Requisite Variety – S19.1

In the first chapter of Governance and Social Leadership, I indicate that one aspect of my approach to examining governance and leadership is to be troublesome. Part of my reason for doing so is to challenge readers to think about the concepts and ideas that they and others take for granted, assume to be true, or assume are part of a shared knowledge base. One way I go about being troublesome is to introduce disparate ideas – concepts or phenomena that might not normally appear relevant – into the discussion of various topics. An important one of these disparate ideas is the notion of requisite variety.

The concept of requisite variety was introduced in 1956 by Ross Ashby, a pioneer in the field of cybernetics, a term coined in 1948 by Norbert Wiener, who defined it as “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” Since then, cybernetic principles have become central to developments in several disciplines, such as biology, computer science, engineering, management, and psychology.

Within cybernetics, the idea of variety refers to the number and types of components, or constituent elements, of a system, as well as the possible combinations of these elements employed by that system. The word requisite suggests the objective of determining just how much variety is necessary in a particular system. One of the goals of cybernetic systems, therefore, is to find the minimum, or optimal, amount of variety necessary to sustain a particular operation, organization, or organism. While too little variety poses a threat to existence because the system cannot cope with its day-to-day activity, too much variety is inefficient, because resources of perceived value will be squandered, again posing a significant existential threat.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Strategy and Management (Vol. 11, No. 2, 2018), Rocco Palumbo and Rosalba Manna examine the role of requisite variety in supporting organizational growth. They point out that the key role of requisite variety in an organization is to provide the capacity to respond to environmental uncertainty. This uncertainty can arise from a broad, and often unpredictable, range of sources, including war, natural disaster, political regime change, global financial crises, public attitudes, the introduction of restrictive legislation or policy, shifting demographics, new technologies, changes in ownership, personnel or organizational structure, personal and family matters, and any number of other factors.

The authors indicate that studies of requisite variety in organizations have identified it alternately as a predictor of performance, a tool for responding to shifts in demand, a factor in new product development, an approach for examining business processes, and a way to enhance human communication and organizational learning. Among their conclusions, they suggest that requisite variety is “a by-product of a co-evolutionary relationship between the organization and the environment” (p. 252). This conclusion not only highlights the importance of considering context and process, it also reinforces the idea that the establishment of distinct ontological and epistemological boundaries between organizations and the environment in which they exist is far from easy.

How could an understanding of the concept of requisite variety help us to identify, analyze, and potentially address the viability and sustainability of, for example, a marketing campaign, a community economic development initiative, a new business venture, or our own lives?

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About Robert A. Campbell, PhD

Robert A. Campbell, PhD, teaches courses in change management, leadership, and organizational behavior, as part of the MBA program in community economic development, for the Shannon School of Business at Cape Breton University.
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50 Responses to Requisite Variety – S19.1

  1. Liisa Haapakoski says:

    This blog post makes me think about the service providing companies I have worked for myself. A young and flexible company will happily develop new services as customers are interested in those. The company will end up with a huge amount of different services, but managing the whole picture might become quite a burden later. Bigger and more bureaucratic company will maintain the services they have and will not make quick turns due to the organizational structure and heavier SOP´s. They may not amaze the customers by their flexibility but their credibility in the core business. It is very Interesting to think which way, or how much of these both patterns are used in the most successful businesses. There is no right answer, of course. It depends on the environment which is the right way to make decisions in the organization about services variety. As long as there is a requisite variety of services to keep the company up and running. Understanding the concept of requisite variety is helpful in designing the service selection. If company is too specialized, there might not be enough work for them.

    I hope I understood the concept myself in the way that was supposed. At least this post brought a leadership dilemma of leading service variety successfully into my mind 🙂

    • Lanlan Wang says:

      Enterprises should always take customer demand as the premise when expanding market share, but it does not mean to meet all customer needs. Business diversity is a double-edged sword. Enterprises need to consider their own advantages and disadvantages, combined with the macro environment, to find the best product mix. trying to do everything will definitely increase the pressure on management. In my opinion, no matter the size of enterprises, when the macro environment changes, enterprises must make changes. Only by adapting to the changing environment can enterprises survive. Specialization is generally adopted by larger enterprises to increase productivity by breaking down the production process. There are very few enterprises engaged in a single process of production.

    • Eric Henderson (Ba Nam Dinh) says:

      I agree with you that there is no absolute answer. It’s depend on managerial style, polices or the organization’s capacity and its core vision. However, in my opinion, requisite variety helps the organization or company keep up with its competitors and meet the market trend in order to be sustainable in the long term.

