罗素·艾可夫

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罗素·艾可夫(Russell L. Ackoff)
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罗素·艾可夫(Russell L. Ackoff)
罗素·艾可夫(Russell L. Ackoff,也译为拉塞尔·阿克夫、拉塞尔·阿考夫、拉塞尔·艾考夫)——开创了企业管理的“社会系统时代”

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罗素·艾可夫简介

  罗素·艾可夫(Russell L. Ackoff)1919年出生于费城。他进入宾州大学专修建筑,本科毕业后,他的兴趣转向科学哲学,获哲学博士学位。对于这种转变,他自己的解释是对人本系统的兴趣超越了对建筑物的兴趣”,正是这种兴趣导致了艾可夫日后对营运学的研究。

  在1964年回到母校宾州大学之前,艾可夫执教于俄亥俄州克里夫兰市的Case Institute of Technology。尽管现已退休,但他依然是沃顿管理学院的荣誉教授,此外还承接大量的咨询工作,并兼任由他创立的互动管理学会(The Institute for Interactive Management Inc.)董事长

  罗素·艾可夫兴趣广泛,从人类行为到城镇规划,无不涉猎。他对系统研究的兴趣由来已久,在解析公司的成败因缘方面有独到之处,这就是他与人合著《运筹学》(Operations Research,1957)的起因。自二战期间起运筹学及其研究已成为人们关注的对象,然而这本著作的问世将营运学引入了商业领域,尤其是在工业制造方面。任何一种系统,无论有多么错综复杂,千头万绪,总是基于对输入数据的组织和运用,期望达到理想的结果。而越是复杂的系统,就会有更多的输入和可能的变量。

  艾可夫不仅写出了一部又一部的著作,他还为管理思想家们开辟了一块论争的新天地,也因此赢得了系统理论之泰斗的美誉。母校宾州大学的工程学院更是以他的名义创立了一个名为高级系统管理中心(A-CASA)的智囊团。随着计算机价格的不断下降和性能的不断提高,系统管理又有了突破性的进展,由于计算机能有效地对系统进行定点和跟踪,规模再小的企业也能从中受益匪浅。在艾可夫看来,系统研究绝非以量取胜,它能更好地测定企业及员工是如何运作的。

  艾可夫认为,营运研究远远没有被充分利用,它的收效甚微是因为人们在运用它的时候带着片面的理解,因此艾可夫的著作和演讲中时时流露出特有的尖酸刻薄的机智。用他自己的话来说,营运研究导致了“企业便秘”,它没能跑到企业的“脑袋”里,而是被挤到“肠子”里去了,再没地儿可挤就被排泄出去了。说到管理,艾可夫口无遮拦,丝毫不会顾忌政治导向正确与否。

  确实,艾可夫总是乐于挑战传统,在沃顿任教时,他的课程无事先安排,不上课,免考试,进来容易出去难:想要通过他的课,学生得提交一份学业规划,内容翔实之外还得有清楚的过程。面对非议,他如此反击:“从长远来说,再没有比没有照章行事而成功更为糟糕的了,只要你跟在规则后面亦步亦趋,那你永远可以从头来过。”在企业管理方面,艾可夫很担心互联网会造成无用甚至谬误信息的泛滥成灾。

  最近以来,艾可夫把注意力投向了社会的其他方面,比如教育方面,他倡议大学应该减少教学工作,因为教师的灌输会妨碍学生的认知。在《交响乐组织》(Re-Creating the Corporation,1999,这是台湾译本的书名)一书中,他对企业年限的缩减做出评论,他主张企业应该忽略各部门的分管职能,注重各部门的协调运筹,加入到企业整体这支交响乐中来。企业必须有效地进行规划和设计,同时在企业内部真正达到民主化。

  企业必须懂得活学活用并能不断地自我调节,适者生存是亘古不变的道理。在《社会再设计》(Redesigning Society,2003)一书中,艾可夫试图用营运研究的方法来解决美国的社会问题,他坚称:“我们社会的改革有赖于创意和创新……”

  艾可夫的新近作品还包括《击败系统:凭借创造力来取胜官僚主义》(Beating the System: Using Creativity to Outsmart Bureaucracies, 2005),书中收集了一系列如何招架毁谤及干涉行为的奇闻轶事。艾可夫最具生命力和独特风格的作品收集在《艾可夫精选集》(Ackoff’s Best,1998)中。

阿科夫:开创了企业管理的“社会系统时代”

