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Welcome to the Organization Management and Development Page

Featuring Useful OD Resources, Readings & Strategies

The Leadership Quarterly (August 2007) Special Issue on Leadership and Complexity, Volume 18, Issue 4. (Elsevier Publishing).

Mary Uhl-Bien, Mary and Russ Marion, Eds. (2008) Complexity Leadership. Part 1: Conceptual Foundations. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-59311-795-5 (pbk. $40.00).

There are also several online journals, some with full-text articles, including:

Complexity — Complexity International — Emergence, from the Santa Fe Institute— TCS Journal, from The Complexity Society — Other journals, and web-based papers reviewed at

A useful glossary of KT terms can be found at the following URL, starting at the letter “C” which happens to include several important KT concepts we’re covering:

Ralph Stacey has authored several books on KT (see below) that are probably worth a look, as he has been in the forefront of applying KT to OMD.

  • Stacey, Ralph (2005) Experiencing emergence in organizations: Local interaction and the emergence of global pattern. New York: Routledge, 2005. ISBN: 0415351332 (soft cover) HD58.8 .E98 2005
  • Stacey, Ralph D., Doglas Griffin and Patricia Shaw. (2000). Complexity and Management: Fad or radical challenge to systems thinking. New York: Routledge (soft cover)
  • Griffin, Douglas and Ralph Stacey, Eds. (2005) Complexity and the experience of leading organizations. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 0415366933 (soft cover) Library call No: HD57.7 .C65
  • Griffin, Douglas and Ralph Stacey, Eds. (2005) Complexity perspective on researching organizations: Taking experience seriously. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 0415351316 (soft cover) HM711 .C65 20
  • Stacey, Ralph D. (2003) Complexity and group processes: A radically social understanding of individuals. New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2003. ISBN: 1583919201 (paper) RC510 .S73

Bass, Thomas A. (1999). The Predictors. New York: Henry Holt and Company. (A wonderful read about a group of physicists in Santa Fe using KT to play the stock market — and very successfully. KT is often said to prove the future is unpredictable, but this book shows that such a claim is over-simplistic. This book also provides a great insight into the joys and pitfalls of starting your own company; and perhaps some insight into the requirements of leadership.)

Briggs, John P. and F. David Peat (1984) Looking Glass Universe. The Emerging Science of Wholeness. New York: Cornerstone Library, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Briggs, John P. and F. David Peat (1999) Seven Life Lesson of Chaos. Timeless Wisdom from the Science of Change. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Buchanan, Mark (2000) Ubiquity: The Science of History. Or Why the World Is Simpler Than We Think. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0297643762

Bütz, Michael R., Linda L. Chamberlain, and William G. McCown (1997) Strange attractors: Chaos, complexity, and the art of family therapy. New York: Wiley. (Call number RC488.5 .B85 1997.)

CALResCo (2003) Website for integration of a wide variety of information on complex systems. Accessed 18 Nov 2003 at

Cambel, Ali Bulent (1993) Applied Chaos Theory: A Paradigm for Complexity. Boston: Academic Press. ISBN 0121559408

Capra, Fritjof (1996). The Web of Life: A New Understanding of Living Systems. Anchor Books.

Casti, John (1994) Complexification. Explaining a Paradoxical World Through the Science of Surprise. New York, NY: HarperCollins. London: Abacus Press. (Paperback.) Applications to business (the famous case of widening oscillations in beer distribution), and to history (fall of the Berlin Wall), science & technology. The basic theme: there are surprise-generating mechanisms that make predictions suspect: chaos is one mechanism; others are catastrophe conditions (instabilities), incompatibility, irreducibility and emergence. Casti has worked at the Santa Fe Institute. Well written.

Cilliers, Paul (1998) Complexity and Postmodernism. Understanding Complex Systems. New York: Routledge. A similar thesis is offered in Appendix A of Gareth Morgan’s (1997) Imagin-i-zation — New Mindsets for Seeing, Organizing, and Managing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Clarke, Jeff (2002) “eBay: Symbiosis between enabling technology and the complex adaptive system.” Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Santa Barbara, CA: The Fielding Institute, Master’s Program in Organizational Design and Effectiveness.

Cohen, Jack, and Ian Stewart (1995) The Collapse of Chaos: Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World. Penguin. ISBN: 0140178740

Combs, Allan (1996) The radiance of being: Complexity, chaos, and the evolution of consciousness. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.

Complexity (Journal, library call number Q172.5.C45 C65)

Coveney, Peter and Roger Highfield (1995). Frontiers of Complexity. New York: Faucett Columbine. This book emphasizes computer models, AI, cellular automata (artificial life modeling), feedback systems, game theory, genetic algorithms, adaptation, neural networks.

Emergence (Journal, hosted by the New England Complex Systems Institute. For a list of recent articles, see

Eve, Raymond A., Sara Horsfall, and Mary E. Lee, Eds. (1997) Chaos, Complexity and Sociology: Myths, Models, and Theories. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN 0761908900

Gleick, James (1987) Chaos: Making a New Science. New York, NY: Viking Penguin. (Paperback. Q172.5C45G54) "It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order--and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order." (Douglas Hofstader).

