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Contents for Volume 6 Issue 1-2

Special Issue:Special Relaunch Double Issue
Guest Editor(s):Michael R. Lissack, Jeffrey A. Goldstein, Peter Allen & David Snowden


EDFounding Editor's Note (iv)
Michael R. Lissack
EDEditors' Introduction (v-viii)
Jeffrey Goldstein, Peter Allen & David Snowden
EDSection Introduction (1)
Peter Allen
ACInterdisciplinarity and Complexity: An Evolving Relationship (2-10)
Julie Klein
ABSTRACTIn recent decades, the ideas of interdisciplinarity and complexity have become increasingly entwined. This convergence invites an exploration of the links and their implications. The implications span the nature of knowledge, the structure of the university, the character of problem solving, the dialogue between science and humanities, and the theoretical relationship of the two underlying ideas.

ACA Cognitive Approach to Organizational Complexity (11-23)
Guido Fioretti & Bauke Visser
ABSTRACTOrganizational theory has construed complexity as an objective characteristic of either the structure or the behavior of an organization. We argue that, in order to further our understanding, complexity should be understood in terms of the human cognition of a structure or behavior. This cognitive twist is illustrated by means of two theoretical approaches, whose relationship is discussed.

ACThe Ancient Practice of Chinese Social Networking: Guanxi and Social Network Theory (24-31)
Scott C. Hammond & Lowell M. Glenn
ABSTRACTThe Chinese concept of Guanxi is a form of social network theory that defines one’s place in the social structure and provides security, trust and a prescribed role. This essay argues that Eastern Guanxi and recently popularized Western Social Network Theory (SNT) overlap in three ways. First, both imply that information is essential to sustain a social system by prescribing a set of behaviors that regulate the flow of information and that define insider and outsider relationships (Guanxi), or strong ties and weak ties (SNT). Second, both offer a theory of change coupled with an ethic of sustainability where order is created by trust as a local, relative phenomena. Finally, both Guanxi and SNT characterize randomness and order as essential, though Guanxi favors certainty and trust over chaos. The implications of the comparison undermine the claims of ‘newness’ and primacy often associated with recent SNT literature. Furthermore, they suggest that Western network theorists can gain significant insight from traditional Eastern thought.

ACAesthetics as an Aid to Understanding Complex Systems and Decision Judgement in Operating Complex Systems (32-39)
Carole McKenzie & Kim James
ABSTRACTThis paper argues that fundamental questions in relation to organizations seen as complex, evolving systems, operating in far-from-equilibrium conditions are not capable of being resolved by mensuration and, in the absence of this, that a reliable decision procedure is capable of being developed by using aesthetics as defined by Henri Laborit in the foreword to Biologie et structure. A brief description is given of a methodology developed by Psi International at the French Institute for training Public Services employees, Dijon, France.

ACComplexity, Complicatedness and Complexity: A New Science Behind Organizational Intervention? (40-48)
If Price
ABSTRACTThis paper explores the origin of costly complexity/complicatedness from a stance in evolutionary complexity. It argues that the tendency to the former is a property of the evolution in the latter. The creation of space, physical and virtual for adaptation may be a managerial solution – one amenable to various interventions which draw upon complexity as a metaphor.

ACThe Political Significance of Small Things (49-54)
Carlos J. Delgado Díaz
ABSTRACTIn this paper I would like to pay attention to two items: First, to how I understand complexity, expressing some ideas through eight thesis that summarize this understanding. Second, hardly touching the surface of human-social complexity, to do it from the perspective of that part of reality that we call Third World, and drawing near to it from the disciplinary problematic of the social sciences, specially political science. To consider complexity from the human-social standpoint means, first of all, to see ourselves - researchers - as people who participate in social life in a context, and not as transcendental subject owners of a privileged and neutral epistemological position that endows us with a definitive knowledge.

PRThe Practitioner’s Landscape (55-60)
Glenda Eoyang
ABSTRACTAn array of complexity-based tools and techniques are available today, but how does the practitioner select a particular approach to respond to a particular need? We present a simple taxonomy to describe the landscape of complexity-derived methods for human systems dynamics. Practitioners can use the landscape to understand the diversity of tools and techniques, to foster respect for approaches different from ones’ own, to build an understanding of the field as a whole, and to select specific techniques to apply in specific situations.

PRComplex Systems as Key Drivers for the Emergence of a Resource- and Capability- Based Organizational Network (61-68)
Giovanni Battista Dagnino
ABSTRACTUsing the complex systems approach to extend the resource- and capability-based theory of the firm and integrate it into the strategic networks perspective, this article introduces the concept of a ‘System of Business Enterprises’ (SBE). By combining an integrative complex systems framework the two perspectives at hand (strategic resources and strategic networks), I define the SBE as a complex dynamic network of resources and capabilities. Along these lines, the study tries to lay down a first sketch of a theory of firm aggregates, and in particular of the resource- and capability-based interorganizational networks, and fleshes out a few learning points for management practice.

