Complexity, strategic thinking and organisational change

McMillan, Elizabeth and Carlisle, Ysanne (2003). Complexity, strategic thinking and organisational change. In: 17th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, 2-5 Dec 2003, Freemantle, Western Australia, Australia.


Comparative considerations of strategy from complexity paradigm and Newtonian paradigm perspectives are discussed in the light of three ideological dispositions towards the future. We term them defensive, opportunist, and goal oriented. Over the years, the strategy literature has identified a number of strategic archetypes (e.g. Miller and Freisen, 1978). What is interesting from our point of view is the patterns of reasoning that underpin them. The study of ideology has identified qualitative patterns of reasoning which underpin different types of strategic decision in both the fields of politics and strategic management. This paper considers three patterns of reasoning and considers how they relate to the complexity and Newtonian paradigms.

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