    • Michelle (XUE MI) says:

      I agree with you, there is no right answer. It depends on the environment which is the right way to make decisions in the organization about services variety. For a big company, requisite variety is very hard to achieve even though it is very necessary. One of the reason may be the organization structure. A big company has a big decision-making system. When they want to make a change, they must follow the company system, it will take them a too long time and it is not sure whether it can be accepted at the end. For this kind of company, requisite variety will spend them too much energy. But if they do not think about requisite variety, they will face a great challenge in the future. So there is really no right answer.

  2. Yiming Yan says:

    I’m usually considering about how a company can survive in the mass market. For “Governance & Leadership” part, providing services that customers need is most important, not many services they do not. As one of leader in a company, what should he or she be doing great? That is the reason that we should know the relationship between governance and leadership. Recent years, many huge global issues are happening, including global warming, war, natural disaster, the crises of capitalism, and so on. Thus, these kinds of issues require many of leaders or managers and even people to know, how should we maintain companies’ normal operations when these issues happening. On the other hand, a variety of demands from customers and the flexible environmental changes, both of them strengthen the difficulty of when leaders are operating companies.

    Anyway, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and the flexible management abilities are important for leaders who are going to operate companies developing. At last but not least, I recognize that a complex social environment requires leaders to have good professional skills.

    • kun liang says:

      Providing services that customers need is the most important is absolute a good idea, but if a company want to satisfy customers’ need, it should also focus on requisite variety to provide more kinds of services to match the needs in the market to make profit for the company.

  3. Lanlan Wang says:

    As the blog says, requisite diversity is a product of the interaction between the organization and the environment. I couldn’t agree more. Moreover, I think it is also a necessary condition for the survival and development of modern enterprises, which is very similar to the creation of business ecosphere in the operation of modern enterprises. Driven by technology and competition, a single business has become a business taboo in any situation. it is the core for many enterprises to find the balance point of diversity, and then achieve the virtuous circle of capital in their own ecological circle. Because its positive impact on organization development is sustainable. In an insurance company I used to work for, the initial business was mainly life insurance and property insurance. With the deterioration of the environment and the improvement of people’s health awareness, serious disease insurance was increased. When the vehicle became more and more common, the car insurance business was increased. With the rise of e-commerce and electronic payment, the Internet insurance business has been established to open up a network sales model. When ageing population occurred, it developed the pension community business. Based on the insurance document delivery, it also opened express service. The combined strength of these businesses makes this enterprise finally enter the world top 500 in such fierce competition. Personally, the development of this enterprise shows that diversity is a necessary condition for the survival of modern enterprises.

    • Zhanxin Guo says:

      You mentioned that diversity is a necessary condition for the survival and development of modern enterprises, which is very similar to the creation of a business ecosystem in modern enterprises. I agree with this point. I used to work in a medical device company. The multi-product line is a key factor in the company’s ability to remain competitive in the competition. You mentioned that a single business can hinder the development of the company. How to find a balance point of diversification and then achieve a virtuous circle of capital in its own ecosystem is the core of many companies. I also believe that diversity is the key to a company’s competitiveness.

  4. Agnes Zhang says:

    Defining the requisite variety for an organization is never an easy mission since it closely interacted with the changes of the external and internal environment and the “organization” could be a family, a venture, a region or a country since the decisive factors are changing all the time. Such as south China, it’s getting through an economic booming since the end of the 70s in last century, because of the opening policy, its dominant geographical advantages and other factors in perspective of economic geography. The requisite variety for the development of the region could be understood as all these factors: preferential policy for attracting foreign investment or benefit for trading, govt supports for setup of local enterprise, attractive Human Resources settlement plan and etc. But as time moving and the international and domestic economic situation experienced deeply transforming, the OEM model (as the main industry there) can’t be lasted in the region while the labor cost rising. Many foreign capital withdrew from the region and thousands of employees were laid off cause of the economic structure changes. Therefore the requisite variety for this region need to adjusted or replaced accordingly and new economic model (along with the requisite variety) need to be setup. For the ventures inside this big environment, they were requested to comply with the changes faster even more as before the social and economic transforming, thousands of the small ventures were suffering bankruptcy and big ventures were facing challenges as well.
    Thus, the study and understanding for the concept of requisite variety is essential for all layers of the society, no matter govt, corporations… If we want to establish or manage a venture, the considerations for these elements are critical for its survival and sustainable development under the context of a such fast-pacing changeable world.

    • Liisa Haapakoski says:

      Isn´t it actually so, that since the requisite variety in anything is rarely stable because of the changing environment, it could be used as a tool/way of thinking for a leader? It is a top management issue to lead the company strategy. Defining requisite variety in service selection, management operations, service level, HR operations and other related areas is a way of thinking when updating the strategy. Leaders job is to know what is happening in the business and define the requisite variety over and over again.

