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Ch8 Unfolding Logics of Change (Flux & Transformation) by Mind Map: Ch8 Unfolding Logics of Change (Flux & Transformation)
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Ch8 Unfolding Logics of Change (Flux & Transformation)

Images of Organization --Gareth Morgan "the universe is in a constant state of flux, embodying characteristics of both permanence and change." p.241

Autopoiesis (Maturana/Varela)

Chilean biologists. Varela was a student of Varela. Maturana is still alive, in his 80s, living in Chile and coming to Boston in August 2008 for a week of conversations. They developed Autopoiesis as a biological theory and clearly had reservations (p.246) about its application to social phenomenon. However, many folks have taken this living systems approach forward into organizational settings with generative results.

Problems do not come from changes in external environment

Living systems are organizationally closed systems of interactions that make reference only to themselves.


Living systems are characterized by autonomy, circularity, and self-reference

They are organized in ways that conserve for self-preservation and self-identity.

Patterns of interaction are always self-referential.

Interaction with "environment" is really self-reflection and part of the organization that conserves identity.

Closure (self-reference) is what defines a system as a system

Systems have no beginning or end because they are closed loops of interactions.

Self-referring systems can exist as parts within other self-referring systems

Challenges distinctions between a system and its environment.

We see systems as distinct because we see them from OUR point of view.

When we look at their inner logic, we understand that they are self-conserving and structurally coupled with other systems

Relations with any environment are internally determined


Bees, Individual bee as organism with self-referencing physiology, Bee society - self-referencing relationships, Society & environment - also self-referencing, Bee system is structurally coupled with insect, animal, agricultural, human, and social systems. A change in one can transform the others., Changes are produced by variations within the overall system (not as a result of external influence), There's no such thing as external influence!

The Brain, Organizes its environment as an extension of itself, A biological basis for social constructionism!, Does not hold a representation of the environment in memory, Does not process information received from the environment as an independent domain, Creates images of external reality as expressions or descriptions of its own organization, interacts with these images, and modifies them based on experience.

Organizations, Act to conserve for self-identity and self-preservation, Org problems are connected to the conservation of a particular identity, Understanding org change requires paying attention to the patterns that embrace both the organization and its broadly defined environment., Enactment (how orgs function, what they pay attention to) is a core process that projects, defines & produces an organization's identity., Examples?

Chaos & Complexity


Pattern is what evolves

Complex non-linear systems

e.g. organizations and ecologies

Multiple systems of interaction that are both ordered and chaotic

Random fluctuations can produce new cascading patterns of systemic change

Coherence always emerges out of the randomness and surface chaos, Randomness, diversity, instability become resources for change

Attractors, Tensions that define the context in which detailed system behaviors unfold, Some pull system toward equilibrium, Others flip system into new configurations

Edge of chaos

p.254 "when a system is pushed far from equilibrium"

Bifurcation points, Always exist as latent potentials, e.g. Butterfly effect

Energy within system can self-organize in unpredictable ways into different system states

If old attractor is dominant, system reverts to a version of its former state

If new pattern is dominant, system can move into a new configuration

Implications for Managing

Rethink what we mean by organization, especially the nature of hierarchy & control, Order is natural but cannot be planned, Order evolves under the influence of simple systemic rules

Learn the art of managing and changing contexts

Learn how to use small changes to create large effects

Live with continuous transformation and emergent order as a natural state of affairs

Be open to new metaphors that can facilitate processes of self-organization

Dialectical Opposition

p.273 Study of opposites --- Miguel: Collaboration vs competition Dealing with polarities and living within the tension between the two.

Reversion is the movement of the Tao

p.273 "I Ching"s true function was to provide a means to understand the tendencies inherent in the present"

Marxian Thinking

p.275 Capital puts people in a fundamental state of contradiction. Gain for one defines a loss for the other. p.279 "Problem solutions are constantly negated, and the process continues."

Dialectics of Management

p.280f Corporate downsizing and restructuring are not solutions to problems, they are symptoms of deeper problems. "Ultimately they are best tackled through social and political initiatives that can address the "rules of the game"." p.281 [Bifurcation points or forks in the road usually arise around key paradoxes or contradictions that block the way to a new future.] p.283 "both dimensions of the contradictions that accompany change usually have merit." It"s both/and, not either/or. "Paradox cannot be successfully resolved by eliminating one side."

Innovation as creative destruction

p.285 [Organizations must be prepared to innovate in ways that will undermine their current successes so that new forms of innovation can emerge.] Intel example: "operates on a philosophy of launching multiple projects that in effect aim to make their developing products obsolete before they hit the market."

Mutual Causality

Mutual causality -- loops, not lines

Magorah Maruyama

Positive & Negative feedback loops

Deviation amplification process

Contextual Analysis

Illustrate the pattern of relationships to understand a system.

Identify key patterns & system archetypes

p. 270-1 Senge Systems are often unstable because of delayed feedback and response between elements. p.272 Forms of systems only become clear in hindsight. However, the process of mapping them is a useful way to begin to see key patterns. e.g. Clusters of positive feedback loops (vicious cycles) warn of potentially unsustainable drivers in a system.

Types of Orgs

Egocentric Orgs

p.250 The concept of "organization" reinforces an egocentric view. It implies a distinct entity that is separate from its environment and has its own identity. See survival as conditioned on the preservation of a narrowly constructed identity rather than an identity that includes the system of relationships in which they are embedded.

See themselves as discrete, functioning to survive against the pressures of the outside world

Fixed notion of who they are or what they can be, Often enact identities in pursuit of short-term goals

Try to sustain unrealistic identities & create identities that destroy important parts of their context/environment, E.g. fisheries, large scale agriculture, chemical plants

May not see environmental changes as relevant to their identity preservation, e.g. watch makers, typewriter manufacturers

Systemic Orgs

Morgan implies this category but doesn"t really go into depth. He seems to mean the opposite of the egocentric org:  Pays attention to the whole system as a whole; seeks an evolution of identity that desires an ever more complete understanding of wholeness; Realizes that that is a process, not an outcome, etc.

Survival is always WITH the environment, never against it

Self-image held in a systems perspective


p.289 --- Miguel: What about feelings, emotions? They seem to be outside the theory. "Chaos" avoids language of "crisis" - avoids a certain perspective where pain exists.

If change is emergent, we're not in control

Powerless power is a challenging message

Negates the idea that it's possible to organize, predict and control

Can be hard to say if rules create a pattern or simply describe it



Seeks to understand the nature, source, and logic of change

Potential for managing change at a higher (causal) level

Emphasis on seeing/working with patterns in systems

Fusion of organization and environment

Organizing rules of attractor patterns hold organization-environment relations in a particular configuration

Small changes can produce large effects

Change is self-organizing and emergent

David Bohm

Bohm was a theoretical physicist who also thought and wrote about philosophy and neurpsychology. He was part of the Manhattan Project. (b. December 20, 1917, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - d. October 27, 1992, London)

The universe is a flowing and unbroken wholeness

Outward state of the universe at a given moment reflects its inward state.

Implicate (Enfolded) Order

Explicate (Unfolded) Order

True understanding requires understanding the generative processes that link implicate and explicate orders.


Gregory Bateson

p.246 GS Note: Edmund Husserl, the father of transformative phenomenology, is also recognized as perhaps the first person to explore "Part-Whole" theory and logic. His explorations were philosophical in nature, and they remain "confusing" to the mathematical theorists who followed him.

Wholes evolve as complete fields of relations. The pattern must be understood as a whole because the whole possesses a logic of its own -- it cannot be understood as separate interacting parts.