This paper seeks to analyze complexity leadership behavior in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that operate in a turbulent business environment such as this one in South-Eastern Europe. Exploratory research in four case-studies has been conducted. The investigation was based on the analysis of both primary and secondary data. The former gathered through in-depth face-to-face interviews with managers while the latter refers to documentation analysis regarding regulations and procedures. Findings indicate that loose organic structures, job rotations, intra organizational relationships, and allowance of self-organization are the most prevalent management behaviors that can enhance business effectiveness. In addition, the lack of role clarity, internal mess, ambiguity, and lack of strategic vision have negative consequences on organizational performance. The contribution of this study lies in the fact that expands our knowledge on complexity view of organizations by exploring managerial attitude in SMEs within a complex business environment as well as by identifying appropriate complex leadership styles nurturing organizational effectiveness. In this respect it attempts to provide a systematic view of the impact of different Complexity Leadership behavior exhibited on the organizational performance.
Until recently, Rio de Janeiro was one of the most violent cities on the planet. Many of Rio’s hundreds of shanty towns were controlled by heavily armed drug gangs taking advantage of the absence of the state. However, since 2008, a policy of pacifying some of the city’s most strategically important and violent shanty towns through community policing overseen by so-called ‘Unidades Policicias Pacificadoras’ (Pacifying Police Units, UPPs) has led to a significant reduction in violence. This article argues that this success is down to the fact that this policy treats the issue of violent crime as Complex Adaptive Systems. As a consequence, it seeks to facilitate a process of self-organization balanced between order, flexibility, rules and freedom. The article will show how Complexity has been applied, what benefits it has brought, what problems remain and what broader lessons can be learned from this experience for public policy-makers elsewhere.
INTRODUCTION [Osama bin Laden is] a product of a new social structure. A new social feeling in the Muslim world. Where you have strong hostility not only against America, but also against many Arab and Muslim regimes who are allying to America … And that’s why if bin Laden was not there, you would have […]
Within traditional theories of communication the silence is often devoid of any communicative value. When the latter is taken into consideration, it is viewed as depending on the intentionality of the agent producing the communicative act. Unfortunately there are diverging opinions about the role to be attributed to intentionality. Moreover, its detection by the receiver is often difficult or impossible, a circumstance which prevents from building a theory of a number of interesting communication phenomena. We hold that the previous problems can be dealt with by resorting to a systemic view in which communication is nothing but a macroscopic phenomenon, emergent from the interactions between elements of a communicative system. This perspective allows to introduce the methodological tools of Systemics to better describe all kinds of communication, grasping their emergent meanings. Only in this way the emergent communicative value of silence can be detected. Such an approach is endowed with a strong potential usefulness when dealing with the communicative interactions within both small and large organizations.
The classical forms of knowledge representation fail when a strong dynamical interconnection between system and environment comes into play. We propose here a model of information retrieval derived from the Kintsch-Ericsson scheme, based upon a long term memory (LTM) associative net whose structure changes in time according to the textual content of the analyzed documents. Both the theoretical analysis carried out by using simple statistical tools and the tests show the appearing of typical power-laws and the net configuration as a scale-free graph. The information retrieval from LTM shows that the entire system can be considered to be an information amplifier which leads to the emergence of new cognitive structures. It has to be underlined that the expanding of the semantic domain regards the user-network as a whole system. It hints an epistemological shifting from the ontological models to the ontogenetic ones in describing knowledge dynamical representation.
As social entrepreneurs and the enterprises they create gain momentum in the marketplace, research aimed at better understanding the effects of this growing form of social commerce has burgeoned. However, consensus regarding how a social entrepreneur differs from a traditional one or exactly how a social enterprise or social entrepreneurial program differs from other forms of social commerce has not been reached. Indeed, confusions involved in defining social entrepreneurship can hamper attempts to apply the constructs and methods of complexity theory to this burgeoning new arena of “social capital.” To remedy this lack of clarity and, accordingly to more fully grasp the nature of social entrepreneurship, the current paper introduces the diagramic construct of the Social Entrepreneurship Matrix (SEM). Using a systems thinking perspective, the Matrix combines entrepreneurial mission concerns with enterprise profit requirements. It is hoped the interaction that results can serve as a mechanism for better conceptualizing and exploring social commerce.
