The Use of Bytes to Analyze Complex Organizations

15 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2005

See all articles by Shann Turnbull

Shann Turnbull

International Institute for Self-Governance; Sustainable Money Working Group; New Garden City Alliance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2004


This paper shows how a gap in organisational analysis can be filled by using the transaction of bytes to compare hierarchical organisations controlled by a single control centre with complex ones possessing distributed decision making with multiple communication channels and control agents. No social organisation can exist without the transmission, reception and processing of bytes between and within biota. The ability of an organisation to survive depends upon its communication and control architecture not requiring its components to exceed their ability to transact bytes. Bytes are represented by patterns in matter or energy. Data, information, knowledge and wisdom are composed of bytes. Transaction byte analysis provides an instrumental basis for evaluating, comparing and designing human organisations independently of the level of technology that may be employed. Transaction Byte Analysis is compared with Transaction Cost Economics that it subsumes when the social construct of cost becomes a proxy for bytes.

Keywords: Bounded rationality, Communication, Control, Cybernetics, Governance, Information, Mondragón, Organisational architecture, Transaction Byte Analysis, Transaction Cost Economics

JEL Classification: B49, B59, D70, G34, L16, L59

Suggested Citation

Turnbull, Shann, The Use of Bytes to Analyze Complex Organizations (June 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Shann Turnbull (Contact Author)

International Institute for Self-Governance ( email )

PO Box 266 Woollahra
Cell: +61418222378
Sydney, New South Wales 1350
+61293278487 (Phone)
+61280655905 (Fax)

SKYPE: shann.turnbull

Sustainable Money Working Group ( email )

Holyoake House
Hanover Street
Manchester, M60 0AS
United Kingdom

New Garden City Alliance ( email )

113 Guinness Court
London, UK, SE1 3TA
United Kingdom
+44 207 378 1902 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics