Complexity, Organizations and Change
Routledge – 2003 – 208 pages
Complexity science has seriously challenged long-held views in the scientific community about how the world works. These ideas, particularly about the living world, also have radical and profound implications for organizations and society as a whole. Available in paperback for the first time, this insightful book describes and considers ideas from complexity science and examines their use in organizations, especially in bringing about major organizational change. Author McMillan explores how organizations, their design, the way they operate and, importantly, the people who co-create them, are thought of.
Explaining the history and development of complexity science in an accessible way for the non-scientific reader, this outstanding book describes key concepts and their use in theory and practice. Illustrated with real-life examples from organizations in the UK, Europe and the USA, the book includes an in-depth case study of an organization which used complexity principles as part of a strategic change intervention. From this, useful models for introducing a complexity-based change process are derived.
Complexity, Organizations and Change will appeal to academics, researchers and advanced students who are interested in complexity science and what it means for strategy, organization and management theory and organizational change.
'The book offers convincing and cogent arguments regarding the nature of complexity science and its centrality in day-to-day human behaviour … The book comes across as a challenging, almost 'cheeky'textbook intended to encourage and inspire readers to seek out and develop a different approach to change in the workplace.' - Leadership & Organization Development Journal
'Elizabeth McMillan deserves great credit for producing such a helpful text. In particular, the introductory sections which organize the many and varied roots of complexity thinking offer an excellent summary of a vast array of material. Students new to complexity thinking will find the text a great starting point.' - Robert MacIntosh, Professor of Management and Director of Teaching & Learning, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
1. Introduction 2. Introducing Complexity 3. Organizations and the Long Shadow of Scientific Tradition 4. Le Plus Ca Change…The More it Stays the Same? 5. Transforming Organizations using Complexity 6. Changing the Open University: A Case Study 7. Complexity in Action 8. Future Possibilities, Future Choices
Elizabeth McMillan is currently a Research Fellow at the Open University where she co-founded the Complexity Science Research Centre. She is also a co-founder and a Director of the UK Complexity Society and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, with many years experience as a senior manager.