This paper looks at how ideas, constructs, methods and insights coming out of the sciences of complex systems can be applied to the study of social entrepreneurship. At present, there is no theory that seeks to define social entrepreneurship in complex system terms nor how such a redefinition might contribute to greater positive social outcomes of these kinds of programs. To remedy this, we propose ways that complexity theory can be used to develop useful, and we hope, what is ultimately, a more practical theory. In particular, we explore how complexity ideas might be used to develop a robust theory of social dynamics and of how the mechanisms of social entrepreneurship might be better understood as a practical approach for generating well-defined positive social outcomes. After describing various possibilities, some hopeful thoughts on the future of the field are offered. There is nothing more practical than a good theory. Kurt Lewin
This paper presents an instance of failed large scale social innovation from a cross sector social partnership even though the partnership seemed to succeed in its narrow mission. The mechanisms that led to less than complete success can shed light on the reasons behind the failure of social change mechanisms. The case study presented is between a non-profit organization and a business. It demonstrates that when the strategic intent of the social actors is prescriptive, it imprisons the possibilities for fundamental change. This limitation is due to the pre-defined relatively narrow responsibilities associated with different individual or social agents. The paper is calling to move beyond reactive and proactive responsibilities and to shift towards accepting adaptive responsibilities that require a multidimensional understanding towards all three levels of analysis, micro, meso and macro. Adaptive responsibilities is an empowering approach based on the coevolution of organizational actors. It holds the seeds of reciprocal multi-level change.
Eve Mitleton-Kelly has summarized the theories of complexity into five categories. Four of the categories arise from various natural sciences studying complex systems, and the fifth one mostly arises from economic and social studies, which deal with social systems path-dependence, increased returns and emergence. Mitleton-Kelly raises Brian W. Arthur’s theory into the core of that fifth research area of complexity research. With this article, I want to broaden our understanding related to that area. Therefore, I here discuss three additional inter- or transdisciplinary theories, which deal with the same themes. The theories are: Malaska’s theory, Naisbitt’s theory, and the Theory of energy as the driver of all societal transformation. The theories may be considered as additional benchmarking views for the fifth area, or even its new independent parts.
Introduction Risking the claim of redundancy, I find myself again needing to express my amazement at just how rich this issue’s contents have turned out to be. It’s like a buffet for the mind offering wide-ranging ‘dishes’ of complexity approaches across an impressively diverse number of systems. And in each case complexity is used in […]
Real institutions are ‘open’, which can result in unpredictable changes in both their internal resources and external environment. This implies that a broadly useful approach to decision support must not rely on either prediction or on gathering all relevant information before useful calculations can be made. This paper describes an approach to highly interactive decision support based upon using ensembles of alternative models, robust option analysis, and adaptive strategies.
The aim of this paper is to explore an effective approach to consider the innovative behavior in incumbent business, both practically and theoretically. We initiated a two-stage action research project to participate in the whole process of planning, implementation, evaluation and reflection in a quality upgrade program of the researched corporation. We find that the quality performance cannot be improved by reinforcing the established quality system. Thereafter, applying the principles of complexity theory, we nurture a context to shift the prevailing mental model and bring in innovative behavior within the organization. From an intentional perspective, we apply the single and double-loop learning models to explain the distinctive implications of the two stage action research process. In addition, from the emergent perspective, we propose a recursive process model of interventions on complex adaptive system to further illuminate how these interventions bring in innovative behavior. We conclude that an organization, which can create a balance between tradition and the new (emerging) complexity paradigm, will exhibit both adaptive and innovative capacity.
