Autopoietic Cognitive Systems in Management Applications: A Critical Review

Autopoietic Cognitive Systems in Management Applications: A Critical Review

Dariusz Nowak-Nova (WSB University, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6713-5.ch005
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This chapter presents the study of available literature describing autopoietic systems using the systematic mapping study method. Using the knowledge domain visualization technique, the areas of application for management cognitive systems and described therein self-sufficient processes responsible for the success of an organisation were presented. In the study, the research domains considered from the perspective of autopoiesis, such as cognitive computing (CC), information system (IS), communications systems, and Social Systems, were isolated. The study demonstrated that systems implemented based on CC in connection with IS are recommended for management systems. Research confirmed that CC applications using cognitive systems in autopoietic cognitive systems solutions constitute a developing field. Finally, specific and practical applications of cognitive technologies capable of being translated into the economic success of enterprises were indicated.
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Recently, two mutually complementary empirical research methods related to the critical reviews of literature have been developed – Systematic Mapping Study (SMS) and Systematic Literature Review (SLR). Both allow a structured review of publications in a specific research area and determining the state of knowledge. SMS is focused on the quantitative assessment of the investigated issue and the generalization of a large volume of publications in order to create a visual representation indicating the differences in the frequency of the occurrence of research streams. SLR is responsible for the analysis and integration of knowledge contained in the literature on this subject, operating on a smaller, more detailed scope of publications in order to generate knowledge on a certain research topic (Kuhrmann, Fernández, & Daneva, 2017; Petersen, Feldt, Mujtaba, & Mattsson, 2008). The difference between both methods can be characterized in several aspects:

  • 1.

    Aim and Scope of the Study: The main purpose of SMS is to maintain a broad research perspective and to identify the main topics which may form the basis for detailed research. The aim of SLR is detailed research, analysis of its results and, in effect, establishing evidence which can initiate further detailed research.

  • 2.

    Research Questions: SMS is focused on general issues facilitating the identification of unexplored areas in a broad perspective. SLR is focused on detailed, narrow questions, analysing and aggregating results related to specific research questions.

  • 3.

    Search Process: SMS and SLR use automated search techniques. SMS questions are limited to overview issues, without introducing manual search techniques. SLR questions analyse the research found and described in detail as well as its context. Additional in-depth questions are possible for additional explanations.

  • 4.

    Outcome Assessment Process: SMS uses a wide range of questions while assessing the relevance and potential usefulness of results, the analysis is general, based on metainformation with a high level of generality. When assessing the results, SLR refers to the specific context of the ecosystem of the phenomenon under study; it takes into account the details and restrictive qualitative criteria based on categories with small portions.

  • 5.

    Data Analysis Process: SMS analyses bibliographic information of the publication and basic information about the described study. In addition to bibliographic data, SLR analyses also the data referring to the methods and results of each study, the context of application and the effects of the study.

  • 6.

    Conclusions: SMS visualizes the results using diagrams without going into their details. Additional description may include e.g. the methods applied, relations and connections between obtained research results. SLR focuses on full tabular synthesis of the results and qualitative assessment of the research sample. The presentation of results may give the impression of being too detailed and scrutinised, however these details are important in future applications of the results.

The aim of the chapter was to identify, in the field of social and information sciences, publications on systems with the characteristics of autopoieisis, and to isolate from them literature describing managerial applications of such systems, having additional features of Cognitive Systems. The first part of the chapter presents theoretical considerations about autopoiesis systems and their application in management systems in the context of cognitive systems. Then, literature research techniques, research questions and the search process are described. The systematic Mapping Study and Systematic Literture Review methods were presented. Using the Knowledge Domain Visualization technique, the areas of application of management cognitive systems and the self-sufficient processes responsible for the success of the organization described in them were presented. Finally, specific and practical applications of cognitive technologies that can translate into the economic success of enterprises were indicated.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Socio-Technical System (STS): System taking into account social and technical aspects, social interactions between its autonomous technical components and between social participants and the relevant technical components.

Cognitive Computing (CC): Technological platforms simulating of human thought processes in a computerized model that use technology and algorithms to automatically extract concepts and relationships intended to model perception processes using symbols from data.

Autopoietic Cognitive System (ACS): Systems that show intelligent behaviour by analysing the environment and taking autonomous actions to achieve specific goals; facilitate the interpretation of the importance of interaction by implementing the process of identifying and assessing factors affecting the mechanisms of self-organization of economic structures in a manner characteristic of CCS.

Communications System (CS): A set of single devices, methods, procedures, and people capable of interconnecting and cooperating to create an integrated whole capable of transmitting information between two stations, a transmitter and a receiver. The components of such a system serve a common purpose, are technically compatible, use common procedures, respond to controls and work together.

Information System (IS): Technical, formal, organizational subsystem STS designed to collect, process, store, processes, distribute or interprets information; having the ability to organize and maintain a network of relationships between continuous communication events. Technological system having a definitive boundary, users, processors, storage, inputs, outputs and the aforementioned communication networks.

Cognitive System (CCS): A set of algorithmic CC skills which can automate increasingly complex processes and simulate both human reasoning and involvement in implemented operations. Technology of automated SI that are capable of solving problems without requiring human assistance. Algorithmic system which not only collects information, but also assesses the way information is coordinated and used to solve problems while processing the data.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Tools that are a product of engineering and technical sciences, combining IT with telecommunications, integrating activities related to the production and use of telecommunications and IT devices and associated services, as well as enabling the collection, processing, and sharing of information using digital techniques and electronic communication tools.

Social System (SS): Any network of relationships organized through communication and interaction between individuals, groups, and organizations, constituting a coherent whole, separate from its surroundings.

Management System (MS): A general process in which the organisation generates a representation of its internal processes to forecast, monitor and control actions performed in a closed system.

Autopoietic System (AS): Any complex set of elements being mutually connected in such a way that the relations between the elements, symbolized by processes, produce mutual interactions directly affecting the entire set of these elements being combined and unified in this manner.

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