edge of chaos

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The state of an organization from which both stability and novelty arises.

Systemic view --
From the systemic view, the edge of chaos is a state a system is pushed to by an autonomous agent it order to spur the creativity needed to create novelty and transform the organization. Too little chaos and no transformation occurs. Too much chaos and the organization disintegrates. This is a state of tension which is supposed to be energizing for the members of the organization.

Responsive processes view --
From the processes view, the edge of chaos describes a healthy organization, which embraces paradox, fosters true diversity, and allows novelty, thus strategy, to emerge from the micro-diversity of the local conversations in the organization. This organization will self-organize, producing stability with the potential for transformation.

Three classifications of conversational processes --
Conversation, the dynamics of the process of communicative interaction in the living present required for the emergent unstable-stability in the perpetual construction of novel futures in the living present. (Stacey, 2001, 181-183)

  • Displaying the dynamics of stability
    • conversation is patterned by habitual, highly repetitive themes
    • the conversation has little to no potential for transformation
    • identity arising in this type of conversation is continuity with little variation
    • neurotic -- conversational qualities are lifeless, depressing, even obsessive and compulsive
  • Displaying the dynamics of instability
    • coherent pattern is lost as fragments of conversation trigger other fragments of little thematic structure
    • the conversation is disintegrative, identity is destroyed
    • psychotic -- the conversational qualities are manic confusion and distress with fragmenting identity
  • Displaying the dynamics of the ""edge of chaos""
    • conversation is where patterning themes have the paradoxical characteristics of continuity and spontaneity at the same time
    • the conversation has the potential for transformation
    • the identity arising is potentially new
    • the conversational qualities are liveliness, fluidity, and energy along with a feeling of grasping at meaning and coherence
    • there is excitement at the same time as tension and anxiety