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Article
Publication date: 8 September 2021

Amanda L. Lizier

This paper aims to draw on data from a study of professionals’ experiences of work and learning framed by a complex adaptive systems approach to examine the nexus of work…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to draw on data from a study of professionals’ experiences of work and learning framed by a complex adaptive systems approach to examine the nexus of work and learning in complex adaptive organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used an adapted phenomenographic approach and the complex adaptive systems conceptual framework (CAOCF) to analyse data from semi-structured interviews with fourteen professionals from a variety of organisations and industry sectors within Sydney, Australia.

Findings

The findings highlight that work in complex adaptive organisations is best described as fluid work. Further, the findings suggest that fluid work influences professionals towards flexible learning approaches that take place in the flow of work.

Originality/value

This paper empirically demonstrates the nexus of work and learning as experienced by professionals in their day-to-day work, as well as the ways in which fluid work influences flexible and adaptable learning through participation in work.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2004

Drew Wollin and Chad Perry

This article explores how complexity theory can help marketers to understand a market and to operate within it. Essentially, it argues that complexity theory has the…

3686

Abstract

This article explores how complexity theory can help marketers to understand a market and to operate within it. Essentially, it argues that complexity theory has the potential to provide both global and some local explanations of markets and is complementary to local theories like relationship marketing that may be more familiar to marketing managers. It establishes four types of complex systems that might be used to model social systems. Of these four types, complex adaptive systems seem most appropriate to describe markets. This is illustrated in an investigation of Honda in the global automobile industry. Implications for marketing managers centre on the need to understand feedback loops at many levels of a path‐dependent system that are inherently difficult to predict and control.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 38 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Amanda Louise Lizier

The purpose of this paper is to outline an empirical study of how professionals experience work and learning in complex adaptive organisations. The study uses a complex

1137

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline an empirical study of how professionals experience work and learning in complex adaptive organisations. The study uses a complex adaptive systems approach, which forms the basis of a specifically developed conceptual framework for explaining professionals’ experiences of work and learning.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 professionals from a variety of organisations, industry sectors and occupations in Sydney, Australia. The transcripts were subjected to an adapted phenomenographic analysis, and an analysis using the complex adaptive organisations conceptual framework (CAOCF).

Findings

The findings indicated that professionals experienced learning mainly through work, where work was experienced as fluid and influenced by varying degrees of emergence, agency, complex social networks and adaptation. Further, the greater the degree of work fluidity, the greater the impetus towards learning through work, empirically indicating that the experience of learning in contemporary organisations is entwined with work.

Originality/value

This study used the concept of complex adaptive organisations as a conceptual framework, coupled with an adapted phenomenographic methodology, to investigate individual professionals’ experiences of work and learning. The adoption of the concept of complex adaptive organisations provided a rigorous way to adopt a complexity approach. In particular, the concept of emergence provides insights into how organisational complexity influences work and, subsequently, learning and adaptation.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 29 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Karma Sherif

This article proposes an adaptive strategy for managing knowledge in complex organizations. Specifically, this article aims to extend understanding in the field of

4540

Abstract

Purpose

This article proposes an adaptive strategy for managing knowledge in complex organizations. Specifically, this article aims to extend understanding in the field of knowledge management (KM) by examining how an adaptive strategy for managing knowledge can help organizations become innovative and build dynamic capabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature on complexity theory and KM is reviewed to propose the development of an adaptive strategy that will assist organization in managing knowledge and becoming innovative. The paper is structured around the following constructs: complexity theory, complex adaptive systems, and KM.

Findings

A link between an adaptive strategy for managing knowledge, innovation and dynamic capability is established. The central proposition of the article is the organizations that follow adaptive complex processes for managing knowledge are better able to compete in the market today.

Research limitations/implications

This article extends prior research on KM by proposing complexity theory as a framework for establishing adaptive strategies for managing knowledge and fostering innovation.

Practical implications

With the dramatic environmental changes and fierce competition that organizations are faced with today, managing knowledge becomes critical for driving creativity and adapting to changing markets. Organizations lack direction on how best to develop an adaptive strategy for managing knowledge. The revelation of adaptive processes for managing knowledge in complex systems can lead to more effective KM practices and a higher rate of creativity and flexibility.