  5. haitongwang says:

    I think of the importance of cybernetics in community economic development after I read this blog post. The benefit of variety in community economic development can prevent a onefold or overall economic recession. For example, there are some businesses in the community, such as agriculture, tourism and software industry. The community can continue development if the agriculture industry enters depression because they can also depend on tourist and software industry. As mentioned in the post, it is inefficient if people have too much variety of business because people have to consider every detail to make every business successful. So it can distract people’s vigour cannot make the community continue the process. Therefore, find the optimal point to make sure how many businesses to operation is very crucial because variety is to prevent the unpredictable threat, such as global financial crisis, natural disaster, change of legislation and policy even political regime change. So, find the optimal number in cybernetics is crucial for community economic development.

    • GE YANG says:

      Diversity will better enrich community life and improve people’s living standards. Community needs schools, hospitals, transportation, etc. Diversity is the foundation of community formation. Community is to let people live better in society. Society is complex and diverse. Community is the bridge between people and society. Only by enriching communities’ cultural activities and facilities can people’s lives be colorful, healthy and sustainable, and young people will choose to stay in the community and continue to build the community instead of running to the West Coast. Healthy and sustainable development of the community, young people will choose to stay, as long as there are young people in the construction of the community, the community will continue to develop.

    • Erin says:

      Interesting points. Variety can help a business or organization become successful or impede success if inefficient which can happen with too many choices. As there are so many unknown factors that can influence the success of a business, the business does need to find their optimal operational point as which they can survive and thrive.

    • Erin says:

      Understanding the concept of requisite variety, as a collective, gives us more wisdom and experience to be prepared for any uncertainties in our community, business and our own lives. Being placed in a situation at work to manage a situation is very different than reading about it or taking a course on it. When placed in the situation, you’re relying on information that you learned but you may have not actually used the information in an wide variety of complex situations of which you’re control is limited. Sometimes you’re successful and other times you’re not successful. Concept of requisite variety helps to identify a variety of pathways to be more successful in the future in unforeseen events and use the collective wisdom of many people, experiences, learnings to improve your outcomes to be successful. Concept of requisite variety also puts power into the hands of the client in not for profit. When variety can be offered to vulnerable clients, there is more opportunity for success for the individual and community as a whole.

  6. kun liang says:

    After I read this blog post, I agree that requisite variety plays an important role in a company or an organization. If a company or an organization supposed to survive or win a marketing campaign in the mass market, it has to focus on variety and produce more kinds of product to compete with the competitors. What is more, a company should not distribute equal resources to each product, it should have its own main product to match the satisfaction of consumers, in the meantime, it needs to produce other kinds of product to earn more market share for the company in order to sustain the development of the company. However, the community is more complex than the company or organization, making profit is the only goal in a company, but the community should pay attention to many aspects, such as infrastructure, economy, and education. The community has to try best to maintain the balance among these aspects during the development to create a great environment for the citizens to live.

    • Yiming Yan says:

      Providing services to communities must be a real huge task to managers or leaders. They have to consider what services they need to provide to their communities, for example, public health, education, and population demands. Thus, like the one of governance member, he or she should be sensitive for social changes and demanded changes for they supplying positively services that people needs, and maintaining the development of society or businesses. So, I agree with you, you get the main points from this post and express your own views. Great job!

  7. Peitong Li says:

    According to Governance and Social Leadership, I have learned the central role of cybernetics in the development of some disciplines. We can extract the commonality of things through different phenomena. According to cybernetics, for example, the human definition of space includes galaxies, planets, oceans, and Continent. These all reflect the cybernetics of social application. Diversity is the expression of the quantity and type of elements. These expressions are limited because of human physiological limitations. These limitations have led to how much of the organizational component affects the management of the organization. For example, the principle of separation of powers in the United States includes the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. These three institutions balance each other under the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution. And guaranteeing the continuity of American politics for more than 200 years, and overcoming some unpredictable environmental uncertainties such as wars, natural disasters, and financial crises.
    In the development of the community economy, the public resources of the community are differently inclusive to developers of different competency levels. So we need to increase the understanding of the necessary diversity to reduce the efficiency of resources and reduce the additional resources of the society. Waste and ensure sustainability.

  8. Zhanxin Guo says:

    The blog mentions that research on the necessary diversity in an organization has become an indicator of performance appraisal, a tool for responding to changes in demand, a factor in the development of new products, a way to examine business processes, and enhanced human communication and organizational learning. method. So the necessary diversity in an organization or company is “a by-product of the co-evolutionary relationship between the organization and the environment.” I believe that organizational diversity will play a key role in the development of the company. The development of diversity can help companies achieve their own ecological balance and help companies maintain a cyclical steady state. I have had experience working in a medical device company. The company’s product line is just a CT imager. With the development of the business, as well as the increase of competitors. The development direction of the company’s choice is to open up more product lines to meet the market demand for products. With the advancement of medical beauty, the demand for laser equipment for the treatment of the skin has also increased. Diversified and diversified development product lines have enabled the company to remain competitive in the market competition. I think diversity is a very important part of the development of companies and organizations.

