10 February 2012

Call for Papers: Complex Adaptive Systems and Their Dilemmas in the 21st Century: A Critical Perspective of Our Times

A special issue of International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management

This special issue will bring together the thoughts and analyses of scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds to address the question of what the dilemmas that our populations currently face in the 21st century are, characterised by an increasingly complex world.

Complexity management has been used, in recent years, as a new emerging field of study, generally known as complexity theory and management, whose primary focus of analysis is the behaviour over time of certain kinds of complex systems which are not part of traditionally explained concepts.

Complexity's foundations are generically called “unknowability” and “unpredictability”, in contrast to the quantitative nature of most of business disciplines today and the consequent measurements of performance. Complexity management does not try to understand the linearity of the system; on the contrary, it looks at nonlinear relationships while looking at the role of self-organisation, emergence and co-evolution, just to name the basic dimensions. These very same concepts critically challenge the most traditional constructs of management by looking at examples of new paradigms of thought and by proving the fallibility of highly controlled practices, mainly nurtured by what is called the “illusion of control”.

While using systemic thinking and theory as the instruments to map and interpret complexity over time and outside of cause and effect, the success of complexity management in the business discipline represents a strategic opportunity that individuals and organisations can cultivate, in an inevitably and increasingly complex business landscape.

The issue will carry revised and substantially extended versions of selected papers from Harvard Summer School 2012, but we also strongly encourage researchers unable to participate in the event to submit papers for this call.

Suitable topics include but are not limited to:
  • New theoretical understandings of complexity in leadership and management and its associated issues and strategies, with a focus on the applications of the systems
  • Systems thinking and models of learning organisations in the business world
  • Qualitative research in complexity in leadership and management practices
  • Case studies of complexity in leadership and management practices in all types of human organisations; personal and professional dilemmas, related to complexity
  • Complex adaptive dynamics associated with new leadership and management thinking and dynamics of strategy that can help to understand the interaction of the elements of the systems
  • Leadership and management issues related to the complexity of a particular sector or activity (e.g. education, governance)
  • Any other associated new knowledge and findings
Important Date
Submission deadline: 30 December, 2012

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