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complexity and systems thinking theory Free essay! Download now

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complexity and systems thinking theory

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1407 | Submitted: 12-Oct-2012
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The foundation of this assignment is basically to review theories related to a complex adaptive system with a background review of the concepts of complexity and chaos theory, as applied to firms. Key concepts include: ? Firms as complex adoptive systems ? Complexity theory ? Chaos theory

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Assignment - 2
Introduction
The foundation of this assignment is basically to review theories related to a complex adaptive system with a background review of the concepts of complexity and chaos theory, as applied to firms. Key concepts include:
Firms as complex adoptive systems
Complexity theory
Chaos theory
Understanding these theories would help compare the classical corporate strategic management approach with the emerging strategic management theories such as the ones mentioned above. In this assignment, the views of various scholars and researchers are analysed as related to systems thinking and complexity as well as chaos theory. Apart from the reading materials prescribed for corporate strategy module (mainly a book entitled ‘Competing on the Edge’ by Brown and Eisenhardt, 1998) additional academic journals have been consulted to specifically learn about the various theories and identify the elements common to all of the authors. Summary of the articles reviewed is presented as follows.

Firms as adoptive systems
Kelleher (1995) characterised adoptive systems in relation to firms as follows:
Unpredictable within limits - examples—stock market, weather, human systems
Disequilibrium is needed for system growth
Change requires difference, a container and transforming exchanges
Growth depends on the dance of chaos and stability
Advice for managers—long term plans are a delusion, disorder is your friend, stay responsive.

Kelleher, based on the work of David Hurst, Crisis and Renewal, elaborated on the approach to organizational change from a systems perspective. Accordingly, it has been mentioned that “for an organization to be healthy, different parts are in growth while others are in the process of destruction and complex adoptive systems self-organize as a result of non-linear interaction among the various components”.

The Ecocycle in Organizations – Source: http://www.davidkelleher.ca/resources/Organizations_as_Systems.pdf
Complexity Theory
Schneider and Somers (2006) wrote an article that contrasts the assumptions of General Systems Theory, with those of Complexity Theory. According these authors Complexity Theory is a “broad-based movement that contains new tenets about a type of system, referred to as Complex Adaptive Systems”. In the meantime, they indicated that these ideas have deep historical roots by sighting the works of Marion (1999) and Simon (1996) and they indicated the movement gained ground by citing the work of Pascale (1999). Schneidr and Somers further proposed that there are three inter-related building blocks of complex theory (a) non-linear dynamics – indicate systems in state of extreme instability (b) chaos theory – where they argued that “chaotic systems are predictable in pattern, as the strange attractor pattern emerges, but are not predictable in path or specific temporal trajectory” and (c) adaptation and evolution.

Discussion
Understanding Systems Thinking (Source: www.thinking.net)
According to Daniel Aronson (1996) systems thinking is fundamentally different than traditional forms of analysis. The traditional form of analysis focuses on analysing the pieces of the ...

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