Goerner, Sally J. (1994) Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe. Langhorne, Pennsylvania: Gordon and Breach. ISBN: 2881246354

Hall, Nina, ed. (1992) The New Scientist Guide to Chaos. London: Penguin Books. KT from the perspectives of science, math, and engineering, by leaders in the field and written for the general public.

Hamilton, Shelley (1998) Economic Webs: A “Networkcentric” Technology Diffusion Strategy in a Turbulent, Connected Economy. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Santa Barbara, CA: The Fielding Institute, Master’s Program in Organizational Design and Effectiveness.

Hayles, N. Katherine, ed. (1991) Chaos and Order. Complex Dynamics in Literature and Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hock, Dee (1995). The Chaordic organization: Out of Control and Into Order, World Business Academy Perspectives. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. (

Hock, Dee (1999) Birth of the Chaordic Age. San Francisco, CA:Berrett-Koehler. ISBN: 576750744

Holland, John H. (1992) "Complex Adaptive Systems," Daedelus 121:1, 17-30.

Holland, John H. (1998) Emergence: From Chaos to Order. Reading, Massachusetts: Helix Books.

Holland, John H. and Heather Mimnaugh, Eds. (1996) Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity. Perseus Publishing. ISBN: 0201442302

Hudson, B. (2000). Edge of chaos: The sweet spot for internet-rich pedagogy. In Chambers, J. (Ed.), Selected papers from the 11th international conference on college teaching and learning (pp. 99-109). Jacksonville, FL: Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (2002). Accessed February 21, 2002 from

Jensen, Henrik Jeldtoft (2000) Self-Organized Criticality: Emergent Complex Behavior in Physical and Biological Systems. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0521483719

Johnson, Steven (2001) Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. New York: Scribner. 068486875X


(Tips from Barclay Hudson):

There was a study published (in a book) by two Harvard profs (David Reisman and Christopher Jencks) on the characteristics of a "professional" (scholar, lawyer, doctor, etc.) They found two characteristics: (a) mastery of the vocabulary (which you can do by using a book's index to find key definitions in the text, for new or unfamiliar words); and

(b) "docility before the assumptions of the trade." Meaning, you accept the framework of assumptions that everyone else in the field accepts without question. (Which is kind of scary, but maybe that only means that knowledge is "socially constructed" in a relationship among people working together -- a basic tenet of post-modernism.)

Additional Tips - Plugs for Masters Thesis

Go to Fieldkit #24 and search on the keyword “complexity” I just did that and found a half dozen (below). The ones that stand out for me are:

Clarke (you’ve seen his paper on Ebay in this forum)

Hamilton (Shelley was one of a group of students that pushed me to offer a course in KT, based on a late night forum of Cohort I students at a bar in Santa Fe, NM. Shelley also dragged me to the Santa Fe Institute, to see Stuart Kauffman, who suggested her thesis topic. It took me several months to really understand what those two had cooked up as a topic, but it was worth it. (The topic had to do with a “phase transition” as explained in pp. 55-58 of Kauffman 1995: Shelley used that model to show how Java – the software program— resulted in productive new relationships between the clients and vendors of Sun Microsystems. The remarkable conclusion: Sun didn’t need to do a lot of the research for Java: the research was being done by clients and vendors themselves, who were happy to share it with anyone else because it made their own software systems more universally compatible.

Brown’s thesis was probably the most creative: instead of using KT to illustrate real world phenomena, Marilyn used her own life’s experience (kind of tongue in cheek – “A chick’s love life” as a way to describe KT). The way to make one’s own experience sound more academic is to call it the method of “phenomenology”. A great thesis.

So I would encourage any and all of you to consider a master’s project in KT. Especially if you like white-water rafting or parachuting (or riding hogs).

Kauffman, Stuart (1995) At home in the universe: the search for laws of self organization and complexity. New York: Oxford University Press

For doctoral dissertations on KT, there's a database in the Fielding e-library listing all Fielding dissertations. And another database with all dissertations from most US universities (full text).

Barclay's Favorites

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Two articles I consider classics are:

Pascale, Richard, Mark Milleman and Linda Gioja (1997) “Changing the Way We Change. How Leaders at Sears, Shell, and the U.S. Army Transformed Attitudes and Behavior -- and Made the Changes Stick.” Harvard Business Review 75:6 (Nov 97), 126-139. [HBR reprint #97609]

Porter, Michael E. and Claas van der Linde (1995) “Green and Competitive: Ending the Stalemate,” Harvard Business Review (September), 119-124. This article’s data strongly supports the idea that regulations spur industry to major improvements in pollution prevention, but also to greater profitability as a result.

08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC) **************** 08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Beyond that, the ten books that have influenced me most, at least recently (somewhat slanted toward my interest in complexity theory):

(1) Kauffman, Stuart (1995) At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. New York: Oxford University Press.

