Chaos and Complexity Approach in Management

Chaos and Complexity Approach in Management

Zekai Öztürk (Gazi University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0148-0.ch012


In business management literature, chaos and complexity approaches came into sight in 1990's. Fundamental changes have been made by chaos and complexity approaches in understanding of scientific methodology. In social sciences, especially in management and organization fields these notions should be seen as supplementary to the general systems theory. Chaotic management approach also revealed dramatic changes in management understanding chaotic management perspective has brought up the consideration of human both in organisational and humane perspective, which has only been considered within organisational perspective. In other words, placing human in the centre as the essential element of living humanely again has been provided. In this study effects of chaotic theory starting from basic mathematical and scientific findings, were investigated on production, economy, service and social sciences. Also we worked on influence of the theory on management and organization area.
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Our observations may indicate that events in life appear irregular with no clear cut relationship with each other, thus giving the impression of such events happening by coincidence. However, part of the fact is that this viewpoint as discussed above qualifies as a massive scheme of transition from classical science to chaos.

Let us consider the behavior of floating leaves in a stream. When a leaf, is caught during a vortex movement, it assigns a time schedule around the tour. Swirl leave survivors will continue their journey from where they left off until the next vortex of bombs. A very small change in position of the leaf changes its future behavior completely. Chaos, sometimes confronts us quite naturally and everywhere just like a dripping tap and sometimes like the beating of the human heart. Under certain conditions the human heart beat reveals a chaotic nature of behavior. The rate of heart beat and rhythmic activity is controlled by an organ. But in some cases, due to the incompatibility between this organ and the heart, one of the heart beat rates may occur in long and short spaces.

In more extreme conditions, heartbeat rhythm becomes rather erratic. Every small change that happens to the timing of the heart beat will cause a major change in the next form of heartbeat. In this case therefore, heartbeat becomes chaotic and life threatening. This example, thus, is an interesting example of how chaos prevails when the initial conditions of a regular behavior change. (Koçak, 2000, p. 94-95)

Organizations as open systems are always in constant communication and relationship with the environment, as a result of this interaction, they are obliged to comply with the environmental conditions. Today, unexpected results may occur in organizations due to rapid change and transformation of environmental conditions. Such changes can be observed even within the most distinguished and respected firms the moment they seek entry into the business or market operations. This shows that the environment in organizations is never static, and thus every time they survive in a chaotic environment where any moment could lead to very complex scenarios and far-reaching impact.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Change: Change is a general transition of something or phase to another state condition.

Chaos: In the form of “complex, erratic and unpredictable behaviour of non-linear dynamic systems.”

Complexity: Complexity is a concept that explains the initial value of variables and their mutual interaction with each other and with the elements in the external environment (interdependence) and non-linear relationships.

Non-Linearity: Non-linearity is a situation of “playing a game by changing the rules. In this case, the most important thing is not the obstacles encountered but rather the way and speed obtained.

The Basic Premises of Chaos Theory: The basic premises of chaos theory is order creates irregularities, there is an order the disorder too, order a rises from disorder, in the new order, change in compromise and commitment appears as a short term, the achieved new order evolves into a self-organized process in unpredictable directions.

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