    • Yuheng Li says:

      Diversity has a dual impact on business performance. Generally speaking, as the degree of diversity increases, corporate performance will increase, but the negative impact will increase. When selecting internal and external factors, we should pay attention to the appropriate diversity of various factors, so that the diversity of human resources, systems, environment and other factors are in an optimal state, so that their impact on corporate performance is optimal.

    • Haitong says:

      Indeed, diversification is essential to the company’s development and can improve a company’s ability to resist risks, but it is also necessary to understand when and how many products the company needs. Excessive product categories will cause the company to pay attention to each product, which may reduce the product’s reaction to market risks and increase the burden on the company. Once too many products fail, it is also a risk to the company. Therefore, it is essential for the development of the company to choose the appropriate diversified products according to their own circumstances.

  9. Eric Henderson (Ba Nam Dinh) says:

    In my opinion, I agree with the authors that the requisite variety helps businesses or organizations survive in our current volatile era. One of the most typical examples is the retail market in which suppliers have to be flexible to meet customers’ demand and tastes then can be able to catch up with fast paces of the changing market. Another example is the marketing campaign. When planning a marketing plan, we have to have requisite variety in sections such as sales expectation, product variety or risk management anticipating different adverse situations so that we can increase the viability of the plan and keep the plan on track.

    • Sarvjeet kaur says:

      I agree that in a complex environment, where everything is constantly changing, requisite variety supports the organizations to survive. To add further, to manage the requisite variety greater responsibility lies on the shoulder of a leader. Therefore, the role and responsibilities of a leader has become challenging than ever. The internal as well as external forces cause the organizations to change its focus or sometimes redesign its institution all over again. To be successful, the leader need to be adaptive, ready to collaborate with diverse thinking teams and to be able to SIMPLIFY complex things to its superiors as well as subordinates.
      Furthermore, a leader would only be able excel if the changes are supported by the governance processes that would allow the change to take place. In other words, the policies and processes of the companies should be aligned to the new actions and changes that the leader wish to make for the betterment of the company.

    • SHUO WANG says:

      I agree with you. Requisite variety can help enterprises effectively spread business risks. With the development of social productivity, people’s consumption scope is expanding and consumer desire is also increasing. The change in demand has obvious uncertainty, which will lead to the instability of production and sales of enterprises. In this case, the adoption of a single product or a single market centralized operation will increase the operational risk. The implementation of diversification can spread the operating risk of the enterprise among multiple products, and the loss of one aspect of the operation of the enterprise can be made up by the income of other aspects, to reduce the risk.

  10. Sarvjeet kaur says:

    From a perspective of a layman, too much options, in general have an ability confuse an individual and limited products can make a company limited or scare in terms of its services and it might not be able to fulfill the demands of the customers. For example, if a telephone companies provide us with hundreds of different varieties of plans than it might be challenging to select one out of many followed by a confusion if the correct selection was made. Furthermore, it might effect the administrative part if the work if one plan is confused with the other. On the other hand, if we have very few plans than we are providing competitive advantage to other telephone companies. Therefore, the concept of requisite variety is very important where a company can follow a balanced approach and also cover all the areas of requirements by meeting customer demand in terms of goods and services, also to maintain company’s market share and uniqueness. It sounds simple, but is challenging in terms of selection of services which a company wants to offer so that they can compete and maintain its share. Another challenge is to maintain the flexibility, whether the company is ever ready for the change based upon new innovation and new services offered by the companies. A complete internal as well as external environmental scanning is required to meet the demands of the customers within the chosen products.

    • THUAN TRAN says:

      I like your example and I think if telephone companies give many options to customers, it makes customers confused and worries about their chosen. In this point, we will see the role of a leader. The leaders need to train and coach employees how to explain the service package to customers and how much benefits that customers will be received if they choose their product/service. Telephone company needs to fulfill the needs of customers and against competitors. The company must know the capability itself before the company is going to expand and develop service. Requisite variety requires the company’s costs and human resources as well.

