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Conditions for Self-Organizing in Human Systems

Conditions for Self-Organizing in Human Systems

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: John Michael on Apr 19, 2009
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05/11/2014

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CONDITIONS FOR SELF-ORGANIZING IN HUMAN SYSTEMS
 byGlenda Holladay EoyangA Project Demonstrating Excellencesubmitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of PhilosophyInHuman Systems DynamicsThe Union Institute and University
DECEMBER 28, 2001
 
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ABSTRACT
Self-organization is the spontaneous generation of order in a complex adaptive system.The phenomenon has been the subject of research in mathematics and physical sciences,and each discipline has generated models and methods that have been applied to humansystems. This study introduces and investigates a model, The CDE Model, whichintegrates the diverse theoretical and practical approaches to self-organizing humansystems. The CDE Model posits three conditions that serve as meta-variables to shape thespeed, path, and outcomes of self-organizing processes in human systems. The conditionsof the CDE Model comprise: Container bounds the system of focus and constrains the probability of contact among agents; significant Difference establishes the potential for change within the system; transforming Exchange connects agents to each other througha transfer of information, energy, or material. In this study, a Results Reversal method isused to investigate the efficacy of organizational interventions in which the CDE Modelis used to assess, intervene in, and evaluate eighteen instances of organization consultingactivity. The instances include four levels of organizational interaction (conceptual, team,institution, and community) and a wide variety of contexts (governmental, industrial,non-profit, educational, and informal groups). The efficacy of the model is supported infourteen of the eighteen instances cited. The model has theoretical implications for human systems because it provides a simple, comprehensive, and consistent approach tounderstanding human system behaviors in widely diverse contexts. The model has practical implications as a coherent framework to compare and contrast a variety of traditional and innovative organizational interventions.
 
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract...............................................................................................................................iAcknowledgements............................................................................................................vGlossary............................................................................................................................viChapter I: Introduction.......................................................................................................1Problem Statement.................................................................................................1Background............................................................................................................4Purpose and Significance.......................................................................................5 Nature of Study......................................................................................................6Chapter II: Theoretical Grounding.....................................................................................7Literature Review...................................................................................................7Evolution of the Model........................................................................................16Study at St. John's College.......................................................................16Contact with Communities of Scholars and Practitioners.......................18Theoretical Works in the Physical Sciences............................................20 Nonlinear Dynamics................................................................................22Participating in Groups............................................................................23Meeting Clients' Needs............................................................................23Self-Organizing in Human Systems.....................................................................27Internal Dynamics....................................................................................27Continuous Development.........................................................................27Characteristics of Self-Organizing Process.............................................28Stability....................................................................................................29Coherence................................................................................................30Conditions for Self-Organizing in Human Systems............................................34Container..................................................................................................34Significant Differences............................................................................36Transforming Exchange...........................................................................38Interaction of the Three Conditions.........................................................40Self-Organizing and the CDE Model.......................................................45Summary..............................................................................................................49Chapter III: Method.........................................................................................................50Research in Complex Adaptive Systems.............................................................50Results Reversal...................................................................................................55Design of the Study..............................................................................................57Sample......................................................................................................60Intervention Designs................................................................................61Data Collection........................................................................................64Data Analysis...........................................................................................64Ethical Treatment of Human Subjects.................................................................66

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