Managing Complexity 0 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered

By Richard Tabor Greene
Professor of Design Creativity & Innovation,
Grad School of System Design & Management,
Keio University, Yokohama, Japan
Master, De Tao Masters Academy, Beijing-Shanghai,
Partly Edited Third Draft Edition, Models Updated 9/2005
8000+ eminent people from 41 nations & 63 professions
were interviewed for routes to the top of their field. 54
such routes were found, one was “Handling Complexity Well”.
150 of them, who reached the top of 63 field via that, were
interviewed for their actual capabilities--reported in this book.
Every chapter of this book offers theories of what produces
complexity and theories of what reduces or handles it well, and
particular tools for managing or reducing particular kinds of
complexity in work and life, which tools have been tested, in
completed applications to actual cases reported herein as well.
Managing Complexity 1 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Table of Contents of Managing Complexity by Richard Tabor Greene
Types of System Surprises:
Chapter 1: Complexity from Various Types of Surprise--How
Non-Linearity Makes Life and Work Complex p7
1. 54 System Effects p24
2. 128 System Effect Fault Types p26
Types of Social Diversity:
Chapter 2: Complexity from Various Types of Social Diversity--33
Tools for Leveraging Social Types of Diversity p29
3. 64 Dimensions of the Culture of Everything p61
4. 64 Social Process Functions of Every Unit of Every Society p63
Types of Computation:
(Options for Organizing People, Tasks, Data)
Chapter 3: Complexity from Various Types of Computational
System--How Machine, Biologic, and Social Computers Interact
to Spawn New Forms of Computation p66
5. 39 Computation Types and Their Interactions p86
6. 83 Biologic Forms of Computation Now Interacting p88
Chapter 4: The Social Automaton Process p94
Learning to
manage self
workforces; to
organize self
organizing firm
coalitions; to
design self
Chapter 6: Computational Sociality p139
Reduce Complexity by Managing Social Automaton Processes Reduce Complexity by Managing Workforces as Parallel Arrays of
Human Processors
7. Globalizing Quality by Quality Types p113
11. 77 Totalizations of a Body of Knowledge p160
8. Managing by Events, Not Processes or Departments p114 12. Just-in-Time Management, 64 Leadership Functions p162
Chapter 5: Complexity in Policy Making p116 Chapter 7: Community Quality Cabaret Events p164
Reduce Complexity by Deploying Functions to Social Automata Reduce Complexity by Managing by Events Instead of by Departments
and Processes
9. The Evolutionary Engineering Process p135
13. 24 Traits of High Performance Teams p171
10. The Social Automaton Process p136 14. 64 Ways Organizations Learn p172
Chapter 8: Measuring Satisfaction of Customers
of Customer Satisfaction Data p176
Learning to
detect cus-
tomer wants
and go beyond
to perfectly
define the prob-
lem then invent
a better prob-
Chapter 10: Uniting 8 Domains Via a Complexity Theory
(Non-Linearity) Model of Creativity p217
Reduce Complexity by Using Techniques Recursively and Fractally Reduce Complexity by Expressing Dozens of Domains as the Same Cre-
ativity Functions Applied to Different Aspects of Persons and Groups
15. Customer Requirements Matrix, 22 Product Aspects p193
19. Paradox Models of 9 Domains p248
16. Satisfaction of Customers of Customer Satisfaction Data
20. Models of 9 Domains as Creativity Functions
Applied to Different Parts of Societies/Persons p252
Chapter 9: Measuring Policy Receiver Satisfac-
tion with Policies They Receive p196
Chapter 11: Uniting 42 Models of Creativity Via an
Overall Model and a Cyclic Model p254
Reduce Complexity by Measuring Satisfaction of Customers of Poli-
cies with the Policies They Receive
Reduce Complexity by a “Model of Models”--Putting Different Models of
1 Phenomenon into One Overall Well-Ordered Model
17. Problems-Systems-Tools Chart p214
21. 476 Creativity Dynamics from 12 Models of Creativity p342
18. 128 Total and Global Quality Tools Triangles p215 22. 64 Dynamics of Highly Interesting Careers p350
Chapter 12: Processware--Merging Virtual Quality
with Quality Virtuality p352
Learning to
switch from
hardware to
software qual-
ity; to move
from product
ness to knowl-
edge production
Chapter 14: Total Quality Knowledge Work via De-
Professionalizing Knowledge p382
Reduce Complexity by Blending Advanced Software and Quality
Tools and Technologies
Reduce Complexity by Generating Superb Processes of Inventing and
Creating Using Quality Methods Applied to Knowledge Work
23. Quality and Virtuality Challenges p355
27. Quality Genres p421
24. Quality and Virtuality Synergies p356 28. Professionals Deprofessionalizing Knowledge, Hypotheses423
Chapter 13: Innovations in Quality p358 Chapter 15: Self Emergent Re-engineering p425
Reduce Complexity by Spotting Abstract Dimensions of Improve-
ment and Innovation in Any Domain
Reduce Complexity by Designing Social Automatons that Evolve and
Emerge into Needed Organization and Results
25. 40 Innovations in 31 Abstract Dimensions p377
29. The Femininity of Productivity p485
26. Recursive Tool Application p380 30. Emerging New Organization Forms p486
