Richard F. Ericson

American academic

Richard Ferdinand Ericson (19191993) was an American organizational theorist, and Professor of Management at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


  • I deeply believe that this society has now thrust upon it a kind of moral imperative to focus efforts on the utilization of general systems concepts and conceptualizations by policy-forming executives, administrators, and managers in all kinds of large-scale organizations.
  • Systems analysis, conceived in a policy sciences framework, is the macro instrument of the systems manager for understanding, evaluating and improving human systems — which are defined as goal oriented interdependent units incorporating people, organization and some form of technology for control, administration or output.
    • Richard F. Ericson (1979) Improving the human condition: quality and stability in social systems : proceedings of the Silver Anniversary International Meeting, London, England, August 20-24, 1979. Society for General Systems Research. p. 621

Organizational cybernetics and human values (1969)


Richard F. Ericson, Organizational cybernetics and human values (1969)

  • Much of philosophy concerns man's search for holistic concepts which will help him see a meaningful pattern in the complexity with which his perceptual world confronts him. What is new is the rapidly growing intensity of the quest, and the modern context of the search. Plato's Republic is from a world quite different from that of Boguslaw's. The New Utopians.
    • p. 1
  • From society's standpoint, modern science and technology appears Janus-faced : It has given us wealth in one sense, and poverty in another; it has harnessed nature to man's basic needs in ways and to extents undreamed - of only a few decades ago, but it has fostered a continuingly lowered "quality of life".
    • p. 7
  • Perhaps the most important single characteristic of modern organizational cybernetics is this: That in addition to concern with the deleterious impacts of rigidly-imposed notions of what constitutes the application of good "principles of organization and management" the organization is viewed as a subsystem of a larger system(s), and as comprised itself of functionally interdependent subsystems.
    • p. 14-15

Visions of Cybernetic Organizations (1972)

Ericson (1972) "Visions of Cybernetic Organizations" in: Academy of Management Journal (Dec 1, 1972) vol. 15 no. 4. p. 427-443
  • The essence of cybernetic organizations is that they are self-controlling, self-maintaining, self-realizing. Indeed, cybernetics has been characterized as the “science of effective organization,” in just these terms.
    But the word “cybernetics” conjures, in the minds of an apparently great number of people, visions of computerized information networks, closed loop systems, and robotized man-surrogates, such as “artorgas” and “cyborgs.”
  • This is a time in human affairs when, In the context of the foregoing analysis, the “radical” point of view is likely to prove to be the “conservative” one: we may well be in the early stages of a “cybernetic revolution” worthy of “1984” and “RUR.” Thus, to accept as potential reality what may seem an alarmist view, may turn out to be the only perspective which secures viable options by promoting mankind's welfare.
  • It follows from this that man's most urgent and pre-emptive need is maximally to utilize cybernetic science and computer technology within a general systems framework, to build a meta-systemic reality which is now only dimly envisaged. Intelligent and purposeful application of rapidly developing telecommunications and teleprocessing technology should make possible a degree of worldwide value consensus heretofore unrealizable.

Quotes about Richard F. Ericson

  • Geoffrey Vickers and Richard Ericson have articulated the potential of systems and cybernetics (communications and control) concepts to improve the decision-making processes and “steering” mechanisms of government.
    • US OTA (1986) Congress Federal government information technology. p. 128
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