  11. GE YANG says:

    The most important thing in enterprise management is cost control. Will variety bring financial burden to enterprises? Between diversity and unity, whose costs are lower? Is diversity creating value or increasing cost for enterprises? If diversity increases the cost of an enterprise, does diversity bring more value to compensate for the cost of consumption?
    What I want to say is that diversity needs to be screened so that qualified diversity can enter the system. If diversity enters the system without detection, it will probably increase the cost of the system. Only by increasing the value of the system can you get the most appropriate diversity.
    In an enterprise, we have to choose to adapt to the diversity of the market, so that enterprises can continue to grow. With more and more Chinese tourists around the world, it forces many enterprises to choose Chinese in the recruitment of salesmen, so that enterprises can face the market more easily. But hiring a Mauritian-speaking salesman is clearly not suitable for customer convenience.

    • Jin Tiema says:

      I agree with your idea, in some specific industry, diversity definitely increases the cost of an enterprise but diversity also brings more value, so I do believe requisite variety is like a double-edged sword, an enterprise choose it or abandon it depends on what benefits and risks they want to have or to avoid. On the other hand, this concept can be connected with some knowledge of Change Management, in some simple words, to be or not to be, that is the question. As everybody knows, China has become a huge market, different companies must produce more diverse commodities for coping with the specific Chinese market, that is why Disney redirect the cartoon “MuLan” to be a factual version, and why more ethnic Chinese actors appear in many new Holywood movies. My answer to this phenomenon is keeping the balance of requisite variety depends on the benefits and risks.

    • Yifan Liu says:

      Obviously, as long as there are needs there is a market. I think because Chinese customers from all around the world need Chinese goods, so the shop assistants who speak Chinese are needed. Why the enterprises do not need Mauritian-speaking assistant? Because there are not too many Mauritian-speaking customers. When I had an international business class last term, my professor told me that if you choose a place to start your business, you had better do some researches about the local demographics, collect information about the population and main consumer groups, the verity of local preference are necessary. I agree with your idea that “diversity needs to be screened.” It will bring a burden temporarily, but a correct verity must bring more profit in the near future. If the enterprises increase the verity blindly, it will lose their own position quickly and lose the market as well.

    • Shelley Robinson says:

      I thought the idea of cost control as a way to assess requisite variety was super interesting! But it made me think of many mega-tech business, where there is such an early and sustained focus on diversification and growth no matter the cost: it’s all about seeing which markets you can play in and later dominate. For instance, look at the variety (and costs!) of Amazon’s lines of business, from online retail, to sales platform, to buying Whole Foods as a brick-and-mortar business, to selling the cloud computing services they needed to develop their own platform.

  12. Siyuan Li says:

    It’s quite hard to consider what’s correct or wrong, but the variety is definitely important for many companies. In a process of community economic development initiative, they have to make a plan that can take care of every perspective. For example, in order to develop the economy, Membertou set up so many businesses approach variety, hotel, restaurant, entertainment place. different place satisfies a different group of people. However, if too much variety which people have too many choices to chose. in another hand less variety makes people feel confused that hard access sustainability.

    • Sijia Xue says:

      In order to make Membertou develop in a sustainable way, single industry is a dangerous way that if it doesn’t go through, this will make the community vulnerable. In the investment angel, according to an old saying, all eggs should not put into one basket. Variety is an efficient way that can active local economy. Related to the capacity, different people contains different kinds of leadership in many fields. To make full use of the leadership capacity of local residents and put them into the right position is a useful way to promote local economic development. To leverage the variety of local people’s capacity is also an efficient way for making more people engaging in the community building that let the development sustainable.

  13. Shuo Wang says:

    After I read this blog, I think the value of the requisite variety is essential to the managers of modern enterprises. It is very difficult for an enterprise to survive and grow gradually in a competitive market environment, every day the change of external environment will bring various challenges to the enterprise, and the enterprise needs to have enough strategies to deal with these problems. Since the future is unpredictable and managers cannot predict the difficulties they will face, the requisite variety provides enterprises with a variety of possible combinations to respond to problems immediately. Too little variety will pose a threat to existence, while too much variety will increase costs and reduce operating efficiency. In order to meet the needs of various types of consumers, enterprises should provide products that meet the needs of all types of consumers so as to increase their market share. Moreover, the demand of consumers changes all the time. If an enterprise fails to upgrade its products according to the demand of current consumers, it may lose its core market share and be crushed by other companies. In order to let more consumers know about the products of the enterprise, it can be promoted through a variety of channels. Different marketing plans will bring different effects, but too many marketing strategies will increase the company’s marketing expenses and bring burden. When the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis hit the global economy in 2008, if the export enterprise could diversify its market and export in many countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa, the impact on the enterprise would be much smaller, thus avoiding the risk of bankruptcy. The more option you have, the more flexible you will be, the more you will be able to adjust and operate at your best in any particular situation.

