Creative Management of Complex Systems
Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Management Series, Vol. 19


Language: Anglais
Cover of the book Creative Management of Complex Systems

Subject for Creative Management of Complex Systems

Publication date:
170 p. · Hardback
This book is a general presentation of complex systems, examined from the point of view of management. There is no standard formula to govern such systems, nor to effectively understand and respond to them.

The interdisciplinary theory of self-organization is teeming with examples of living systems that can reorganize at a higher level of complexity when confronted with an external challenge of a certain magnitude.

Modern businesses, considered as complex systems, ideally know how to flexibly and resiliently adapt to their environment, and also how to prepare for change via self-organization. Understanding sources of potential crisis is essential for leaders, though not all crises are necessarily bad news, as creative firms know how to respond to challenges through innovation: new products and markets, organizational learning for collective intelligence, and more.


Chapter 1. Introduction: Why Do We Talk About Complexity in Management?

1.1. Examples of complex and/or innovative projects

1.2. Complex systems, rationality and knowledge

1.2.1. Outlines of complexity and complex systems

1.2.2. Information and learning

1.2.3. Rationality

1.3. Cognition and the theory of the firm

1.3.1. Creativity and the evolutionary theory of the firm

1.3.2. Creativity and knowledge

1.3.3. Creativity and novelty within a system

1.4. The entrepreneurial dimension

1.4.1. The philosophy of effectuation

1.4.2. Evolutionary models

1.5. Conclusions

Chapter 2. The Evolution of Complex Systems

2.1. Adaptation, learning and flexibility

2.2. The nonlinear behavior of “imbalanced” systems

2.3. Autonomy and responsibility

2.3.1. A sociological approach to the question of “irresponsible” complex systems

2.3.2. The role of the leader

2.4. Different evolutionary models

2.4.1. The large models inspired by the natural sciences

2.4.2. Human evolution

2.4.3. The evolution of economic organizations

2.4.4. Proactive evolution: from adaptation to exaptation

2.5. Implications for management

2.5.1. Thinking in a nonlinear way

2.5.2. Anticipating breakthroughs

2.5.3. Managing learning and encouraging agents

2.6. Closing remarks

Chapter 3. Steering Complex Adaptive Systems: Managing Weak Signals

3.1. Navigating the ocean of signals

3.1.1. Understanding the nature of the ocean

3.1.2. Observing the ocean

3.1.3. Taking a course

3.1.4. Navigating in symbiosis

3.2. Managing interdependences and dancing with the system

3.2.1. The transmission of signals as a creative process: the example of composite materials

3.2.2. The nonlinear changes at the source of evolution

3.3. Surfing on the wave

3.3.1. Preparing the actors means first listening to them

3.3.2. Choosing the right methods to design a strategy

3.3.3. Choosing a good steerer

3.4. Conclusion

Chapter 4. Entrepreneurship, Market Creation and Imagination

4.1. Some current stakes of entrepreneurship

4.2. The entrepreneur in the history of economic thought

4.2.1. The entrepreneur, harbinger of decentralized creativity

4.2.2. The entrepreneur according to Jean-Baptiste Say: the assembler of factors

4.2.3. The Austrian approach: a form of serendipity within the economic process

4.2.4. The Schumpeterian approach: from serendipity to creativity

4.2.5. The entrepreneur as a decision-maker in uncertain situations

4.2.6. Towards a taxonomy of the entrepreneurial function

4.3. Motivations, responsibility and identity of the entrepreneur

4.3.1. The entrepreneur’s responsibility

4.3.2. The entrepreneur’s identity

4.3.3. Conclusion on the entrepreneur’s motivations

4.4. Entrepreneurship and complexity: the role of the imagination

Chapter 5. Managerial Approaches and Theories of the Firm

5.1. Complexity and management: the first steps

5.2. Manager’s role versus complex systems

5.3. Marketing and complex systems

5.3.1. Hypotheses and theories of complex systems

5.3.2. Four types of complex systems

5.3.3. Honda and the global automobile market

5.3.4. Implications for the marketing manager

5.4. Complex systems and human resource management

5.4.1. RBV and complex systems

5.4.2. Strategic human resource management

5.5. Conclusion: managers’ creative responses




Jean-Alain Héraud is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Strasbourg, France. He is a member of the Bureau d’Economie Théorique et Appliquée, and President of the Association de Prospective Rhénane, which brings together experts in economic and social development in the Upper Rhine region.

Fiona Kerr is Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide, Australia. An expert in neural and systems complexity, she is also a management consultant for various companies and organizations.

Thierry Burger-Helmchen is Professor of Management Sciences at the University of Strasbourg, France. He is a member of the Bureau d’Economie Théorique et Appliquée.