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Complexity theory review

A set of slides initially designed to help students revise and consolidate their understanding of complexity theory and its application to work and our management of work.

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Complexity theory review

  2. 2. The Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing Inquiry / Advocacy Emotional Space Fredrickson & Losada (2005). American Psychologist, 60 , 678-686.
  3. 3. Characteristics of Complexity <ul><li>Complexity: The swooping ever-changing dynamic butterfly shape that is unpredictable in the short to medium term. </li></ul><ul><li>Simple rule structures account for complex phenomena </li></ul><ul><li>Connections: The rules define the relationships, connections and links between autonomous agents </li></ul><ul><li>Edge: Innovation and change is initiated at the edge </li></ul><ul><li>Well-being: Is the pleasure of being involved with a dynamic & unpredictable group </li></ul>
  4. 4. Complexity in Organisations <ul><li>The dabba wallahs of Mumbai deliver & return 200 000 lunch boxes a day with only 4 signals </li></ul><ul><li>The $100 motorcycle is built by suppliers deciding the design among themselves </li></ul><ul><li>The 787 was built with a 20 page design specification </li></ul><ul><li>See British aerospace and Ben Zander for close-to-home practical examples that integrate ideas with practice </li></ul>
  5. 5. Personal Leadership <ul><li>Understand the groups we are drawn to </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge and appreciate the moments of flow when we really enjoy ourselves and take the initiative with ease </li></ul><ul><li>Explore our engagement with valued groups as questions & responses (rather than as acts-of-will when we might try to make them do our bidding) </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance: Understanding life at the edge, teaching other people about the new economy, personal well-being, personal reflexivity, and the epistemological reflexivity and political reflexivity of a contemporary ‘leader’ </li></ul>
  6. 6. Understanding Complexity Theory in Management <ul><li>Complexity theory underpins the broaden-and-build theory </li></ul><ul><li>Can we intervene in simple ways to stimulate the complex dynamics of flourishing? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the simple ‘rules’ that account for complex phenomenon like flourishing and leadership? </li></ul><ul><li>Losada’s rules? </li></ul><ul><li>The boids? </li></ul><ul><li>Where are examples of the “edge economy” and how does complexity theory change the way we understand organizations and manage working life? </li></ul><ul><li>Minimally, do we understand complexity and the way we engage with complex adaptive systems? Ultimately, can we reform languishing western economies to give you the exciting engaged life that you long for? </li></ul>