System Grounds Of Social Management Theory


In the present scientific paper, methodological ways of formation of systemic grounds of the modern concept of social management are studied. For these purposes, in the beginning of the paper, a critical analysis of different interpretations of social management, existing in modern science, is carried out, as well as system ways of overcoming methodological difficulties in formation and development of the theory of social management are determined. Then, in the paper, system principles of the modern concept of social management are identified and clarified. They are principles of objectivity, integrity, self-organisation, subordination, social activity of a human being and society as a whole, self-management, self-development, social sustainable development, etc. In the paper, special attention is given to disclosure of the content and the structure of new trends in modern science – synergetic and cybernetic movements. At that, initially, the connection between the synergetic movement and backbone principles of organisation and self-organisation of complex self-managed systems of inanimate, animate and social nature is clarified. In the paper, the cybernetic movement, its connection with self-management, management, self-development and information of complex social systems are also comprehended. In the paper, an integrate model of social management is constructed on such methodological grounds. In conclusion, the importance and necessity of elaboration of this problem for deeper and complete comprehension of common regularities of organisation, functioning and development of the social world as a whole are emphasised.

Keywords: System groundssocial managementsocial activitysystem managementsocial self-organisationsocial self-management


In the modern unstable and contradictory, social human world, problems, connected with managing economic, political, ecological, moral-psychological, sociocultural and other processes are of particular relevance and complexity. At that, Russia is not an exception from the general tendency of human development. In Russia, drastic changes of main aspects and forms of public life undoubtedly require serious scientific analysis. Economic, political and other events, occurring in the entire world community, and, first of all, in Russia, compel one to study more attentively such form of public movement (development) as social management. Unfortunately, the concept of social management in Russia is still at the stage of formation and incompleteness. In the Russian scientific literature of the recent past, this concept is presented by a very small number of works. However, formation of market relations, mainly in the economic sector of Russia, press for deeper system and philosophical elaboration and reevaluation of new trends in the modern scientific management theory, including determination of the main ways and means of formation of the social management theory. Solution of this task, in the authors’ opinion, is connected with the system and philosophic analysis of underlying ideas and principles of social management theory.

Problem Statement

As is well known, in Russian domestic scientific literature, ambiguous attitudes and approaches to clarifying social management are formed. Thus, for example, some authors consider the competition principle as an integrative purpose of managerial paradigms in the system, for instance, of material and economic production (Akinin, 2016). Others connect the social management concept with the methods of social and economic modelling (Artemev, 2016; Burzalova, 2011). The third include the concepts of either eco-development (Avilov, 2013) or sustainable development or “manageable development” (Pavlenko, 2012). The fourth distinguish between administrative and bureaucratic, social and technological mechanisms in the base of social management (Grechko, 2015; Zamaraeva, Shishkova, 2014; Leshkevich, 2015).

The authors’ methodological attitudes and approaches, proposed in this paper relatively the criteria of the social development concept, naturally deserve very positive assessment. Along with it, it is important to note that the majority of them are one-variable and do not always allow comprehending clearly the system “image” of social management.

Undoubtedly, the system vision of social management is related to very complex worldview, methodological, social and cultural problems of modern philosophy and sociology. Nevertheless, certain results in the field of study of system grounds of the concept of social management in modern science have been already obtained (Doronina, 2004; Doronina, Taburkin, 2013; Mirzoyan, 2010; Moskovichenko, 2016).

Thus, the formation of system “image” of social management is influenced by the development of its ontological grounds. Functioning and development of society as an integrated system act as an object of study of social management. The structure of society as an integrate formation includes such spheres (blocks) as material and economic, social, political and jural, spiritual, and other spheres that form the integrate world of human relationships or the socium world (Taburkin, 2006). In this sense, social management includes not separate spheres (subsystems), but complex interrelations among them. At that, the objective basis of the concept of social management is a complex process of transition from separate structural levels of organisation of social reality to a uniform comprehensive system of the social world. The latter interact among themselves and form a qualitatively new social integrity – society as a uniform complex system. At present, numerous interrelations and interactions among the components, elements of the complex social system, as well as interdependencies and interconditionalities among their parameters, pose an important and relevant task of a deeper, complete and comprehensive consideration of the whole complexity of the structure of social management, as well as its scientific expression.

Research Questions

It is necessary to emphasise that none of the management concepts is able to instantly, simultaneously represent all the processes of functioning and development of systems and their subsystems, elements of social being, to say nothing of expressing such global complex system as society. Undoubtedly, solution of this problem can be found in the very objective social reality. In fact, all complex social systems and their elements of the real social world are hierarchically arranged and organised. In this case, self-organisation of an underlying structural level of the organisation of one or another actual social system can serve as the objective basis of social management of a higher structural level of the organisation. Besides, the information, which is also necessary for the system and social management, must be also arranged in a structural and hierarchical way. At that, it is important for the managing social system not only to obtain one or another quantity of social information, which can be found in abundance in the real social system, but also a way, a method of organising is important, namely, its system and hierarchical understanding, which corresponds to structural and genetic organisation of the object of social management.

Purpose of the Study

Therefore, system principles of self-organisation of human activity in society act as methodological grounds of social management theory. For this, it is necessary to introduce system principles of self-organisation in the study of functioning and development of social systems and their structures. The concept of self-organisation allows more complete and deeper comprehension of the mechanisms of formation, change and development of new social structures, connections and relations as a result of interaction of elements of social systems. This enables clarification and concretization of such general and universal categories as a system and a structure, organisation and disorganization, order and disorder, stability and changeability, simplicity and complexity, reversibility and irreversibility, cyclicity and momentum, etc., which have been applied lately when studying the management of development processes of system formations. The study of inner mechanisms, principles of self-organisation of complex objects exerts significant influence on formation and development of integral models of self-development of any complex formations, including social systems. However, the process of identification and determination of basic principles of self-organisation of complex systems is connected with gnoseological and methodological difficulties. In this connection, in modern science, ambiguous attitudes and approaches to resolution of this problem have formed.

Thus, as early as the XX century, one of the founders of the theory of systems in Russia, Bogdanov A.A., determines main organisational mechanisms of formation and regulation of the systems through such principles as conjugation, chain connection, ingression and disingression, conservative and progressive selection, mobile equilibrium, bioregulation, the law of the least, etc. (Bogdanov, 1989). A bit later, in the second half of the XX century, another Russian researcher of systems, Setrov M.I., reveals the essence of systems’ self-organisation through the following five basic principles: compatibility, actualization of functions, neutralization of functions, concentration and labialization of functions (Setrov 1972). For academician Anokhin P.K., “useful outcome” is considered as a dominating factor, stabilizing self-organisation and self-management of systems (Anokhin, 1973). A number of modern authors identify the connections by the subordination type as a common basis of universal principles of self-organisation and self-management of systems (Yugai, 1985; Taburkin, 1992).

Research Methods

It is necessary to note that the dialectic conception of self-organisation and self-management of complex systems has been recently filled with more specific content based on formation and development of a new scientific trend in science – synergetic movement (Kapitsa, Kurdyumov, Malinetskiy, 2003; Prigozhin, Stengers, 1986; Khaken, 1991). Synergetic movement is a scientific movement in the study of complex self-organising system formations of the natural and social world. This movement is aimed at the study of such essential properties and aspects of self-organising systems as openness, nonlinearity, non-uniformity, uncertainty, irreversibility, dissipativity, chaosomity, etc. The main backbone regularities and principles of self-organisation and organisations of complex systems is the following: 1) loops of positive feedback of the system with its environment; 2) interaction between random and necessary connections (factors) of the system and its environment; 3) bifurcation points as critical, qualitatively modified states of the system. At that, the main synergetic idea of the study of complex systems of natural and social world is an idea of spontaneous inadvertent emergence of the order and the organisation out of the disorder, chaos in the process of their self-organisation.


Formation of system grounds of the self-organisation theory gives an opportunity to carry out more comprehensive and deeper methodological analysis of the management process of social systems’ development.

Holistic comprehension of the concept of social management allows identifying and determining an integrating and backbone link – social human activity – in the social world system. Social human activity is a main factor of managing economic, political and legal, moral and psychological, social and ecological, social and cultural and many other social phenomena and processes, aimed at satisfaction of human needs.

