Emergence: Complexity & Organization (17.3)

Emergence: Complexity & Organization (17.3)

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2015, ISSN 1521-3250 (159 pages)

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Editorial

Editorial: Emergence and origami (vii-ix)
Peter Allen

Papers

At the heart of adapting healthcare organizations: Developing a multilevel governance framework (1-21)
Lara Maillet, Paul Lamarche, Bernard Roy & Marc Lemire

Originating from a concern on the linkage between health policies and immigration policies within healthcare organizations, our goal is to understand how and why healthcare organizations adapt their services to the needs and characteristics of migrant populations. In doing so, we used three angles of analysis: (1) interactions between the stakeholders within an organization viewed as a Complex Adaptive System (CAS), especially between an organization’s various levels of governance; (2) the levers of action implemented by the multiple stakeholders; and (3) the factors that influence the stakeholders. We propose a conceptual model of multilevel adaptive governance able to reconcile two paradoxical adaptation mechanisms: (1) multiple autonomous stakeholders are able to self-organize while acting in a heterogeneous manner; (2) governance allows these heterogeneous actions, through levers of action, to converge toward a more homogeneous collective process.

Real leaders embracing the paradigm of complexity (22-32)
Harri Raisio & Niklas Lundström

We live in a world increasingly characterized as full of wicked problems, which are highly complex, ambiguous, and divergent problems that can never be completely solved. Moreover, the paradigm of complexity has begun to challenge the enduring mechanistic worldview. While there seems to be a sort of general agreement that such a paradigm shift is both important and well-founded, this article cautions against its premature wide-scale application in leadership education. Instead of a purely theoretical approach, we give a voice to three leaders who our earlier research led us to categorize as Chaos Pilots. They all share three characteristics. Each holds a senior leadership position. Each has a deep understanding of chaos theory, complexity thinking, or the concept of wicked problems and, most importantly, each has used that understanding to develop their leadership style. Our aim is not to offer any definitive lists of bullet points for resolution, but to draw from the experiences of these real leaders. We are especially interested in how such leaders who share a worldview of complexity sciences and have a highly attuned understanding of the nature of wicked problems actually go about transforming their leadership style.

Coopting formal and informal structures: Organization structuring from the perspective of complexity theory (33-53)
Kajari Mukherjee

Structuring process—organizing to get things done and achieve results—is considered to be one of the most potent component in strategy realization. Structure connects and weaves together all aspects of organization’s activities, its external and internal contexts, so that it functions as a complete dynamic entity. With changing business landscape, companies are struggling with novel forms of organizing. This study aims to fill the arena of void around study of organizational structure. Nonlinear dynamic properties of any system, falling under the hubris of complexity science, suggests structural options that embraces both explicitly mandated formal structures as well as emergent informal structure. Using qualitative research methodology, the study is grounded to the field—a content creating firm in entertainment industry. Seven distinct stages of transformation process are evinced in the process of creating content, as nature of raw material changes from its unsophisticated and/or untampered mode to content fit for monetization. These were mapped in Information (I) space. The grounded theory substantiates that extent of codification in information about raw material and/or work process will drive the structure, and that the organization design that gets generated is a fine balance between hierarchical, bureaucratic structure and self-organized form, each with preponderance across time and space based on distinctive stage of transformation process of raw material. Study argues that such organization structure subsumes both formal and informal ways of working with a fine balance between bureaucratic and self-organized forms. Actual organization structure depicts the messiness of how real organization actually works.

Using Energy Network Science (ENS) to connect resilience with the larger story of systemic health and development (54-83)
Sally Goerner, Dan Fiscus & Brian Fath

The concept of resilience has become popular in international development circles in recent years, but it is only one of many factors in a larger, integrated, empirical understanding of systemic health and development emerging from the study of energy-flow networks. This article explores how the Energy Network Sciences (ENS) can provide a robust theoretical foundation and effective quantitative measures for resilience and other characteristics that undergird systemic health and development in socio-economic networks. Einstein once said that “theory makes measurement possible.” We believe ENS can provide a more effective theory of economic health, which will open the door to surprisingly precise measures. Our goal is to outline the basic reasoning behind both theory and measures.

On the collective behavior of inanimate and living systems (84-94)
Arlindo Kamimura & Geraldo Burani

The clustering phenomenon for inanimate and living systems and the herding effect for living systems are analyzed under the light of physical sciences. The suggested approach derives from the classical mechanics, the variational principle of least action and fluid dynamics theory is used, qualitatively, to enlighten some irrational behavior of financial systems.

Classic Paper

Chaos, constants and insensitivity to initial conditions: An introduction to Mitchell Feigenbaum’s “Universal behavior in nonlinear systems” (95-128)
Mitchell Feigenbaum (with an introduction by Jeffrey A. Goldstein)
What happened to Memetics? (129-138)
Øyvind Vada

It is almost 30 years ago since Richard Dawkins was given credit for introducing the meme as a concept for studying cultural evolution. Despite the growing interest for both evolution and complexity in the social sciences, the highly controversial field of Memetics has been accused for being a fad and a pseudoscience, never able to establish itself as a recognized research program. Some 10 years ago it was even sentenced to death by some academics in the field. This article examines the status of Memetics, and suggests ways to make it grow further as a scientific discipline.

Forum

Adjacent opportunities: Resilient elasticity (139-142)
Ron Schultz

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