    • Peitong Li says:

      Balance is necessary for economic development and resource development, and the diversity in cybernetics is used in reality, such as the coin copper wire in the Ming and Qing Dynasties in China. For the convenience of production and use, the center of copper coins adopts square hollowing out. Designed with a circular design on the outside to facilitate manufacturing and use. We can also simply understand that the four sides of the square are the main body of cybernetics, and the innumerable tangents of the circle are the manifestations of various types. But for communities and businesses, product supply and market demand are still interacting with each other. We can produce products that meet the wishes of consumers, and we can also change consumer spending habits through our own products. For example, Apple’s operating system, they use research and development to produce a work habit different from the Android system, while applying the Apple Store, changing the consumer’s spending habits.

  14. Sijia Xue says:

    To keep a enterprise sustainable, this requires each department should take responsible to their own job. It is also one of the reasons that hierarchy exists. Reach to different departments, they have their own missions, for example, the production workshop should in charge of taking the raw material into finished goods while the marketing department will make the strategy to launch the products to the customers, however, as a CEO, he don’t need to reach to every details but to collect all these final informations from each department and correct deviations in time. It is also the same for the supervisors in these department. In another words, each leader should keep the mission in mind while the CEO must know the common aim, that is maximize the profits. There is no standard of how to lead people because personal character is ever-changing and different to conclude. For community economic development, to foster leadership is an essential part, because it encourage local people to use their own capacity to achieve self revitalizing. Leadership building plays an important role of managing local businesses by themselves and make them to be independent and sustainable.

    • Siyuan Li says:

      I agree with you about leadership is a necessary part that helps local people to make a decision and develop themselves. However, how to make it in the right position is quite difficult. For example, in some small town like Sydney Canada. Walmart has two huge stores that located in this small town. Yet there also have Nofills, Superstore, Sobeys and lots of tiny store. if this store has a good leader but how to fight these giant companies are quite thought-provoking.

    • shiyu Chen says:

      Running through the concept of “necessary diversity” in the process of sustainable development of enterprises is essential and positive. One of the core of business management is the management of people. Each person is a different individual, is the existence of individual differentiation, and often differentiation is the most critical. This means that in different departments need to adapt to the staff, staff work ability is strong, often with half the results. If every post has suitable employees, it will greatly improve the economic efficiency of the enterprise. Human differentiation is just enough to be considered “diversity”. This can be understood as the “diversity” to promote a virtuous cycle of enterprise development.

  15. Yuheng Li says:

    Enterprise performance is a key indicator of enterprise competition in the market. Diversity is the most basic characteristic of modern enterprises. Diversity is mainly reflected in human resources related attributes and institutional environment attributes. Gender diversity is positively related to firm performance, and the impact of gender diversity on performance decreases as teamwork time increases. There is a saying in China that it is not too tired for men and women to work together. Diverse peoples have different internalities such as different cultures, beliefs, values, etc., resulting in members of different nationalities also have different differences in language and lifestyle. If the organization has a multi-ethnic composition, it will lead to automatic classification of team members, and corporate performance will be negatively affected. The high degree of diversity in the institutional environment can bring opportunities for enterprises to create more profits and improve the competitiveness of enterprise products in the market. However, with the improvement of the diversity of the institutional environment, it is the environment of more complex enterprises, which will increase the difficulty and cost of enterprise management, affect the accuracy of relevant corporate decision-making, and bring certain resistance to improve the performance level of enterprises.

    • GUOREN ZHANG says:

      Gender and culture variety is very important, a good company can deal this kind of problems well and never be afraid of errors caused by gender and culture. These two aspects are considered by more leaders than before because of the international business. Governance and leadership can give us many concepts to balance the variety is enough or not, or even more than we need. Variety is the thing we need to think about the world.

  16. GUOREN ZHANG says:

    Governance and leadership are problematic concepts, leadership is a process an have no connection with leaders. As professor said, troublesome has disparate ideas and threshold concepts. I totally agree and we should know the potential problems when we are leaders during the process of leadership. After reading the blog, I understood how important the requisite variety is in the company or organization. An organization should have the ability to adjust the environment and be flexible to the changes inside or outside the team. The organization can be a family, a community, a company or even a country, so the variety seems to be more important. The variety can be economy, climate, laws, or population. For example, if a company wants to produce shoes and clothes, and sell their products around the world, they can choose Asian countries to produce their goods, because the price is lower, and the quality is higher. The company satisfy both the labors and the customers, and they can achieve the sustainable development and get more market share in the world. Variety and flexibility are the key concepts in the governance and leadership.

