Problems in the development of planning activity

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Problems in the development of planning activity

Shchedrovitsky G.P. Problems in the development of planning activity // General Systems. Vol. XXII. 1977. (перевод работы Г.П. Щедровицкий Автоматизация проектирования и задачи развития проектировочной деятельности // Разработка и внедрение автоматизированных систем в проектировании (теория и методология). М., 1975)


Translation by official permission of «Avtomatizatsia proektirovania i zadachi razvitia proektirovochnoi deiatel’nosti» («Automation of Design and Problems of Development of Planning Activity»). In Razrabolka i vnedrenie avtomatizirovannykh sistem v proektirovanii (teoria i melodologia) (Development and Inculcation of Automated Systems in Design [Theory and Methodology]). Moscow: Stroyizdat, 1975. Translated by Anatol Rappoport.

G. P. Shchedrovitsky

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE. A task of translation is complicated by the absence of one-to-one correspondence between areas of denotative and connolative meanings associated with words and phrases in the one language and with their counterparts in the other. Such discrepancies are, of course, inherent in the semantic structures of the languages themselves. However, if the two language communities are imbedded in very different social milieus, the difficulty is considerably magnified, because the non-coincident areas of meanings reflect not only the inherent difference between the semantic structures established in the evolution of the languages but also the differences in the meanings (elated to the immediate social environments. For this reason, some explanations and comments are in order concerning the particular way I have translated some words and phrases in the present paper. These explanations are especially important in (his instance, because the terms and phrases reflect the key concepts of the paper.

One such key concept is embodied in the Russian word vnedrenie. The dictionaries I have consulted all give «inculcation» as the English equivalent carrying the principal meaning. On the other hand, the American College Dictionary defines «to inculcate» as «to impress by repeated statement or admonition; to teach persistently and earnestly.» The connotation of direct and forceful influence seemed to me too strong in the context of «inculcating automated systems,» a phrase that appears in the title of the compendium in which the present paper appears. I have therefore translated vnedrenie as «instillation» (to instill = to infuse steadily or by degrees – American College Dictionary). Unfortunately, there is a danger that some readers may mistake «instillation» for «installation» or assume that the former is a misprint. The theme of the compendium, however, reflected also in the present paper, is not just the installation of automated systems (in the sense of installing hardware). Rather the process under discussion does involve «infusion» in the sense of influencing orientations, modus operandi, and even thought processes attendant on the introduction of automation and of cybernetic technology.

There are problems also with the Russian words rukovodstvo and upravlenie, key concepts in the present paper. Related to one or the other or both are «leadership,» «command,» «governance,» «administration,» «management,» «control,» «guidance,» and many others. In English, each has its sphere of denotative meaning and a penumbra of connotative meanings. Many of these intersect with those of the Russian terms and with each other. None captures nearly the range of meanings of the one or the other in every context. Literally, rukovodstvo means «leadership;» but the latter has a charismatic flavor not contained in the former. «Guidance» suggests an educative function, also absent in rukovodstovo. On the other hand, «command» is appropriate only in military organizations. As for upravlenie, this is the way Russians usually translate «management.» The translation may be somewhat misleading inasmuch as «management» in the context of American corporate organization involves functions quite different from those involved in the upravlenie of Soviet enterprises, organizations, and institutions.

Whenever the context justified it, I have on occasions used «management» for upravlenie and «administration» for rukovodstvo. For the most part, however, I translated rukovodstvo as «direction» (to be understood as a transliteration of the German word Direktion) and upravlenie as «steering.» Although «administration» is the English equivalent of Direktion, I avoided «administration» in most contexts. Rukovodstvo has a stronger connotation of authority than «administration.» As the author explains, rukovodsrvo functions through administrative organs. I used «steering» for upravlenie in the hope that the word expresses the essential ingredient that distinguishes it from «direction,» namely a much greater reliance on feedback. In the language of cybernetics, «direction» corresponds to open loop control and «steering» to closed loop control.

In one or two places, the author mentions «social psychology.» The closest field in North America is industrial psychology, but I did not make the substitution, because I do not know whether industrial psychology (as we understand it) is a separate branch discipline in the U.S.S.R.

I must apologize to English-writing authors for re-translating titles of books and articles and direct citations of their work from the Russian translations, especially to Russ Ackoff, one of our own leading system theorists, who is repeatedly cited in this paper. Lack of labor power in editing this Yearbook often precludes the hunting down of original sources.

Although most of the bibliographical references are not readily available to our readers and, at any rate, have not been translated, they are nevertheless reproduced in full to give an idea of the prominence in Soviet scientific, scholarly, and philosophical circles of ideas with which students of general systems theory are deeply concerned. A few of the author’s notes were, however, omitted, being mostly citations from Soviet sources that amplify, exemplify, or support the author’s arguments. 1 believe the paper speaks for itself. – A. R.


Although the idea of mechanizing and automating various forms of human activity has a long history and is steeped in traditions both of philosophy and engineering, modern formulations of automation problems and espe­cially the practical exploitation of automation systems are a specific product of the situation that came about in the middle of our century. The formulation of the problems and the development of practice reflect all the strengths and weaknesses of this situation.

Among the factors that define the contemporary idea of automation, the following must certainly be named: (a) the unique role of electronic computers in the develop­ment of plans and programs of massive operations; (b) vast expenditures associated with the exploitation and improve­ment of electronic computers; (c) an orientation toward the instillation of existing types of computers in all spheres of activity and the concomitant necessity of justifying and compensating what has already been expended by dis­tributing the expenditures among the various spheres of social production; (d) a firm conviction (based on the entire experience of technological development) that equipping any activity with new technical means (however undeveloped or unreliable these may seem to be initially) will in the long run lead to significant improvement and development of this activity and to increased power of humanity; (e) the absence at this time of any socially identified generalized counter-indications or limitations of applied technology.

It is these aspects of our situation that have led (it seems to us) to the widespread conception that the problem of mechanization and automation is primarily, if not exclusively, that of utilizing electronic computers and of their instillation. All other problems, such as the fundamental directions and the efficiency of that work, its significance in various forms of human activity, the social consequences of automation, etc. are all stated in relation to the above fundamental process, which is generally conceived to be the essence of automation.

Some authors insist that the use of computers has enabled man to solve problems that could not be solved before; others emphasize humanitarian ideals: man is freed from routine mechanized operations[1]; still others regard the speed of electronic computers and their memory capacity of prime importance[2]; some concentrate on the universal character of electronic computers as tools of activity.

All these are important and significant features of computers and of consequences of their applications; but they can be hardly regarded as the characteristics and indices of the entire process of automation. They are too external and incidental to this process. A more detailed analysis shows that a holistic conception of automation is lacking, one that includes all the different aspects of automation and relates them to each other.

