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Contents for Volume 13 Issue 3

Special Issue:Complexity and Society
Guest Editor(s):Jeffrey A. Goldstein, James K. Hazy & Jeffrey Trexler


EDGuest Editorial: From Theory To Practice (vii-x)
Jeffrey Goldstein, James K. Hazy & Jeffrey Trexler
PRDeveloping Digital Citizenship For Digital Tots: Hector’s World Limited (1-20)
Deb Shepherd & Christine Woods
ABSTRACT“Since creation of new economic order in the form of new firms is what entrepreneurs do, complexity science makes much more sense as the preferred kind of science for entrepreneurial research” (McKelvey, 2004: 314). This article considers the application of complexity science to a particular type of entrepreneurial research: social entrepreneurship. We explore Hector’s World, a social venture whose purpose is to educate “digital tots” about digital citizenship. We begin by briefly outlining Hector’s World Ltd which then acts as a contextual backdrop for exploring the complexity model of social innovation (Goldstein, Hazy & Silberstang, 2009, 2010) and the concepts of attractors, self organization and emergence. Emergence is then considered from a Schumpeterian inspired perspective as the combining and recombining of various resources. We suggest that within Hector’s World “digital citizenship” emerged as an attractor through a bifurcation process and argue that the key to its successful emergence centers on the combination and recombination of resources and the interactions of various systems within the social networks of Hector’s World. Of particular interest is the impact these interactions have on the key parameters and attractor bifurcation within this system as innovation and change emerges. We suggest that exploring and applying complexity thinking, specifically a social innovation perspective, to social innovation within Hector’s World can usefully contribute to an emergence-based theory of social innovation.

ACEmergence, Social Capital And Entrepreneurship: Understanding Networks From The Inside (21-38)
Ellen Baker, Jenny Onyx & Melissa Edwards
ABSTRACTCommunities are a major research context for both social capital and entrepreneurship, and ‘networks’ is a core concept within both frameworks. There is need for conceptualizing network formation processes, and for qualitative studies of the relational aspects of networks and networking, to complement the existing mainly quantitative studies. Within complexity theory, emergence has been linked with formation of entities including networks, and with social entrepreneurship. In this paper, community networks are interpreted as an emergent dynamic process of action and interaction through an empirical case study conducted in an urban community setting. Interviews were conducted with experiential experts at networking. The study was designed within a social capital framework, but frequent reporting of entrepreneurship prompted additional analysis. Practical and theoretical implications of the network study findings are examined in light of the three frameworks together, and further empirical studies are suggested.

PRComplexity Theory And The Social Entrepreneurship Zone (39-56)
Lee A. Swanson & David D. Zhang
ABSTRACTSocial entrepreneurship is a relatively new field of study. In this paper we examine Swanson and Zhang’s (2010) social entrepreneurship zone through a complexity theory lens. Complexity thinking can provide researchers with a new and fresh method of inquiry as they strive to enhance the research outcomes available through traditional research methods. In this article, we review literature on social entrepreneurship and complexity theory. We then apply a fresh and new point of view on social entrepreneurship by infusing a complexity perspective with the social entrepreneurship zone model while suggesting important research questions which can be addressed with this new framework.

ACUnfolding The Future: Bifurcation In Organizing Form And Emergence In Social Systems (57-79)
James K. Hazy & Allan S. Ashley
ABSTRACTThis paper presents a complexity science informed theory to describe how organizing forms emerge and foster innovation. The theory explores the bidirectional linkages between fine-grained interactions among human beings in a complex adaptive system and the emergent coarse-grained properties that characterize qualitatively distinct and yet stable organizing forms in social systems. By exploiting a mathematical foundation that has been successfully employed in analogous cases in the natural sciences, it opens the door to a rigorous theory of performance and adaptation in human systems by relating changing local rules of interaction to qualitative changes in emerging organizing forms. This process is mediated by evolving models of the system in the environment developed and shared among individuals. Finally, the paper explores whether this model can be used canonically and does so in the context of axiomatic hurdles that must be overcome if a practical mathematical theory of human organizing is to be realized.

ACThe Economic System Seen As A Living System: A Lotka-Volterra Framework (80-93)
Arlindo Kamimura, Geraldo F. Burani and Humberto M. França
ABSTRACTThis paper describes the overall dynamic behavior of an economic system by viewing it as analogous to a living system with productive aims involving goods and services. The focus is on the ubiquitous macro-behavior common to all production systems like a company, a state or a country. The mathematical structure utilized is the well-known Lotka-Volterra set of nonlinear differential equations connecting the physical production capacity and the corresponding production, both expressed in the same monetary basis. The novelty production factor is represented by the parameter variation utilized in the study of living systems. The example presented in this paper is the case of Brazil and the basic variables are the Capital Stock and the Gross Domestic Product. Aspects such as dissipative structures, economic non-equilibrium, multi-periodicity and irregularities in business cycles can be viewed within this simple approach. The model can be useful for analyzing investment policies and scenarios from an aggregated perspective and thereby strategic assessment of entrepreneurial ventures including social entrepreneurship.

PHProbing The Nature Of Complex Systems: Parameters, Modeling, Interventions—Part 1 (94-121)
Jeffrey Goldstein
ABSTRACTThis paper lays-out an approach for probing the nature of complex systems through focusing on parameters in relation to variables and understanding parameters in terms of contexts and constraints. Rather than starting from a set of preconceived abstract principles in order to build up a philosophical conceptualization of complex systems, the paper instead starts with the praxis of working with complex system through the means of modeling, intervening, and leading them. From this grounding in praxis, the paper offers a set of conceptual tools for more effectively understanding and hence working with complex systems, including guidelines into a philosophy of complex systems. This paper is meant to the first of two related papers. The first, the one presented here, looks primarily at the role of parameters in mathematics and the relation of parameters to contexts and constraints. The paper turns to the study of semantics in linguistics as to help unpack the role of parameters and contexts in complex systems. The second paper will present case studies utilizing the conceptual tools developed in the first paper. In particular the follow-up paper will look at various aid programs around the world being used to fight poverty and low quality of life conditions. It is hoped that a complexity science lens can make such programs more effective.

CPProbability, Natural Law, And Emergence (122-151)
Gordon Pask (with an introduction by Jeffrey Goldstein)
FMAdjacent Opportunities: Present Possible, Adjacent Possible, Possibly Possible (152-156)
Ron Schultz