The project-oriented organisation through the lens of viable systems

Ruth Christine Lechler*, Patrick Lehner, Franz Röösli, Martina Huemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Organisations are increasingly implementing projects to respond to growing complexity and changes in their environments. Such organisations are referred to as project-oriented organisations. This organisation type has been described with regard to value-based, people-based and structure-based competencies. To strengthen the theoretical underpinning of the competence model of project-oriented organisations, we adopt the cybernetic perspective of viable systems developed by Stafford Beer. We conceptually derive survivability, sense-making and futureability as central competencies of viable systems and relate them to such organisations. In doing so, the paper strengthens the theoretical understanding of project-oriented organisations and contributes to a simplification of the model of viable systems. From a practical perspective, we empower organisations to increase their viability by leveraging their viable competencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100072
JournalProject Leadership and Society
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Organisational competencies
  • Project-oriented organisations
  • Viable system model

Cite this