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Thursday, March 23, 2017


In the review of our 2010 Human Systems Dynamics Certification course {ref. HSD 3}, F. and I completed (for now) our discussion of the definition of a Complex Adaptive System

F. describes our review as: Continuing our travel in the past for a better future. (Which I think is cool, and reminded me of this TV show. Anyone remember the title?)

  • F. questioned "system wide patterns being created by agents". Given that agents can create actions (or at least have the ability and freedom to act), some of these actions have strong connections or weak connections, and what are the parameters for this? As a real-life example: the VP of IT & VP of Operations debating and disagreeing about IT solutions for the business departments. Both VPs also have HR/Training managers with very different views. Their overall boss wants more synergy between them all. So we have emergent patterns that influence the agents (all 5 of them) which in turn influence the system, particularly with respect to the IT solutions chosen (in this example).
  • Additionally, there are degrees of strength between the agents: levels of power, influence, authority, frequency of interaction, etc. Further, there may be invisible agents in the system who are not readily apparent. So as we analyze this system, we may wish to separate out the interactions between the combinations of agents and note the strength (influence) of these interactions.
  • We then moved on to the question of Uncertainty. F. noted that patterns vary widely by geography and country; for example: for him, international flights leave more consistently on-time than local flights. There are differences in uncertainty according to culture, and situation.
  • Our final note for this session was that some people still see organizations as mechanical and ordered and don't realize they are complex adaptive systems. Accordingly, they think they are in control when they are not, and don't see the possibility and probability of change coming.

More to come.

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