  17. shiyu Chen says:

    After studying the first chapter, we deeply understand the importance of the concept of “necessary diversity”, which has a great positive impact on the survival and production of human beings. First of all, it is well known that in human life, a variety of things are happening every day, different from industry to industry and field to field, in which every small event can be regarded as the basic unit of diversity. Since ancient times, it is because of these basic units that people have been able to summarize experience from practice and acquire theories, and then continue to guide practice. It’s a round trip. In this process, human beings develop step by step, evolve, and increasingly always want to civilization. Second, the need for “diversity” from a risk perspective. As human life and production become more and more advanced, it is essential to control risks. As an old Chinese saying goes, “prevent a small drop from becoming a small drop”. This requires us to make adequate preparations, make detailed plans, and consider the existing problems and the solutions and alternative plans after the problems. Doing so can greatly improve efficiency and reduce the risk of failure. Then “diversity” plays an important role, providing effective parameters to guide people’s practice. Therefore, no matter reviewing the past to summarize experience, or focusing on practice now, or even looking to the future for sustainable development, “diversity” is indispensable to provide the necessary basis. Of course, the use of “diversity” must also be selected and modified according to different circumstances.

    • pengfei zhuo says:

      I agree with Shiyu’s understanding of the importance of diversity. We often come into contact with the topic of diversity, and more are “species diversity” and “cultural diversity”. The extension of the environment is to protect the environment, protect animals, protect minorities, etc. That is to say: to protect different countries, different species, different skin colors, different ethnic groups, different genders, different sexual orientations and different pursuits of organisms. A diverse team is particularly suited to solving complex problems and making accurate predictions of complex things. It is a manifestation of group wisdom. We should also be able to appreciate the benefits of diversity. For example, in investing, such as buying stocks, there is a strategy to buy multiple stocks at the same time to hedge the risks. This is diversity.

  18. Jin Tiema says:

    As you mentioned, the key role of requisite variety in an organization is to provide the capacity to respond to environmental uncertainty, this point makes me immediately recall a stipulation of the Chinese agriculture policy about food production. This rule brings a subsidy to agricultural workers if they planted rice, wheat, potato, and other main staple foods, no matter the market demand and market price of staple foods are higher or lower. The only goal that the government initiates this policy is keeping food storages full can effectively prevent the society instabilities which are caused by food scarcity. Even though the Chinese economy is growing up nowadays, but its huge population base can create numerous problems if the food supply is cut off, for example, natural disaster and international food price change, such things all can be called environmental uncertainty, the government offers a subsidy to farmers can be identified as keeping sufficient requisite variety in this organization, no matter how much cost would spend, but it can sustain the prosperity and stability of the society. So I want to say maintain the balance of requisite variety depends on the benefits and risks of the decision making.

  19. Yifan Liu says:

    The importance of requisite variety is providing the core competitiveness to the target audience. it makes the audience always have their choices and always get good deals. Basically, the requisite variety means every problem has at least one response. The incorrect variety may have the model that not all problems have corresponding responses, sometimes a problem may not have the response. The disorder environment is not good for everyone in the community. Good order in the foundation of all things and the requisite variety is the main factor to support the order. Besides, the requisite variety depends on its context, including inside and outside factors, it bases on the big data analysis. it can not just make a stander and use it in all fields. Only after we know the commonness and the difference, we get recognization of the problem and then we can try to make a better response. In the business, the decision-maker should always keep an eye on the market trends, the variety will energize their ideas and products sustainability. With the continuous improvement of people’s living standards, the preference of consumers gradually to personalized development, more requirements of the diversity of the market, the requisite variety is necessary to be concerned.

  20. THUAN TRAN says:

    The concept of requisite variety is perfect for corporations in the past and present. However, corporations need to study and research deeply before they go for diversity in business. This is like a “double-edged sword” in businesses. Entrepreneurs have to know their position in the marketplace, they need to know about competitors and so on. In businesses, if entrepreneurs want to launch a new product/service to the market, they must do many analyses beforehand, such as studying on SWOT analysis to understand the markets, customers, and competitors, etc. So, requisite variety or diversity is essential to survive in the fierce market but that is not a prerequisite for corporations to do it. The corporations need to look at themselves and wonder do I have enough abilities and capabilities to expand or diversify product/service? According to Ashby, he mentioned, “If the systems that regulate do not have enough (or requisite) variety to match the complexity of the regulated, then regulation will fail”.

    • FANGZHOU SONG says:

      It is an interesting point of view. Before we do something, we should figure out what is the situation you located. This method is not only used in business activities, but also adopted in our daily life. There is an old saying in China, “know yourself and know your enemy, you can succeed all the time.”

  21. Shelley Robinson says:

    Two related things come to mind for me when I think about requisite variety in the context of my social enterprise.

    The first is the mix of goods, services and social services offered. In some ways this is like a for-profit business, in that if you offer too many goods and services you may not be able to keep up with all the moving parts related to diverse offerings, but if you offer too few goods or services, you may be under-utilizing organizational resources or limiting the number of prospective customers (or in our case, members).

