Angelov, Boyan. (2020, December 5). Communication 2.0: A new useful abstraction for enterprise architects (Version 1.0). Zenodo.

Note: this is the first of a series of posts on the Viable Systems Model and related concepts. The concept has been defined modified after (Espejo, R., Reyes, A. 2011).

It is safe to say that many, if not most, of modern organizations’ issues, stem in one way or another from communication deficiencies. Thus it becomes strange to observe that the way we have been defining communication has primarily been left unchanged for the last 100 years.

The telegraph discovery has resulted in a concrete definition, formalized in Shannon–Hartley theorem (the left part of the diagram). In that way, communication is defined as transferring information from one entity to another, subject to noise en route. While this model represents necessary foundation - information transfer, it omits two other key points: a) Did the receiver (Person B) understand the message as intended by the sender (Person A)? b) Do the downstream actions (work) fulfill the criteria specified by the sender? This model is complex and involves several additional channels on top of instructions: negotiation, reporting, and feedback. Having such a view on communication in mind, enterprise architects and management consultants can work on communication problems in a more holistic and context-aware fashion.