‘Understood complexity’ is a term of Albert Hirschman (1976) whose economic-political theory of ‘exit’ (‘vote with your feet’) versus ‘voice’ (feedback or use your influence for change) (1970), has often been used to (try to) understand whistleblowing (Alford, 2001; Maclagen, 1998). Real complexity is not linear and cannot be adequately studied an model of ‘A causes B’. Complexity entails ‘A causes B’ in a situation wherein ‘B causes A’. Bateson in his ‘ecology of the mind’ understood the circularity of the hermeneutic of complexity; while Weick did not in his theory of sense-making. I argue in this article, via an examination of a play of Ibsen, that circular thinking spiraling towards new insight(s) is much more a possibility of literature (studies) than of social science. Social complexity theory needs (at least partially) I believe to methodologically merge with literary studies.
A complex adaptive systems perspective is used to examine the sustainability of the supply network in the commercial aerospace manufacturing sector. A framework for the analysis of coevolutionary dynamical change is used which examines the structure, integration methods and process dynamics within the supply network. Multiple methods are used for data collection from 8 firms in the sector. The framework identifies 14 management implications related closely to the sector’s current heterarchical supply network archetype. The management implications address known environmental factors for the sector and the broader techno-economic paradigm.
With rising interest in sustainability, ecology is an increasingly important dimension of organizational research. Yet few empirical studies integrate local ecology into coevolutionary approaches where firms are key actors, and fewer still approach the question of sustainability and organizations from a systems perspective. In this paper, we ask how organizations can effectively participate in efforts to increase sustainability from a systems perspective. We develop an interdisciplinary framework for understanding firm-ecology relationships and then explore how this framework sheds light on regional planning and industrial practice in northern California’s wine industry.
This paper qualitatively illustrates how and why interdependence becomes significant in building coherent and sustainable network systems based upon human flourishing. Ethnographic case data of an icon tourism destination is provided to examine the structure, process and patterns that are essential for understanding network organization. The notion of fractals has been applied to more deeply understand the multi-dimensionality of networks. Through the fractal characteristic self-similarity, the data revealed aspects of volume-filling, reciprocity and enfoldment that were central to the transforming power of network organization. Behind the divisible there is always something indivisible. Behind the disputable there is always something indisputable. Chuang-Tzu
This is a conceptual paper about ‘affordances’. It is inspired by Gregory Bateson (1972) who argued that consciousness is a person/environment interactive process; we will focus on how relationships between environments and organisms lead to perceived possibilities, actions, and cognition. Both the relationships between environments and persons, and the relationships between persons and environments count. The connection between world and consciousness is dynamic. There is a mutual causal link between circumstances and organisms. We argue that the world via affordances presents itself to consciousness. Emergent possibilities afford; complexity affords. Scott Kelso’s ‘complementary relating of contrarieties’ affords. Affordances are the dynamic reciprocal relationships between animate persons and their environments. Affordances are in-between—their cognition is situated and contextual. Affordances are the a next frontier for organization studies.
A couple of issues ago I wrote a column called “Engaged Emergence,” about the presence required to witness emergence as it was happening. In that piece, I defined emergence as cause, condition, and effect. For those familiar with my particular Buddhist affliction—they say it should only last a lifetime or two—it might have been evident […]