An Introduction to Complexity Theory – The Tavistock Institute

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An Introduction to Complexity Theory – The Tavistock Institute

An Introduction to Complexity Theory

As part of the highly successful lunchtime talk series, the contemporary Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) food-for-thought programme, Eliat Aram, the Institute’s CEO introduced staff and guests to some key concepts and philosophical underpinning of Complexity theory and its implications to understanding organisational praxis.

Eliat was a member of the pioneering faculty of the Complexity and Management Centre of Hertfordshire Business School for over 10 years prior to joining the TIHR and her own work, including her PhD thesis, is rooted in this thinking. In introducing some of the fundamental concepts of Complexity, including self organisation, emergence and paradox, Eliat draws her audience to ask themselves some questions on their own development of practice and theory and she fundamentally challenges them on the dominance of linear thinking in making sense of work/life. She also introduces them to the aesthetic configuration of fractals and invites them to experience through a simple exercise on the emergence of coherent patterns – patterns which are clearly organised yet with not one sole agent in control or a group who has planned for it to happen.

The page includes a film of Eliat’s talk, the exercise and the Q and A session with TIHR staff and guests and links to her presentation, which includes key references.

This introductory talk is envisaged to be first in a series of talks exploring the meaning and implications of the Complexity perspective to organisational studies.

Video of talk:

Slides:

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An Introduction to Complexity Theory – The Tavistock Institute