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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2019

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 includes 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 was to identify the conditions for the complementarity of the two classes of theory. In part 2 the two the purpose is to explore (in part using Agency Theory) the two classes of theory and their proposed complexity continuum.

Design/methodology/approach

Explanation is provided for the anticipation of behaviour cross-disciplinary fields of theory dealing with adaptive complex systems. A comparative exploration of the theories is undertaken to elicit concepts relevant to a complexity continuum. These explain how agency behaviour can be anticipated under uncertainty. Also included is a philosophical exploration of the complexity continuum, expressing it in terms of a graduated set of philosophical positions that are differentiated in terms of objects and subjects. These are then related to hard and softer theories in the continuum. Agency theory is then introduced as a framework able to comparatively connect the theories on this continuum, from theories of complexity to viable system theories, and how harmony theories can develop.

Findings

Anticipation is explained in terms of an agency’s meso-space occupied by a regulatory framework, and it is shown that hard and softer theory are equivalent in this. From a philosophical perspective, the hard-soft continuum is definable in terms of objectivity and subjectivity, but there are equivalences to the external and internal worlds of an agency. A fifth philosophical position of critical realism is shown to be representative of harmony theory in which internal and external worlds can be related. Agency theory is also shown to be able to operate as a harmony paradigm, as it can explore external behaviour of an agent using a hard theory perspective together with an agent’s internal cultural and cognitive-affect causes.

Originality/value

There are very few comparative explorations of the relationship between hard and soft approaches in the field of complexity and even fewer that draw in the notion of harmony. There is also little pragmatic illustration of a harmony paradigm in action within the context of complexity.

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1983

John C. Killeya and Colin G. Armistead

In recent years, it has become almost commonplace amongst production and operations management practitioners that the concepts, principles, methodologies and techniques…

Abstract

In recent years, it has become almost commonplace amongst production and operations management practitioners that the concepts, principles, methodologies and techniques from manufacturing can be applied to service operations. This article attempts a framework for thinking about organisations and a suggestion for research to facilitate the transfer of expertise across the interfaces. It is not simply the application of techniques which is sought but a synergistic growth in the effectiveness of production and operations management.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 29 November 2018

Marta Massi and Alessandro De Nisco

Originally conceptualised as an innovative strategy for environmental conservation, ecotourism is now considered as one of the fastest growing segments of tourism…

Abstract

Originally conceptualised as an innovative strategy for environmental conservation, ecotourism is now considered as one of the fastest growing segments of tourism. Although many definitions of ecotourism have been provided over the years, the application of the concept is still inconsistent, shifting its focus from purely nature-based towards more sustainable and conservative activities. Research on ecotourism reveals that ecotourism marketing initiatives are mainly driven by the supply-side or government/environmentalist organisations’ perspective, without taking into account the demand side, i.e., individuals’ motivations for ecotourism. This chapter will provide recognition of the different definitions of the ecotourism concept in order to distinguish it from other similar forms of tourism, e.g., nature-based tourism, and will review the research to build an understanding of the various motivations pushing individuals to choose ecotourism offerings. It will also function as the basis for the development of an appropriate protocol to investigate a sample of ecotourism providers and the congruency of their marketing initiatives with established consumer motivations.

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1982

BLAISE CRONIN

This article reviews existing studies of the invisible college phenomenon and considers the implications for information transfer among researchers, particularly within…

Abstract

This article reviews existing studies of the invisible college phenomenon and considers the implications for information transfer among researchers, particularly within the social sciences. The likely impact of developments in communications technology on interpersonal networks is discussed and a number of areas for further investigation proposed.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Philip Lewis

This article seeks to establish the extent to which a major bank’s (Finbank) reward strategy for managers demonstrates the plausibility of Lawler’s model of reward…