To be sure, along with the ideological justification of work in creating and instilling automalion, elements of a theoretical conception of mechanization and automation in general and of mental activity in particular have been formulated.[3] However, these have not yet been integrated into something unified and practical, something influenc­ing the ideology and consciousness of workers and investigators in this field.[4] In the overwhelming majority of cases, mechanization and automation are treated as the introduction of technical devices into already existing functioning units of human activity or parts of it, where one speaks of «man-machine systems» [8, 9, 11], of a «dialogue between man and machine,» and of their «sym­biosis» [22, 23, 8]. Finally, one views mechanization and automation as a realization of the same initial unit of activity[5] by means of an automated method. In this interpretation, problems of mechanization and automation are easily turned into those of organizing «man-machine systems,» those of distributing functions among man and machine, of their mutual adaptation, etc. These problems are then incorporated into engineering and social psychol­ogy.

This dual reduction on which all of these conceptions are based, namely the reduction of socio-technical prob­lems of organizing and designing man-machine systems to problems of engineering and social psychology and the reduction of the problem of describing different systems of automated and non-automated activity to those of describing man-machine systems, have been shown to be inadequate [10-12, 20, 24-30]. These reductions touch only on the morphology of action systems. In what follows, we will examine theoretical socio-technical and ideological consequences of these problems.

Our main inference will be that in the sphere of human activity it is impossible to simply substitute mechanized and automated elements for corresponding non-mechanized and non-automated ones. Technical de­vices introduced into already existing and functioning systems of action always generate fundamental changes and restructuring these systems and create around them new activities which «assimilate» the work of technical devices and, moreover, generate new forms of activity associated with the exploitation of these technical devices and with the problems of providing for their functioning. In this way, mechanization and automation, even on restricted and local levels, lead to changes and restructur­ing of the entire range of activity. They restructure the division of labor and produce new cooperating professions and new institutions. This means that work on automation appears as a most complex socio-technical activity, broader and stronger in its social consequences than is usually realized by the people engaged in it. Their planning and their socio-technical conceptions clearly do not correspond to the real meaning of the matter. They write about introducing electronic computers; but actually they change and transform the entire system of social activity and its socio-technical structure.

The above-mentioned changes and transformations occur necessarily and regardless of how the workers on automation realize and fixate its goals, its significance, and its consequences. If, however, these workers conceive such changes only as a replacement of fragments or sub-systems of activity performed without the aid of computers by others (equally narrow, performed with the aid of computers) and if they build their programs of automation accordingly, the consequence will inevitably be that the changes in the system of social action generated by their enterprise will be totally unexpected for them. They will not be able to anticipate and to control the appearance and the course of these changes. The consequences of our own social activity will appear to us as spontaneous events independent of our goals, plans, or programs.[6]

Such a relation between the goals and tasks of human activity on the one hand and its real consequences on the other is observed quite frequently. The reason (aside from social conditions) is that man’s perceptions of his actions, their possible goals and consequences, often does not correspond to what actually happens in the process of the activity. Hence the formulation of goals and tasks is frequently too narrow, too direct, and too «gain-oriented,» ignoring what is actually essential for the activity in the total social systems and their development. We repeat that this happens frequently. This means, however, that in ail these cases human actions do not satisfy the criteria and demands that are presently ad­vanced with regard to socio-technical activity. The latter should be conducted with a view of making its real consequences maximally approximate to the goals formu­lated in advance.[7]

Thus, if we wish to make the work on mechanization and automation satisfactory with regard to socio-technical action, we must first of all formulate the goals, the problems, and the orientation of that work. In this formulation, we must take into account the real results or consequences of the work itself, on the one hand; on the other, the broader social orientations and values which we associate with mechanization and automation and which we wish to realize with their aid.

In our opinion, only one orientation satisfies both criteria. This is the orientation directed toward such changes and reorganization of action systems that lead to continuous improvement, optimization, and development of these very systems. Here mechanization and automation lose their independent, self-propelling character and be­come only particular (although admittedly very important) means of developing activity. Mechanization and automa­tion must, therefore, be subordinated to this more general problem or, at any rate, must be coordinated with it.

The question naturally arises, what should be the orientation regarding mechanization and automation after they have been incorporated into the context of the broader problem. The question is, of course, directed at the heart of the matter. However, this direct address is possible only when we already know what improvement and development of planning consists of (if it is to insure the development of total social activity) and what particu­lar socio-technical changes and reorganization in existing systems of planning must be realized in order to insure this development; and how to structure actions directed toward these changes.

However, the complexity of the present situation – the actual situation, not the situations long since outlived (about which «realists» of all shades like to speak as if they were the realities of our life)[8] – is the very circum­stance that we do not know in sufficient detail what we could call «‘improved» or «developed» states of planning. Nor do we know the fundamental structural characteristics of the socio-technical actions that could direct the naturally generated changes in planning toward those ideal states.

Thus, If the tasks of incorporating work on mechani­zation and automation into the general goal of improving and developing planning are taken seriously, the first essential problem becomes that of discussing just these questions: What are the «improved» and «developed» states of planning, and how can we attain them? Until we get at least preliminary working answers to these ques­tions, we cannot start a business-like discussion of the problems that directly interest us, namely, the problems of rational realization of automation.

Some order must be introduced into the discussion of the various aspects of this new set of problems. In particular, one could begin by analyzing the natural-historical changes of planning itself, then pass to the characteristics of those states of planning which we could, for various reasons, regard as ideal, turning finally to the analysis of the structure of socio-technical actions. In principle, if all these phases of investigation were regarded as independent of each other, the order in which the analysis is undertaken should be immaterial. One need not, however, be endowed with exceptional perception to realize that all the above-mentioned aspects, related to the improvement and development of planning, are most tightly interlaced. There are no purely «natural» changes of planning activity independent of our form of organization and of its transformations. Nor can we speak of «improving» or «developing» any forms of planning without taking into account the historical environment and the nature of socio-technical actions that we must reproduce in developing this activity. Finally, there can be no social actions that would not be reflected in the natural processes of changes in planning and in the features of the ideal states that we have singled out. Thus, all this is an integrated system of activity, which should be analyzed systematically.

The principles of system-structural analysis require that we start not with sub-systems and their elements but, on the contrary, with the systems that encompass them, those that give the object in question its holistic character. This means, in turn, that we must first decide which of the above mentioned programs posits the encompassing sys­tem.

Strange as it may seem, the answer to this question depends on the goals that we posit of our own activity and on the strategy we choose in pursuing them. There are two polar types of strategy: (1) adaptation to the environment, whereby we include ourselves in its natural processes; (2) transformation of the environment in accordance with our own goals and problems. All other strategies are inter­mediate and consist of combinations of elements of those polar types.

The same is true of our attitude toward planning. Like any natural event, planning arises and develops aside from the will of individuals. Here it is a «natural force» that governs everything in its range, including the people who work at planning, to which people must submit and adapt. For a person who sees planning in this light, all changes in it appear as results of a natural process, independent of the actions of people and determined either by internal factors of planning itself or by the external conditions.

