Individual Actions as Community Informative Resources. A Collective Informative Systems Approach


This paper conceives communities (in this case, partnerships) as being able to become collective informative repositories of individual and collective actions that may better-inform their members. This paper presents one approach for studying if a community has become such an informative repository. The approach used here consists of introducing a formal language (Viable Systems Modelling, VSM) into one of the community nodes (a participant) and tracing if its use is seen in another node (another participant) - indicating the presence of a process of diffusion. This research design has been tested in a crime-reduction partnership in the UK. One of its members was asked to engage in the design and testing of this approach as a co-researcher. As a result, a questionnaire to map communication and control devices inside an organization was jointly developed. In keeping with VSM principles, the questionnaire encouraged participants to reflect on attenuation and amplification processes within their communications channels. To test the quality of the outcomes of this approach, members from another crime-reduction partnership were also invited to answer the survey; this was to confirm that VSM notions were not evident for those outside the development and testing of the questionnaire. The questionnaire indicated also its capability to make visible communication and organizational processes within collectives and its potential to stimulate self-organization, for those individuals who became familiar with VSM. Furthermore, this approach provided the authors with the capability to study information flows inside the two collectives, and contributed to an understanding of these flows as a model for building and maintaining a Community Informative System.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Collective improvement,Collective informative systems,Individual action,Viable system model,Strategy and Management,Management of Technology and Innovation
Publication ISSN: 1573-9295
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://link.sp ... 1213-018-9441-3 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-12-01
Published Online Date: 2018-02-10
Accepted Date: 2018-01-01
Authors: Vilalta-Perdomo, Eliseo Luis (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-4551-8327)
Herron, Rebecca



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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