Applied Complexity: Theory and Practice of Human Systems Dynamics

Evaluation Uncertainty

Glenda Eoyang, PhD
Founding Executive Director, Human Systems Dynamics Institute,

My particular take on complexity and systems is called human systems dynamics (HSD). It is a field of theory and practice that applies principles of complex adaptive systems to help people see, understand, and influence emergent patterns in complex human systems.  HSD is applicable at all scales of human experience from intrapersonal reflection and cognition through global patterns of economic and cultural interaction (Eoyang, 1997). For more information about the models and methods of HSD, visit our website Here, I would like to introduce the basic features of the theory and practice that form the foundation of HSD.

HSD theory is drawn from the field of complex adaptive systems (Dooley, 1997).  In this approach, a system is defined as a collection of agents that interact to generate system-wide patterns. Those patterns then constrain…

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