Very frequently, however, it Seems insufficient for a person (especially if he is responsible for the fate of organizations and collectives) to just adapt himself to such a spontaneous process of development and change. In choosing trajectories of behavior advantageous to himself, he is obliged to change and transform existing systems of planning, striving to make them develop in accordance with his needs. Such a person pictures systems of planning in a different way, namely, as objects of сопscious goal-directed activity, and he sees the change and develop­ment as products of transformations effected by himself, In this approach, systems of planning resemble artifacts that are designed and produced.

In the first case, the super-system is the system of naturally developing planning activity, while man and his actions are only an insignificant element of that system. In the second case, the super-system is human activity, changing and transforming planning, while the natural changes occurring in the systems of planning are a sub-system included in the former.

From a purely theoretical point of view, both of the above mentioned systemic concepts of planning are pos­sible. However, as a matter of praxis, we have already chosen a position, namely, the orientation toward con­scious transformation and development of planning activ­ity. But in doing so, we have automatically answered the question about what the super-system is: it can be only the system of our socio-technical action encompassing the natural development of planning. For this reason, we must begin the discussion of the entire set of questions with an analysis of the content and structure of possible socio-technical actions directed toward improving and develop­ing planning activity.


The effectiveness of any action, especially a socio-technical one, depends on how precisely the objective structure of the situation in which the action takes place is represented and on the correspondence between what we do in the pursuit of our goals and what can occur in that situation. Often there is no such correspondence, in which case, as a rule, we can achieve our goals only partially, at the same time getting a mass of side effects hindering further activity.

Thus both the orientation toward improving and developing some activity – planning in particular – and the evaluation of means and undertakings with whose aid improvement and development can be achieved necessi­tates first of all an analysis of the situation in which this very orientation is realized. The analysis must involve both the objective social components of the situation and the subjective aims of the various groups of actors included in it.

One of the most important problems of this analysis is that of clarifying the degree to which the changes of activity that we need can be the results of natural processes occurring in the activity and the degree to which conscious goal-directed intervention is required. Actually, the connection between these two aspects is the most important feature of what we call the activity situation.

Therefore, if we focus on the improvement and development of some systems of activity, we must first determine for each such system the relation between the «natural» and the «artificial.»

There is a widespread notion that «progress» in some forms of activity is an immanent social process, which proceeds independent of our orientations, goals, or ac­tions, and that people and organizations can only acceler­ate or retard this process.

In practice, «progress» in some activity is viewed in this approach as some quantitative growth of the elements of the activity; for instance, an accumulation of knowledge or of machines, an increase in the numbers of inventors or scientists. The history of the past three or four centuries has actually manifested such growth of engineering and scientific forms of activity, revealing it as an indisputable fact of modern life.

However, the establishment of this fact has yet in no way characterized the activity situation and contributes nothing to justify our orientation toward improvement and development of particular systems or forms of activity. After all, whatever the historical changes of activity may be, we cannot, having established them, declare that a particular historical movement is the goal and the task of our own conscious activity. At any rate, if we wish to do so, we must do a thorough analysis, describing the growth processes in different systems and forms of activity involved in knowledge and conceptions, revealing their conditions, components, and mechanisms, singling out those that we can or cannot influence, examining side effects of our own actions, etc. Only then can we posit the task, namely, that of doing what history has been doing.

The peculiarities of human actions essentially deter­mine the means required in order to reconstruct rationally these actions and notions of historical processes. The notions of development and «progress» applied to social forms are notions created in order to assure active and goal-directed activity. Their content must differ signifi­cantly from the notion of growth of the elements of some whole that is suggested by common sense, whereby we identify changes occurring naturally in the environment.

The actual content of the notions of improvement, development, and «progress,» the content associated with our activist position and its presuppositions, can be represented as follows. The first and necessary logical condition for the formation of this content is that of singling out man as an investigator and actor in the corresponding systems of activity (productive, technical, scientific). This leads (again, in the logical context) to a representation of these systems as objects of human activity, juxtaposed to man himself.[9]

The second necessary condition is that of represent­ing the several differently directed processes of total social activity and their chaotic changes and transformations, frequently contradicting each other, in the form of a directed change (an increase or decrease) in specific characteristics, which must be quantitatively measurable. Only when one or more such representations are created, can one speak of «progress» in some particular system of activity, always in terms of strictly defined indices, those that had been singled out and fixated in the corresponding «linear» concept of social change.

Progress understood in these terms (this notion corresponds exactly to its historical origin and its modern scientific applications [35, 36, 38, 39]) cannot be re­garded as a natural or immanent process, generated by natural social change. It is a projection of these natural changes upon the axis of a specific index, singled out as a «line,» representing an increase or a decrease of a numerically measured characteristic.

Essentially, it is this line that defines progress and represents it. It is this notion that a person deals with when he speaks of «progress» in particular social phenom­ena. And it is on this line of projection, taken as a model, that he can posit different practical problems of scientific or engineering design.

There remains the reality and complexity of activity itself, structured in a variety of socio-productive systems. There remains the functioning, the changes, and the interactions of all these systems, a great number of processes distinguished from «progress,» which is repre­sented as a linear scheme: the organisations, the material conditions, the goals of these processes, etc. Clearly, these do not fit into the scheme of a linear process [35, 40, 41]. They cannot be disregarded, however, since they are the essence of the natural life and functioning of the system examined. Hence, if we want to connect our notions of all these processes with our notions of progress, we must utilize more complex schemes of categorization.

A categorical scheme of process mechanisms can serve as a scheme of this sort. On its basis we can represent progress in terms of a fundamental (or «nuclear») process. It is immaterial whether this process actually occurs or is only planned or conceived by us. All the other systems of activity together with the processes associated with them, examined in relation to this fundamental process, will be interpreted as «mechanisms» that assure the flow of this process, be it fast or slow, depending on conditions.

We repeat, however, that this treatment of systems of activity and their associated processes is a product of our activist orientation toward improvement and development of these systems of activity. As such, it is only one of several possible ones. If we change our point of view and examine the systems of activity unrelated to our practical problem of improving and developing them, then the very development or «progress» of these activities, now per­ceived objectively, will appear alongside many other processes and by no means as fundamental or nuclear.

Moreover, if we take such an approach, it becomes clear that many processes in the activity, those that determine the normal functioning, stability, and viability of its systems, have nothing to do with development (or «progress»). They are juxtaposed to it, are in conflict with it, and destroyed by it, and, in turn, destroy it.

Therefore, even if we can regard the functioning of systems of activity as a mechanism of their development (or «progress»), we can do this only in a very broad sense, bearing in mind that development (or «progress») of an activity has been singled out by us as an object of direct interest, is juxtaposed to systems of activity, and can be treated as something that goes through all the other processes and is realized through these. However, some of these processes will promote and reinforce development, while others will weaken and hinder it.

