Fractal thoughts on management


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The use of fractals in management is still a fragmented field. This presentation offers some ideas on using fractals in modern management

Published in: Business
  • Many natural systems exhibit fractal organization and behavior.
    A fractal is a branchlike structure.
    Think of a tree!
    Trees have many more small branches than large ones. This characteristic is also sometimes called a 'power-law' or 'inverse power law' or a '1/f' organization. Each of these terms means that there are exponentially more small branches compared to big ones.
    Trees are 'self-similar,' meaning that small branching patterns resemble larger ones. This characteristic is also sometimes called 'scale invariance' or 'scale free' because no matter the size you are looking at, the general branching shape is the same.
    The complexity of tree branching patterns can be quantified. Fractals are called 'fractals' because they exist in fractional dimensions. A line fits perfectly in one-dimension. A plane (like a piece of paper) fits in two-dimensions. Fractals fit in between a line and a plane (or in the real world between two and three dimensions). More simply, because they are so complex, with huge numbers of tini tiny branches, trees never quite reach three dimensions. If you put them in a box, there will always be some space left over.

    You may quickly recognize that many other natural structures besides trees are fractals: Neurons, rivers, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, geological fault lines, snow-flakes, and so on.

    Natural systems also produce fractal behavior over time or in dynamics. Earthquakes are a common example. There are many more small earthquakes than large ones (which is nice by the way).
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  • For the idea of a living organization isn't just a semantic or academic issue. It has enormous practical, day-to-day implications for managers. It means that, in a world that changes massively, many times, during the course of your career, you, as a manager, need to involve people in the continued development of the organization. The amount that people care, trust, and engage themselves at work has not only a direct effect on the bottom line, but the most direct effect, of any factor, on your organization's expected lifespan. The fact that many managers ignore this imperative is one of the great tragedies of our times.
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  • @Mohammed_Alshaer
    Thanks Dr. Mohammed for your comment. Yes, seeing the present without an eye for the future possibilities would lead us astray. Problems grow and if they are small today they might become very big tomorrow.
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  • Dear Dr Ali,

    I would say that it is usually the case that most organizations do not consider the butterfly effect nature of any business decision that they make on daily bases. I really like the 'nail' analogy. It helps conveying the picture. Great presentation from a great thinker.
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  • @valawebg
    Thanks, Gordon for your bright comment. I agree in full with your comment. The reason I used fractals is to draw attention to the use of Fibonacci-based approach. Thanks
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Fractal thoughts on management

  1. 1. Let us start with a proven storythat shows howsmall problemsdevelopinto big ones. The ButterflyEffect of organizationalproblems
  2. 2. For want of a battle the country was lostFor want of a message the battle was lostFor want of a soldier the message was lostFor want of a horse the soldier was lost For want of a shoe the horse was lost For want of a nail the shoe was lost
  3. 3. 5-WhysCountry 5-WhysBattle 5-WhysSoldier 5-Whys Shoe 5-Whys Nail
  4. 4. Another idea is to apply Fibonacci numbers sequence on layers 5-Whys Country 3-Whys Battle 2-Whys Soldier 1-Whys Shoe 1-Whys Nail
  5. 5. Another idea is to apply Fibonacci numberssequence on layers in Reverse Order from the Previous Slide 1-Why 1-Whys Country 2-Whys Battle 3-Whys Soldier 5-Whys Shoe Nail
  6. 6. Insistence on managingorganizations like machinesCopernicus dilemma when hedeclared that the earth rotatesAristotle theory all matter beingmade of the four elements: fire,water, earth, and air.And the list goes on
  7. 7. OpinionsHistory Past Successes Beliefs
  8. 8. Distant Near TodayFuture Future
  9. 9. Organizations must have the capacityto respond to change and disorder byreorganizing themselves and NOTsticking to the past
  10. 10. BehaveEvolve Adapt
  11. 11. Trust each other.Exchange informationMeet customers needs.
  12. 12. High InValue Routine BetweenWork Work Work
  13. 13. Focusing on thepresent fool usto rememberthe life cycle ofproducts andservices
  14. 14. The joy of today could be thesorrow of tomorrow
  15. 15. High Value Work MediumValue WorkRoutine Work
  16. 16. Like onion, the outmost layer is the one that is exposed greatly to change Change Don’tChange when change needed purpose
  17. 17. Living organizations grow and adapt towards a purpose