Collaboration across enterprises is becoming increasingly necessary in today’s competitive marketplace. Such cross-enterprise collaboration requires simultaneously rich knowledge sharing and maximal information security, an often paradoxical accord. Current approaches to information security do not effectively manage this paradox in collaborative knowledge processes that take on an emergent nature. We propose a knowledge worker centric model of information security that considers individual and organizational factors that affect the decisions knowledge workers make whether to share or not in a collaborative relationship. These dynamic decisions involve trading off the consequences of sharing against the consequences of not sharing. We discuss strategies that help ensure that the appropriate balance is struck. A knowledge worker centric approach to security helps promote secure sharing in emergent collaborative knowledge work.
As the fifth volume of Emergence draws to a close and with it my tenure as its editor, I felt it was important to review the mission of the journal and why those of us involved with it feel it is important to study questions of complexity and emergence. Phil Anderson got us started:A movement […]
INTRODUCTION Is there a “thermodynamics” that characterizes change in social and organizational networks? How do they evolve and change over time? Is there some “overall trend” in something (specific entropy production?) associated with their evolution, and hence with the passage of time? The answer cannot be too simple, because we know that civilizations rise and […]
INTRODUCTION For the past few decades, strategic management theorists and practitioners alike have been absorbed with the pursuit of answers to a single question: Why do some firms perform better than others? Until the late 1980s, the search for answers to this question was centered on research that revolved around two major strategic thinking paradigms: […]
INTRODUCTION In spite of the introduction of a range of reforms generally referred to as “new public management” (NPM; Hood, 1991; Osborne & Gaebler, 1992), the delivery of public services continues to pose problems at local, national, and EU levels in terms of cost, outcome, configuration, and governance. Europe as a whole and its individual […]
INTRODUCTION If organizations can be understood as complex adaptive systems, then social structures, even boundaries, may be emergent in nature (Marion, 1999). This is relevant to organizational learning research in the effects that boundaries have on organizational learning and outcome variables. These effects may be emergent and might be explained by locally determined interactions among […]
INTRODUCTION The lenses of complexity theory have been trained on a variety of subjects in organizations, ranging from assembly lines to strategic planning. While this work has been going on, another group of researchers has been actively pursuing the study of workplace spirituality. The latter body of work has resulted in the formation of the […]
During the five years of this journal, much attention has been paid to the vagaries associated with various words and concepts important to the complexity perspective. Recently I attended a meeting on Evolution and Emergence, which brought home to me the continuing gap between how many of the concepts are used in the sciences and […]
INTRODUCTION This article addresses the problem of organizational change in a rapidly changing institutional sector, the United States health care system. After a brief respite, the cost of health care has continued to rise. In addition, industry leaders are concerned about the rate of medical errors and other threats to quality that result in the […]
INTRODUCTION Organizations around the world face a common challenge: the need to improve their performance in order to capitalize on rapid change. In North America, restructuring and downsizing have become a way of life as organizations struggle to regain market share from global companies producing higher-quality products. In eastern Europe, managers and employees strive to […]
Memetics has reached a crunch point. If, in the near future, it does not demonstrate that it can be more than merely a conceptual framework, it will be selected out. While it is true that many successful paradigms started out as such a framework and later moved on to become pivotal theories, it also true that many more have simply faded away. A framework for thinking about phenomena can be useful if it delivers new insights but, ultimately, if there are no usable results academics will look elsewhere. Such frameworks have considerable power over those that hold them for these people will see the world through these “theoretical spectacles” (Kuhn, 1969)—to the converted the framework appears necessary. The converted are ambitious to demonstrate the universality of their way of seeing things; more mundane but demonstrable examples seem to them as simply obvious. However such frameworks will not continue to persuade new academics if it does not provide them with any substantial explanatory or predictive “leverage.” Memetics is no exception to this pattern. (Edmonds, 2002)
INTRODUCTION The ability to see the larger context is precisely what we need to liberate ourselves. (Milgram, 1992: xxxii) Few who have read Stanley Milgram’s book, Obedience to Authority (1974), or have seen videos of these “shocking” experiments can forget them. In our view, Milgram’s experiments offer important lessons about contexts, human behaviors, and the […]