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Article
Publication date: 12 November 2018

Laura M. Keyes and Abraham David Benavides

The purpose of this paper is to juxtapose chaos theory with organizational learning theory to examine whether public organizations co-evolve into a new order or rather…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to juxtapose chaos theory with organizational learning theory to examine whether public organizations co-evolve into a new order or rather institutionalize newly gained knowledge in times of a highly complex public health crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design utilizes the results from a survey administered to 200 emergency management and public health officials in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

Findings

The findings of this paper suggest that public entities were more likely to represent organizational learning through the coordination of professionals, access to quality information, and participation in daily communication. Leadership was associated with the dissemination of knowledge through the system rather than the development of new standard operating procedures (as suggested by chaos theory and co-evolution).

Research limitations/implications

There are limitations to this study given the purposive sample of emergency management and public health officials employed in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

Practical implications

The authors find that public organizations that learn how to respond to unprecedented events through reliance on structure, leadership, and culture connect decision makers to credible information resulting in organizational learning.

Social implications

As a result, public administrators need to focus and rely on their organization’s capacity to receive and retain information in a crisis.

Originality/value

This research contributes to our understanding of organizational learning in public organizations under highly complex public health situations finding decisions makers rely on both organizational structure and culture to support the flow of credible information.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Frans M. van Eijnatten and Goran D. Putnik

In order to set the stage for this special issue, the prime concepts are defined: i.e. “chaos,” “complexity,” “learning” (individual and organizational), “learning

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Abstract

In order to set the stage for this special issue, the prime concepts are defined: i.e. “chaos,” “complexity,” “learning” (individual and organizational), “learning organization,” and “chaordic enterprise”. Also, several chaos‐and‐complexity‐related definitions of learning and learning organizations are provided. Next, the guest editors' main thesis is presented, namely that the “chaordic enterprise” might be the goal state towards which a company – seen as a learning organization – might evolve, and that the framework of “chaordic systems thinking” could be used as a meta‐model to inform a learning organization which is capable of self‐organization and transformative change under hyper‐turbulent conditions. Finally, in order to illustrate the contours of a chaordic enterprise, the case of a dynamically reconfigurable, globally integrated, networked enterprise is presented.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 11 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 September 2021

Levent Altinay and Hasan Evrim Arici

Drawing on chaos theory as an overarching approach, as well as guidelines from effectuation and transformative learning theories, this study aims to evaluate the changing…

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Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on chaos theory as an overarching approach, as well as guidelines from effectuation and transformative learning theories, this study aims to evaluate the changing marketing channels in the hospitality industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also aims to develop a conceptual framework that demonstrates the transformation of the marketing structure; in particular, the transformation of hospitality organizations, employees and customers.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses the hermeneutic method and conceptually evaluates the existing actors of the services marketing structure. It also discusses how to transform this structure into the new normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

The findings of the study demonstrated that COVID-19 has resulted in changing marketing channels in the hospitality industry. These include external, internal, interactive and substitutional marketing channels. In response to these changes, the hospitality industry needs to adopt a more transformative marketing structure that requires the transformation of hospitality companies, employees and customers.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptualized transformation of the services marketing structure could help hospitality practitioners, employees and customers to understand the new normal and acquire new abilities, meanings, awareness and learning accordingly.

Originality/value

This study uses chaos, effectuation and transformative learning theories to reconceptualize the hospitality services marketing structure. The contribution of this paper lies in the conceptual pathways it suggests for transforming hospitality firms, employees and customers and for demonstrating their transformed roles and positions in the wake of the pandemic.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 36 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2004

Terence J. Sullivan

This article discusses the viability of concepts such as complex systems theory, evolutionary theory and chaos theory as metaphors for being able to give a global…

2785

Abstract

This article discusses the viability of concepts such as complex systems theory, evolutionary theory and chaos theory as metaphors for being able to give a global perspective of one particular school described in a previous article entitled “Leading people in a chaotic world”. The article restates and re‐explains this one particular case in question and offers a rationalisation for using chaos theory as part of a much larger theory of evolution and complexity. The argument restores the overused and popularised chaos theory to its more useful place as an emergent phase in the decision‐making and subsequent change phase of the evolution of complex systems. In so doing, the paper points out that the use of chaos theory alone as a set of management rules for any school was never the intended implication to be derived from this particular case. Instead, the intention was to create a description of the changes in one particular school organisation stretched across time and space in which its structures and processes were continuously evolving in unpredictable, sometimes chaotic, but always complex directions with other structures and processes inside and outside the school.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Peter A.C. Smith

In 1996 Hubert Saint‐Onge and Smith published an article (“The evolutionary organization: avoiding a Titanic fate”, in The Learning Organization, Vol. 3 No. 4), based on…

2976

Abstract

In 1996 Hubert Saint‐Onge and Smith published an article (“The evolutionary organization: avoiding a Titanic fate”, in The Learning Organization, Vol. 3 No. 4), based on their experience at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). It was established at CIBC that change could be successfully facilitated through blended application of theory such as system dynamics, and the then emerging notions of “chaos and complexity”. The resulting enterprise was termed an evolutionary organization (EVO), and CIBC has continued since to re‐invent itself with great success. Although the all‐embracing nature of chaos and complexity was understood, in retrospect the impact of non‐rational people‐factors, e.g. emotion, trust, openness, spirituality were underestimated. Introduces the six papers included in this special issue, which illustrate how much more sophisticated chaos and complexity have become in the decade since Hubert Saint‐Onge and Smith first began to apply the notions at CIBC. However, although the papers in this issue present some evidence of managerial “take‐up” of chaos and complexity, whether “take‐off” will ever ensue is questionable. It is proposed that, just as in the 1990s, if there is one thing that more than any other stands in the way of exploration and adoption of these ideas, it is management mindsets.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 10 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2018

