Governance Structure
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Every living system has a governance mechanism to initiate and control the actions that are necessary to keep it alive and healthy. Governance is made up of three parts: a Director that provides overall guidance, an Administrator that coordinates and regulates action scenarios, and an Implementor that orchestrates and executes the detailed actions of organization units.


What Governance Does
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Governance is viewed here as the information-based, homeostatic control mechanism that keeps its living system alive and healthy. This same mechanism occurs at each of the three levels of living system, using this same architectural arrangement:
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Superorganism Governance works through its organizations to direct and regulate the physical actions of its organisms.
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Organism Governance works through its organs to direct and regulate the physical actions of its cells.
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Cell Governance works through its organelles to direct and regulate the physical actions of its biomolecules.
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To keep its living system alive and healthy, the governance mechanism must have three functional capabilities: adaptation, operation, and execution. Each of these capabilities requires a different frame of reference, as embodied in the three distinct parts of governance.
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Governance is Divided into Three Cooperative Units
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At each level of the living system hierarchy, governance can be viewed as a tiered structure that performs these three functions:
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Director:
(Learn)
Recognize new situations in the external environment or new internal conditions that present threats or opportunities, and establish appropriate responses. This is where living system learning takes place.
Administrator:
(Regulate)
Conduct established functional scenarios to maintain the health and well-being of the living system and its component living systems. This is where homeostasis takes place.
Implementor:
(Execute)
Interpret functional scenarios in terms of required organization unit actions. Broadcast an orchestrated schedule of or actions to individual organization units. This is where physical action is initiated.
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Within this three-tiered structure, control flows from top-to-bottom, while feedback of results flows from bottom-to-top.

Governance Action Flows Downward
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The Director prioritizes responses to living system situations and conditions, and passes them down to the Administrator .
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The Administrator translates the prioritized responses, incorporates them into the set of homeostatic scenarios that are currently in process, and then passes them on to the Implementor.
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The implementor translates the current scenarios into an orchestrated array of action commands, and passes them on to the Organization Units.
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This complex sequence of action is accompanied by a corresponding feedback loop, where the outcomes of the actions are perceived at different levels of aggregation.

Feedback Action Flows Upward
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The Implementor receives detailed sensory patterns from Organization Units, which are interpreted in terms of the original orchestrated commands and compared with their expected results. The orchestrated commands feedback details are then aggregated and passed up to the Administrator. Any unexpected changes, or new encounters are evaluated and handled by local adjustments to Organization Unit commands if possible; otherwise they are noted and passed on to the Administrator as discrepancies.
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The Administrator interprets the orchestrated commands feedback in terms of the original schedule of functional scenarios and compares them with expected results. The functional scenarios feedback details are then aggregated and passed up to the Director. Any unexpected changes or new encounters are evaluated and handled by local adjustments to functional scenarios if possible; otherwise they are noted and passed on to the Administrator as discrepancies.
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The Director interprets the functional scenarios feedback in terms of the original situations and conditions responses and compares them with expected results. The buck stops here for any remaining discrepancies, changes, or new encounters. Discrepancies and changes are usually handled by adjustments to the prioritized schedule of responses. New encounters are interpreted as new situations of conditions, for which appropriate responses must be developed, and for which response priorities may change.
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Governance Structural Diagram
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The following diagram combines the downward flow of governance action with the upward flow of perceived feedback results. The left side is meant to be read top-to-bottom, the right side bottom-to-top. Also included are horizontal arrows to indicate where results are compared with original actions and local corrections introduced. The Director part has an additional leftward arrow to indicate how new situations and conditions are dealt with.

Director
Learn

Perceive
Develop appropriate responses to new or changing situations and conditions.
Determine the threat or opportunity potential of new or changing situations and conditions.
Schedule and prioritize responses to situations and conditions.
Compare with expected results; correct where possible. Forward discrepancies.
Issue directives on how to respond to situations and conditions.

Interpret results of functional scenarios as responses to situations and conditions directives.
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Prioritized Responses to
Situations and Conditions

Aggregated Results of
Functional Scenarios
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Administrator
Regulate

Perceive
Interpret any new prioritized responses as functional scenarios. Aggregate results of functional scenarios.
Schedule functional scenarios as required to maintain homeostasis.
Compare with expected results; correct where possible. Forward discrepancies.
Issue a schedule of functional scenarios to be initiated.

Interpret results of Organization Unit actions as functional scenario results.
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Schedule of Functional Scenarios to be Initiated

Aggregated Results of
Organization Unit Actions
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Implementor
Execute

Perceive
Translate scheduled functional scenarios into Organization Unit actions. Aggregate results of Organization Unit actions.
Orchestrate Organization Unit actions to collectively meet schedule.
Compare with expected results; correct where possible. Forward discrepancies.
Issue orchestrated commands to individual Organization Units

Interpret Sensory Patterns as results of orchestrated Organization Unit actions.
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Commands to Individual
Organization Units

Sensory Patterns from
Individual Sensory Units
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Governance Units and Living System Levels
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The three-part Director-Administrator-Implementor governance structure is the basic architectural framework used by all eukaryotic living systems. However, the Director function is present only in those systems with learning capabilities. Cells, which are hard-wired in their capabilities, have only the Administrator and Implementor governance functions. "Learning" takes place only at the cell-species level, across generations of cells.
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For organisms, the more complex, advanced species have highly-developed Director functions, while the more primitive species have simpler versions. Nation-state superorganisms and their human organisms both have highly-developed Director functions, while the function is only weakly present in ant colonies, and is entirely missing from individual ants.

Note: All of the actions performed by governance units are based on the use of information that is communicated within and between the units. Underlying the downward flow of actions and the upward flow of feedback is the generation, transmission, receipt, and interpretation of information.


Internal Model shows how governance control information is housed in an internal representation of the living system's world.


©1995-2012 Ackley Associates    Last revised: 7/16/11
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