  如果说泰罗法约尔开创了“机器时代”的企业管理理论,那么,巴纳德开创了“生物系统时代”的管理理论,而阿科夫则开创了“社会系统时代”的管理理论。

  在“机器时代”,“人”被认为是企业这部机器中的一个零件,可以随时更换,不会影响整个企业的运行。

  在“生物系统时代”,“人”被视为企业这个有机体的一个组分,尽管与其它组分有着复杂的有机关联,随意“更换”对整个企业的运行会有影响,但不接受“人”作为一个“个体”在企业中有着自己的(私人)目的。

  在“社会系统时代”,“人”被视为企业的一个“利益相关者”,承认其是一个具有自己目标的独立系统,为企业是为了实现自己的目标,而不是为了实现企业的目标。企业应该为“人”实现其目标而提供服务。

  在这种理念下,企业的发展是“相关利益者”的协调发展,企业发展的战略目标制定必须考虑“相关利益者”的利益。

  作为一个系统科学家,阿科夫进一步提出,企业管理必须是全局的协调化管理并对局部优化的方法提出了批评。阿科夫指出,美国许多大的管理咨询公司推行的一些管理的局部优化性的“灵丹妙药”(例如:标杆管理流程再造等)会对企业整体造成伤害,他举例说,将一个高性能的罗伊斯·罗尔斯发动机装到一辆“现代”汽车上,会毁掉整个汽车。(注明:阿科夫对“现代”汽车的比喻是由于80年代美国人对韩国汽车质量的成见,此比喻有损“现代汽车”的形象,特此声明。)

  阿科夫指出:美国从二次大战开始发生了产业革命,而与产业革命联系在一起的“机器时代”开始让位于“系统时代”。而“系统时代”的特征是不断加速变化、相互依存和复杂的多目标系统。例如,企业就是这样的一个多目标的“社会系统”,而不是以前那种服务于企业主或者股东的单一目的“生物系统”或者“机械系统”。企业是服务于三个层次目的的社会系统:企业自身的目的、企业员工的目的、企业环境顾客、社会和政府等)的目的。

  阿科夫的思想中最大的贡献就是:企业有义务服务于其员工,而不是以前那样员工服务于企业的单方向的模式。

  在阿科夫的哲学思想中,管理者作为企业的战略制定者和领导人,必须要引领企业向正确的方向前进,要创造企业的未来,而不要被动地接受企业的未来。

  在2003年的一次采访中,阿科夫指出:“经理人们被错误的信息所误导、被不正确地教导以致他们不理解他们身处环境正在发生的根本性变化。他们是有缺陷的教育系统(指商学院)的产物,造成的后果是大量的企业成为“短命企业”,例如,25年前《财富》杂志评出的世界500强有一半已经不存在了,而美国所有企业的平均寿命也只有14.5年,每年新开业的23家企业中就有一家在1年内关闭。我们错误地用成功的企业来描绘美国的经济,而忽略了失败的一面。”

  阿科夫强调了思维方式的变化,他喜欢运用爱因斯坦的名言:“如果思维方式没有变化就不能解决我们由现在的思维方式所带来的问题。”阿科夫认为经理人都认同这个观念,但当问及经理人现在的思维方式是什么样的思维方式时,他们往往是一头雾水。也正是这个原因,他们不能理解他们的失败。

  当被问及现代经理人应该具备怎样的思维方式时,阿科夫指出:“学会综合性(synthetic)的思维方式来理解复杂系统,而不是解析式思维方式。综合性思维要求人们在思考一个系统时认识到尽管系统是由具有某种特质和行为特质的组分组成,但系统整体却具有任何组分所没有的特性。分析可以揭示系统是如何工作的,而综合性思维确解释了系统为什么要这样工作;解析思维和综合思维整合就是系统思维。”

  这样,阿科夫强调了解析思维方式的“知道”(konwing)功效和综合思维方式的“理解”(understanding)功效。他进一步解释说:“知识是通过描述传递的,回答了“如何”(how to)的问题;而理解是通过解释传递的;回答了“为什么”(why)的问题。这是两者最基本的区别。很多企业的经理人不理解这种区别的重要性,他们追求掌握有关他们所在企业和环境的知识而不努力去理解这些复杂系统。他们试图将事情做好,而不去考虑所做的事情是否是正确的事情。如果他们所做的事在方向上是不正确的,那么,他们越做得好,犯的错误也就越大。”

Biography

  Russell L. Ackoff was born in 1919 in Philadelphia to Jack and Fannie (Weitz) Ackoff.[1] He received his bachelor degree in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1941. He stayed at this university for one year as assistant instructor in philosophy. From 1942 to 1946 he joined the U.S. Army. He returned to study at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his doctorate in philosophy of science in 1947 as C. West Churchman’s first doctoral student.[2] He also received a doctorate of science from the University of Lancaster in 1967.

