Analogous to a knot consisting of intertwined strings, an entity system consists of interacting activity systems, focalised around an ethos and self.
The activity systems of an entity system are typically referred to as its functions (e.g. the education, transport and social welfare functions of a society; the finance, production and marketing functions of an organisation; the circulatory, neural and motor functions of an organism).
To interlace strings into a knot requires information; different information for different knots. Likewise, the interaction of the activity systems within an entity system is derived from information. We refer to this information as ethos. The ethos is associated with the self of the entity system and determines how the activity systems are organised within the entity system. In the figure, the ethos is represented by a fading orange dot, the self by the darker orange point in the centre.
Knots are patterns. By removing, adding or changing the strings that comprise the knot, or by changing how they are intertwined, the knot is changed. Likewise, by removing, adding or changing activity systems that comprise an entity system, or by changing their interaction, the nature of the entity system changes. For example, by adding a new activity system to the life of a person (e.g. parenting), the life of the person is changed. Likewise, by reorganising the interaction and balance between a person’s work and parenting functions, (s)he changes.
An entity system is characterised by the pattern formed by its activity systems around an ethos.
There is information in a pattern which co-determines the unfolding of a system.
relevance for the change manager
Change management requires changing both the activities of a system and how they interact.