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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Hamilton Coimbra Carvalho and Jose Afonso Mazzon

This paper aims to expose the inadequacy of social marketing to tackle complex social problems, while proposing an expansion in the discipline’ conceptual repertoire. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to expose the inadequacy of social marketing to tackle complex social problems, while proposing an expansion in the discipline’ conceptual repertoire. The goal is to incorporate complexity tools, in particular from the system dynamics field, and the promotion of mindware within a true transdisciplinary paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses literature review to support the proposed theoretical development. It also presents a short case study.

Findings

Most problems that plague our modern societies have a distinctive complex nature that is not amenable to traditional social marketing interventions. Social marketing has simplified the problem of bringing about societal change by thinking that upstream social actors can be influenced in the same way as downstream individuals. This paper shows that this is not the case while proposing a framework to close this gap.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed framework is a theoretical one. It depends on further refinements and actual application to wicked problems.

Practical implications

Complex social problems – or wicked problems – remain widespread in modern societies. Moreover, they are getting worse over time. The paper presents a proposal to redefine the limits of the social marketing discipline so it can be more useful to tackle such problems. Practical approaches such as measuring the success of mindware in the marketplace of ideas are implied in the proposed framework.

Social implications

The increase in complexity of social problems has not been accompanied by an evolution in the discipline of social marketing. The lack of proper conceptual tools has prevented the discipline from contributing to tackling these problems effectively. Some interventions may actually worsen the underlying problems, as illustrated in the paper.

Originality/value

This paper identifies two major gaps associated with the social marketing discipline, in particular the lack of complexity and systems thinking and the forsaking of ideas (mindware) as a legitimate goal of the discipline. This realization corroborates the claim that boundaries among disciplines are often artificial, hindering the proper understanding of complex social problems. In turn, only the use of adequate conceptual lenses makes it possible to devise interventions and programs that tackle actual causes (instead of symptoms) of complex social problems.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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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…

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3605

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

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2012

Sifeng Liu, Zhigeng Fang, Chaoqing Yuan, Yaping Li and Ying Cao

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new system frame named ACPI for research and development (R&D) management of complex equipments according to the ideas of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a new system frame named ACPI for research and development (R&D) management of complex equipments according to the ideas of artificial societies, computational experiments, parallel execution and interactive optimization.

Design/methodology/approach

An artificial system which can effectively model, simulate and recur the main features and behaviors of a real R&D system of complex equipment is established at first. The structure and function of the system and its subsystems, and the relation of factors in the system are analyzed. Then one can perform computation experiment, modeling and simulation in the artificial system to obtain the optimal solutions. Finally, practice these solutions in a real system and at the same time perform the solutions in artificial system, forecasting and warning the possible new situations and problems in a realistic process, and provide controlling scheme.

Findings

The typical characteristics and solutions of the R&D system of complex equipment are analyzed. The sketch scheme of ACPI, the system frame of ACPI for R&D management of complex equipments are proposed, and the key technologies used in implementing ACPI of R&D system of complex equipment are studied.

Practical implications

The outcome of this paper can be used in computation experiments, management and optimization of R&D systems of complex equipment.

Originality/value

The sketch scheme of ACPI, the system frame of ACPI for R&D management of complex equipments are proposed first. The ACPI system can supply a high‐performance, open and interactive platform for the analog simulation and computation experiments of the R&D process management of complex equipment.

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2009

Grzegorz Drałus and Jerzy Świątek

The purpose of this paper is to present research in the area of the modeling of complex systems using feed‐forward neural network.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present research in the area of the modeling of complex systems using feed‐forward neural network.

Design/methodology/approach

Applications of multilayer neural networks with supervisor learning on the own simulator program wrote in Borland® Pascal Language. Series‐parallel identification method is applied. Tapped delay lines (TDL) in static neural networks for modeling of dynamic plants are used. Gradient and heuristic learning algorithms are applied. Three kinds of calibration of learning and testing data are used.

Findings

This paper illustrates that feed‐forward multilayer neural networks can model complex systems. Feed‐forward multilayer neural networks with TDL can be used to build global dynamic models of complex systems. It is possible to compare the quality both models.

Research limitations/implications

The learning and testing data from real systems to tune neuronal models require use of calibrating these data to range 0‐1.

Practical implications

The models quality depends on kind of calibration learning data from real system and depends on kind of learning algorithms.

Originality/value

The method and the learning algorithms discussed in the paper can be used to create global models of complex systems. The multilayer neural network with TDL can be used to model complex dynamic systems with low dynamics.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 38 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2007

Linda J. Vandergriff

This paper seeks to explore new complex venture approaches needed because the classical twentieth century system engineering model does not accommodate the complexities of

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore new complex venture approaches needed because the classical twentieth century system engineering model does not accommodate the complexities of twenty‐first century ventures, especially those with significant knowledge management components.

