Consider a group of workers. If they act jointly under the direction of a leader to produce a product or service, we consider their behavior organized. If they act as a team without external orders, we would consider them self-organized. People self-organize all the time. Business associates create partnerships, children invent games, students organize elaborate pranks, and employees take the initiative in handling an unusual problem during a supervisor’s absence. In another organization, employees invent a subtle, collective way to resist an unpopular supervisory policy. We have tried with only moderate success to understand the self-organizing phenomena from the standpoint of behavioral psychology, military science, management science, and even operations research. Recent discoveries in systems theory, however, are giving new, clearer insights into self-organizing, insights that offer both managers and staff powerful new tools to increase productivity. Remarkably, they could implement these with simple additions to currently existing organizational structures.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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