Our Pioneers

System-cybernetic Management

Revolutionary and epoch-making innovations in management have been triggered by the achievements of outstanding individuals. These are the pioneers, the fathers of a new era, who left traditional paths to explore new solutions. Several pioneers' works could be secured by Fredmund Malik for the purpose of developing it further and keeping it available for the public. These pioneers are marked by a star (*).

William R. Ashby (1903 – 1972)

Neurologist and one of the main pioneers of Cybernetics. He discovered the "Law of Requisite Variety", the basic law of complexity.

Stafford Beer (1926 – 2002)*

Founder of management cybernetics and one of the great polymaths of the 20th century, Professor Stafford Beer was author of over two hundred publications, including eleven books the most important of which have been translated into thirteen languages. His extensive work “Decision and Control“, published in 1966 was honored with the Lanchester Prize.

Dietrich Dörner (1938)

The "Professor Emeritus" at the university of Bamberg not only developed psychological theories for human actions and feelings, but also tested their practical application. He caused quite a stir with his emotionally programmed robit in the EMO-project (follow-up project: PSI). Also groundbreaking: Dörner's Tanaland experiment, which explored the human influence in complex systems.

Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005)

Father of modern management, Peter Drucker has often been referred to as the most influential thinker and writer in management theory and practice of the 20th century. His regular column in the Wall Street Journal and his contributions in renowned magazines, such as the Harvard Business Review, and The Economist were widely read. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages. Drucker entrusted Professor Malik with the task to re-invent management for the 21st century. Fredmund Malik and Peter Drucker

Heinz von Foerster (1911 – 2002)

Physicist, pioneering cybernetician and philosopher of ethics, Heinz von Foerster was founder and director of the Biological Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois and close friend of Professor Fredmund Malik. Heinz von Foerster’s works on self-organization, recursive system theory and 2nd order cybernetics have been main pillars of cybernetic management.

Aloys Gälweiler (1922 – 1984)*

One of the most important pioneers in corporate planning and strategic corporate management in the German-speaking world, Professor Aloys Gälweiler's books "Strategic Corporate Management" and “Corporate Planning: Principles and Practice” are still today the fundamental literature for corporate management.

Gunnar Heinsohn (1943)

Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Bremen, Gunnar Heinsohn is one of the most creative and wide-ranging researchers in the German scientific community. His list of publications includes almost 700 scholarly articles, conference presentations, and books in which he develops groundbreaking theories on history and the theory of civilization.

Walter Krieg (1941)

Co-developer and co-author of the St. Gallen Management Model, longtime friend of Fredmund Malik and current member of the Board of Directors at Malik, Professor Krieg is a recognized expert in the theory and practice of the management of organizations. He is a member of several supervisory boards and supervisory committees and carries out personal consulting assignments in the field of strategy and organizational structure.

Warren McCulloch (1889 – 1969)

MIT brain researcher, pioneer in neural networks, mentor and close friend of Stafford Beer.

Wolfgang Mewes (1924 – 2016)

Multi award-winning pioneer of corporate strategy, Professor Wolfgang Mewes is the founder of EKS® (Unique Positioning Strategy), the corporate strategy that is based on the development and rules of nature. More than 160’000 students graduated during his mandate at his Education Institute for Business Administration; 15’000 of which attended his groundbreaking course EKS®.

Rupert Riedl (1925 – 2005)

The Austrian zoologist Rupert Riedl became internationally renowned with his works on the subject of oceanography. At the same time he raised quite a bit of attention with his system theory of evolution and his evolutionary theory of cognition. Later on, the founder of the Club of Vienna engaged himself with questions of society and environment. Riedl's big inspiration was Jules Verne.

Hans Siegwart (1925 – 2003)

President of the University of St. Gallen, co-founder of the Management Zentrum St. Gallen and president of the Foundation for the Promotion of System-Oriented Management Theory, Professor Hans Siegwart was one of the outstanding exponents of modern-day accountancy.

Otto Steiger (1938 – 2008)

Professor of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Bremen, Otto Steiger succeeded in fundamentally reformulating and re-establishing the subject of economics. For his paper "Property Economics versus New Institutional Economics" (published in the JEI March 2006), Otto Steiger was awarded the 2006 K. William Kapp Prize by the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy and the Kapp Foundation.

Hans Ulrich (1919 – 1997)

Professor at the University of St. Gallen and father of the System-Oriented Management and 1st Generation St. Gallen Management Model, Hans Ulrich was Fredmund Malik’s academic teacher and mentor. Hans Ulrich’s work gained international recognition and was acknowledged by the award of honorary doctorates by the Universities of Zurich, Augsburg, and Mannheim.


The reputation of the University of St. Gallen for management education was significantly established by Hans Ulrich’s work. His collected works were published in a special edition by the Foundation for the Promotion of System-Oriented Management Theory and remain the most important works in System-Oriented Management.

Frederic Vester (1925 – 2003)*

Founder of bio-cybernetics and the father of the term "interconnected thinking". His most outstanding pioneering work was making the abstract theory of cybernetics tangible even to children. Frederic Vester won more than 13 awards, amongst them the Philip Morris research prize for the development and application of the set of cybernetic planning tools now known as the Malik Sensitivity Model®.


His bestselling book "Thinking, Learning, Forgetting" has been translated into 13 languages.

Norbert Wiener (1894 – 1964)

One of the most important Cyberneticians of the first Generation, who invented the word "Cybernetics" in his book "Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine" in the first place.