Complexity and chaos in organizations

Di Gianluca Gaggioli pubblicato martedì 23 aprile 2013 in Prodotto pianificazione e progetti |

Chaos Theory

All organizations need to improve, through paths that each responsible for the quality (with management and the entire management) tends to identify, using the quality policy, objectives for quality, and through careful study of the data and employing audit, in order to provide such an organization of a best order.

“In a world of pure order, there would be no innovation, creation, evolution. There would not be any living human existence. Similarly, no life would be possible in the pure disorder, since there would be no element of stability on which to base an organization “(Edgar Morin)

Sometimes, trying to restructure an organization to novel Homer makes it look like this in a real Odyssey and there is a clash with the various business functions. This change, however, is required by a managerial world evolving and you can talk quietly to a period of “organizational chaos”. The risk of entropy is proposed in so many faces, then it is useful to think in a multiform.

But what meaning to give to the chaos? Positive? Negative?

According to what conception of change and in what form the business functions in the light of chaos theory? What criteria and to what extent is used with the goal of changing management activities traditionally regulated as planning, organization, control and administration?

Planning also means “guess”; organize means to trace new paths, control means verifying expectations; administer it means to lead in a visionary way.

“Life is a constant search for new and improbable, the only way to survive. A brave but realistic message that must become the compass of the managers of the future “(Ernesto Illy)

But I’m still possible efforts in order to predict when / how complexity theory and exclude what you can do in the long term? What will happen in the short term? And long-term thing?

The organizational models, whether Six Sigma, Kaizen, Iris, etc.. etc.., are compared in order to perform a “job”, to “manage” an organization, and are thought to coexist with the oddity of chaos, with all these “worlds management”, which path to take to improve? Then you test the “malaise” organization. The chaos system, in which the paradox deals with some relief and is strangely positive, may represent a valid “device” knowledge is to better understand the reality of organizations, both because this introduction will result in new attitudes and new processes of which is felt need, since it is difficult that a system of control and / or management react in an active manner.

The aim of the organization is to reduce its complexity, limiting it forcibly. “Only now we begin to discover and understand the laws of complexity, that is, the order and self-organization that, contrary to all appearances, they exist in all complex systems. These appear to us chaotic just because we do not know the rules. If we define it in mathematical terms, any behavior amuses relatively predictable, and therefore improved “(S. Kauffman)

From all this it is clear that nothing happens by chance and that you can groped to understand and govern every process, even the most complex.

The complexity must be first identified and then reduced, must be put in relationship with the various processes that govern the system, until the attainment of a “self” of the same function through the belonging to the system.

The management and quality management and the relationship between complexity and quality systems are becoming increasingly stringent. Each issue of process and organization can be resolved through the theory of complexity, aware that all “is” constantly evolving, changing, and it is therefore impossible to use “packets” standard for all, as early as today, even now, they are old , obsolete. The change is identified as a river always in motion, the metamorphoses that occur in a business organization scenarios are dynamic, highly targeted markets but which lead to difficult interpretations, a perennial unpredictability of expectations, in short, a “chaos.”

The managers of organizations and their systems must be able to have “global visions” with an address in the long term, interacting with all members of the organization. This ability to interpret the “cards” that shows us our future and adapt to them in a timely manner should lead the organizations themselves to become generating chaos, understood as innovation.

“We’re a borderline, our destiny is to work as close to the boundary line between the world of the possible and not-possible” (Alberto Alessi)

The organizational logic can not be the only road that must be traveled. Sometimes we must take a “leap” into the unknown and rely on visions and dreams, going beyond what the systemic organization would lead us to do. In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order (Carl Gustav Jung)

The success of organizations will be given the best ability to adapt to change, dynamism, such as being able to respond more quickly to customer needs, anticipating the needs themselves. These strengths will make a difference, difference as a management cycle, “utopia” – realization of utopia from the point of view of the project (feasibility) – realization – marketing (generation of desire). These are the parameters that express the success of an organization with respect to another in the vision of its “organized chaos”.

“Rugby, play psyche Cubist – deliberately chose an oval ball, that is unpredictable (it bounces on the grass like a sentence of Joyce’s syntax) to enter the chaos in the otherwise geometric clash of two bands hungry for land – basic game because it is primordial struggle to bring forward the boundaries, the fence, the hem of your ambition – war, therefore, in some way, like any sport, but there almost literal, physical confrontation with tried, wanted, planned – war paradoxical because it is linked to a smart rule that teams want to go forward under the clause only to fly the ball backwards movement and countermovement, back and forth, only certain fish, and fantasy are moving so.

A chess game played at speed, they say. Founded over a century ago by the madness of an impromptu football player: he took the ball in hand, exasperated by that titic titoc of feet, and there was running around the field like a maniac. When he reached the other side of the field, put the ball on the ground: and it was about an apotheosis, the public and colleagues, all screaming, as captured by sudden illumination. They had invented rugby. Any rugby game is a football game that goes out of my head. With tidy, and fierce madness “(Alessandro Baricco)

Introduce, therefore, the concepts of complexity and chaos in the field of management and organization can help to understand certain issues that arise in the management of specific business processes that become incomprehensible when analyzed with a “just analytical.” The universe as organizational systems is unstable and subject to continuous change.

“To have a chance to survive, he will have to leave the warm and comforting blanket of stability, supporting processes at risk of instability and making a living to their employees what complexity theorists indicate that the threshold of chaos, or living on the threshold of the precipice , without slipping into destructive chaos “(Christofer Meyer and Stan Davis).