The above features of the content of the concept of development and progress of activity will be incomplete if we do not take into account the circumstance that the linear notion of the «flow» of development, to the extent that it has formed, becomes a basis for advancing conscious goals of activity, whether practical, engineering, scientific, or managerial. In this case, the increase of particular indices, fixated in the linear representation of the process or (if the model is extrapolated into the future) the achievement of particular «states» on the trajectory of development, become the goal of our activity, the goal of social enterprises, and, under certain conditions, can become a stable value of the whole society.

Here it is important to note that in bourgeois society, U.S.A., in particular, the «development of particular systems or spheres of activity» has not until recently been a goal or a task of particular social organizations, least of all a fixated value of particular social classes or of the society as a whole. The development of particular systems or forms of activity has been a by-product of the natural economic functioning of that society, based on pursuit of gain and on the necessity of reducing the costs of mass production. As for the problem of scientific-technological development of society and scientific-technological revolu­tions, it has been discussed by theoreticians in connection with more general problems of social conflicts, the development of mankind, cultural changes, etc. Only in the U.S.S.R. can the idea of continuous improvement and development of systems and spheres of activity be formu­lated as a concept and objectivized, formulated as goals and tasks of institutions, organizations, and individuals.[10]

For this reason, only in our country have scientists faced the problem of defining in general terms what improvement, development, and «progress» of different systems and forms of activity mean; what are their indices; what sort of features and models serve to describe them, etc. [43-54].

No doubt, analysis carried out in the past twenty years has clarified the formulation of the problem and has yielded many new and interesting results. However, because of the complexity of the problem, the concepts of development and «progress» are still examined on the most abstract level. Indices of progress in various systems and forms of activity have not been singled out or hierarchized. Actually, any sort of changes in production, engineering, science, leadership, and management can be advanced as features of development and «progress.» This means, however, that we cannot pose goals and tasks of achieving specific states given and described in advance, according to which particular soсio-technical activities could be organized. Thus, we are obliged to talk about accelerating particular processes, which presumably take place within activity and are hindered by obstacles; so that these obstacles must be removed in order to facilitate the process in question.

Nevertheless, even if the necessary notions of de­velopment and «progress» were formulated and developed, this would still not be sufficient for designing and organizing enterprises directed toward deliberate improve­ment and development of particular forms of activity. One cannot act upon the projection of processes in activity that is represented as a trajectory of change. The concepts of development and «progress» of activity in the form of a linear or a linear-hierarchized model define only the goals of our action, not an object or means. One can act only on real systems by organizing and restructuring them or by supplementing them with new systems. To do this, one must know how the indices of development and «prog­ress» are connected to the real structure and organization of social systems of activity, how these indices depend on real social systems and how they will change as the latter change. Only when we have such a body of knowledge can we decide what actions should be realized and what enterprises carried out in order to achieve particular indices of progress or to accelerate the growth of particular features of activity.

In consequence, effective decisions directed toward improvement and development of activity necessitate special researches on fundamental systems of activity and on processes that constitute them, first, in the context of their relation to the singled out lines and directions of development; second, in the context of possible influence by changes in these processes upon changes in the indices; third, in the context of the possibility of changing them without impairing other important processes in activity; finally, in the context of the possibility of influencing the processes.

Without such knowledge, those who discuss the theme of development (or «progress») of activity quite naturally and understandably substitute another theme for it. They call attention to systems of activity already existing in society – those of production, engineering, scientific, and administrative – and suppose that all the processes taking place in these activities influence the development of these systems of activity. They take it for granted that the normal realization of all these processes enhances (rather than hinders) the development and progress of activity. Then, starting from the well known «sores» of these systems, they begin to discuss the question of how the existing functioning can be intensified or optimized by creating better conditions for it or by removing particular identified obstacles. As for the ques­tion of just how each of these processes is connected with development, how changes in development will instigate supposed changes in the functioning of a given system, how the functioning effects the development, etc., these matters are simply not discussed. The reason, we repeat, is the absence of concepts of development and progress of activity. No less important is the absence of theoretico-pragmatic and socio-technical knowledge of different systems and spheres of activity (production, technology, invention, science, planning, etc.) and their inter-relations in the framework of the entire social matrix.

Here the problem bifurcates in two different ap­proaches, the theоretico-methodоlogical and the profes­sional-pragmatic. In the former, the emphasis is on the insufficiency of theoretical knowledge required for plan­ning and for realizing a corresponding system of socio-technical action. It is proposed to develop a broad cycle of researches to fill this gap. The nature and direction of these researches depend, in the first instance, on a general strategy of organizing activity,[11] next, on the nature of the projected socio-technical actions. For instance, if the problem is that of a single re-organization of some socio-productive system, this will require investigations different from those related to the problem of continuous exercise of control over that same socio-productive system.

In the latter (professional-pragmatic) approach, the point of departure is systems of activity already known and the processes induced by them, the manifest diffi­culties and countervailing forces. The focus is on optimiz­ing these systems and processes; accordingly, means and methods of optimizing actions are projected.

An obvious defect of the theoretico-methodological approach is that it requires a large volume of special scientific investigations which take us far afield from solving immediate practical problems of improving ac­tivity. Quite frequently, therefore, it cannot be realized. The professional-practical approach, on the contrary, has the advantage of being realistic (since it is guided by criteria of practical realization). It does not presuppose specifically scientific investigations and is satisfied by direct practical-methodical analysis. However, the profes­sional-pragmatic approach always inadvertently subverts the socio-technical problem posed above: instead of striving for development or «progress» of activity, it is oriented toward optimizing the functioning of already existing systems.[12] This is the obverse side of all its advantages.

In the light of the above, a new important many-sided problem arises. In the theoretical context, this problem can be formulated as that of inter-relations between functioning and development in different systems of activity; in the practical context, as questions concerning rationality or effectiveness of differentiating or, on the contrary, uniting the problems related to optimizing the functioning and the problems related to the development of particular systems of activity and their organization.

In discussing this question, we are confronted, among other things, with the difficulty of coordinating the notions about «imbedded» and «autonomous» existence of systems. The point is that every sufficiently developed system of activity (together with the institution that has shaped it, if such exists) appears, on the one hand, as an independent «organism» whose functioning and develop­ment is, in the first instance, subordinated to the principle of maintaining and preserving itself (thus making all the systems in the environment appear as conditions of its existence); on the other hand, each system of activity, no matter how developed (as long as it is not turned into the entire universe of activity), appears only as a component or «organ» of total social activity and hence must be subordinated in its function and development to the principles governing the life of the whole; hence, it must be regarded as an element of the whole, which, even if it is endowed with a life of its own, lives only on the level of morphological processes and structures.

This implies, in particular, that at least two groups of goals must be ascribed to a system of this sort: (1) its «own» goals, determined by the autonomous existence of the system and the necessity to preserve and maintain itself, and (2) «extraneous» goals, determined by the functioning of super-systems and the necessity to preserve and maintain the latter (even at the cost of suppressing or partially destroying the given organ).