Design/methodology/approach

A complexity literature review was performed to identify the attributes of complex ventures. Then the fundamental differences in defining, developing, and implementing complicated traditional systems and complex ventures were explored. The resultant complex venture model builds on the insights derived from chaos and complexity theories; observations of several acquisition successes and failures; and doctoral research on agile enterprise decision support.

Findings

Successful traditional systems engineering complicated systems models' built‐in assumptions do not scale to the needed twenty‐first century complex solutions. It is necessary to develop a complex venture model that guides the engineering solutions that: describe complex ventures as flows of intelligence, energy and matter provide value in a dynamic co‐evolving context; provide leadership, not control, with clear and consistent venture‐wide vision that guides empowered individual agent decision making; institute tiered situationally‐aware decision making in both time and place; address factors (material and non‐material) contributing to solution success; provide for rapidly changing context and the co‐evolutionary ventures, including unexpected users, uses, and implementations.

Originality/value

A complex venture conceptual model informs the architecting and systems engineering acquisition practices for this new solution category.

Details

VINE, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2021

Long Chen and Jennifer Whyte

As the engineering design process becomes increasingly complex, multidisciplinary teams need to work together, integrating diverse expertise across a range of disciplinary…

Abstract

Purpose

As the engineering design process becomes increasingly complex, multidisciplinary teams need to work together, integrating diverse expertise across a range of disciplinary models. Where changes arise, these design teams often find it difficult to handle these design changes due to the complexity and interdependencies inherent in engineering systems. This paper aims to develop an innovative approach to clarifying system interdependencies and predicting the design change propagation at the asset level in complex engineering systems based on the digital-twin-driven design structure matrix (DSM).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper first defines the digital-twin-driven DSM in terms of elements and interdependencies, where the authors have defined three types of interdependency, namely, geospatial, physical and logical, at the asset level. The digital twin model was then used to generate the large-scale DSMs of complex engineering systems. The cluster analysis was further conducted based on the improved Idicula–Gutierrez–Thebeau algorithm (IGTA-Plus) to decompose such DSMs into modules for the convenience and efficiency of predicting design change propagation. Finally, a design change propagation prediction method based on the digital-twin-driven DSM has been developed by integrating the change prediction method (CPM), a load-capacity model and fuzzy linguistics. A section of an infrastructure mega-project in London was selected as a case study to illustrate and validate the developed approach.

Findings

The digital-twin-driven DSM has been formally defined by the spatial algebra and Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) schema. Based on the definitions, an innovative approach has been further developed to (1) automatically generate a digital-twin-driven DSM through the use of IFC files, (2) to decompose these large-scale DSMs into modules through the use of IGTA-Plus and (3) predict the design change propagation by integrating a digital-twin-driven DSM, CPM, a load-capacity model and fuzzy linguistics. From the case study, the results showed that the developed approach can help designers to predict and manage design changes quantitatively and conveniently.

Originality/value

This research contributes to a new perspective of the DSM and digital twin for design change management and can be beneficial to assist designers in making reasonable decisions when changing the designs of complex engineering systems.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Paul Lewis

This chapter uses the theory of complex systems as a conceptual lens through which to compare the work of Friedrich Hayek with that of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. It is…

Abstract

This chapter uses the theory of complex systems as a conceptual lens through which to compare the work of Friedrich Hayek with that of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. It is well known that, from the 1950s onwards, Hayek conceptualised the market as a complex adaptive system. It is argued in this chapter that, while the Ostroms began explicitly to describe polycentric systems as a class of complex adaptive system from the mid-to-late 1990s onwards, they had in fact developed an account of polycentricity as displaying most if not all of the hallmarks of organised complexity long before that time. The Ostromian and Hayekian approaches can thus be seen to share a good deal in common, with both portraying important aspects of society – the market economy in the case of Hayek, and public economies, legal and political systems, and environment resources in the case of the Ostroms – as complex rather than simple systems. Aside from helping to bring out this aspect of the Ostroms’ work, using the theory of complex systems as a framework for comparing the Hayekian and Ostromian approaches serves two other purposes. First, it can be used to show how one widely criticised aspect of Hayek’s theory of society as a complex system, namely his account of cultural evolution via group selection, can be strengthened by an appeal to the work of Elinor Ostrom. Second, it also helps to resolve a tension – ultimately acknowledged by the Ostroms themselves – between some of their explicit methodological pronouncements and the actual, substantive approach they adopted in their analysis of polycentric systems.

Details

The Austrian and Bloomington Schools of Political Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-843-7

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Abstract

Purpose

In this chapter, we raise awareness of the larger network in which multiteam systems (MTSs) are situated. We posit that in the complex operations conducted by military units, MTSs are not isolated entities, but rather exist in exponentially complex systems that include additional challenges for both research and practice.