“When life flows slowly like a lazy river, the complexity existed, but it was perceived. Today everyone if they hear him, because the pace has become tight as a swirling torrent … “(Ernesto Illy)

Nowadays, faced with the challenges that every organization is facing a mechanistic approach would be ineffective. Organizations can no longer be regarded as a mechanism but should be seen as a living organism.A great organization is one in which tasks, duties, facilities, tasks, procedures and processes are specified in such terms, rationally. The organization can no longer be considered, as it was for scientific management, one machine but must be seen as a living system.

At this point, it appears clear that a strict and scientific logic is not capable of representing the exclusive guide dell’operare anthropogenic order philosophical, sometimes being necessary to rely on “Visions-Chaos-Holistic”, assumptions and “utopias”, hazarding over what the reasoning believes specify.


For the mechanical model, good organization is one in which functions, tasks, organizational structures, tasks, procedures and processes are maximally specified and rationally interconnected through a prearranged plan, in order to ensure maximum overall efficiency and maximum predictability and manageability of individual parts.

In the conception of an organization as a machine, the individual parts were designed, manufactured and assembled in a perfectly organized that – once formed – produced throughout his life quality output in large quantities. In this case, the environment is defined, restructured and reduced as if it were a mechanical instrument. Once you find the ideal set-up, it froze and tended to keep it as long as possible, arranged through a preordained process, in order to safeguard maximum efficiency and maximum governance of the processes themselves.

An organizational system was structured as an apparatus in which the individual components were designed, manufactured and assembled in a context perfectly arranged that, once formed, produced for its entire duration in a production output quality in large quantities.

At the foundation of this vision is the concept that the production process remains unchanged over time, while the experience is accumulated. In this regard, we report a brief history about the veracity of this claim.

Once there were two watchmakers, Hora and Tempus, who made the most beautiful watches. Both craftsmen were highly esteemed, and the phone rang frequently in their laboratory. While, however, Hora prospered, Tempus became poorer and poorer lots, until finally he had to close the store.

What was the reason?

Watches that the two masters produced were composed of about a thousand parts each. Tempus them built in so that if resting suddenly still partially assembled (for example, to answer the phone), they went to pieces and had to be rebuilt from scratch. Most liked his watches, received more phone calls and unable to produce less.

The watches of Hora, however, were not less complex but were designed in order to compose the subassembly initials of about ten elements each. Ten of these sub-assemblies could be mounted to form a subset larger and a group of ten of these formed an entire clock. Hence, when Hora had to leave out a watch is not yet complete to answer the phone, he lost only a small part of his work: the sub-assemblies, finished not decayed. He was thus able to assemble watches in a fraction of the time it took Tempus.

The moral is that the processes, procedures and system organizations themselves evolve much more rapidly by the same processes, procedures and constituent organizations of production processes in place.

Sure, no one can promise organizational process guarantees absolute safety but it is an essential tool for the advancement of knowledge organizations

Only reflect on the use of production processes: when we decide to put into production any component, there we form a mental idea of ​​the process that will start – design, purchasing, production, etc. – but do not ever analyze the possibility that a battalion of bees invade the production and whole plant or a Super Bugs destroy all corporate servers, or even more highly unlikely events.

Often the solution is not well defined in organizations or by will or inability management. It’s like walking on a rope where the precipice is not on one side only, but on both sides, poised between chaos and complexity, without definite order, instability in the bottom detrimental to the organization and the members themselves organization.

But which path we must do, then, to reduce the complexity and chaos? If the hypothesis of the edge of chaos was valid, how to work to get to that “place”, to take advantage of its propensity to produce innovation? “That complexity means that the end of white or black, you’re with me or against me, I am in the true and false in the end you just move from the culture of ‘” O “, the principle of'” E “(Pier Luigi Amietta)

“Forget the balance, which is located only in the dead things. Life is ever seeking new and improbable, the only way to survive. A brave but realistic message that must become the compass of the managers of the future “(Ernesto Illy)

If not, “I wonder why we should let companies be destroyed by those who were to direct them” (Francesco Varanini)

The theory of complexity and chaos, in which the “strangeness” occupies a prominent place and surprisingly positive, can be an adequate tool to try to guess better than the reality of organizations, given that this knowledge can be translated into new expressions .

“Managers need to push organizations to the edge of chaos for innovation, new challenges, new goals and new dreams to achieve. In the age of progress, the dreams were little more than fantasies. Today, as never before, dreams are the prelude to new realities. Even our collective self – our organizations – must learn to dream “(Gary Hamel)

L'autore: Gianluca Gaggioli

Gianluca Gaggioli: coniugato, con tre figli tutti nati a breve distanza, non si sa come trovi anche il tempo di "dilettarsi" sulle tematiche di qualità e management. Experienced Board Member with a demonstrated history of working in the railroad manufacture industry, railway applications, behaviour of materials and components. Skilled in ISO 9001 14001 45001 15085-2 CL.1 19001 COCS 30 Trenitalia P096 Trenord, Management, Continuous Improvement, EN UNI ISO Standards, Behavior-based safety (BBS). Sales/Commercial experience in the railroad manufacture industry "Order backlog approximately 4,000,000÷6,000,000 million euro in orders / projects (Products / Services)" for the period 2018-2020. Advisor for the main manufacturers of railway vehicles, trains and metro subway; da Giugno 2011 Editor in Chief di Organizzazione Qualità. .

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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato martedì 23 aprile 2013 da Gianluca Gaggioli il martedì, aprile 23, 2013 alle 08:25 ed appartiene alla categoria Prodotto pianificazione e progetti. Puoi seguire i commenti a questo articolo attraverso i feed RSS 2.0. Lascia un commento!


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