  From 1947 to 1951 Ackoff was assistant professor in philosophy and mathematics at the Wayne State University. He was associate professor and professor operations research at Case Institute of Technology from 1951 to 1964. 1961 and 1962 he was also visiting professor of operational research at the University of Birmingham. From 1964 to 1986 he was professor of systems sciences and professor of management science at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

  In the 1970s and 1980s the Social Systems Sciences Program at the Wharton School was noted for combining theory and practice, escaping disciplinary bounds, and driving students toward independent thought and action. The learning environment was fostered by distinguished standing and visiting faculty such as Eric Trist, C. West Churchman, Hasan Ozbekhan, Thomas A. Cowan, and Fred Emery.

  Since 1979 Ackoff and John Pourdehnad worked as consultants in a broad range of industries including aerospace, chemicals, computer equipment, data services and software, electronics, energy, food and beverages, healthcare, hospitality, industrial equipment, automotive, insurance, metals, mining, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, utilities, and transportation.

  Since 1986 Ackoff is professor emeritus of the Wharton School, and chairman of Interact, the Institute for Interactive Management. From 1989 to 1995 he was visiting professor of marketing at Washington University in St. Louis.

  Ackoff was president of Operations Research Society of America (ORSA) in 1956–1957, and he was president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) in 1987.

  Ackoff was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science at the University of Lancaster, UK in 1967. He got a Silver Medal from the Operational Research Society in 1971. Other honors came from the Washington University in St. Louis in 1993, the University of New Haven in 1997, the Pontificia Universidad Catholica Del Peru, Lima in 1999 and the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside, UK in 1999. That year from the UK Systems Society he got an Award for outstanding achievement in Systems Thinking and Practice.

  Ackoff married Alexandra Makar on July 17, 1949.[1] This union produced three children: Alan W., Karen B., and Karla S.[1]After the death of Alexandra in February, 1987, Ackoff married Helen Wald on December 20, 1987.[1]

Work

  Throughout the years Ackoff's work in research, consulting and education has involved more than 250 corporations and 50 governmental agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

  Operations research

  Russell Ackoff has had a distinguished career in Operations Research both as an academic and as a practitioner. His book Introduction to Operations Research, co-authored with C. West Churchman and Leonard Arnoff from 1957 appeared as a pioneering text that helped define the field. His influence on the early development of the discipline in the USA and in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s is hard to over-estimate.[2] However, by the 1970s he had become trenchant in his criticisms of technique-dominated Operations Research, and powerfully advocated more participative approaches. These criticisms have had limited resonance within the USA, but were picked up in Britain, where they helped to stimulate the growth of problem structuring methods, such as Soft systems methodology from Peter Checkland.

  The nature of science

  Ackoff believed that the need to synthesize findings in the many disciplines of science arises because these disciplines have been developed with relatively unrelated conceptual systems. Scientific development has resulted in the grouping of phenomena into smaller and smaller classes, and in the creation of disciplines specializing in each. As disciplines multiply, each increases in depth and decreases in breadth. Collectively, however, they extend the breadth of scientific knowledge.

  Nature does not come to us in disciplinary form. Phenomena are not physical, chemical, biological, and so on. The disciplines are the ways we study phenomena; they emerge from points of view, not from what is viewed. Hence the disciplinary nature of science is a filing system of knowledge. Its organization is not to be confused with the organization of nature itself.

  Purposeful systems

  In 1972 Ackoff wrote a book with Frederick Edmund Emery about purposeful systems,[3] which focused on the question how systems thinking relates to human behaviour. Individual systems are purposive, they said, knowledge and understanding of their aims can only be gained by taking into account the mechanisms of social, cultural, and psychological systems.[2]

  They characterize human systems as purposeful systems whose members are also purposeful individuals who intentionally and collectively formulate objectives and are parts of larger purposeful systems:

  • A purposeful system or individual is ideal-seeking if it chooses another objective that more closely approximates its ideal.
  • An ideal-seeking system or individual is necessarily one that is purposeful, but not all purposeful entities seek ideals.
  • The capability of seeking ideals may well be a characteristic that distinguishes man from anything he can make, including computers.


