The book is the fourth edition of a course of lectures on management by Georgy Schedrovitsky (1929—1994)—Russian thinker, philosopher and methodologist. The author believes that the activity of organization and management has the leading role in development of any practical spheres. The principles of methodological school of management are based on a deep theoretical and ontological study of organizational management thinking. Knowledge and ideas that the methodology operates are in the form of calls to action or projects of organization of activity (or thinking). Special attention in the lectures is devoted to the systematic approach developed by the Moscow Methodological Circle.
The book is intended for specialists in organization, management and leadership, as well as undergraduate and graduate students of all fields of management.
During World War II two new important strands of thought emerged, without which today’s work [of a manager] is impossible in principle. These strands are operations research and systems engineering. How did they come to be? I will use one example to illustrate it. When ships sailed Atlantic from England to the States and back, each ship was equipped with an anti-aircraft gun to defend against German bombers. Then, when London was being bombed and the city was in a difficult situation, one general decided to count how many planes were actually shot down using these guns. Turns out that it was three or four planes. So he ordered to take these guns off. What happened next? The ships simply started to vanish. It was because the purpose of these guns was not in shooting the planes down, but rather in preventing them from dropping their bombs, that is, in preventing a possible positive outcome.
A question arises: how to estimate what didn’t happen in the limits we set? The guns shot down only three planes, but if we remove them entirely, the ships will get destroyed. How to count that they ensure a ship’s safe passage, that is, when their function is defined like this? They had to start counting empty slots. This was the moment operations research and systems engineering were born where empty functional slots are counted as meaningful.
From the lecture The Problem of the Profession and Professional Development of Organizers, Leaders and Managers