Means and Ends


An interesting fourfold I saw while browsing through “The Power of the 2×2 Matrix” that I mentioned previously was the Means and Ends matrix of Russell Ackoff, known as a pioneer in the fields of systems and management sciences.

Composed of the relationships between two purposeful agents, where the means and the ends of each are separately considered to be compatible or incompatible.

  • Conflict: Incompatible means, incompatible ends
  • Competition: Incompatible means, compatible ends
  • Coalition: Compatible means, incompatible ends
  • Cooperation: Compatible means, compatible ends

Ackoff is also known for the “Hierarchy of Understanding” of Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom, which probably begs for its own entry.


Russell Ackoff and Fred Emery / On Purposeful Systems: an interdisciplinary analysis of individual and social behavior as a system of purposeful events

Jamshid Gharajedaghi / Systems Thinking: managing chaos and complexity: a platform for designing business architecture

Images of Data Information Knowledge Wisdom

[*9.88, *9.89]


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