Based on the above-mentioned information, it should be noted that nowadays, social human activity is mainly determined as activity, aimed at transformation of nature, management of natural and social world. Based on such idea about management, it is possible to identify its following signs and features: orientation of the human influence towards natural and social systems, a starting control mechanism with involvement of social processes and phenomena as a main driving force of society transformation, obtainment of the immediate, planned result of human impact on natural and social formations.

Along with it, it is necessary to note that as a result of the impact on natural and social realities, the limitation of the functioning of the concept of unilinear, unidirectional, unipolar management of social objects, representing the grounds for formation of one of the dangerous science-centred ideologies of the present, very restless and contradictory time, is identified. Undoubtedly, a modern human being, armed with super-power social technologies, is able to transform and to change the social world (to be truthful, not always for the better for the human being and humankind). However, straightforward realisation of the indicated social projects frequently led and is leading to destructions and cataclysms of both separate social systems and the social world as a whole. Therefore, the concept of social management, as unlimited and infinite transformation of natural and social objects by the human being, is unilateral and not very promising and, hence, requires serious and profound, system and philosophical revision.

Particularly profound effect on formation and development of system aspects of the concept of social management is exerted by modern cybernetic movement. As is well known, cybernetic movement, as an independent direction in science, was developed in the second half of the XX century owing to works of Wiener N. In Russia, an important role in the development of cybernetic movement belonged to the scientific works of Berg A.I., Glushkov V.M., Kolmogorov A.N. and many other scientists.

The main theoretical vector, the core of the concept of cybernetic movement is ideas of self-motion and self-development. From the viewpoint of cybernetic movement, management and, particularly, self-management express a necessary way of existence of complex systems (abiotic, biotic, biogeotic, ecological, social and economic, technical, etc.), consisting in orderliness and preservation of their integrity. The processes of managing complex natural and social formations are inherently linked to information processes. In modern scientific literature, the concept of information in cybernetics and management is determined as displaying one object in another, which is used for elaboration of control actions. In this connection, for example, academician Glushkov V.M. notes that, “A controlling system is a model of a device, which organises and realises an ordered transmission of information and its transformation; it acquires information from the control objects, transforms it in an appropriate way, and outputs information in the form which is required for controlling the object. Then it acquires information again from the control object, transforms it again, etc.” (Glushkov, 1976). As follows from the statement of the author about the controlling system, the structure of the control process is reduced to the following provisions: the control device sends the information to the controlled object and adjust the controlled object to a specified condition. At that, the communication, connecting the command apparatus (a control device of the subsystem) with the controlled, executive system, is called direct. The feedback, playing an exclusively important role in control, will be oppositely directed communication.

As it seems, cybernetic movement acts as a general theoretic ground and a system of social management. Based on these cybernetic attitudes, the system mechanism of formation and development of the social management concept is viewed more fully and profoundly. In this sense, social management is determined as an ability of complex public systems and their structures to direct and correct various manifestations of their internal and external activity by means of accumulation, transformation and transmission of information. At that, the main function of the managerial social structures consists in providing systematic nature of organisation, functioning and development of complex public systems. Being of any social management system implies the presence of a controlled object, a controlling device, a forward and feedback channel. Functioning of such management system is of predominantly cyclical nature. Summarizing and applying the cybernetic approach to the study of management of complex social systems, one can identify the stages of an integrated system cycle of social management. The first stage is acquisition of social information by the control system. The second stage is transmission of social information, that is, formation of information social models, guiding and correcting the activity and equilibrium of social systems. The third stage is transmission of social information to executive bodies. The fourth stage is the use of forward and feedback channels in the system of social management.


Summing up the methodological analysis of the grounds of social management theory, one should, first of all, note that this problem is not settled definitely by applying system principles of social and philosophical cognition, suggested by the authors. To solve such problem, there are other methods and approaches in modern science. Nevertheless, the study of system principles of objectivity, integrity, self-organisation, self-management, self-development, social human activity, synergetic and cybernetic movements, etc., as well as their synthesis, is undoubtedly necessary both for more profound comprehension of the nature of social management theory and for more adequate determination of its role in the system of philosophical and social knowledge.


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19 February 2018

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Semenkova, S., Bannykh, S., Doronina, M., Novoselova, M., Taburkin, V., & Turov, R. (2018). System Grounds Of Social Management Theory. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1173-1179). Future Academy.