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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Systems Theory

Photo courtesy of Northwest Ohio Nature.
Today's buzzwords are collaboration, community engagement, and networked leadership across several industries. There's a lot of talk about adapting a systems perspective and moving away from linear approaches to change. These views and processes are all well and good. As a matter of fact, they hold the promise of a more holistic pathway...
Photo courtesy of Organic on the Green.
Systemic sustainability is a process of development—individual, organizational, or societal—involving an adaptive strategy of emergence that ensures the evolutionary maintenance of an increasingly robust and supportive environment. Systemic sustainability goes beyond the triple bottom line and embraces “the possibility that human...
Photo of Mari courtesy of the Grace, Joy, and Healing blog.
While perusing my Facebook page this afternoon, I learned that the friend of a friend—a woman named Maria—was recently hospitalized in her battle against an inoperable brain tumor. Maria's name sounded familiar so I looked her up. I know her, I thought. But I don't know her. At least not formally. I remembered her as Mari...
Photo of Rep. Trey Gowdy courtesy of The Washington Times.
Last night on CNN, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina used the "s" word to describe the kind of change he wants to see in Washington, D.C., to end the recurring debt-default issue once and for all. The "s" word he used was systemic. "Systemic change," Mr. Gowdy said, is the change he'd like to...
Don Beck and Chris Cowan, the authors of Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change worked with Dr. Clare Grave for about 10 years prior to his death in 1986.  Spiral dynamics has its roots in the research of Dr. Graves and is one of the most popular practices in value systems in use today by organizational development...
Diagram courtesy of Kathia Laszlo.
A system is a set of interconnected elements which form a whole and show properties which are properties of the whole rather than of the individual elements. This definition is valid for a cell, an organism, a society, or a galaxy. Joanna Macy says that a system is less a thing than a pattern—a pattern of organization. It consists of a...
I have a problem with my neighbors and it's bothering me more than I like to admit. I like having good neighbors and was raised to be a good neighbor, but there's basic problem we can't seem to resolve: They fear and hate dogs; my husband and I have two dogs. Our problem may sound simple, but it's a complex situation. So I decided...
In the 2003 book Mapping the Organizational Psyche: A Jungian Theory of Organizational Dynamics and Change, authors John G. Corlett and Carol S. Pearson model the organizational psyche in two layers: conscious and unconscious.  The authors assert that the ego-driven actions and behaviors of those leading the organization manifest activity and...
Photo of George Anthony on the witness stand courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.
OK, I'll admit it: I've been following the Casey Anthony trial for the past 32 days on both Court TV and HLN. I don't veg out on the couch all day, eat potato chips, and let the trial proceedings numb my brain, but I have kept the TV on during the trial every so often while I work at my freelance writing, catching snippets of testimony...
Systems thinking as a method of inquiry deals with complexity from the perspective of the whole, not the parts.  Most methods of inquiry follow the traditional path of reductionism as established by our sciences.  We have learned to answer life’s difficult questions by dissecting our subjects into parts with the idea that they are...
Whether or not Hamlet was being ironic in his admiration for humankind, it seems that the nobility of our reason is up for debate…literally. New research from French cognitive social scientists indicates that reason exists to help us argue and guard against the arguments of others, according to a recent New York Times article. Reason, so...
Why don’t we work together for the common good? It’s a question that plagues every good intention, and every activist group. We know that corporate America is paying its executives outlandishly and its workers poorly – and that if we just banded together, we could do something about that.  But we don’t. We know that...