As we arrive at the latest stop on our ‘back to the future’ journey to the land of organizational planning, we come face-to-face with the issues of uncertainty and complexity (see Footnote).
These topics were dealt with in separate chapters in the 1980 paper. But the two are so intimately interwoven in my present-day understanding of organizational dynamics that I’ve chosen to wrap them together for the purposes of this post.
In his latest treatise on organizational dynamics, Complexity and Organizational Reality, Ralph Stacey discusses these concepts in some depth. There he argues that analogies drawn from the sciences of uncertainty and complexity offer a more resonant view of organisational reality than that offered by the science of certainty that underpins the dominant management discourse.
He later goes on to suggest that it’s perhaps best not to think of management and leadership as sciences at all but rather to recognize that these are social phenomena. Despite this, uncertainty and complexity feature heavily in his particular take on organizational dynamics and in the social complexity perspective embodied in informal coalitions.