Often, in analyzing the functioning and possible directions of reorganizing different socio-productive sys­tems, it is assumed that their «own» and «extraneous» goals coincide, that particular systems of activity and the socio-productive systems that structure them do not and cannot have their «own» goals different from those put to them by governing organs, which are guided by general problems of functioning and development of super-systems. This notion does not correspond to the actual state of affairs and can only lead to errors.

Whatever goals may be prescribed to the system-organism by the encompassing super-system, and whatever may have been the goals that instigated its creation, the system-organism always has a secondary goal – to preserve itself and its functioning; and frequently this second goal becomes the first, which determines if not everything, at any rate much in the behavior and functioning of the system. It would be erroneous to think that this strategy of living sub-systems is generally irrational or damaging for the whole. The creation of any system is costly and time-consuming, and it would be in most cases wasteful and unjustified to sacrifice the existence of sub-systems in order to achieve some over-all goals. Therefore, there can be a distinction between the goals of the sub-system and those of the super-system. If the governing organs fail to take this into account, they lose the opportunity of governing effectively, since they cannot adequately ana­lyze and understand the actual mechanisms governing the functioning of system activity and of the socio-productive systems that structure these mechanisms.

Conversely, understanding the distinctions between «own» and «extraneous» goals of systems, and taking these distinctions into account, provide an opportunity of organizing effective governance of productive, scientific, and planning institutions. However, this necessitates a special coordination and harmonization of the different goals present and acting in social systems on various levels of their functioning.

An important problem in organizing socio-productive systems becomes that of creating conditions under which «extraneous» goals can be introduced «inside» the par­ticular system of activity in a way that insures the achievement of goals posed by governing bodies in accordance with the needs of the super-system, while the particular systems achieve their «own» goals. Here the most important aspect is the organization of systems of activity and of the socio-productive systems that structure them, whereby this organization is to be determined at the outset by the establishment of definite relations between the differentiated «own» and «extraneous» goals.[13]

In this connection, one can make a quite general assertion, that an effective solution of the complex of problems related to the development of different systems and spheres of activity necessitates, among other things – in the theoretical approach, a thorough analysis of the relations between the general goals of development and «progress» in the universe of activity (which goals appear to the particular systems as «extraneous» goals), and their «own» goals, determined by the necessity to preserve and maintain their current structure and functioning; in the practical approach, a normative establishment of relations, so that the «extraneous» goals will take into account the preservations and maintenance of particular systems, while the achievement of «own» goals will insure the achieve­ment of the general goals in the totality of activity.

In this orientation (wherein «own» and «extraneous» goals are integrated), a sufficiently developed system of activity, together with its structuring socio-productive system, becomes a multiple-goal organization[14] in which the «own» goals of the separate system-organs become the goals of the whole organism, while the goals of the organism are distributed among the particular sub-system and become their specific goals, inseparably bound to their «own» goals of preservation and maintenance.

Consequently, every sufficiently developed system of activity and every socio-productive system acquires several different lines of development, corresponding to the various goals of the system. All these lines develop in parallel, sometimes independently of each other, but more often depending on each other, whereby they mutually safeguard and support each other. And, although at times (for instance, during a war or a crash program of construction) the entire functioning and development even of such large systems as whole countries may be subordi­nated to a single fundamental goal, such conditions are exceptional and cannot safeguard a normal balanced development of a complex system of activity.

If we now wish to apply this finding to a plan of our organizational activity, we must say that the complexity of modern systems of activity, their multiple-goal character, and the variety of the processes of functioning and development occurring in them always necessitate (what­ever problems may determine our actions) the kind of organization where systems of activity are partitioned into several relatively autonomous and independently acting sub-system-organisms. It is of the sub-systems (with their «own» goals and specific functioning possibilities) that the more complex systems and agglomerates are composed. Moreover, the sub-systems are organized into «horizontal» series of coordination and into «vertical» series of inclusion (like Chinese boxes) and subordination; so that a maximal agreement between their «own» goals and those of the encompassing super-system is realized.

Another consequence of this conception of systems of activity and of the processes occurring in them has to do with the organization of systems of direction and steering. Although any one experienced in administration is probably well aware of the difference between direction and steering, this difference is by no means always identified and taken into account in theoretical formula­tions and in practical organization work. Correct organiza­tion of activity and effective control of its development, however, are possible only if the activities of direction and of steering are clearly distinguished and separated.[15]

Directions can be realized only in the framework of administrative structures. In its pure form, direction is possible only when (and only within those limits) subordi­nated systems have no autonomous functioning and do not pose independent goals and problems, when they com­pletely accept the goals and tasks of the directing bodies. Direction presupposes that the entire directed system appears as a complex tool for achieving goals posed by the directing authority. Administrative structures are created in accordance with this principle, and they provide for direct transmission of goals and tasks from the directing authority to those who are guided by it.

Steering, on the other hand, is realized in those cases (and in those limits) when the subordinate systems possess their own functioning (and even their own development) and the controlling body is not directly connected to them via administrative links. The objects under control always have their own «natural» functioning, their own «internal» goals, and cannot forego these without destroying them­selves. Thus, the system under control is always relatively independent of the controlling system. The controlling system must achieve its goals relative to the system controlled, in spite of the letter’s independence and taking this independence into account.

The absence of clear-cut methodological and theoretical cognizance of differences between direction and steering leads to much confusion adversely affecting the practical organization of management. Often direction spreads to areas where it can no longer function, while methods of control that could be effective under similar circumstances and could quickly lead to the posed goals are not worked out. Correspondingly, organizational struc­tures of direction are created in areas where steering structures are required, resulting in superfluous bureau­cracy and a retardation of natural and progressive processes of development.

One of the most important consequences (at least for praxis) of this confusion between steering and direction is that, in posing problems of optimization, distinctions are not made between (1) functioning processes of socio-productive systems, which are inseparably combined with the associated leadership, and (2) the actions of steering systems, in particular, managerial decisions. Problems of optimization and development can and should be posed in relation to both of these, but their solutions are, in principle, different. In particular, this is relevant to the presently popular framework of «ends and means.»

The «ends and means» framework is effective and necessary only in the analysis of the organization of steering actions. It cannot be utilized in the analysis of functioning systems of activity, their functions, the socio-productive systems that shape them, or decisions related to their organization or re-organization. The latter type of analysis requires frameworks and models other than «ends and means.»

What has been said should not be construed to mean that the «ends and means» framework is in itself ineffec­tive and should not be used. It is a very important and useful tool in managing various types of systems.

Analysis in the ends-means framework makes it possible to optimize the directing actions or managerial actions, but it does not guarantee the efficiency of the steering function as it relates to the system steered, because it does not yield a manifestly expressed notion about the structure and the functioning of this system.