Originality/value

The study answers recent calls for defining processes for the second generation of KM that shift focus from the codification and transfer of knowledge to the creation of new knowledge. Although previous studies have established a link between complex adaptive systems and KM, this study takes it one step further in defining an integrative strategy for the creation of knowledge based on the processes of complex adaptive systems. The paper provides a foundation for future studies to test the causal relationship between adaptive processes for knowledge creation and innovation.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Maurice Yolles

Complex systems adapt to survive, but little comparative literature exists on various approaches. Adaptive complex systems are generic, this referring to propositions…

Abstract

Purpose

Complex systems adapt to survive, but little comparative literature exists on various approaches. Adaptive complex systems are generic, this referring to propositions concerning their bounded instability, adaptability and viability. Two classes of adaptive complex system theories exist: hard and soft. Hard complexity theories include Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) and Viability Theory, and softer theories, which we refer to as Viable Systems Theories (VSTs), that include Management Cybernetics at one extreme and Humanism at the other. This paper has a dual purpose distributed across two parts. In Part 1, the purpose of this paper is to identify the conditions for the complementarity of the two classes of theory. In Part 2, the purpose is to explore (in part using Agency Theory) the two classes of theory and their proposed complexity continuum.

Design/methodology/approach

A detailed analysis of the literature permits a distinction between hard and softer approaches towards modelling complex social systems. Hard theories are human-incommensurable, while soft ones are human-commensurable, therefore more closely related to the human condition. The characteristics that differentiate between hard and soft approaches are identified.

Findings

Hard theories are more restrictive than the softer theories. The latter can embrace degrees of “softness” and it is explained how hard and soft approaches can be mixed, sometimes creating Harmony.

Originality/value

There are very few explorations of the relationship between hard and soft approaches to complexity theory, and even fewer that draw in the notion of harmony.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Alastair Orr, Jason Donovan and Dietmar Stoian

Smallholder value chains are dynamic, changing over time in sudden, unpredictable ways as they adapt to shocks. Understanding these dynamics and adaptation is essential…

5072

Abstract

Purpose

Smallholder value chains are dynamic, changing over time in sudden, unpredictable ways as they adapt to shocks. Understanding these dynamics and adaptation is essential for these chains to remain competitive in turbulent markets. Many guides to value chain development, though they focus welcome attention on snapshots of current structure and performance, pay limited attention to the dynamic forces affecting these chains or to adaptation. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper develops an expanded conceptual framework to understand value chain performance based on the theory of complex adaptive systems. The framework combines seven common properties of complex systems: time, uncertainty, sensitivity to initial conditions, endogenous shocks, sudden change, interacting agents and adaptation.

Findings

The authors outline how the framework can be used to ask new research questions and analyze case studies in order to improve our understanding of the development of smallholder value chains and their capacity for adaptation.

Research limitations/implications

The framework highlights the need for greater attention to value chain dynamics.

Originality/value

The framework offers a new perspective on the dynamics of smallholder value chains.

Details

Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-0839

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 July 2020

Henry Adobor

The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework for extending an understanding of resilience in complex adaptive system (CAS) such as supply chains using…

1357

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual framework for extending an understanding of resilience in complex adaptive system (CAS) such as supply chains using the adaptive cycle framework. The adaptive cycle framework may help explain change and the long term dynamics and resilience in supply chain networks. Adaptive cycles assume that dynamic systems such as supply chain networks go through stages of growth, development, collapse and reorientation. Adaptive cycles suggest that the resilience of a complex adaptive system such as supply chains are not fixed but expand and contract over time and resilience requires such systems to navigate each of the cycles’ four stages successfully.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses the adaptive cycle framework to explain supply chain resilience (SCRES). It explores the phases of the adaptive cycle, its pathologies and key properties and links these to competences and behaviors that are important for system and SCRES. The study develops a conceptual framework linking adaptive cycles to SCRES. The goal is to extend dynamic theories of SCRES by borrowing from the adaptive cycle framework. We review the literature on the adaptive cycle framework, its properties and link these to SCRES.

Findings

The key insight is that the adaptive cycle concept can broaden our understanding of SCRES beyond focal scales, including cross-scale resilience. As a framework, the adaptive cycle can explain the mechanisms that support or prevent resilience in supply chains. Adaptive cycles may also give us new insights into the sort of competences required to avoid stagnation, promote system renewal as resilience expands and contracts over time.

Research limitations/implications

The adaptive cycle may move our discussion of resilience beyond engineering and ecological resilience to include evolutionary resilience. While the first two presently dominates our theorizing on SCRES, evolutionary resilience may be more insightful than both are. Adaptive cycles capture the idea of change, adaptation and transformation and allow us to explore cross-scale resilience.

