Publication date (electronic): 31 March 2009
Derivation of factors facilitating organizational emergence based on complex adaptive systems and social autopoiesis theories
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Modern turbulent business environments are characterized by rapid change that make businesses unpredictable, which brings emergence to the core of modern organizations. Deriving factors facilitating organizational emergence has been undertaken by drawing on complex adaptive systems (CAS) and social autopoiesis theories. Social autopoiesis was particularly chosen as it focuses on social elements, such as communication, morale, trust, etc. and their relation to social emergence, whereas CAS theory concentrates more on adaptive mechanisms that make a CAS produce emergent order, such as inter-relations, interactions, edge of chaos, feedback, etc. This led to the identification of various factors facilitating emergence and the development of a framework for utilizing these factors that were organized into two dimensions. First the factors are classified as either tangible or intangible. Second, the factors are classified as either dynamic, i.e., realize emergent properties, or they are concerned with the enabling infrastructure, i.e., enable the dynamic factors to become effective, or they are controlling factors, i.e., they attempt to balance excessive change with stability to prevent descent into chaos. The framework was applied to an Information Systems Development (ISD) project which showed that it is applicable to any type of business sector. This framework is argued to be a step forward to realize organizational emergence based on complexity principles derived from literature. The split between factors facilitating emergence and generic principles of CAS is not clear in the complexity literature and it is argued to be an important contribution of the paper.
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