chapter  3
24 Pages

A complexity view of change

An alternative approach
ByDavid Bentley

Complexity is a function of the regularity of a system. Change in a systems theory approach is the result of external influences applied to the system of the organisation. This chapter explores the phenomenon of emergence in a complex adaptive system by thinking about the behaviour of traffic on a motorway as the density of that traffic increases. It focuses on Herbert Mead and his work on communication and the emergence of language to look at the nature of human interaction. The identification of the role of mirror neurons in driving the unconscious process of gesture and response cements Mead's description of the process of emergence in communication and social behaviour. Power and reward also provide powerful attractors for emergent behaviour. Probably one of the most powerful attractors in the area of change is that of the status quo. The chapter provides an alternative view of organisations and change based on a holistic approach to research and theoretical thinking.