Practical implications

Knowing how to prepare for and overcoming key pathologies associated with each stage of the adaptive cycle can broaden our repertoire of strategies for managing SCRES across time. Human agency is important for preventing systems from crossing critical thresholds into imminent collapse. More importantly, disruptions may present an opportunity for innovation and renewal for building more resilience supply chains.

Originality/value

This research is one of the few studies that have applied the adaptive cycle concept to SCRES and extends our understanding of the dynamic structure of SCRES

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 January 2022

Qin Lin and Lingfeng Yi

This study aims to investigate the multiple influence paths or underlying mechanisms of entrepreneurial leadership (EL) on adaptive innovation from the perspectives of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the multiple influence paths or underlying mechanisms of entrepreneurial leadership (EL) on adaptive innovation from the perspectives of organizational learning and resource management, drawing on complex adaptive system theory.

Design/methodology/approach

With a questionnaire survey of 317 senior and middle managers from different firms in China, structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized conceptual model, and bootstrapping method was employed to examine the multiple mediating effects.

Findings

Results indicate that EL has a significant and positive effect on adaptive innovation. This relationship is partially mediated through exploitative learning, exploratory learning, resource bricolage and boundary-spanning integration, respectively. The impact of EL on adaptive innovation is also sequentially transmitted through exploitative learning and resource bricolage or exploratory learning and boundary-spanning integration.

Originality/value

Adaptive innovation has become a firm competition strategy to cope with dynamic changes in current uncertain environment where EL can play its effectiveness to engage firms in such innovation activities. However, the question of why and how EL drives adaptive innovation has yet to be discussed. This study highlights the innovation effectiveness of EL and the triggering process of adaptive innovation, and contributes to several countermeasures for firms to implement leadership and innovation practices responding to uncertain environment.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 July 2010

Darshan A. Desai

Recent advances in the interactive technologies have transformed the way today's organizations and their different stakeholders learn. Now, because of the increasing…

2920

Abstract

Purpose

Recent advances in the interactive technologies have transformed the way today's organizations and their different stakeholders learn. Now, because of the increasing learning requirements, neither these organizations nor their stakeholders can afford to be too self‐focused while learning; instead, they collaborate and learn together. Existing theories of learning are not sufficient to explain this complex learning “co‐creation”. Therefore, this paper aims to explore how different actors of a value network co‐create emergent creativity, learning and adaptability in the presence of imposed administrative control and coordination.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach adopted in the paper draws on human complex adaptive systems (CAS) perspectives.

Findings

Within the value networks, the emergent and informal constraints imposed by interdependent relationships coexist with the imposed administrative controls. Despite being valuable for planning and coordination, these administrative controls do not foster learning co‐creation, while, within the value networks, the informal emergent dynamics imposed by interdependent relationships, i.e. adaptive leadership, are crucial for co‐creation of emergent learning and creativity. An organization can enable leaders who foster co‐creation of learning, creativity and adaptability; and the interactive technologies boost the adaptive and enabling leadership and support the co‐creation of learning, creativity and adaptability within the value networks.

Originality/value

The research represents the first effort to explore learning “co‐creation” within a value network.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2021

Albert Postma and Ian Seymour Yeoman

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of systems thinking and its value for strategic foresight and scenario planning to address disruptive…

1506

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of systems thinking and its value for strategic foresight and scenario planning to address disruptive forces from the outside, with the outbreak of COVID19 as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper concisely discusses the notion of systems thinking and the concept of complex adaptive systems and puts this in the context of contemporary society in general and travel and tourism in particular. Strategic foresight and scenario planning are introduced as an approach to anticipate disruptions in the complex adaptive travel and tourism system.

Findings

As COVID-19 has demonstrated, travel and tourism is sensitive for disruptions from the outside. To ensure long-term resilience and sustainability, a systems approach embedded in strategic foresight and scenario planning is emphasised.

Practical implications

Strategic foresight and scenario planning is a competence that can be learned.

Originality/value

Given the present status of COVID-19 and other disruptors on travel and tourism, a resilient approach to the future is necessary; thus, the value of this viewpoint paper is the proposition of an adaptive capacity system. This paper offers advice to understand and manage complexity and adaptive systems.

Details

Journal of Tourism Futures, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-5911

Keywords

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