(2) Bentz, Valerie Malhotra and Jeremy J. Shapiro (1998) Mindful Inquiry in Social Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

(3) Collins, James C. and Jerry I. Porras (1997) Built To Last. Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. New York: HarperBusiness. (Orig. Pub. 1994, with a new Introduction in 1997)

(4) Farson, Richard (1996) Management of the Absurd. Paradoxes in Leadership. New York: Simon & Schuster.

(5) Morgan, Gareth (1986) Images of Organization. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. (see also 2nd Ed., 1997, Sage.

(6) Morgan, Gareth (1997) Imagin-i-zation — New Mindsets for Seeing, Organizing, and Managing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

(7) Semler, Ricardo (1993) Maverick. The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace. New York: Warner Books.

(8) Johnson, Barry (1992) Polarity Management. Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. Amherst, MA: HRD Press, Inc.

(9) Trompenaars, Alfons, and Charles Hampden-Turner (1998) Riding the Waves of Culture. Understanding Cultural Diversity in Global Business. 2nd. ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

(10) Cilliers, Paul (1998) Complexity and Postmodernism. Understanding Complex Systems. New York: Routledge. Reviewed at (12/5/02)

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Then, my next 25 (same biases as above):

(1) Casti, John L. (1994). Complexification. Explaining a paradoxical world through the science of surprise. New York, NY: HarperCollins. London: Abacus Press.

(2) Bennis, Warren and Patricia Ward Biederman (1997) Organizing Genius. The Secrets of Creative Collaboration. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. ISBN: 0201570513

(3) Diduck, Alan (1999) “Critical Education in Resource and Environmental Management: Learning and Empowerment for a Sustainable Future,” Journal of Environmental Management 57:2 (Oct), 85-97.

(4) Fisher, Dalmer., David Rooke, and Bill Torbert (2000) Personal and Organizational Transformations Through Action Inquiry. Boston: Edge\Work Press.

(5) Gladwell, Malcolm (2000) The Tipping Point. How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.

(6) Gleick, James (1987). Chaos: Making a new science. New York, NY: Viking Penguin.

(7) Bass, Thomas A. (1999). The Predictors. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

(8) Slater, Lauren (2004) Opening Skinner’s Box. Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century. New York: W. W. Norton.

(9) Kegan, Robert (1994) In Over Our Heads. The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

(10) Knowles, Malcolm (1978) The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. 2nd Ed. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.

(11) Koch, Richard (1998) The 80/20 Principle: Achieving More With Less. New York: Currency Doubleday (Random House).

(12) Lane, Robert E. (1991) The Market Experience. New York: Cambridge University Press.

(13) Lewin, Roger (1993). Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos. London: J.M. Dent Ltd.

(14) Locke, Christopher, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger (2000). The Cluetrain Manifesto. The End of Business As Usual. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

(15) Peters, Tom (1987) Thriving on Chaos. Handbook for Management Revolution. New York: Perennial Library. Harper & Row, Publishers.

(16) Harvard Business Review (2003) Harvard Business Review on Corporate Responsibility. Boston, MA: HB School.

(17) Strunk, William and E.B. White, Jr. (latest edition). The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan. The best. A slim, wise volume, a good read, and worth a lifetime of re-visits.

(19) Feynman, Richard P., as told to Ralph Leighton(1988) What Do You Care What Other People Think? New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

(20) Waldrop, M. Mitchell (1992). Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York, NY: Touchstone Books.

(21) Wren, Daniel A. (2005) The History of Management Thought. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

(22) Lao-Tzu (6th century BC). Tao Te Ching. Stephen Mitchell, trans. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 1988. The S. Mitchell translation is online (as of June 6, 2001) at A translation by Stan Rosenthal is at

(23) Locke, Christopher, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger (2000). The Cluetrain Manifesto. The End of Business As Usual. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books. (Locke, Levine, Searls & Weinberger 2000)

(24) Lumsdaine, Edward and Monika Lumsdaine (1993) Creative Problem Solving. Thinking Skills for a Changing World. 2nd. Ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

(25) Friedman, Thomas L. (2006) The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. 1st updated and expanded ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)Randy Fisher 08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC) ************ 08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)Randy Fisher 08:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

This is Kit#92 in the Fieldkit Series (Fielding OMD Toolkits). (Previously omkit#50)

Attachments Show reply list only Replies: 2.1. Dianne's cool new booksSkip to reply button for reply 2.1. Barclay Hudson 26 January 2007 10:59 AM Reply

Greetings, all, from the computer lab in Atlanta (OPS):

Dianne’s new books

Kim S. Cameron, Jane E. Dutton, and Robert E. Quinn, Eds. (2003) Positive organizational scholarship : Foundations of a new discipline. San Francisco, CA : Berrett-Koehler.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton (2006) Hard facts, dangerous half-truths, and total nonsense : profiting from evidence-based management. Boston,MA: Harvard Business School Press. HD30.23 .P468 2006


Deborah P. Bloch, Complexity, Chaos, and Nonlinear Dynamics: A New Perspective on Career Development Theory