Applying the Viable System Model to inform Defence Transformation

Mike Yearworth, David Lowe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) has undergone a radical transformation in response to the Levene Review published in 2010. The Defence Transformation programme has – amongst other changes - delivered a revised operating model for MOD with streamlining of Head Office in Whitehall, greater autonomy for Front Line Commands and the introduction of private-sector expertise across the organisation. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has developed an assessment framework to identify key strengths, weaknesses and uncertainties associated with this new operating model. This framework is based upon a nested application of Stafford Beer’s Viable Systems Model in order to set system-focused assessments in the context of the wider Defence Enterprise. This presentation will (i) review the implementation of this problem structuring method, (ii) reflect upon the impact of the findings to identify methodological lessons, and (iii) discuss the applicability of this method to other situations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOR56 Annual Conference
Publication statusIn preparation - 2014
EventThe OR Society OR56 Conference - Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sept 201411 Sept 2014


ConferenceThe OR Society OR56 Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityEgham, Surrey


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