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Systemic Biomimicry of Dinosaurs by Multinational Corporations

Explores the possibility of systemic equivalence between corporations and dinosaurs.

Systemic Biomimicry of Dinosaurs by Multinational Corporations
General systems research and the VSM
Comparison of dinosaurs and multinational corporations
Simulation and representation
Identification of systemic correspondences
Registry of "corporate dinosaurs"

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Comparisons have long been made between the pattern of behaviour of multinational corporations and that of dinosaurs. At the time of writing over 400,000 such references were indicated by Google. Typically the comparison is merely for rhetorical purposes, avoiding the possibility that more might be derived from this widespread "pattern recognition".

The question explored here is whether new interest in the economic implications of biomimicry could usefully be reviewed with respect to the relationship between dinosaurs and multinational corporations. Biomimicry, or biomimetics, is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems, as originally framed by Janine Benyus (Biomimicry: innovation inspired by nature, 1997). One report estimated that biomimicry would have a $300 billion annual impact on the US economy, plus add an additional $50 billion in environmental remediation (Biomimicry: An Economic Game Changer, 2007).

From this perspective, to what extent has the development of multinational corporations been effectively inspired (if unconsciously) by the highly successful emergence of the dinosaurs -- millions of years ago? Given this possibility, to what extent is the evolutionary pathway "beyond the dinosaur" clearly indicated by nature? Under such circumstances, to what extent are management and business schools, with their research programmes as currently conceived, to be understood as engaged in "pattern replication" and pattern conservation, in working at the frontier of research to adapt "dinosaurs" to changing environmental circumstances? Making "better" dinosaurs?

These questions are brought into sharp focus at the time of writing by the unprecedented street protests in Wall Street, subsequent to the widespread revolutionary protests of the so-called Arab Spring (Sarah Jaffe,This Is Only Getting Bigger: 20,000 Rally in New York to Support Occupy Wall Street, AlterNet, 5 October 2011). The central organizational and strategic question is how viable new patterns of self-organization can evolve out of such collective action (Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations, 2007; Dynamically Gated Conceptual Communities: emergent patterns of isolation within knowledge society, 2004).

The question is all the more pertinent given the sophisticated information technology enabling those protests and the challenges nevertheless experienced in applying collective intelligence to recent emergencies (Enabling Collective Intelligence in Response to Emergencies, 2010). What is the next phase in collective psychosocial evolution?

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