C2/GOMA is an attempt to create a theoretical foundation for a broad range of automation problems. It allows us to take any organization and gradually increase its automation from a level of zero to the absolute maximum--the complete replacement of humans with machines.
So, what makes C2/GOMA different from other similar theories and concepts? Here are five reasons:
1. A holistic / system view of the organization and its surroundings
Modeling large organizations operating in real world conditions is an extremely complex task, and people often do various simplifications to make their life easier. They may consider only a small part of the organization or try to minimize its internal details by applying a cybernetic black-box. Although such methods may give positive results in specific situations, they are usually proven to be wrong.
C2/GOMA takes a holistic / system approach to look at an organization. In doing so, it makes a few important assumptions:
- The organization is an open system. It operates within its environment and cannot be detached from it.
- Every element is a part of this system. They are interconnected and interdependent with the other system elements and serve the overall purpose of the organization.
- The organization contains active elements (also called decision makers) with their own will, which are able to change the course of actions by themselves. This means an outcome cannot be predicted based upon its related inputs. But it also requires an understanding of internal organization dynamics.
2. The acceptance of fuzzy and irrational human interactions
By definition C2/GOMA must cover the human aspect of organizations. Human interactions are known to be fuzzy and irrational. Rather than fighting and trying to squeeze it into a well understood but useless model, C2/GOMA recognizes and accepts that fact. Moreover, a certain amount of chaos or entropy is taken to be an indicator of a healthy dynamic organization.
3. A broad view of management processes
C2/GOMA does not look at management as the work performed exclusively by people with the title of “manager.” Instead, it considers any type of directed activity--strategic management, physical labor, or even interactions at a cellular level--to be a management process. That approach allows the application of common consistent models at any organizational level, and ultimately describes multi-level management systems.
4. A broad view of decision makers
In C2/GOMA an active element--a decision maker that performs management functions--can be an individual or group of individuals, an AI system, a robot, or a primitive microcontroller . That fact is abstracted and does not change the way how management is carried out. An organization’s initial management can be a group of human managers, change to be just one man or woman, and finally its management might be replaced by a fully automated computerized system. All those changes do not change the nature of its management processes. This allows C2/GOMA to stay agnostic from automation and gradually change the automation level without breaking the model.
5. A broad view of element responsibilities
Many concepts used in automation today have a pretty rigid model. They define controlled elements and state that the delegation of responsibilities does not change. However, life brings constant changes. A person could be a resource controlled by somebody else’s actions, be promoted to become a powerful decision maker, and then get sick and take a personal leave. Finally, employees may be fired, quit the organization, or even pass away. Realizing the possibility of such changes, elements in C2/GOMA can play different roles in management at different points of time depending on context. That flexibility allows us to describe realistic scenarios in evolving systems.
Hopefully, these five examples have helped you to see how C2/GOMA is special compared to its similar theories and concepts. Next up, I will be talking about Goals in relation to C2/GOMA. Keep reading!