    The second is the requisite variety of members that we serve. If you have too diverse a range of member needs/demands, you will burn out trying to keep everyone satisfied. But if your member pool is too homogenous it’s like a monoculture, at risk of being entirely wiped up by one major change in the ecosystem, be that the market or the need for specific social services.

    When we started selling high-speed internet in 2005, for instance, we only offered one speed: 6 Mbps DSL. By 2014 we offered six different speed plans up to 50 Mbps. And yet in 2016 more than half the membership (1500+) was still on the 6 Mbps plan. This made those members very vulnerable to being picked off by other ISPs offering special offers for those who wanted to upgrade their speed, and also made it hard for us to increase prices on this plan because we couldn’t risk losing so many members at once.

    Similarly, we have a number of members who don’t subscribe to our high speed services but instead donate regularly to support our free locally-hosted email services, basic web hosting, or because they like our range of digital literacy workshops. It’s tempting to think we could grow our range of digital literacy services and increase the pool of donating members. But when we have over-extended in this way, we fractured staff focus and diluted quality and member participation.

    Finally, while I believe requisite variety can help organizations grow and/or adapt, the context for many not-for-profit organizations makes this hard even if they have the ideal mix of requisite variety, as this is over-shadowed by the need for more capital and capacity.

  22. FANGZHOU SONG says:

    After reading your blog, I have connected more knowledge in which is relative to your topic. At first glance, I almost agree with your opinion. In recent, I have completely learn the course of critical thinking by myself. The basic meaning of critical thinking that is similar to what you have mentioned in class——rethink about people thinking. The topic of this blog is “Requisite Variety” which concept refers to cybernetics. I have considered the meaning of cybernetics——responding to what happened from feedback so that getting more control. You have said that we should find out some other concepts that are not relative to your theme. I thought it will expand our landscape and help us to figure out what is the connection between two things, such as between environment and organization. which means divergent thinking as well. Another point thing is that we should clearly comprehend the conception and definition of a stuff. Then, it is crucial to find out the boundary, limitation, suitable situation, permission, and mission about what you want to know. For instance, we ought to identify the boundaries of requisite variety, which includes maximum and minimum limitation. Therefore, we could know that we can use in which kind of situations.

  23. Michelle (XUE MI) says:

    Requisite variety is the precious wealth of human development. As the existence of requisite variety requires us to view problems from multi-perspective. This is also one of the abilities that a good leader need to have. In the process of community economic development, we should consider the requisite variety. Because sometimes many measures which aim to accelerate economic development also have brought a lot of harms in our daily life. For example, people exploit the natural resources to develop the economic. If we did not know the theory of requisite variety, over-exploitation will bring lots of problem in nowadays. Meanwhile, people are an important part of the community also has requisite variety. The diversity of human behavior helps people to reply to the environment change, the political changes, and the economic environment change. When people service for a company or a community, this character will help the company or the community realizes the diversity of things and help them developed satisfactorily. That is why the requisite variety is very important.

  24. pengfei zhuo says:

    From the blog and classroom content, I learned the necessary diversity (necessary is about the need). There are three main parts: the first is how much change the system needs to run; the second is how much diversity is needed in the governance system, and the third is how many diverse leaders you need. When it comes to diversity, it will refer to unity. The two are related to each other. All kinds of things and phenomena in the material world are different manifestations of matter and its forms of existence. They have different forms and attributes, showing different qualitative differences and manifesting as “more”. There is unity in the diversity of the material world. All the qualitatively different things, phenomena, processes, and systems in the world are interrelated. They are all endless self-movements of material, links, and manifestations of their development. Both have materiality and are expressed as “one.” The world is the unity of diversity. The relationship between diversity and unity, “multiple” and “one” is the relationship between personality and commonality.
    In cybernetics, “control” is defined as to “improve” the function or development of a controlled object or objects, information needs to be obtained and used, and selected based on such information, added to the object The role of the above is called control. It can be seen that the basis of control is information, all information is transmitted for control, and any control depends on information feedback. Information feedback is an extremely important concept of cybernetics. In the community economic development plan, it is necessary to use cybernetics flexibly and to achieve the diversity of things.

  25. WanKun Li says:

    Sorry, the first comment upload failed and was discovered in this time. I think the complexity and diversity of organizational structure are positively related to management difficulty. For example, the diversity of knowledge and skills can provide resources for innovation and learning at all levels of organizational management. If the specification system does not have enough varieties to match the regulated complexity, then the supervision will fail. The system will get out of control. If an organization is complex or complex, it may have many kinds; if it is simple, then the change is usually very low, the organization will Struggle with the current complex environment.

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