The Model: ‘Systems Intentionality’

‘Systems Intentionality’: the theory that corporations manifest their states of mind through their systems of conduct, policies and practices.

Have you ever used a recipe, maybe to make a cake? That is a ‘system of conduct’: a coordinated set of steps, methods or processes that help the user to decide what to do, in what order, to achieve their goal(s). Everyone understands that  systems of conduct like these are inherently purposive. There is no point in having a system except to produce some behaviour (cooking) or result (a cake). So systems manifest (reveal and give effect to) their user’s intention. Further, some baseline knowledge is implicit in using a system successfully. To apply the recipe, I must know what flour is, the process of beating an egg and so on.
Corporations use systems too. But while humans have natural memories and minds to help them pursue their aims, corporations have no natural mind. Rather, they think through their systems, and only through their systems. This means that, by assessing the features of a corporate system of conduct, we can discover the corporate state of mind with respect to that behaviour.
On this model, a corporation’s system of conduct will always be intended. Systems are purposive! This means they do not readily manifest ‘accidental’ or ‘mistaken’ conduct. Depending on the nature of the system, a system may also manifest an intention to produce a particular or specific outcome. And, as we saw with the cake example, a certain amount of corporate knowledge will also be implicit in the operation of a corporation’s system.
With these simple insights, it becomes possible to dissect the culpable corporate mind, in all its complexity. Read here for publications explaining the model in detail.

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