The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Of ants and men: self organization in human and insect teams

Anderson, Carl and McMillan, Elizabeth (2003). Of ants and men: self organization in human and insect teams. Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 5(2) pp. 29–41.

URL: http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=...
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

To cope with today’s complex, fast-paced, and ever-changing business environment, companies need to shift their overall structure to produce adaptive, highly responsive organizations. The use of teams, particularly self-organized teams with their reactive, emergent properties, may be one way of achieving this goal. Humans, however, are not the only creatures to use such teams: insect societies (ants, bees, wasps, and termites) are enormously successful in their domain, also live in complex, rapidly changing environments, yet achieve this without any centralized control or management. In this study, we examine fundamental issues of teamwork, and question whether such teams really are analogous. After detailing some of the striking similarities, we conclude that they are indeed equivalent and comparable. Thus, our work is a preliminary study into whether nature—specifically, insect societies—may provide not just a valid metaphor but, moreover, a model for organizational shift and effective function in human enterprise.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1521-3250
Keywords: self-organization; self organization; complex adaptive system; teams; management
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Item ID: 2629
Depositing User: Elizabeth McMillan
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2010 19:47
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/2629
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk