Introduction “In science one becomes enlightened not by discovering ways to believe things that make no sense but by identifying things that one does not understand and doing experiments to clarify them.” — Robert Laughlin – Nobel Laureate in Physics and author of ‘A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down.’ This fourth issue […]
Traditional ‘normal’ science has long been defined by classical physics and most obviously carried over into social science by neoclassical economics. Especially because of the increasingly rapid change dynamics at the dawn of the 21st century, different kinds of foundational assumptions are needed for an effective scientific epistemology. Complexity science – really ‘order-creation science’ – is particularly relevant because it is founded on theories explicitly aimed at explaining order creation rather than accounting for classical physicists’ traditional concerns about explaining equilibrium. This article sets up the rapid change problem, and shows why evolutionary theory is not the best approach for explaining entrepreneurship and organizational change dynamics. New theories from order-creation science are briefly presented. The continuing centrality of models in scientific realist definitions of modern science is brought to center stage. Agent-based computational models are shown to be better than math models in playing the role of forcing theoretical elegance and continuing the essential experimental tradition of effective science.
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.
This paper draws together material from Operational Research (OR) and Human Sciences (HS) conferences. It explores the need for OR to embrace the full range of knowledge available from HS and for HS, in turn, to integrate and express that knowledge in a form that OR can use. The paper discusses humans as a source of individual and collective variability in complex, socio-technical systems and exposes the challenges facing OR in advising on interventions in them. It then outlines practical approaches to those challenges based on balanced problem formulation, modelling systems ‘naturally’ and embracing uncertainty, leading towards ‘full spectrum’ analysis.
Many current social complexity writings and models – and their writers and modelers from the right and the center of the political spectrum – do not seem to take into consideration the global historical limits of global social complex phenomena; taking for granted that they will always exist and/ or will continue to be of the same sort as they now are. Thus exercising, whether consciously or unconsciously, a ‘There Is No Alternative’ or TINA approach, that, while giving shape to a contradictio in adjectum, that is, a contradiction by itself with a truly complexity approach, is nevertheless considered ‘scientifically correct’ (because non-ideological) and ‘politically correct’ (because it does not deal with any alternatives to the social status quo). In this paper I examine five methodological circumstances (ideologically induced, even in the case of advocates of ‘non-ideological’ writings and models) leading to this TINA treatment. Many current social complexity writings and models – and their writers and modelers from the left of the political spectrum – while emphasizing those global historical limits, do so without due consideration of their complex, global, organizational and systemic nature. These complexity-lacking SARA (Some Alternatives Remain Always) type treatments, sometimes considered ‘radical’ and even ‘revolutionary’ by those that put them forward, are nonetheless mostly rhetorical and lacking any truly heuristic ‘cutting edge’. I examine two methodological circumstances (also ideologically induced) leading to this complexity-lacking SARA treatment. In the face of some of the dramatic circumstances of today’s global world situation, I argue in favor of the urgent need of a real Complexity-SARA-type treatment (stemming from the right, the center and the left of the political spectrum) of current global social problems, if we all want to avoid a global a ‘Titanic’-type catastrophe.
Emergence then and now: Concepts, criticisms, and rejoinders “We seem to be in the presence of a perfectly good dilemma: We must either explain things by what they are or else by what they are not. If we explain them by what they are, we leave them unexplained. If we explain them by what they […]
Introduction In the first part of the series (Richardson, 2004) I discussed four general systems laws / principles -namely, the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the complementary law, the system holism principle, and the eighty-twenty principle – in terms of complex-ity thinking. In this part I continue my analysis of systems theory, by considering the following […]
Introduction In his “Lesser Writings”, in order to defend a radically different paradigm in medicine, Samuel Hahnemann argues: “How can small doses of such very attenuated medicine as homeopathy employs still possess great power?” (Ruiz, 2002). Should we compare it to what Edward Lorenz said about the Butterfly Effect in 1960s: “How can the flap […]
Introduction After extensive research, we have finally cracked the essential code of social interaction, and have discovered at its core profound and universal implications and applications. It is our considered belief and ultimate conclusion – which this short article will eventually prove – that the S2T describes the very essence of social interaction. The complexity […]
This book is a self-published dissertation by Jacco van Uden using print-on-demand services. From an academic perspective, it lacks the organization and tight writing style normally found in dissertations. Further, the support for “organisational aliveness” rests more on a stakeholder model of organizations than a foundation of complexity theory. For the general reader, the flow […]
The author is a founder of the strategy and consulting firm associated with the well-known research center The Santa Fe Institute (for a description of its work on complexity see Waldrop: Complexity). The book is therefore framed within an explanation of the implications of complexity theory for non-human and human systems. The book starts with […]
This is a valuable successor to Capra’s earlier books, all of which seek to discuss matters of critical societal and ecological concern within the framework of scientific analysis and understanding. The book is in two parts. The first three chapters provide a brilliant summary of current thinking about the nature of life, mind and consciousness, […]