Considering organisation structure and design from a complexity paradigm perspective

McMillan, Elizabeth (2002). Considering organisation structure and design from a complexity paradigm perspective. In: Frizzelle, G and Richards, H eds. Tackling industrial complexity: the ideas that make a difference. Cambridge, UK: Institute of Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, pp. 123–136.

URL: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/mcn/pdf_files/part5_5...

Abstract

This chapter argues that the nature and importance of organisation structure and the underpinning design principles are not well understood and yet they play a key role in organisational performance. Existing organisational forms and their design principles are examined via a brief history of the development of modern forms of organisation. There is evidence to suggest that classical science has provided many of the underlying principles for organisation design. Comparisons are made between design principles derived from the classical scientific (Newtonian–Cartesian) paradigm and the complexity science paradigm. A speculative model of an organisation structure based on design principles drawn from the complexity paradigm: ‘The Fractal Web’, is presented. In concluding it is suggested that the use of design principles derived from the complexity paradigm offer a way forward that will facilitate the development of new structural forms that are resilient and more resonant with the times.

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