PRComplexity Theory and Change Management in Sport Organizations (70-79)
Aaron Smith
ABSTRACTThis paper employs complexity theory and the principle of emergence as a construct to explain some forms of change observed during the analysis of research concerning change in Australian sport organizations. Although a consortium of well-established theories proved advantageous in revealing the nature of change attempts within a sample of eight case organizations, some changes remained inexplicable. Upon further investigation, these changes were observed to have properties associated with emergence. Several examples are presented to explicate the emergent behavior. This paper presents evidence to suggest that complexity theory has utility as an alternative perspective explaining certain types of organizational change.

PHSection Introduction (80)
Jeffrey Goldstein
PHWhy Integrative Pluralism? (81-91)
Sandra D. Mitchell
ABSTRACTThis article is an exposition and defense of a perspective I call ‘integrative pluralism’. I will argue that integrative pluralism is the best description of the relationship of scientific theories, models, and explanations of complex biological phenomena. Complexity is endemic in biology, and various features of multicomponent, multilevel, evolved systems constitute it. The types of scientific representations and the very methods we use to study biological systems must reflect both that complexity and variety. Developing models of single causal components, such as the effects of genetic variation, or of single-level interactions, such as the operation of selection on individuals, give valuable, if partial, accounts. These explanations need to be integrated in order to understand what historical, proximal, and interactive processes generate the array of biological phenomena we observe. Both the ontology and the representation of complex systems recommend adopting a stance of integrative pluralism, not only in biology, but in general.

PHThe Challenge of Complexity: Unfolding the Ethics of Science - In Memoriam Ilya Prigogine (92-99)
Ilya Prigogine Isabelle Stengers (with an introduction by Michael R. Lissack
ABSTRACTThe attendees at the Complexity and Philosophy gathering in Havana this past January were honored to hear a keynote from Isabelle Stengers the noted philosopher of science who teaches at the Free University of Brussels. While Stengers is perhaps best known for her decades long partnership with Ilya Prigogine, what struck most of the delegates to the conference was the creative strength of Stengers’s own positions. This should have been no surprise to those who read French: for Stengers’s work is vast and well read in France. But for those of us who are limited to English, the breadth and suggestiveness of Stengers’s thoughts were new and provocative.

CPSection Introduction: Why Classical Papers? (100-101)
Kurt A Richardson
CPPrinciples of Self-organizing Systems (Originally published in 1962) (102-126)
Ross Ashby (with an introduction by Jeffrey A. Goldstein)
CPGeneral Systems Theory: The Skeleton of Science (Originally published in 1956) (127-139)
Kenneth E. Boulding (with an introduction by Kurt A. Richardson)
FMThe Landscape of Management: Creating the Context for Understanding Social Complexity (140-148)
David Snowden & Peter Stanbridge
ABSTRACTThis report and opinion piece seeks to establish a model in which complexity can be positioned in the context of other management disciplines, in such a way as to effectively communicate to executives in industry and their equivalents in government the importance of applying complexity thinking. It also seeks to differentiate what is termed ‘social complexity’ from ‘mathematical complexity’ in the context of the development of management science. The background to this paper is taken from of the findings in a recently completed study for the European Commission entitled “Business Needs and Technology Trends in Knowledge Management” (the Study). The purpose of the Study was to answer questions concerning the role of, and future research requirements for, knowledge management (KM) that would enlarge an understanding of how knowledge management should contribute to the Lisbon Objectives of Europe becoming a global leader in the knowledge economy. In effect, the study aimed to see how KM should contribute toward growing the competitiveness of European businesses.

FMFaith and Decision-Making in the Bush Presidency: The God Elephant in the Middle of America’s Living-Room (149-156)
Louisa-Jayne O’Neill
ABSTRACTIn The Sacred Canopy Peter Berger explores religion as a sensemaking mechanism by which mankind creates an order from, or imposes it upon, the world around him. More recently, David Snowden of Cardiff University has built on his own work with IBM systems to develop the Cynefin framework which further explores the relationship between man, experience and context as a mechanism to improve policy formulation. This paper seeks to provide an analysis of policy-making within the current Bush administration and the impact of Faith upon that process as expressed through the Cynefin framework. It considers in particular how President George W. Bush’s reported religious sensibilities may be viewed as an effort to straddle the divide between order and chaos. It also examines the evolving relationship between a tightened US security policy and deregulated implementation. Finally, it explores the implications for the nature of the Presidency and impact on religious congregations in the US.

BRReview of "From Complexity to Life: On the Emergence of Life and Meaning" (157-159)
Kurt A. Richardson
ENEvent Notices (160-165)
ISCE Publishing