Past president of the Society for General Systems Research (now the International Society for the Systems Sciences), 1971.
Coming from Operational Research, Beer saw cybernetics as providing the understanding (through the concept of feedback) that could achieve what OR had set out to do. He extended this into understanding the largest organisations humans have developed: the firm (and business) and the state (and government). Through this work he came to understand the sophistication in behaviour of even small organisations and to develop models (and also metaphors) through which to discuss them without trivialisation.
Discussed at connections-20080112