For this reason, a really effective solution of the entire complex of problems related to the development of systems of activity and of socio-productive systems that structure them requires, on the one hand, a clear distinc­tion between measures directed at optimizing managerial activity and measures directed at optimizing the structures and functioning of socio-productive systems of various levels and scales, and, on the other hand, a correct integration of both.

Essentially, all systems of activity and the socio-productive systems that structure them are heterogeneous and, as it were, multi-leveled formations. Their nucleus is a mechanically organized functioning of activity. Next comes a level of directive guidance, which secures and reinforces this functioning; further, a level of socio-technical actions, generated by the internal system of control. And it is just this sort of heterogeneous and multi-leveled systems that must be, in the first instance, optimized and, in the second, developed with the aid of special socio-technical actions. The question arises, what can such socio-technical actions be.

The answer is determined, on the one hand, by our goals and tasks and, on the other hand, by the nature of the object at which the actions are directed. The first, however, is already essentially determined: that is the optimization of functioning and development, related in a way to reinforce each other. Therefore, to determine the type of socio-technical action, we need also a general categorization of the object.

The circumstance that we are dealing with systems of activity as objects creates certain difficulties. Such an object can be either «natural» or «artificial.» In the light of the above considerations, however, the problem is already essentially solved. Regardless of how complex the systems may be at which we direct socio-technical actions, and regardless of how many different levels of activity they embody, they will in all cases appear in relation to socio-technical action if not as autonomous organisms, possessing their own natural processes (functioning and historical changes), at any rate as objects with a powerful natural component, independent of socio-technical action. This component will most probably include both functioning and development.

It follows that socio-technical action, realized in relation to these systems, cannot be a simple transforma­tion (or a simple reorganisation). Nor can it be a simple product or device, nor a simple case of design followed by a realization of the design (like the sort of planning we realize with regard to technical systems). We are dealing here with a much more complex sort of socio-technicai action – managing the development of activity.

Such management (what is called «scientific-technical policy») is the modern form of realizing socio-technical actions. It is called upon to integrate and coordinate our actions in re-organizing and deploying systems of activity together with the natural processes occurring in them, including their functioning and their historical changes.

Hence, steering is unavoidably characterized by miltiple goals and is in its internal structure a very complex activity, which includes several relatively independent components.

Steering must foresee possible natural changes of the system being steered and must predict its future states. It therefore includes prognosis [67-72].

Steering must take into account all essential conse­quences of the influences that we exert on the system. It must remove destructive influences that artificial and natural processes exert on each other; unite the natural and artificial transformations into a single development plan, taking into account the flow of time. It therefore includes planning [16,73-76].

Steering must make planned development an organic aspect in the functioning of the system of activity and organize these systems specifically with this aim in mind. Therefore, steering includes organization and subordinates it to its specific goals in which functioning and develop­ment are integrated [15, 16, 77-80].

It follows, in particular, that steering systems assimi­late and subordinate technological production systems (including scientific and planning systems), which are shaped and function, in one manner, within steering systems and, in another, outside them.

Steering must subordinate the processes of natural change in the systems steered to its specific goals and make them the conditions and means of achieving these goals. Whenever steering has to do with human systems that themselves claim steering roles, steering turns into politics [81].

Steering must integrate planning with realization of projects. This is achieved via further development and improvement of planning, which now takes into account the stages of instillation and utilization [12, 14].

In all stages of its development, steering includes scientific investigations, which in that context acquire a different character and content. Steering develops science, creating new fields and new methods of research.

In this way, developing and taking shape as socio-technical action and activity, steering еnters the dual system of connections with planning. On the one hand, steering, as has been noted, includes planning as a component part and so makes possible the application of planning to systems of activity, whereby a characteristic transformation of planning takes place, its component of activity being incorporated in steering. On the other hand, steering captures and encompasses, as it were, systems of planning activity, but in doing so does not modify or assimilate them, leaving them relatively autonomous and independent. Moreover, steering begins to perform service functions relative to systems of planning activity, provid­ing for optimization of their functioning and their further development. Thereby, steering, in accordance with its specific goals and tasks, adapts itself, as it were, to the natural processes of functioning and development in planning, conforms to them, and only contributes correc­tives based on the interests of the entire totality of activity. In this case, we cannot say that planning depends on steering; rather steering, remaining a particular type of activity, depends on planning both in its goals and tasks and in its direct manifestations, even though steering «turns» planning in one or another direction. It would probably be most accurate to say that steering and planning enter into a complex interaction and interdepend­ence, whereby steering, in realizing its specificity, in the first instance «reflects» and «recognizes» planning in its «natural» and autonomous processes, and only then acts upon planning, but necessarily in accordance with this reflection and cognition.


Our conclusions shed a new light upon the situation in which we presently find ourselves and in which we must act when we speak about the automation of planning.

We started with the simplest and most superficial notion of automation, where the instillation of mechanical and automated tools into activity was at the forefront of attention. Having analyzed the consequences of this instillation, we found that these tools in great measure transcend the initial goals and orientations fixated in presently existing conceptions of automation. We were thus obliged to generalize and to transform the definition of goals in order to harmonize them with the real consequences of this work. Automation of planning was revealed as a complex soсio-technical action, instigating (or realizing) broad transformations of planning activity; and we started to examine it from just this point of view in the context of other transformations and from the point of view of possible goals and tasks in work of this kind. But now the object of analysis became (or should have become) the entire totality of improving and developing activity, while work on automation appeared as one of its particular aspects whose meaning and value are determined primarily by its position in the whole system.

This result, as is easy to see, has moved and transformed the work situation. We were forced to analyze and to examine the very problem of improving and developing planning activity, its meaning, its structure, and the conditions under which the socio-technical actions determined by a problem of this sort can be realized.

Having conducted the discussion of this theme along several lines (well known and repeatedly examined in the literature), we arrived at a conclusion (which is again not new but which has for us an essential and prime significance), namely, that in contemporary conditions the socio-technical action determined by a task of this sort can be only that of steering the development of planning activity. In this way, we determine the nature and form of the necessary socio-technical action. This was a new displacement and transformation of our work situation. Now we must naturally turn to the concept of steering, examine its logical structure and content, and then analyze the structure of situations related to steering the develop­ment of activity.

The fundamental types of expertise, servicing steering activity, will be the subject of our next work.

POSTSCRIPT TO TRANSLATOR’S NOTE. Some remarks by Dr. Shchedrovitsky on the problems of translating key terms in this article arrived after the manuscript had gone to the printer. Since they might be helpful in elucidating the orientation represented in the article, I append the following excerpts from his letter.

