The seven forces of organisation shape both activity and entity systems. There is, however, a different emphasis in managing them.
activity system emphasis
In an activity system, (i.e. a project, function, supply and value chain) the overarching aim is the starting point. It is often expressed in its name (e.g.education, manufacturing or nutrition system). This aim is cascaded into its sub-activity systems. The second focus is process, namely the flow and processing of mei to achieve the outcome described by the aim. The structure channels this flow and the governance regulates it. The environment is the upstream connection to suppliers, downstream connection to clients, the containing entity system and functional environment. The substance can be distinguished according to its function. The processing mei refers to input, throughput and output mei. The structure mei consists of the acting and support mei. There is also governance mei (e.g. managers, leaders, switches, monitors, information).
entity system emphasis
In an entity system, the challenge is to ensure the emergence of a coherent whole from the actions and interactions of its activity systems. On the one hand, this requires an emphasis on coordinating structures (e.g. a matrix) within which the actions and their governance flow. On the other hand, ethos is emphasised. It is the in-formation field that also coheres with the self or identity of the entity system and gives rise to its mission. The ethos and mission of the entity system guide each of its activity systems to formulate its function specific ethos, aims and governance. In an authentic entity system, all its activity systems cohere. The entity system connects to an outer and inner environment (as well as to itself) through its various activity systems (being a web within an web) The mei of an entity system is inherent in each of its activity systems (e.g. the resources in an organisation). It can be categorised cross-functionally (e.g.human, energy, physical, knowledge and financial resources in an organisation).
Activity systems emphasise continuity of purposeful mei flow throughout the biomatrix, while entity systems emphasise coherence as a self-referring whole within the biomatrix.
relevance for the change manager
The frameworks for activity and entity system (re)design differ.