Re: Traditional Wisdom... LO9064

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Traditional Wisdom... LO9064
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 12:35:28 -0700

Elizabeth Reed-Torrence writes:
> John,
> You posted this statement:
> Whether human organizations are such a "sufficiently complex system,"
> You might be interested in William Czander's work "The Psychodynamics of
> Work and Organizations, Theory and Application", (1993, Guilford Press:
> New York and London). Heexplains the use of the analytic-inference mode
> of explaining behavior in organzations. It demonstrates that cause/effect
> - cause/effect - cause/effect leads to problem solving in packages.
> It is based in the Psychoanalytic Perspective but i find it useful
> dialogue.

Hi Elizabeth, I was using the phrase "sufficiently complex system," in
a complexity-theoretic sense-from mathematics. The phrase is used in
the study of very complex systems, for example, like the weather,
where, although we can define what individual gas/water molecules are
doing, we can not define what the aggregate is doing.  Even though the
individual molecules act in a cause-and-effect scenario, the aggregate
does not. These types of systems tend to be, (but not always,)
globally stable, and, everywhere, locally, unstable.

Interestingly, that is why we can not predict the weather more than
three days in advance. About seven days is the theoretical limit,
beyond which prediction will be, at best, a 50/50 crap shoot.

Now, whether humans and their organizations can be modeled so simply
is another issue ...



BTW, there is some preliminary evidence that human organizations do,
indeed, exhibit complexity-theoretic phenomena. The Santa Fe Institute
has applied complexity theory to such things as social phenomena in
the field of anthropology, etc. Most of the techniques come from
neo-classical game-theoretic economic concepts. The study of entropic
phenomena, (like the weather, or the programmed trading of stocks in
the equity markets,) is a firmly entrenched discipline in the field of
economics. You can catch them at


John Conover,,

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