomenon of emergent and evolvingautopoiesisTentative solutionsCoalescence / Emergence†Stable solutionsStabilised autopoiesis†Selected solutionsDispositional autopoiesis†Semiotic autopoiesisKnowledge sharingSharedsolutions†CriticisedsolutionsDis-integrationIntegrationTurbulenceEvolutionary Stage
    • 19. Personal ResearchEmergent orders of autopoieticcomplexity Presence of autopoietic system self-defines the focal level of a complex triad 1st order triad– Focal level = living cell– Subsystems/components = macromolecules– Supersystem/environment = dynamic medium/ecosystem/multicellular organisms 2nd order triad– Focal level = multicellular organism– Subsystems/components = living cells– Supersystem/environment = dynamic ecosystem 3rd order triad– Focal level = society of organisms (ants, bees, termites)– Subsystems/components = multicellular organisms– Supersystems/environment = dynamic ecosystem 3rd order triad– Focal level = human economic organization– Subsystems/components = entities with linguistic capabilities– Supersystems/environment = dynamic economy
    • 20. Personal ResearchReproduction, sex, and diversification (1) World 2 knowledge transmitted by the division of pre-existingdynamic structure– inescapable consequence of autopoiesis– entails some loss of computationally irreducible structure– depends on what parts of structure passed on Emergence of world 3 knowledge depends on evolution ofcodification systems– Autocatalytic nucleic acid polymers in emergence of first orderautopoiesis.• Nucleic acid polymers may have enzymatic and/or structural fns• Autoreplication of polymer replicates the polymers functions• RNAs retain structural & enzymatic functions to apply control info• DNAs codified control information into "genes"– Selective advantages for grouping genes into chromosomes• Accurate replication• Controlled segregation into daughter cells
    • 21. Personal ResearchReproduction, sex, and diversification (2) Clonal reproduction in prokaryotes– Clonal evol & differentiation of coadapted snippets in lineages– Advantage: Protected accuracy of existing world 3 knowledge– Disadvantage: Reduced ability to recombine tested knowledge fromdifferent sources in one lineage Sexual recombination totally independent from reproduction– Transformation (naked DNA absorbed from environment)– Transduction (viral transfer)– Conjugation (transfer of plasmid DNA via cell bridge)– Recognition of related & rejection of unrelated DNA sequences– Pairing & crossing over of homologous DNA Eukaryote DNA well isolated from external exchanges Choreographed cell & nuclear fusion– Choreographed recombination and assortment– Specialised knowledge allows emergence of biological speciation and genepools as evolutionary entities
    • 22. Personal ResearchKnowledge in higher order autopoiesis (1)Second order systems (multicellular organisms)– Clonal budding and alternation of generations common in lower orgs– W2 knowledge transmitted via structure of egg cell• Learning reflected in structural connections of neurones and otheraspects of dispositional structure (physiological adaptation)• Most dispositional (somatic) learning cannot be transferred via sexualreproduction– Extended parental care can transfer some W2 knowledge viademonstration and copying (i.e., tacit exchange)– W3 knowledge in DNA• All cells have same DNA• Some DNA is control info for cell differentiation and development• Only evolves via blind variation and selective elimination of carriers– W3 knowledge in extrasomatic heritage• Evolution of semiotic/linguistic transfers• Encoded objects
    • 23. Personal ResearchKnowledge in higher order autopoiesis (2)Third order systems (societies, organizations)– Pubs: Hall 2003, 2005, 2006; Else 2004; Hall et al. 2005;Nousala et al, 2005; Dalmaris et al. 2007– W2 knowledge• layout and capabilities of plant and machinery• social network structure• tacit organizational routines• tacit personal knowledge• cultural dynamics– W3 knowledge• part of DNA at level of individual organisms encodes adaptations forsocial behaviours• pheromonal trails, published inducements, etc.• records and documents of organizational significance• explicitly defined processes and procedures
    • 24. Personal ResearchThe organisation is a complex system in theenvironment Processes (which may be complex subsystems that are autopoietic in their ownrights) are necessary responses to imperatives:– Survival– Self-maintenance of the processes themselvesConstraints and boundaries(laws of nature determine what is possible)ProcessesProcessesThe organisations imperatives and goalsEnergy (exergy)RecruitmentMaterialsIncomeObservationsEntropy/WasteProductsDeparturesExpensesActions
