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Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science (J-B O-D (Organizational Development)) Paperback – 7 Feb 2001


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Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science (J-B O-D (Organizational Development)) + Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (7 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078795330X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787953300
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 713,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"The authors offer a comprehensive alternative to traditional change models" (Quality Progress, June 2002)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THIS CHAPTER CONTRASTS the fundamental assumptions of the traditional paradigm of organization change with the paradigm that is emerging from the science of complex adaptive systems (CAS) (see table 1.1). Read the first page
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Coert Visser on 3 July 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book about an approach to managing and changing organizations, which is quite different from traditional change approaches: complexity theory. You might think: "Ah, here we go again.... Is this just the next new management hype, destined to be forgotten soon?" I don't think so. I think complexity theory is to be taken a bit more serious than that. What is it? It is a rapidly developing theoretical framework that describes and explains fundamental processes of complex adaptive systems, like organizations. What is a complex adaptive system? The authors of this book, Edwin Olson and Glenda Eoyang, explain that in a complex adaptive system, a multitude of different players (called agents) held together by some cohesive force (called a container) and constantly interacting with each other in all kinds of ways (these interactions are called transforming exchanges).
The self-organizing nature of human interactions in a complex organization leads to surprising effects. Small actions, events and interactions can lead to dramatic outcomes affecting the whole system. Human interactions in complex systems lead to so-called emergent properties, which are features of the system that the separate parts do not have. (For example, brain cells don't have consciousness, but the human brain does). All of this explains why it is often impossible to understand let alone predict or control events and developments. This is a rather big departure from the traditional view, which tends to see organizations as understandable, predictable and ... controllable!
Then how exactly is the complexity theory approach to change management different from the traditional approach?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
practical book about promising org. change approach 4 Oct. 2001
By Coert Visser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book about an approach to managing and changing organizations, which is quite different from traditional change approaches: complexity theory. You might think: "Ah, here we go again.... Is this just the next new management hype, destined to be forgotten soon?" I don't think so. I think complexity theory is to be taken a bit more serious than that. What is it? It is a rapidly developing theoretical framework that describes and explains fundamental processes of complex adaptive systems, like organizations. What is a complex adaptive system? The authors of this book, Edwin Olson and Glenda Eoyang, explain that in a complex adaptive system, a multitude of different players (called agents) held together by some cohesive force (called a container) and constantly interacting with each other in all kinds of ways (these interactions are called transforming exchanges).

The self-organizing nature of human interactions in a complex organization leads to surprising effects. Small actions, events and interactions can lead to dramatic outcomes affecting the whole system. Human interactions in complex systems lead to so-called emergent properties, which are features of the system that the separate parts do not have. (For example, brain cells don't have consciousness, but the human brain does). All of this explains why it is often impossible to understand let alone predict or control events and developments. This is a rather big departure from the traditional view, which tends to see organizations as understandable, predictable and ... controllable!

Then how exactly is the complexity theory approach to change management different from the traditional approach? Ed Olson and Glenda Eoyang summarize the main features of the CAS approach to change as follows: 1) Achieve change through connections between agents (instead of trying to control the change top-down), 2) Adapt to uncertainty (instead of trying to use predictable stages of development), 3) Allow goals, plans, and structures to emerge (instead of depending on clear and detailed plans or goals), 4) Amplify and value difference (instead of always directly focusing on consensus), 5) Create self-similarity (instead of difference between levels), 6) Regard success as a matter of fit with the environment (instead of focusing on one dimensional success measures).

It's hard to accurately summarize in a few words what's in this book. So, if you're organizational development consultant, perhaps you'd better read it yourself. What you will find is that the book is a nice mix of theory, case descriptions and practical tools which (some of which are very nice and handy). I think this is the first book that makes complexity theory so practical.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Best Practical Guide to Using Complexity 17 Jan. 2002
By Buck Lawrimore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the best practical guide in existence for using Complexity to transform an organization. The authors give valuable tools and techniques for concrete processes which promote Complexity transformation, along with examples of real business situations where the tools have worked. Especially valuable for those who have a background in organization development. Highly recommended.
Vice President 11 May 2013
By Pen Name - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Very clear and understandable regarding a complex issue. It helps apply the theory of complexity and chaos to the real world.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Universal Framework for OD Work 21 Mar. 2005
By James Henkelman-Bahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book when it was written several years ago. The book has staying power. I find that I have adopted the concepts from complexity science as a framework for my organization development work. I think in terms of the simple, yet powerful, metaphor of breadmaking when consulting and facilitating.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A little bit of complexity Change 6 Feb. 2010
By Rene Gonzalo Rivera Mendez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book explore the ways and difficulties about change organization in a systemic perspective. It's very incisive and gabe some tools and advices too.
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