Editorial: The wonderful world of complexity (vii-ix)
A complexity based diagnostic tool for tackling wicked problems (1-17)
Many of societies’ most pressing social policy problems are wicked problems. While complex adaptive systems theory has been recognized as an appropriate way to address this type of problem, complexity-accepting strategies are difficult for public administrations because they are at odds with their current dominant logic. This paper describes the development and implementation of a diagnostic tool for tackling wicked problems that is underpinned by complex systems leadership theories and takes into account the current needs of government. The diagnostic tool was reasoned during a research project that investigated how best to increase the social impact of an active citizenship education program in the City of Onkaparinga, South Australia. The research project identified that while the program developed the active citizenship characteristics desired by the three levels of government in Australia, graduates from the program encountered systemic blocking factors when they attempted to put what they had learned during the program into practice. To increase the program’s impact, the diagnostic tool addresses these systemic blocking factors by focusing on nine leverage areas that enable systemic innovation and change to occur in communities.
Organizational collaboration, hybrid structure, governance and value creation: Evidence from Indian public-private partnerships (18-42)
This study was conducted to understand the various causalities and consequences of the hybrid structure and governance under public private partnerships (PPPs). Narrations pertaining to the central question of the research were collected from senior officials from PPPs in India, including executives from public agencies and private agencies. The grounded theory approach was used to analyze the narrations. Classical content analysis, selective coding and axial coding methods were used for data analysis.Complementary assets and capabilities among organizations, and inability to carry out project as a stand alone organization were the major casualties of the PPP structure. There were two dimensions of governance complexity, i.e., (i) Uninterpretable rules, policies, systems, and (ii) unexpected actions/decisions in uncertainty, in the PPP structure. The causalities in the complexity of the governance of the hybrid PPP structure were (i) organizational attributes, (ii) stakeholders’ expectations, (iii) power of control, (iv) institutional logic, (v) strategic decision making, and (vi) contract management. The attributes to the complex PPP governance system were, trust, ego, interpretation of complex operational phenomenon, mechanism to address risks and uncertainty and interdependencies and reciprocity.
Are theories of conflict improving? Using propositional analysis to determine the structure of conflict theories over the course of a century (43-66)
We live in a world where war rages between nations, where revolution erupts within nations, where global terrorism is the norm, where new forms of conflict are emerging on the internet, and where class struggle is exacerbated by rising levels of income inequality. The very existence of these ongoing problems suggests that we do not have the highly effective theories needed to deal with them. In seeking to improve our theories, previous scholars have claimed that theories with a higher level of structure would be more effective. However, they did not provide a useful measure of that structure. In the present paper, Propositional Analysis (PA) is presented as an emerging methodology for determining the structure of theories with some level of objectivity. Using PA, this article investigates the change in structure of theories of conflict over a century-long span of time. The outcomes of these analyses suggest the need for new standards for creating theory, integrating theories, and choosing theory for research and/or practice. This study shows that our theories are not evolving toward a higher level of structure. Instead, the level is nearly stable. These results suggest a new understanding as to why the field of conflict theory has not increased in relevance and usefulness. And, as a result, suggests new directions for accelerating the improvement of theories of conflict. While this is a small study, it is expected that these results and insights may be generalized to the broader field of sociology.
Follow the energy: Explore energy’s force-fields to see action research anew (67-90)
The analysis of force-fields for managing social change developed by Kurt Lewin, Eric Trist, Fred Emery, and other pioneers in Action Research is used as a guide to explore the role of energy’s force-fields in bring about emergent change regarding people, social groups, and ecology. Action Research uses force-fields as dynamic placeholders to follow the forces influencing people’s interactions develop into emerging organization complexities of social change. The paper charts a course of exploration that follows energy’s force-fields. The exploratory view is through the lens of energy and proceeds along three interlinked paths: 1) Energy: force-fields interacting for change, 2) Complexity: cooperative self-reorganization for change, and 3) Process: Energy’s Work Domains for enacting change. By focusing strictly on energy’s force-fields in action we can see better how change emerges from the processes of energy’s force-fields’ interactions. We can see anew our options for managing social change and develop better ways for us to enact them.
Opening-up closure: An introduction to Rod Swenson’s “Autocatakinetics, yes—autopoiesis, no” (91-125)
Jeffrey A. Goldstein
Critical reflections on decisive moments (126-145)
Managerial decision making is recognized as an important aspect of business school curricula, yet students often perceive a mismatch between pedagogy and preferred outcomes. If students view decision making as conflicted and confused, social and emotional, context-specific and time-urgent, how should the instructor respond? Can a business school decision course be designed so as to empower students? This report examines aspects of an innovative MBA managerial decision making course in which students critically reflect on a decisive moment that was important to their development. The research questions are: Did student feedback indicate that the course was successful? (RQ1) Did student’s critical reflections on decisive moments indicate that the course was empowering? (RQ2)
Adjacent opportunities: The complex Buddhist (146-148)
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