The Open UniversitySkip to content

Churchman and Maturana: Enriching the Notion of Self-Organization for Social Design

Reynolds, Martin (2005). Churchman and Maturana: Enriching the Notion of Self-Organization for Social Design. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 17(6) pp. 539–556.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (111Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


C. West Churchman and Humberto Maturana share similar cultural traditions involving frustrations with applying conventional systematic methods in domains of social systems design (Churchman) and neurobiology (Maturana). They have independently of each other developed a rich systemic framework of analysis based on a constructivist epistemology. But there appears to have been little correspondence between the two traditions. This paper explores six possible areas of congruence between the critical systemic perspective associated with Churchman and Maturanas autopoiesis. This initial sketch reveals possible ways forward in applying ideas of autopoiesis to our social world through a more constructive and adaptive conversation with the works of Churchman.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1094-429X
Extra Information: The original publication is available at
Keywords: autopoiesis; critical systemic; organisation
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 3382
Depositing User: Pat Shah
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2014 22:32
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340