Understanding and managing chaos in organizations

Alan Auerbach, Simon Landau Dolan, Salvador García

Producció científica: Article en revista no indexadaArticle


Business organisations can represent what in physics and mathematics are designated "chaotic" systems. This paper proposes that viewing organisations in terms of complexity theory may assist leaders in fine-tuning managerial philosophies that provide orderly management within a culture of organised chaos, for it is on the "boundary of chaos" that the greatest creativity occurs. In the 21st century, companies will no longer be effectively managed by rigid objectives or instructions. Their capacity for self-organisation will be derived from how their members accept a shared set of values. Complexity theory deals with systems that show complex structures in time or space, often hiding simple deterministic rules. This theory holds that once these rules are found, it is possible to make effective predictions. The state of chaos that self-organises, thanks to the appearance of the "strange attractor", leads to creativity and innovation. In this self-organised state of chaos, members are not confined to narrow roles, and develop their capacity for differentiation, growing toward their maximum potential contribution to the organisation. In this way, values act as organisers or "attractors" of disorder. In a culture that cultivates or shares values of autonomy, responsibility, independence, innovation, creativity, and proaction, the risk of short-term chaos is mitigated by an overall long-term sense of direction. A more suitable approach to manage the complexities that organisations are currently confronting is to alter their dominant culture under the principles of Management by Vlaues (hereafter)MBV.
Idioma originalAnglès
Publicació especialitzadaInternational Journal of Management
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 1 d’oct. 2003


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