«The most difficult [problem] is, of course, that of translating ‘proektirovanie.’ It seems to me dubious to render this word as ‘planning.’ As I understand it, a plan refers to the ordering of one’s own actions, whereas, when one speaks of ideas about organizing some one else’s actions by means of some schema, I should call this a ‘project,’ to which the term ‘proektirovanie’ corresponds. The latter could be called ‘organizational proektirovanie,» but I cannot think of an appropriate English term. The distinction that I have pointed out, namely that between planning one’s own activity and ‘projecting’ some one else’s, would be obvious if it were not for the circumstance that, when a chief communicates with a subordinate or a trainer with an athlete, the ‘projects’ worked out by the former are re-worked as plans by the latter. This takes place continually. All these semantic formulations reside only in communication for the sake of communication. Hence the distinction of meaning between projects and plans is not fixated sufficiently sharply and clearly. In consequence, the difference is not easily seen in the context of technology of ‘proektirovanie’ and ‘planning.’ For this reason it might be advisable to introduce a separate term for ‘proektirovanie.’ »

In my translation, I made a primary distinction between «planning» and «design,» using the latter in the more concrete contexts, e.g., as in blueprints of a technical system, and the former in more abstract contexts, as in projection of policies and actions. I hope that the additional distinction between proektirovanie and planning pointed out by Dr. Shchedrovitsky will be taken into consideration by the reader and that the appropriate meaning will be suggested by the context in each case. – A.R.


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[1] N. N. Moiseev writes: «Technical progress generates ever more complex constructions. The creation of a supersonic airliner like TU-144 or Concord requires 12-15 years. Given the present tempos of growth of scientific knowledge, the ideas incorporated in the construction at the start of designing the aircraft will be hopelessly out-dated when the aircraft is put to use. Here imitative models render assistance. They free the construction teams from the burden of routine calculations and preliminary experiments with the model, leaving them the creative task of analyzing and comparing variants» [2].

It is possible, however, to organize this matter in the opposite way, as suggested by the following citation: «We have tried to avoid the expression ‘computer-aided design,’ which suggests that a computer simply replaces the engineer designer, leaving him only routine work to do. Quite the contrary, the computer is assigned a unique role in the process of design: it complements the designer but does not replace him» [l, p.8].

[2] V. M. Glushkov writes: «Comparable increases in productivity (such as the colossal ones in performing arithmetic and other logical operations) are difficult to find in other fields» [3, p. 79]. «In utilizing computers, their rapid action and memory are most important. . .These are all most vital characteristics of computers, but they can hardly be regarded as the characteristics of the automation process. With regard to this process, they are still too external and incidental. As more detailed analysis shows, they do not represent an integrated conception of automation in which all its aspects and characteristics would be collected and related to each other» [2].

[3] Here we touch on a very complex many-sided question, the discussion of which requires, among other things, a distinction between mechanization and automation. Analysis of the theoretical bases of mechanization began at least 200 years ago, while those of automation have become objects of attention only in the last 30 years. Besides, in discussing this theme, we shall have to separate, first, the different practical tasks and orientations, in the light of which those problems were examined; second, the different views of the world and the methodological tools with the aid of which attempts are made to solve these problems.

One of the most important directions in this field of research is connected with the creation of so called «artificial intelligence» (cf. bibliography in [43]); or more generally, with the working out of the theory of automata (cf. [5] and works like the much discussed paper of A. Turing [6] and the book by M. Taube |7]). The latter looks like a popularization but is essentially a strictly scientific work.

Another direction related to «man-machine systems» has been developed in the outlook of «transfering» some parts of human functioning and activity to machines. An overview of these ideas is given in [8, 9] and a critical analysis in [10-12].

A third direction, which acquires increasing significance, has formed in the context of rationalizing administration and management. This direction has never attributed an independent significance to computers, regarding them always as tools used for optimizing the activity and functioning of organizations (cf. [13, pp. 490-518]; [14-16]).

A fourth direction, developed in the channels of psychology, regards activity and thinking as subjective functions in man. Here computers and technical devices are regarded as tools used by men. Accordingly, the possibility of utilizing machines as carriers of activity and thought are, in principle, denied (cf. [17-19] and a critique in [20]).

A fifth direction can be regarded as the theoretico-activist approach, characterized by a system of conceptions embodying all processes occurring in activity. Reference [21] is specifically devoted to the notion of mechanization of mental activity.

[4] We could even say that all these numerous disjointed elements of specifically theoretical conceptions about mechanization and automation actually could not be unified into an integrated theoretical conception, since such a conception requires, as a minimum, a methodological integration of technical, social, and humanistic knowledge. This task was first recognized and posed with appropriate sharpness only within the last fifteen years. As a maximum, the task requires the creation of a theory of activity (or, as Americans say, a complex of behavioral sciences), in which technical, social, and humanistic concepts and methods of analysis would be combined on the level of a unified ideal reality of «activity» in the framework of a single scientific discipline.

[5] It is almost always noted in this connection that in the system of social production a new sphere of activity arises, namely, the exploitation and instillation of technical devices. But this is as far as many authors go in their conceptions of changes in the system of social activity that have been instigated by automation. It is for this reason that Academician V. M. Glushkov was obliged to formulate the «principle of new tasks.» This, too, however, as is easily seen, has to do with a quite different aspect of the problem. After all, we speak here not of the possibility of solving new problems with the aid of computers bur rather of changed structures of activity, arising naturally and necessarily from the very utilization of computers for solving new problems.

[6] The electronic computer and Ihe automatic control system based on it cannot be thought of as simply an instrument that has been set up, which one then begins to utilize, li is a quite different situation from the one when the abacus was replaced by the desk calculator, while the procedures remained the same.

To instill automatic control systems and electronic computers effectively, more is required than to solve the problem of acquiring the computer and the rest of the equipment, more than to work out programs. One must also work out criteria in the entire complex of economic enterprises for evaluating the results of actions in different branches, new systems of simulation. One must solve different sorts of social, organizational, and psychological problems, because the utilization of computers offers the opportunity to solve such problems ш a new way. As a rale, also the organizational structure, especially the functioning duties of the various links in the apparatus of management, are changed.

Ibis makes the instillation of computers and automated systems of control a very complicated business. It requires concentration on creating specialists of different profiles in the field of computer technology, mathematics, programming, mathematical methods of control, economics, psy­chology, sociology, production organizers, and even technologists, to the extent that knowledge of normative management is required [3,p.77].

[7] R. L. Ackoff writes; «Wisdom is the ability to foresee distant consequences of actions, a readiness to sacrifice momentary advantage for larger fuluie good and the ability to control what is controllable without despairing over what is uncontrollable. Thus, wisdom is oriented toward the future. But it relates lo the future not in the way of a fortune teller. A wise man tries to control the future» [16, p. 11].

