Traditional MBA programmes are reductionist. They provide function specific management education. Its curriculum is a conglomerate of different management related concepts, models and approaches associated with different managerial functions.
Managers learn about the different management functions from the perspective of functional excellence and best practice. By comparison, management praxis is multi-functional (i.e. a management situation has operational, marketing, legal, resource and other considerations in varying degrees of priority). It demands an appropriate functional synergy that is unique to each situation.
This synergistic management praxis is not taught, because there is no w/holistic theory of management which integrates and contextualizes the different management functions within a coherent whole. Biomatrix Theory fills this gap. It is a w/holistic theory of system organisaton, development and change. Applied through Biomatrix Methodology, it guides managers in applying the function specific MBA knowledge in a synergistic manner.
Because of its fragmented and patched together curriculum, MBA education is criticized as
reinforcing fragmentation and sub-optimisation in organizations and industries
failing to contribute to the dissolving of complex problems in organisations, industry and society. On the contrary, the current management paradigm with its belief in deregulation and maximising returns on investment actually co-produces those problems and the unsustainable systems responsible for them.
By contextualizing current management knowledge through w/holistic frameworks, organizing principles and a w/holistic methodology, managers can create optimal systems, dissolve complex problems and redesign and transform current systems that are problem riddled, unsustainable, or outdated legacy systems of the industrial age.
what a post-MBA education is about
A w/holistic post-MBA education provides a w/holistic management theory and methodology for changing systems.
It also explains the different types of systems, explains the difference between wholes and systems and how to manage them w/holistically.
w/holistic management theory
A w/holistic theory of management
integrates the diverse function specific knowledge and contextualises the functional parts within a larger trans-functional whole. Participants of Biomatrix courses typically express this as: “Now we know how everything we learned during the MBA hangs together.”
provides contextualising frameworks and organising principles that guide the manager in making sense of and manage the multi-functional reality of a specific situation and system.
defines what constitutes a whole and what not and distinguishes wholes and systems: There are systems which are wholes (e.g. activity systems and entity systems) and systems which are not a whole (e.g. a complex problem like poverty or climate change)
outlines how a system (e.g. a function, business process, organisation, industry) is structured as a coherent whole, based on generic organising principles
explains w/holistic management, namely how a system functions in a manner that
its aims (from purpose, to long-term strategic and short-term operational aims) are achieved coherently
the whole system (and not any of its parts) is optimised
it is sustainable in itself and its outcomes co-pruduce a sustainable world
it learns reflexively and is able to adapt to a changing environment
it is a coherent part of a larger containing whole (e.g. as a function within an organisation; as an organisation within an industry; as a sub-industry within a containing industry)
it interacts with its environment in a balanced manner.
management of wholes and systems
A w/holistic theory of management also explains what wholes and systems are, their difference and how they need to be managed.
whole versus system
There is a difference between a system and a whole. All wholes are systems, but not all systems are wholes.
Biomatrix theory defines two types of systems as being wholes, namely activity and entity systems. They have the characteristics of a system and function systemically (or holistically). Management refers to those systems.
There are also systems that are not wholes. Examples are complex problems like poverty, crime or climate change. Systems thinkers refer to them as systems, but they are not wholes. They arise from the interaction of wholes and impact on them causing them to malfunction. Complex systems cannot be solved. They can only be dissolved by redesigning the interacting systems.
entity versus activity systems
What are entity and activity systems?
Analogous to a fishing net which consists of knots and strings, entity systems are knot-like systems, while activity systems are string-like systems.
An entity system is a multi-function system. It emerges from the interaction of its functions (or activity systems). To ensure optimal coordination between its functional parts, the entity system is organised as a three-dimensional matrix. Through its different functions, the entity system serves multiple aims.
Examples of social entity systems are a person, organisation and society. They have different functions, such as education, health care, production of goods and services and learning, amongst others.
An activity system is a single-function system. It serves a single overarching aim which is typically stated in its name (e.g. education, nutrition, transport or governance system). It is organised as a value / supply chain (whereby value refers to the outcomes and supply refers to materials that are being processed into value in each section of the chain).
Examples of social activity systems are the functions and business processes of an organisation, an industry and a public governance function.
w/holistic change methodology
A w/holistic change methodology guides a manager and leader how to (re)design a system and transform it into a coherent whole that functions holistically (or systemically). It also explains how by redesigning systems, their complex problems (dis)solve.
It outlines the steps involved in transforming the two generic types of systems (i.e. entity systems and activity systems) into a coherent whole that is sustainable and capable of learning and adapting to a changing environment.
(Note: Although the steps in the methodology are the same for both types of systems, they are applied in the context of different frameworks. An activity system is redesigned as a continuous value / supply chains and an entity system as a three-dimensional organisational matrix.)
The steps in redesigning a system are:
analysing the current system
creating a designthat shows how the system can function differently and produce more ideal outcomes for its stakeholders
making an implementation planthat outlines the strategies involved in moving the system from its current state towards its ideal design
making a change management plan that describes the steps and methods used to manage a system transformation
providing change facilitation which is concerned with facilitating stakeholders in co-designing their shared (or containing) system, aligning with it and being committed to implementing their share of the design and thereby actually co-producing the transformation of the system of which they are a part. Amongst others, this can involve stakeholders in a Biomatrix Jam and in design iterations.
Participation in one of the Biomatrix Design Courses will transform you into a w/holistic thinker based on biomatrix systems theory.
You will understand the theory and methodology of complex problem (dis)solving, as well as system (re)design, development and change in general and that of an entity system (e.g. organization) as well as activity system (e.g. function and industry) more specifically.
Throughout the course you are guided by template-based assignments to apply this knowledge to the redesign of the system of which you are part as your case study. You will also learn about and make an implementation plan for the design and a change management plan for facilitating the change.
Once you have completed the course, you will be confident and able to
assess and contextualize other tools and methods used in managing change in social systems
act as a w/holistic consultant and change manager in the (re)design and transformation of an entity and activity system in general nd your type of system specifically