  The fact that these systems were experiencing profound change could be attributed to the end of the "Machine Age" and the onset of the "Systems Age". The Machine Age, bequeathed by the Industrial Revolution, was underpinned by two concepts of reductionism and mechanism whereby "all phenomena were believed to be explained by using only one ultimately simple relationship, cause-effect", which in the Systems Age are replaced by expansionism and teleology with producer-product replacing cause-effect. "Expansionism is a doctrine maintaining that all objects and events, and all experiences of them, are parts of larger wholes." According to Ackoff, the beginning of the end of the Machine Age and the beginning of the Systems Age could be dated to the 1940s, a decade when philosophers, mathematicians, and biologists, building on developments in the interwar period, defined a new intellectual framework.[2]

  f-Laws

  In 2006, Ackoff worked with Herbert J. Addison and Sally Bibb. They developed the term f-Law to describe each in a collection of subversive epigrams, co-authored with Herbert J. Addison. The f-Laws expose the common flaws in both the practice of leadership and in the established beliefs that surround it. According to Ackoff f-Laws are truths about organizations that we might wish to deny or ignore - simple and more reliable guides to managers' everyday behaviour than the complex truths proposed by scientists, economists, sociologists, politicians and philosophers.

Publications

Ackoff has authored or co-authored 31 books and published over 150 articles in a variety of journals. Books:

  • 1946, Psychologistics, with C. West Churchman.
  • 1947, Measurement of Consumer Interest, with C. W. Churchman and M. Wax (ed.).
  • 1950, Methods of Inquiry: an introduction to philosophy and scientific method, with C. W. Churchman. Educational Publishers: St. Louis.
  • 1953, The Design of Social Research.
  • 1957, Introduction to Operations Research, with C. W. Churchman and E. L. Arnoff. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1961, Progress in Operations Research, I. Wiley: New York.
  • 1962, Scientific Method: optimizing applied research decisions, Wiley: New York.
  • 1963, A Manager's Guide to Operations Research, with P. Rivett. Wiley: New York.
  • 1968, Fundamentals of Operations Research, with M. Sasieni. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1970, A Concept of Corporate Planning. Wiley-Interscience: New York.
  • 1972, On Purposeful Systems: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Individual and Social Behavior as a System of Purposeful Events, with Frederick Edmund Emery, Aldine-Atherton: Chicago.
  • 1974, Redesigning the Future: A Systems Approach to Societal Problems. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1974, Systems and Management Annual, (ed.).
  • 1976, The SCATT Report, with T. A. Cowan, Peter Davis (Ed.).
  • 1976, Some Observations and Reflections on Mexican Development.
  • 1978, The Art of Problem Solving: accompanied by Ackoff's Fables. John Wiley & Sons: New York. Illustrations by Karen B. Ackoff.
  • 1981, Creating the Corporate Future: plan or be planned for. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1984, A Guide to Controlling Your Corporation's Future, with E.V. Finnel and J. Gharajedaghi.
  • 1984, Revitalizing Western Economies, with P. Broholm and R. Snow.
  • 1986, Management in Small Doses. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1991, Ackoff's Fables: Irreverent Reflections on Business and Bureaucracy. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1994, The Democratic Corporation: a radical prescription for recreating corporate America and rediscovering success. Oxford Univ. Press: New York.
  • 1998, Exploring Personality: an intellectual odyssey. CQM: Cambridge, MA.
  • 1999, Ackoff's Best: his classic writings on management. John Wiley & Sons: New York.
  • 1999, Re-Creating the Corporation: a design of organizations for the 21st century. Oxford Univ. Press: New York.
  • 2000, "A Theory of a System for Educators and Managers", with W. Edwards Deming[4]
  • 2003, Redesigning Society, with Sheldon Rovin. Stanford Univ. Press: Stanford, Calif.
  • 2006, A Little Book of f-Laws, with Herbert J. Addison and Sally Bibb.
  • 2007, Management f-Laws, with Herbert J. Addison and Sally Bibb.
  • 2008, Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track (pdf) with Daniel Greenberg.

Articles, a selection

Some Ackoff center blogs:

Podcast:

参考文献

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Who's Who in America, 61st ed. (2007), p. 17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Maurice Kirby and Jonathan Rosenhead (2005). "IFORS Operational Research Hall of Fame: Russell L. Ackoff". In: Intl. Trans. in Op. Res. Vol 12 pp. 129–134.
  3. Ackoff, Russell, and Emery, F. E. On Purposeful Systems. Aldine-Atherton: Chicago 1972.
  4. This is really a video; part of _The Deming Library_ series, produced by Clare Crawford Mason) Real publication date is 1993.
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111.206.125.* 在 2014年5月22日 17:53 发表

一位重视不够的大师。

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