This paper extends the concept of self-organization from the natural sciences to management and proposes a framework for the role of self-organization in the handling of adaptive challenges by enterprises. The process of self-organization is a characteristic of those complex adaptive systems that are far-from equilibrium, and results in the creation of order in a system by the internal interactions between agents leading to stronger adaptive capability. This paper presents a synthesis of the concept of self-organization suitable for management with communication as its central focus. Results from an empirical study in three Australian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) indicate that an adequate level of three key factors—trust level, open communication and strength of the value system in an enterprise—is needed for self-organization to occur.
The paper investigates three levels of learning—adaptive, reactive and expansive—for the transformation of knowledge to enhance innovation and competitive advantage in commercial aerospace supply chains. A perspective of supply chains as complex Activity Networks is used for data analysis based on in-depth interviews in a global setting. Themes for the interviews were identified through rigorous literature research. The paper provides evidence of levels of learning in commercial aerospace supply chains. We found that a) adaptive learning brings a supply chain up to present industrial standards only, b) reactive learning makes the supply chain competitive, and c) expansive learning gives the supply chain potential for competitive advantage. By considering supply chains as the interaction of different work activities, the forces of change can be better understood. The findings may be useful to practitioners in understanding the importance of different levels of learning to supply chain sustainability.
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.
In the region of self-organized criticality (SOC) interdependency between multi-agent system components exists and slight changes in near-neighbor interactions can break the balance of equally poised options leading to transitions in system order. In this region, frequency of events of differing magnitudes exhibits a power law distribution. The aim of this paper was to investigate whether a power law distribution characterized attacker-defender interactions in team sports. For this purpose we observed attacker and defender in a dyadic sub-phase of rugby union near the try line. Videogrammetry was used to capture players’ motion over time as player locations were digitized. Power laws were calculated for the rate of change of players’ relative position. Data revealed that three emergent patterns from dyadic system interactions (i.e., try; unsuccessful tackle; effective tackle) displayed a power law distribution. Results suggested that pattern forming dynamics dyads in rugby union exhibited SOC. It was concluded that rugby union dyads evolve in SOC regions suggesting that players’ decisions and actions are governed by local interactions rules.
Surprising, unexpected events happen all the time which can be thought of and addressed in a variety of ways. On one hand, surprise can be something that is not desired, something suppressed or controlled for. Or, it can be something that is embraced, sought out or encouraged. Conceptually speaking, conceiving surprise in this fashion is not uncommon. Still, there seems to be an important piece missing from the many discourses on surprise. This paper offers some a possible framework to understand the experience of surprise in relation to a more complexified framing of the lived-experience. Specifically, by drawing upon principles from the complexity sciences, this paper considers the lived human experience of surprise as an emergent phenomenon that arises from a complex system.
From Crisp to Confounded: An Introduction to George Conger’s “Doctrine of Levels” Metaphysical and Emergentist Levels A professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, George Conger was loosely associated with the movement known as Emergent Evolutionism, the proto-phase of emergence-based thought in philosophy, the sciences, and even theology existing roughly from 1915 to 1940 […]
Social networks aren’t becoming a part of our culture—they are our culture. And as never before, as societies and organizations are more connected, they are finding that they also have to be more responsive to the emergence of this new collective empowerment. It is the underlying resonance within social networks that keeps them vital, connected […]
As critiques of and dislike for organizational teamwork increase, alternatives must be sought for both pedagogy and practice. Competitive sports metaphors are often used in management practice and teaching; unfortunately, these tend to reflect distinctly American values of zero-sum competition, cybernetic, error-correcting efficiency, individualistic success, therefore de-emphasizing what (American) organizational teamwork needs most: creativity, innovation, genuine autonomy and inventiveness. This is precisely what makes both the pedagogy and practice ineffective. This essay proposes the game of soccer as an alternative metaphor and heuristic device. I contend that both organizational teamwork and soccer are quantum phenomena. Specifically, I demonstrate how soccer teamwork is nonlinear, holonic, emergent and engaged, and articulate those concepts with extant, conventional understandings of teamwork in organizations. My hope for the essay is that the soccer metaphor will inspire a more complex understanding of organizational teamwork as a collaborative (rather than simply cooperative or coordinated) activity.
The concepts of emergence and collective intelligence are fascinating, and from their study might come good things. But neither is ‘good’ by definition and we ought to be careful not to let our enthusiasm and interest lead to us into speaking too casually about the benefits of ‘encouraging emergence’ or ‘developing collective intelligence’. We can find ourselves battling the emergent properties of a system, and working against its collective intelligence. This article explores an example to illustrate this from the field of social care. It also discusses some tentative ‘laws’ and some issues resulting from the positive nature of popular perspectives on emergence.