Hans Vermaak and Léon de Caluwé

The colors of change is an overview of change paradigms, created about two decades ago, that has been intensively used, tested, refined, shared, and elaborated by…

Abstract

The colors of change is an overview of change paradigms, created about two decades ago, that has been intensively used, tested, refined, shared, and elaborated by practitioners and academics alike. Here, the “color theory” is presented as it is now, and is situated within the literature. Its four main applications are described as well as rules of thumb that have been derived from reflective practice. This chapter illustrates that the color theory is clearly not one thing to all people, as it is understood in very different ways, both in terms of its theoretical foundations as well as the complexity of its applications. This probably adds to the versatility of the theory. Bringing together key insights about the color theory for academics and practitioners, this chapter strives both to give a concise overview and to explore its richness.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-351-3

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 January 2010

Sandra Fisser and Marie‐Joëlle Browaeys

Organizations as complex networks aim to survive. The purpose of this paper is to provide an alternative perspective to current organizational challenges by considering…

2473

Abstract

Purpose

Organizations as complex networks aim to survive. The purpose of this paper is to provide an alternative perspective to current organizational challenges by considering team learning as key factor for surviving this turbulent environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The dominating approach in this paper comes from the complexity paradigm. This paper examines team learning of an actual case of an organization in a fast changing environment. It explores the business applicability of concepts of complexity theory to the issues described in the case. Furthermore, it synthesizes these concepts with literature on learning in general and team learning in particular.

Findings

For coping with highly dynamic environments, management should reconsider traditional ways of thinking. Teams as networks of learning are a valuable corporate asset that an organization needs to foster when aiming to survive. Measures like minimal interaction rules, individual autonomy and a flexible organization structure demand a new perspective in which subjectivity, non‐linear methods and understanding replace attempts for objectivity, linear thinking and control.

Practical implications

The alternative approach from the complexity paradigm may be of benefit when handling managerial and organizational issues. Like the challenge of the organization of this case study is shifted from managing teams to facilitating team learning.

Originality/value

The paper offers a better understanding of the team learning process and how learning is shared within an organization from an alternative perspective.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Aaron C.T. Smith and Fiona Graetz

The purpose of this paper is to describe how order‐generated rules applied to organizing form dualities can assist in creating the conditions for emergent, self‐organized…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe how order‐generated rules applied to organizing form dualities can assist in creating the conditions for emergent, self‐organized behavior in organizations, thereby offering an operational deployment of complexity theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins by showing that the concept of dualities is consistent with complexity‐thinking. In addition, when applied to organizing forms, dualities represent a practical way of affecting an organization's balance between chaos and order. Thus, when augmented with order‐generating rules, organizing form dualities provide an access point for the practical instigation of edge of chaos conditions and the potential for emergence.

Findings

The paper maintains that many attempts to “manage” complexity have been associated with changes to organizing forms, specifically toward new forms of organizing. It is suggested that organizing form dualities provide some management guidance for encouraging the “edge of chaos” conditions advocated in complexity theory, although the details of self‐organization cannot be prescribed given the assumptions of non‐linearity associated with complexity theory perspectives. Finally, it is proposed that organizing dualities can elucidate the nature and application of order‐generating rules in non‐linear complex systems.

Practical implications

Dualities offer some guidance toward the practical implementation of complexity theory as they represent an accessible sub‐system where the forces for order and chaos – traditional and new forms of organizing respectively – are accessible and subject to manipulation.

Originality/value

The commonalities between dualities and complexity theory are intuitive, but little conceptual work has shown how the former can be employed as a guide to managing organizing forms. Moreover, this approach demonstrates that managers may be able to stimulate “edge of chaos” conditions in a practical way, without making positivistic assumptions about the causality associated with their efforts.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 44 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 1996

Susan B. Gault and August T. Jaccaci

Suggests how periodicity can be used with complexity theory to enable businesses to understand their position in the periodic cycle of gather, repeat, share and transform…

735

Abstract

Suggests how periodicity can be used with complexity theory to enable businesses to understand their position in the periodic cycle of gather, repeat, share and transform. Looks in detail at how complexity, information and organizational structure interrelate and influence learning organizations.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2003

Charlotte D. Shelton and John R. Darling

For the past ten years the management literature has increasingly discussed the concept of learning organizations. Yet, more that a decade later, few organizations have…

4772

Abstract

For the past ten years the management literature has increasingly discussed the concept of learning organizations. Yet, more that a decade later, few organizations have figured out how to create the structures and processes necessary to assure continuous learning. This article purports that this problem can be attributed to the mental models of those leading contemporary organizations. Learning organizations quite simply cannot be created by those who either consciously or unconsciously operate under the traditional, mechanistic organizational paradigm. If leaders are to create authentic learning organizations, they must adapt a new way of viewing reality – a new paradigm or mental model. The authors suggest that the new science theories of chaos, complexity, and quantum mechanics provide the foundation for a new way of thinking about organizations. They demonstrate the relevance of these theories for those who wish to create learning organizations and present a new‐science‐based skill set that enables twenty‐first‐century leaders to move beyond organizational adaptation to proactive change and continuous learning.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 10 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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