Activity system governance emphasises aims setting and regulating the system to achieve the aim.
Entity system governance emphasises the integration of all its activity systems into a coherent whole through self-referring coordination.
activity system governance
The aim of an activity system is formulated with consideration of the aims of the entity system from which it originates and at which it is directed, as well as the containing activity system. For example,the business aims of an organisation are derived from the mission of the organisation, client expectations and overall industry aims.
Regulation involves the feedforward of desired outcomes and performance (e.g. through planning), feedback from the actual performance (e.g. through monitoring and evaluation of outcomes based on performance criteria) and making adjustments to the performance (e.g. changing the operations), or to the aims or criteria (e.g. changing the strategy), or maintaining current performance.
entity system governance
To create coherence in an entity system requires coordinating governance structures (i.e. matrix structures). It also requires cascading of overarching aims (i.e. the mission) into all parts and levels of the entity system and self-referring decision-making by all parts of the system at all levels.
Self-referring decision-making implies that each activity system reflects its ethos and aims against those of the connecting entity systems, as well as its performance against its aim and ethos.
Uncoordinated governance structures lead to silos. The lack of self referring governance results in a bureaucracy (carrying on past performance) or a totalitarian system (enforced change).
relevance for the change manager
In an organisation, coordinating governance requires the setting up of governance structures (e.g. planning forums) for each (sub)activity system and their coordination, as well as learning based planning and performance management procedures within them. Organisational learning requires the recording of learning in strategic and operational knowledge repositories.