Abstract

This article seeks to establish the extent to which a major bank’s (Finbank) reward strategy for managers demonstrates the plausibility of Lawler’s model of reward strategy. This model argues that business strategy implies individual and organisational behaviours which dictate the content of reward strategy. In addition, three critical elements of the reward system need to be aligned for the system to be effective: the organisation’s core values; the implementation process; and the structure. The data collected demonstrate that Lawler’s model presents three major complications. It over‐simplifies the process of strategy formulation and content; it gives equal importance to values, structure and process although the data showed that the last was of the greatest significance; and it is represented as unitarist and deterministic.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2019

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2014

Arturo Calvo-Mora, Araceli Picón, Carolina Ruiz and Lourdes Cauzo

This paper aims to advance in the knowledge of the EFQM model as a framework for implementing total quality management (TQM). To do so, the work identifies the soft-hard

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to advance in the knowledge of the EFQM model as a framework for implementing total quality management (TQM). To do so, the work identifies the soft-hard TQM factors in the EFQM model, investigates the relationships between these factors and analyses their influence on key business results.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology used is factorial analysis and structural equations – specifically the partial least squares technique. The sample is made up of 116 private firms. TQM is an integral management philosophy which is based on a set of social and technical factors that must be put into practice through a reference framework, such as the one in the EFQM model.

Findings

The work empirically identifies three dimensions that correspond to the soft-hard TQM factors (management and human resources, strategic management of partnerships and resources and processes management). Furthermore, it shows how these dimensions make up a management system that has a significant effect on key business results.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations are to be found in the sample used – private firms from a specific geographical context.

Practical implications

The research model facilitates the design of a management system for professionals and orientates them in its implementation and improvement with a view to influencing key results.

Originality/value

The data have been obtained from the scores of the processes of self-assessment and external assessment followed by firms that were candidates for excellence awards. The work empirically identifies the social and technical factors implied in the EFQM model and their relationships. Moreover, it presents the effect on a type of result that has not been analysed very much: key results (economic, financial, innovation or processes improvement).

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1988

Gabriele Morello

The results are presented from research carried out among a group of economics students at a Dutch university concerning their attitudes towards banks in general, and the…

Abstract

The results are presented from research carried out among a group of economics students at a Dutch university concerning their attitudes towards banks in general, and the main local financial institutions in particular. The technique used was the Semantic Differential, based on pan‐cultural as well as bank‐specific scales. The results show that banks in general are viewed as positive, powerful and dependable institutions, but not very consumer oriented and even less active and dynamic. The data concerning the individual companies provide a basis for differentiated product positioning and communication strategies.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1996

Georg Thierauf

Presents a pseudo‐elastic approach to topological optimization. In comparison with the well‐known homogenization method for topological optimization it is not based on a…

Abstract

Presents a pseudo‐elastic approach to topological optimization. In comparison with the well‐known homogenization method for topological optimization it is not based on a micro‐cellular structure, but approximates the elastic properties directly. A characteristic difficulty of these methods is the birth of new inner boundaries: thinning out the material can be interpreted as reducing the density of a composite micro‐structure, but eventually this process can result in a bubble with zero‐density. Therefore, the bubble‐method is a valuable asset to topological optimization, which helps to overcome this difficulty.

Details

Engineering Computations, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-4401

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1996

Martin Fojt

There are many different views and opinions held about the value of training. Some people, of course, reach the top without any formal training whatsoever and expect…

Abstract

There are many different views and opinions held about the value of training. Some people, of course, reach the top without any formal training whatsoever and expect others to do the same. This is all well and good if, presumably, you are able to train yourself. Most need the support of formally organized training courses or continuous learning, working on the assumption that there are always things to learn. It does not matter how old or experienced you are, there will always be a gap in your knowledge that requires attention. Beware the people who know it all as they will be the ones who have the blind spots and just cannot see trouble ahead. If these people are at the top of the organization and just happened to be in the right place at the right time, which could happen if an organization has been particluarly successful, then this could have disastrous consequences on the business. Business means change, and if you cannot cope or are not prepared to accept or adapt to this change, the end result is inevitable.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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