chapter  2
10 Pages

New Work Ethics and the Self as Enterprise

This chapter draws on the work done under the heading of Complexity Science, located at the hard and sharp edge of biological and mathematical sciences, to sketch a metaphor which suggests that organisations such as schools can be thought of as Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). It examines the ways in which, in many instances, discourses of workplace stress individualise the problem of stress. The chapter suggests that the complexification of complexity tends to individualise the responsibility for managing complexity. The chapter makes connections to sociological literatures and traditions that have explicitly addressed the complexity, contingency, unpredictability and unintended consequences of human and system interactions. For Thrift complexity theory is a scientific amalgam an accretion of ideas, a rhetorical hybrid, whose intellectual stimulus is an anti-reductionist one, representing a shift towards understanding the properties of interaction of systems as more than the sum of the parts.