The Geometry of Dynamic Structure

109 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2009 Last revised: 25 Jun 2010

Date Written: July 27, 2009


The world is changing rapidly, placing increasing pressure on organizational systems to develop structures, processes and cultures that facilitate ongoing transformation.

For half a century, a growing understanding of adaptive mechanisms in biological systems has provided metaphors and conceptual possibilities for organizational process and culture that facilitate change.

In this presentation, the structure of living dynamic systems is identified as a critical component of adaptive capacity. A fundamental geometry is introduced that is observed in highly evolved systems – from the micro level in biology to the macro level in societal level organization. It appears that the fundamental structural geometry of dynamic living systems is ubiquitous – applying to all levels.

Based on this observation, the author proposes that science is more than a metaphor for social phenomenon, and that organizations are a higher level of biological complexity. This proposition goes beyond a conceptual framework. It provides access to the entire range of advances in the natural and health sciences as templates for understanding and for the development of concrete tools for observation, measurement, intervention and design of organizations.

The mechanical properties of this living architecture allow for a high level of elasticity, rapid redistribution of pressure and tension, distribution of information, and harmonic potential – creating conditions for both wholeness and adaptive capacity. The components are distinct, occur in predictable proportion, and appear to emerge in a particular sequence. With these understandings and a growing understanding of how they manifest in organizations, it becomes possible to develop a science of transformation.

This presentation is intended to create awareness of the geometry of dynamic structure – contributing to understanding and to greater freedom to cooperate responsibly with emergent design as well as co-create design possibilities. Application of the fundamental geometric pattern to organizational structure is one of the most powerful responses to the pressures of a rapidly changing world.

JEL Classification: L00, M14, B52, F00

Suggested Citation

Diehl, Faith D., The Geometry of Dynamic Structure (July 27, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

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