[8] Along this line, Academician V. Trapeznikov has given an interesting characterization of similar situations, which, although obsolete, are nonetheless real and widespread. «Organizations engaged in design and construction are the gales through which new technology passes into the national economy. It is these organizations that must provide for technical progress, propagate new ideas, worked out in science. They are called upon to plan an essential role in prognosis. What is the actual situation? The rapid growth of industry creates an overload in designing organizations and often distracts them from working out peispectives. Because of many circumstances and rigid deadlines, these organizations orient their projects mainly toward serially produced equipment. This leads to sad results. Serial production ot» new equipment can be organized only after a sufficient demand for it has been established. But in order to identify customers and to assure a necessary volume of orders, new equipment must he introduced inlo projects. A vicious cycle results. New equipment lhat can be included in projects is what is released by industry. The rate of technical progress is significantly retarded thereby, so that often the level of technology in a new enterprise and its productivity remain almost as they have been in the old one, sometimes lower. As you see, there is movement, but backward, not forward. The designers share a considerable part of tlie blame ,. . This vicious cycle must be broken» [33],

[9] It is not an accident that the first widespread and stable conceptions of progress (in art, technology, and reason) appeared after the Renaissance, during which man was individualized [34-38]. The fact that in their content those ideas identified not these voluntaristic aspects but, on the contrary, the natural flow of all processes, independent of man, is explained as follows. First, the notion of progress presupposes, along with its voluntaristic component, also a natural component, namely, the processes and mechanisms that occur in the object examined by themselves and that determine the continuity of its existence (no notion of progress is thinkable without this component). Second – and this was decisive – the people of the Renaissance had to invoke necessity as a justification for their actions, necessity independent of the will of God, and they found it in processes immanent in nature. Nevertheless, whatever has been this theoretical and ideological conception of progress, in the nexus of content and, primarily, in the way this notion was utilized, it was inseparably bound to the activity of man, adapting to social-historical conditions of his existence and actively changing these conditions.

[10] It is true that recently some authors in the United States (e.g., see [42]) have started to advance the problem of conscious development of systems of activity. However, they, too, understand, as a rule, that this orientation is sharply at variance with the established practice, natural in the organization of these processes, and with the fundamental ideological principles of activity presently dominant in a capitalist society. See the annotated bibliography in [16]; also the remarks of N. A. Ushakov, the editor of the translation: «The appearance of forms of activity like prognosis and planning, in themselves not characteristic in traditional conditions of  ‘free competition,’ cannot be regarded as accidental. The development of productive forces ‘drags… the capitalists, contrary to their desires and consciousness, into some new social order, transitional from complete freedom of competition to complete socialization’ [V.I. Lenin, Polnoie Sobranie Sochineniy (Complele Works), 5th ed., Vol. 27, pp. 320-21]. The inevitable result is that the «technology» of the economic life of large scale monopoly acquires features not characteristic of it previously. Possibly one of these fundamental features is the inception of planning. At the same time, the very essence of capitalist society inevitably limits the functions of planning, makes it local, and, most important, oriented toward diverse goals . . . The fundamental difference is in the presence of clearly expressed social goals in a socialist society and in the absence of antagonistic contradictions at any level of organizational structure of that system. These factors make possible the construction of an orderly contradition-free hierarchy of plans, so that their realization on every level of the organizational-economic structure of the socialist system becomes a natural goal» [16, pp. 5-6].

[11] R. L. Ackoff writes: «A science of planning has been developing rapidly in recent years. However, even the best available examples of planning are at least as much works of art as of science. I am interested as much in the development of this art as in the development of that science. Here, as nowhere else, a harmonious combination is of essence.

«The main contribution of scientists to planning consists, probably, not in the development and application of appropriate means and methods but rather in a systematization of these methods, in the organization of the processes of planning, and in a deeper recognition of this process and of its evaluation» [16, p. 15].

This is a quite definite conception of science and of its relation to socio-technical action; but there are many other such conceptions [e.g., 56-62].

[12] «The most serious shortcoming of this sort of planning is thai it seldom leads to a deeper understanding of the system for which the planning is conducted and of the planning process itself. The satisficei strives to utilize knowledge already obtained and an understanding of the system already achieved. He seldom undertakes research directed at broadening this knowledge and understanding. His planning is not research. For this and other reasons, his work requires less time, money, and technical skills than other methods of planning. This is, of course, one explanation of the attraction of satisficing planning» [16, p. 24].

[13] S. V. Emelianov writes: «In formulating goals, it is importanl to choose cnteria of efficiency of organizational systems. Indeed it is the goals that determine the direction of developmental processes that arise in managing organizational systems. Every sub-system of the organizational system must have goals agreeing with the fundamental goal. But it is impossible simply to prescribe a goal to a sub-system. As has been noted, in every collective and therelore m any such sub-system, its own collective goals automatically, take shape. In consequence, the sub-system will pursue some goal essentially different from the goal prescribed to it. It may be possible to measure this deviation by means of efficiency cnteria applied to the work of the sub-system and io control it by varying systems of (material or moral) stimuli. Stimuli exert a very strong influence on the formulation of the sub-system’s own goals. If they are utilized correctly, they can assure the coincidence between these goals and the desirable ones even without the desirable goals being prescribed from above» [32, p. 106].

[14] «Actions resulting in a desired state (goal) can be consequences that are not included in the Formulation of the given goal. People and organizations always pursue a multitude of goals. Therefore in order to find out whether the consequences of some action are desirable, we must know the entire range of the correspond ing goals. The higher the level where goals are formulated, the broader they are most likely to be … Complex goals are sometimes posed with too low a degree of generality. This often leads to a total rejection of a plan without discernible reasons. However, there may be weighty justifications for this, concealed in goals that are broader than those studied by the planners» [16, pp. 50-51].

[15] The distinction between «steering» and «direction» began to be recognized when so called «administrative services» were formed in some large American corporations. In the course of some generations, «high level American executives constantly demanded increased efficiency in industrial production… Recently high level executives began to look upon the administrative services as attentively as upon the industrial processes and planning, the flow of production, the distribution of enterprises, and measures of productivity. This is just the point of view of the modern administrator – the leader of our time…. He became a specialist in administrative problems, responsible for the complex structural unit in service, direction, and planning, functioning in close contact with the chiefs of executive branches entrusted with carrying out company tasks. His task was that of insuring effective control at minimum cost» [64, p. 12].

The appearance of administrative services with their specific functions has led to an actual division between «administration,» which these functions performed, and general direction or management, which has remained the task of the president or the vice presidents of companies. This required a special analysis and a more precise determination of goals, means, and techniques of  both functions. Naturally, different authors tried to do this on different bases and with different means, which gave rise to a whole series of different project proposals. In addition, frequently what some called direction (or administration), others called steering (or management) and vice versa. Thus, a severe discordance arose both in the usage of terms and in definitions of the essentials of the different processes [64, p. 13; 65, 66]. However, regardless of how we designate the distinction, the necessity of making the distinction and taking it into account is now recognized by many specialists. In his report to the American Management Association, «On creating a new concept of management control.» S. L. Shea, the vice president of the administrative service branch of this association wrote: «Failure to recognize administrative management as a functional specialty is today as disastrous for a commerial enterprise as rejection of all technology. Rapid and radical changes are the most important products of our generation, and management must adapt to them with appropriate enthusiasm, since the alternative is demise» [64, p. 18].