    • 25. Personal Research Organisations (and other living things) are complexdissipative systems emerging from the medium They consume environmental resources that are limited Resources People Income Sinks for entropically degraded materials/devaluedenergy Competition limits survivalSome concepts building on autopoiesis theoryand Karl Poppers theory of knowledgeWORLD 1 ("everything")Medium orsupersystemResourcesPeopleEconomicsInformationConstraints{Organisation 1Organisation 3Organisation 2Organisation 4
    • 26. Personal ResearchMaterial RealityWORLD 1AUTOPOIETICSYSTEMEmbodiedcyberneticknowledgeWORLD 2Constrain/ControlObserve/MeasureRecallITERATION/SELECTIONTHROUGH TIMEProduceSymbolicallyencodedknowledge/memoryWORLD 3Knowledge in an autopoietic entity
    • 27. Personal Research ......... ....Emergent autopoietic vortexes forming world 2and world 3 in a flux of exergy to entropy.......... .......... ....→ Flux along the focal level →ExergysourceEntropysinkSymbolicknowledgeEmbodiedknowledgeAutonomyAutocatalyticmetabolismMaterialcycles
    • 28. Personal ResearchCognition (terms are meaningful in relation toautopoietic or artificially intelligent systems) Observation: Initial change induced within the autopoietic system bya perturbation Classification (/ decision): Process by which an induced changeresults in the system settling into one of alternative attractorbasins on a landscape of potential gradients Meaning: The net result in the system due to the initial propagationand classification of an observation Coombes Hierarchy (Australian Army Info Mgmt Manual)– Data: The atomic level of meaning– Information (first level of synthesis): Classified observations assembledinto relationship structures– Knowledge (second level of synthesis): Semantically identified and linkedinformation– Intelligence (third level of synthesis): Tentative theory(ies) about theworld based on knowledge– Wisdom (fourth level of synthesis): Solutions after the elimination oferrors through testing theories against the world– Strategic power (the result): Wisdom applied to control the world
    • 29. Personal ResearchCoombes hierarchy in the autopoietic entityEnvironmentAutopoietic systemCellMulticellular organismSocial organisationStatePerturbationsObservations(data)ClassificationMeaningAn "attractor basin"RelatedinformationMemory of historySemanticprocessing toform knowledgePredict, proposeIntelligence
    • 30. Personal ResearchAnother viewDecisionMedium/Environment Autopoietic systemWorld State 1PerturbationTransductionObservation MemoryClassificationEvaluationSynthesisProcessing ParadigmAssembleResponseInternal changesEffect actionEffectTimeWorld State 2IterateConscious OODA Loop in Material TermsCodified knowledgeObserved internal changes
    • 31. Personal ResearchParadigm of the autopoietic organization (2)Nelson & Winter (1982): Evolutionary Theory ofEconomic Change– Postulated that organizational knowledge transcendsknowledge of individual members to formorganizational heredity to maintain the existence andbehaviour of the organization (i.e., self-production).– Assumed this transcendent knowledge was tacit(Polanyi)• physical layout• routines• contexts• connectionsvon Krogh and Roos (1995) OrganizationalEpistemology
    • 32. Personal ResearchExisting users of Autopoiesis neglect World 3 Current paradigm of organizational autopoiesis– Blind spot: Maturana & Varela legitimately did not include reproductionin their minimal definition of autopoiesis– As stated the concept does not consider persistent hereditytranscending the life of a single entity Nelson & Winter– Focus on tacit personal & organizational knowledge– Represents late 1970s early 1980s thinking• As they were writing, world 3 organizational content largely consisted ofdata, information & transaction records, not knowledge Roles of persistent knowledge (heredity) to guide growth &maintenance of the living organization The exception is Hugo Urrestarazu (2004) On Boundaries ofAutopoietic Systems– Three domains: phenomenological, "biological", "languaging– Funct. equivalent to Poppers 3 worlds
    • 33. Personal ResearchOrganisational knowledge in World 3Persistent objects of corporate knowledge– Articles of incorporation & employment agreements– Contracts– E-mails & correspondence– Graphics and drawings– Plans, records, process & procedure documents– Enacted workflow systems– Written history– Links & captured contexts– Databases– AV recordingsWorld 3 comprises the bulk of organizational memory orheredity
    • 34. Personal ResearchEND