Complexity * Simplicity * Simplexity

FEUNL Working Paper Series, No 534

30 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2009

See all articles by Miguel Pina e Cunha

Miguel Pina e Cunha

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Arménio Rego

Universidade de Aveiro

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

"In the midst of order, there is chaos; but in the midst of chaos, there is order", John Gribbin wrote in his book Deep Simplicity (p.76). In this dialectical spirit, we discuss the generative tension between complexity and simplicity in the theory and practice of management and organization. Complexity theory suggests that the relationship between complex environments and complex organizations advanced by the well-known Ashby's law, may be reconsidered: only simple organization provides enough space for individual agency to match environmental turbulence in the form of complex organizational responses. We suggest that complex organizing may be paradoxically facilitated by a simple infrastructure, and that the theory of organizations may be viewed as resulting from the interplay between simplicity and complexity.

Suggested Citation

Cunha, Miguel Pina e and Rego, Armenio, Complexity * Simplicity * Simplexity (2008). FEUNL Working Paper Series, No 534. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1356703 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1356703

Miguel Pina e Cunha

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

Armenio Rego (Contact Author)

Universidade de Aveiro ( email )

Rua Associação Humanitária Bombeiros de Aveiro
Aveiro, 3800
Portugal

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