International Journal of Markets and Business Systems (6 papers in press)
The law of increasing productivity
by Piero Mella
Abstract: I propose the following Law of increasing productivity: the search for the highest levels of Return On Equity necessary to produce value for the shareholders and meet the expectations of the firms stakeholders gives rise to a improvement process whose macro effect is increasing levels of productivity and quality. This paper will try demonstrate that productivity is the basis of all productive systems, which are viewed as transformers of utility and value, since the search for maximum productive efficiency is necessary to reduce production costs and thus to produce value. After presenting a coherent frame of reference I shall examine the drivers of productivity and then move on to discuss the consequences of the continual growth in productivity. The paper concludes with a simple but significant model that seeks to illustrate the relationship between productivity and employment.
Keywords: productivity; quality; productivity levers; intrinsic drivers; managerial drivers; extrinsic drivers; dynamics of productivity; world robot population; global production network; jobless economy;.
The dividend paradox: a literature review
by Imad Jabbouri, Abdelilah El Attar
Abstract: This paper discusses the theories that shape the debate on dividend policy with an emphasis on emerging markets and recent empirical findings. The studies investigated in this research perceived multiple explanations for paying dividends as being valid and credible, and contribute to explaining why firms pay dividends. The dominance of one theory over another and the contradicting evidence in favour or against a specific theory are largely influenced by the testing environment. In some cases, the theories are contradicting, in others, they are complementary. Divergence in the outcomes and findings of the empirical research that tries to confirm or refute these theories deepens, further, the complexity of the dividend puzzle. This paper finds that, while researchers contribute to empirical evidence and build knowledge to help solve the dividend controversy, the results are inconclusive, contradicting, and none is universally accepted. This leaves ample room for further thorough research on dividend policy.
Keywords: dividend policy; dividend puzzle; emerging markets.
Responsibility of corporations: organisational values, formal norms and managerial competencies
by Gerhard Fink
Abstract: A generic cultural socio-cognitive theory of a plural agency is developed, which includes 'responsibility'. Interaction between social viable systems, i.e., normative personalities, is modelled. The general definitions of the terms 'responsible' and 'responsibility' imply that there is an action-outcome-consequence relation. Consequently, for modelling cybernetic systems there is need to address issues related to: reasons for action, actual actions taken, outcomes, observation of outcomes, assessment of outcomes, reconsideration and perhaps modification of earlier action. All action has outcomes: a direct effect (performance), side effects, and effects on other agencies. Thus, there is need to integrate into social viable systems models: 1) mutual interdependencies; 2) issues related to dependence on resources; 3) competition for resources; 4) impact on other's resources. The theory will provide guidance for analysis of interaction effects between agencies within their resource environments.
Keywords: interaction model; managerial intelligence; mindset agency theory; observation; resource environment; self-regulation; social viable system.
Sustainability development: part 1 - from the cybernetic of cybernetics to the cybernetics of development
by Maurice Yolles
Abstract: This paper is in three parts. The first part explains how von Foerster came to define second order cybernetics through Piaget's child learning model. It inherently relates this to the metasystem-system relationship that underpins Stafford Beer's management cybernetics and its connection to self-processes for the adaptive autonomous system. It also explains how the Foerster's concepts of eigenvalues and eigenbehaviour connect these. Using agency theory, von Foerster's schema is extended to embrace the third order cybernetic complex adaptive systems, leading to the idea of eigendevelopment. Part 2 of this paper posits that, through eigenbehaviours, agency interests arise that are represented generically through amenities. The issue of sustainability development is an important one that requires society to understand the relationship between different independent systems, identified from the literature. In part 3 the different systems and their amenities are explored, and discussion occurs about how the systems, as agencies, may co-evolve in order to lead to sustainability.
Keywords: second order cybernetics; third order cybernetics; eigenbehaviour; eigendevelopment; agency theory; complex adaptive systems.
Sustainability development: part 2 - exploring the dimensions of sustainability development
by Maurice Yolles
Abstract: This is the second part of the paper on sustainability development. Part 1 developed theory that explains how complex adaptive human activity systems can be seen as autonomous and self-organising third order cybernetic systems. In this part 2 of the paper a review of the concepts related to sustainability is undertaken and discussed. The paper falls into three parts. The first part relates to the early concepts of the sustainability due to three pillars or disciplinary dimensions of the human activity. The second elaborates on this through the consideration of additional dimensions, which are then referred to as systems. The third extends this argument and considers the rational for these dimensions, in due course reducing them to as five relevant interactive systems. These together compose an interactive supersystem. Sustainability development refers to this supersystem, not to the individual systems. In part 3 of the paper, these systems are considered to be complex human adaptive systems and each is explored in more detail.
Keywords: sustainability development; complex adaptive systems; cultural agency theory.
Sustainability development: part 3 - the cybernetics of co-evolution through amenity
by Maurice Yolles
Abstract: This is the third part of a three-part paper. The first part explored the nature of complex autonomous human activity systems, showing that they may be represented as third order cybernetic systems. In part 2 sustainability development was explored as an agency coevolving supersystem composed of interactive autonomous agency systems. In this third part of the paper, five systems are adopted in the supersystem that contributes to sustainability development. The supersystem and systems each have amenities. These change with system evolution. A literature review is undertaken to validate the suggested prime amenity of each system. Cultural Agency Theory (CAT) is used to model both the agencies and their interactive environment, all of which should have a capacity for sustainability. Each agency model has living system characteristics, with eigenvalues that are indicative of system stability, and eigenbehaviour that determines potential patterns of behaviour.
Keywords: social sustainability; complex adaptive systems; cultural agency theory; CAT.