Organizations can be—and, have been—modeled as rule-based systems. On a reductive view, the resulting models depict organizations as cellular automata (CA) that carry out computations whose inputs are the initial and boundary conditions of a lattice of elements co-evolving according to deterministic interaction rules and whose outputs are the final states of the CA lattice. We use such models to refine the notion of the complexity of an organizational phenomenon and entertain the notion of an organization as a universal computer that can support a wide variety of CA to suggest ways in which CA-derived insights can inform organizational analysis. We examine the informational and computational properties of CA rules and the implications of the trade-off between their informational and computational complexity to the problem of ‘organizational design’ and show how the discovery of operational rules could proceed in the context of an empirical framework.
The traditional view of conflict, as a problematic condition always requiring reduction or elimination and whose conditions or outcomes can be predicted, is incompatible with a complex adaptive systems view of organizations. Thus, conventional approaches to reducing conflict are often futile because the fundamental properties of complex adaptive systems are the source of much organizational ‘conflict.’ In this paper we offer an alternative view of conflict as pattern fluctuations in complex adaptive systems. Rather than needing reduction or elimination, conflict is the fuel that drives system growth and enables learning and adaptive behaviors, making innovation possible. Instead of focusing on conflict reduction, managers are advised to encourage mindfulness, improvisation, and reconfiguration as responses to conflict that enable learning and effective adaptation.
This paper explores the application of new approaches in organizational development and institutional economics to a communicative design process with application in design of social systems. Theory from four authors is investigated and applied to a generalized case study.
The purpose of this paper is to initiate a conversation exploring the epistemological implications of the many forms that learning may take while attending to the demands generated by complexity. This paper offers a look at an emerging epistemology of learning through life that is increasingly complex and intensifying the demands on our thinking, feeling and action. In this paper we examine the interconnections between learning through experience, the construction of meaning, the process of inquiry and complexity. Specifically, the implications of continuity and interactivity as developed in adult learning theory, the construction of meaning as discussed by constructive developmental theory, the process of inquiry as developed by developmental action inquiry, and the relational aspects of interdependence as presented in complexity theory for addressing the challenges confronting contemporary systems.
What will you say to your grandchildren when they ask you about the Great Depression that took place just after the turn of the 21st century and plunged the United States into a funk that took decades from which to remove itself? What? You didn’t hear about the Great Depression of the 21st Century? Denial […]