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Course Director: Argyris Arnellos
Course Code: 7258
Educational Units: 4
ECTS Units: 6
Type: Compulsory (C)
Semester: 04 (Spring)
Hours: 4 hours lecture

The course introduces students to organizational thinking with the primary goal of providing theoretical and conceptual tools and applied models of non-reductive approach, study, analysis, and description of complex interactive organizations across the spectrum of organizational complexity in nature and in society.

Initially the course focuses on fundamental issues of the organizational / systemic framework for the analysis, understanding and description of complex organizations (basic processes of constitution and interaction, regulation of constitution and interaction, ways of integration between constitution and interaction, as well as the implications of different forms of this integration regarding the evolvability of each type of organization) in the whole range of organizational complexity.

Explain the fundamental concepts of the organizational framework of analysis and description of complex organizations, such as: simple and complex self-organization, autopoiesis, closure, autonomy, function, regulation, self-regulation, self-directedness, integration, representation, intention, goal/purpose, anticipation, emergence , identity / character, levels of organization.

Use of the above framework for the analysis, explanation, and modeling of the design process as a form of cognitive interaction between highly complex organizations, as well as of the related aesthetic and creative interaction processes as special forms of bio-cognitive interaction directly or indirectly related to the realization of the design process.

Organizational approach to the ontological and epistemological problem of design, as well as to the analysis of human-centered organizations with the aim of analysing and implementing non-reductive design interventions in them.

At the completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understands the basic concepts of the topic.
  • Distinguish types and forms of complex organizations.
  • Analyze and describe forms and types of complex organizations through non-reductive methods.
  • Understand and manage different levels of functionality within a complex organization.
  • Use the organizational / systemic framework to analyze, understand and describe the complexity of (interactive) organizations and their components and their interactive properties (adaptation, learning, perception, cognitive interaction, planning, designing, collaborative designing)
  • Investigate the production of 'meaning' in complex, and more generally, goal-oriented / purposeful and cognitive (living, socio-technological, and artificial) organizations and systems.
  • Understand the fundamental role of the organizational approach in the design process.
  • Understand the view of design as a form of bio-cognitive interaction and continuous production of multidimensional functional meanings between complex organizations, as well as the corresponding theoretical implications.


Course Textbook: 

  • Introduction to the systemic theory of Organisation , Fritz B. Simon , Sakkoula Publ., 1st ed./2010 , ISBN: 978-960-445-577-5 , [Evdoxos Code No.: 57783]

Additional bibliography :

  • Jackson M. C. (2019). Critical Systems Thinking and the Management of Complexity. Wiley
  • Moreno, A., & Mossio, M. (2015). Biological autonomy: A philosophical and theoretical enquiry. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Korsgaard CM (2009) Self-constitution. Agency, identity and integrity. Oxford University Press, Oxford
  • Wimsatt, W. C. (2007). Reengineering philosophy of science for limited beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Mingers, J. (1995). Self-Producing Systems: Implications and Applications of Autopoiesis, New York.: Plenum Press

Related academic journals:

  • Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Design Studies, Journal of Organisation Design, Biology & Philosophy, Constructivism, New Ideas in Psychology (Elsevier), International Journal of Organisation Theory and Behaviour, etc.