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The landscape of management
Volume: 6, Issue 1-2
This report and opinion piece seeks to establish a model in which complexity can be positioned in the context of other management disciplines, in such a way as to effectively communicate to executives in industry and their equivalents in government the importance of applying complexity thinking. It also seeks to differentiate what is termed ?social complexity? from ?mathematical complexity? in the context of the development of management science. The background to this paper is taken from of the findings in a recently completed study for the European Commission entitled ?Business Needs and Technology Trends in Knowledge Management? (the Study). The purpose of the Study was to answer questions concerning the role of, and future research requirements for, knowledge management (KM) that would enlarge an understanding of how knowledge management should contribute to the Lisbon Objectives of Europe becoming a global leader in the knowledge economy. In effect, the study aimed to see how KM should contribute toward growing the competitiveness of European businesses. A critical conclusion of the study was that social complexity provided a key strategic advantage of a diverse multi-cultural economic unit such as Europe (and by implication Asia and Africa) in the emergent knowledge economy, and that imitation of the research agenda and focus of the current dominant economic player, the USA, would in consequence be a mistake. In effect an approach to intellectual capital that arose in the context of infinitely available resources[^1], and the creation of a common and new cultural identity based on the exploitation of those resources, is not an appropriate approach for the knowledge economy per se. This paper expands briefly and speculatively on some of the implications of this conclusion.