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Anthony Stafford Beer (1926 – 2002)


British theorist, consultant and professor at the Manchester Business School.
Anthony Stafford Beer
Management problems are not respecters of the company organization, nor of the talents of the people appointed to solve them.
Beer quotes
A stochastic process is about the results of convolving probabilities-which is just what management is about, as well.
Beer
The whole picture is complicated by the stockists and merchants who will try to exploit any shortages that may appear.
The result is this. The feedback information from the industry's environment consists, first and foremost, of a forward order load. Much of this "demand for steel" will be bogus.




Beer Anthony Stafford quotes
According to the science of cybernetics, which deals with the topic of control in every kind of system (mechanical, electronic, biological, human, economic, and so on), there is a natural law that governs the capacity of a control system to work. It says that the control must be capable of generating as much "variety" as the situation to be controlled.
Beer Anthony Stafford
An internal combustion engine is 'clearly' a system ; we subscribe to this opinion because we know that the engine was designed precisely to be a system. It is, however, possible to envisage that someone (a Martian perhaps) totally devoid of engineering knowledge might at first regard the engine as a random collection of objects. If this someone is to draw the conclusion that the collection is coherent, forming a system, it will be necessary to begin by inspecting the relationships of the entities comprising the collection to each other. In declaring that a collection ought to be called a system, that is to say, we acknowledge relatedness. But everything is related to everything else. The philosopher Hegel enunciated a proposition called the Axiom of Internal Relations. This states that the relations by which terms are related are an integral part of the terms they relate. So the notion we have of any thing is enriched by the general connotation of the term which names it; and this connotation describes the relationship of the thing to other things... [There are three stages in the recognition of a system]... we acknowledge particular relationships which are obtrusive: this turns a mere collection into something that may be called an assemblage. Secondly, we detect a pattern in the set of relationships concerned: this turns an assemblage into a systematically arranged assemblage. Thirdly, we perceive a purpose served by this arrangement: and there is a system.
Anthony Stafford Beer quotes
Clearly, if it is possible to have a self-regulating system that implicitly arranges its own stability, then this is of the keenest management interest.
Anthony Stafford Beer
The system of transportation is not coherent; it is not treated as integral. Roads compete with with railroads and airlines in chaotic fashion, and at immense cost to the nation.
Beer Anthony Stafford quotes
Hence we may recognize the subject of management cybernetics which is seen as a rich provider of models for doing OR.
Beer
The problem with managing either a business or a prison by periodic rather than continuous inspection is that the "variables" are likely to be seriously out of control before the discrepancy is noted.
Beer Anthony Stafford
The strategies that managers employ are at least as important as the facilities at their disposal.
Anthony Stafford Beer
It is terribly important to appreciate that some things remain obscure to the bitter end.




Anthony Stafford Beer quotes
There is, then, a logical priority about the arrangements, and logic has nothing to do with time.
Anthony Stafford Beer
A slowly moving queue does not move uniformly. Rather, waves of motion pass down the queue. The frequency and amplitude of these waves is inversely related to the speed at which the queue is served.
Beer quotes
Policy-making, decision-taking, and control: These are the three functions of management that have intellectual content.
Beer Anthony Stafford
It is the concept of likelihood that a real understanding of probability resides, and we must learn how to measure it.
Beer Anthony Stafford quotes
The development of the Watt governor for steam engines, which adapted the power output of the engine automatically to the load by means of feedback, consolidated the first Industrial Revolution.
Anthony Stafford Beer
General Systems Theory, as originally intended by Von Bertalanffy, is an ideal framework for the modeling of a business enterprise. Work, in its most civilized form should enrich, empower and emancipate. Thus we must continue to find ways to support work as a humanistic, not mechanistic endeavor. We must continue to seek out new models of business that support and enhance the individual as well as the collective whole. Given all this new technology, we need new institutions for handling it.
Anthony Stafford Beer quotes
We have, over the centuries, devised a management structure for running things, whether firms or whole countries. This structure depends absolutely on the limitations of the human hand, eye, and brain. The discoveries of management cybernetics, coupled with the techniques of operational research and with the new technology of automation, make possible a new way of running things which is not so limited. Yet we insist on retaining the original structures and automating them. In so doing, we enshrine in steel, glass, and semiconductors those very limitations of hand, eye, and brain that the computer was invented precisely to transcend.
Anthony Stafford Beer
The aim of management science is to display the best course of action in a given set of circumstances, and this must include all the circumstances.
Beer Anthony Stafford
Certain management policies-stretching of credit resources, for example-may lead to great progress in good conditions; but, like the Grand Prix car in comparison with the Land Rover, they may not be robust enough to survive when the going gets tough.


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