Approach

An operational example involving an Army Brigade Combat Team Headquarters is presented to explain the details of the exponentially complex MTSs inherent in military operations, raise awareness about challenges that plague successful mission accomplishment, and discuss the way forward for research and practice.

Findings

The Army Brigade Combat Team Headquarters is characterized as a traditional MTS, embedded in a system of hierarchical MTSs, further embedded within a parallel structure of MTSs. Challenges inherent in these organizational structures provide direction for research and practice to address the exponentially complex meta-systems that are prevalent throughout the military.

Value

While researchers have begun to address teams existing in larger networks, or MTSs (Mathieu, Marks, & Zaccaro, 2001), much of the existing research is based on small or isolated systems. As a result, our understanding of the meta-systems in which many of these MTSs exist is limited. This chapter provides concrete examples of an exponentially complex MTS within a military environment and highlights challenges to be addressed in both research and practice.

Details

Pushing the Boundaries: Multiteam Systems in Research and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-313-1

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2009

Pavani Rangachari

The purpose of this paper is to seek to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the structure of effective knowledge sharing networks in professional organizations.

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2738

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to seek to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the structure of effective knowledge sharing networks in professional organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review is performed to achieve the purpose. This article integrates two streams of literature: related to knowledge network structure and related to professional complex systems, to gain insight into the structure of effective knowledge sharing networks in professional complex systems. This preliminary theoretical framework is then used to put forth strategies for knowledge management and collective learning in professional organizations.

Findings

An analysis of knowledge networks and complex systems literatures suggests that effective knowledge sharing networks in complex systems may be richer in density compared to brokerage. However, integrating this analysis with the literature on professional organizations, including “subgoals” theory, suggests that the reverse may be true in professional complex systems, i.e. that effective knowledge sharing networks in professional complex systems may be richer in brokerage and hierarchy, rather than in density.

Research implications/limitations

The paper provides a foundation for future research avenues in the professional organizational context. For instance the framework could be used to explore effective knowledge sharing structures across professional subgroups and hierarchical levels in a hospital context; and across faculty, staff, and administrators in a college/university context.

Practical implications

A key implication is that, in order to enable collective learning in professional organizations, senior executives must make proactive and unceasing efforts to: coordinate knowledge exchange across professional subgroups; create cognitive linkages between subgroup actions and organizational outcomes; and connect professional subgroups with the changing external environment.

Originality/value

The theoretical framework lays a foundation for addressing the gap in the literature related to knowledge creation and collective learning in professional organizations.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Terence Love and Trudi Cooper

This paper sets out to report on research by the authors into the development and application of four extensions to Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety (LoRV) that increase…

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549

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to report on research by the authors into the development and application of four extensions to Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety (LoRV) that increase its utility in the arena of unplanned changes in hegemonic control of designed complex socio‐technical systems/digital eco‐systems in the built environment that are structurally dynamic or emergent.

Design/methodology/approach

Research on which the paper is based focused on exploration of classical systems approaches to the design of complex socio‐technical systems in which ownership, power, control and management of structure and benefit generation and distribution are distributed, dynamic and multi‐constituent. Support for development of these four extensions to Ashby's Law comes from observation of four decades of socio‐technical systems development along with critical thinking that combined systems analysis theories with theories and findings from fields of hegemonic analysis, design research, management, management information systems, behaviour in organisations and sociology.

Findings

The paper outlines application of four new extensions to LoRV in relation to unplanned changes in distributions of power, ownership, control, benefit generation and benefit distribution in complex socio‐technical systems/digital eco‐systems in the built environment that are emergent or have changing structures. Three of these extensions have been outlined earlier in relation to the design of learning object‐based e‐learning systems. The fourth extension builds on these via application of Coasian analysis. The paper also describes a suite of five guidelines to assist with the design of complex socio‐technical systems derived from the four extensions to Ashby.

Research limitations/implications

The four extensions of Ashby's Law that underpin the design guidelines in this paper are deduced from observation and critical analysis rather than being “proven” empirically. They are derived from observation of the behaviour of real‐world complex systems together with critical analytical thinking that integrated theory and research findings from a range of disciplines where each informs understanding of hegemonic aspects of emergent complex socio‐technical systems involving multiple, changing constituencies, and evolving system structures.

Practical implications

A design method is derived comprising five design guidelines for use in pre‐design and design of complex socio‐technical systems/digital eco‐systems in the built environment.

Originality/value

The paper describes the application of four new extensions to LoRV that extend the analytical role of Ashby's Law in diagnosis of changes in power relations and unintended design outcomes from changes in the generation and control of variety in complex, multi‐layered and hierarchical socio‐technical systems that have multiple stakeholders and constituencies. From these, a suite of five new design guidelines is proposed.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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