4 The Origins of Complexity Theories in Organizations

DOI: 10.4324/9781003042501-5

Complexity Theories in the Natural Sciences

There is no straightforward link between physics, chemistry, living organisms, human life, and society. However, as I have shown in the Chapters 1–3, key ideas in organizational theory have for a long time made such connections between human society and classical mechanics (i.e. Taylorism), biology (i.e. open systems), and engineering (i.e. cybernetics). This foundation has crucially coloured the view of complexity in organizations because it places two fundamental beliefs as reference points for organizational evolution – one is that organizational change can be thought of in terms of linearity, and the ...

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