Organizations as self-organizing and sustaining systems: A complex and autopoietic systems perspective

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Journal Article
International Journal of General Systems, 2003, 32 (5), pp. 459 - 474
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Many alternative theories about organization exist. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, adequate explanation of the relationship between macro and micro processes of organization, and organizational dynamics remains elusive. In the recent past there has been growing interest in two areas of systems science that offer a different basis for understanding the generative and dynamic qualities of organizations. These are autopoietic theory and complex adaptive systems theory. In this paper, we outline a theory of organization built on a synthesis of these two theoretical strands. It is argued that the approach provides an improved framework for understanding the nature and dynamics of organizational phenomena, and as such a more rigorous basis upon which to base future organizational research.
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