Managing Complexity 2 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Sources of Complexity and Tools for Handling the Paradoxes They Give Rise to
This book deals with the three primary sources of complexity faced by globalizing net-savvy organizations in the 21st century: the various types of surprises generated by non-linear
connection within systems having many components or actors, the diverse types of social diversity of person and group found around the world, and the diverse types of social and
machine computation, from the interactions of which emerge new forms of social and new forms of machine computation (so quickly these new forms appear before organizations can
digest their immediate predecessors). Stated this way, this seems a rather abstract point to make. However real people, particular managers you and I know, suffer as tools (computers,
organizations, and others) tend to become purposes of their own, distracting organizations from real missions (social versus machine computation). Real managers suffer as what is con-
sidered “excellent”, “productive”, “good effort” in one locale and group is radically different than what these things refer to in others (“social” diversity of basic values). Real people
suffer as well when the side-effects of planned actions are larger and more important and devastatingly counter to intended outcomes (diverse surprises in handling non-linear systems).
If we are honest with ourselves, daily, certainly weekly, we all suffer from these sources of complexity. This book is a book of tools for handling that complexity well.
There are three primary paradoxes involved in facing these sources of complexity. The first is how leadership is undermined by the very organizations it leads, and vice versa, how the
organizations leaders depend on are undermined by the way leaders lead them. The second is how discerning and meeting customer requirements is undermined by creativity in leaders
and organizations and vice versa, how creativity is undermined by attending well to what customers require. The third is how the quality with which processes are done gets under-
mined by or actively undermines radical re-doing of processes on the basis of new assumptions and new materials for doing process functions (and vice versa, how radical re-doing gets
undermined by process quality achievement or actively blocks achieving such process quality). All three sources of complexity cause leadership to undermine organization and orga-
nization to undermine leadership, meeting customer wants to undermine creativity and creativity to undermine meeting customer wants, and quality to undermine re-engineering and re-
engineering to undermine achieving process quality. Complexity of non-linear systems, many types of social diversity, and social forms of computation sustains and exacerbates these
paradoxic polar pairs.
Along the way this book presents two methods after every chapter, methods that allow you to handle well the sources of complexity and the paradoxes they exacerbate. This is a pow-
erful book that makes you more powerful by reading it. All of these tools, taken together, are based on and create a new commonsense, to replace the commonsense organizations and
economies have used the past 400 years, since Isaac Newton (“mechano-sense” I call it). This new commonsense I call “biosense”. Biology is the hot science these days replacing
physics; bone is what we aspire to not steel (bone grows stronger exactly where it is under the most stress, it repairs itself, steel does not). This book defines this new “biosense”, pre-
sents actual completed applications of it, by me, the author, and others. Unlike other books on complexity, this book presents completed proven applications, not possible vague, future
The Romance of Ideas and Underperforming Businesses
In the early 2000s the US economy was very robust, breaking records for un-interrupted growth, rate of growth, and the like. Everything except an increasing trade-deficit and overall
government budget-deficit looked rosy. In such good economic times two things happen--all business people become arrogant, not some; and, people invest fully in bad ideas that will
not be revealed as bad till times become hard again. In other words, generally robust economies hide the true worth of business styles, decisions, and persons.
The market for advice to organizations paradoxically waxes and wanes simultaneously in such times. It waxes as readily available funds make consulting easy; it wanes as readily avail-
able success makes getting advice and listening to it unnecessary for good financial returns. This book is written for everyone when the economy is no longer rosy, and for ambitious
people who wish to avoid the arrogance and investment in wrong ideas endemic to rosy economies.
The Duality of Performance
We all once wanted a world where people could concentrate on really making a difference. We all found that world does not exist. What does exist is a world where we always have
two agendas--a superficial “looking like” we are “performing” according to some big shot’s warped idea of what works, and a hidden layer of making real but disguised contributions.
Productive people make good impressions and good results, make good short term superficial results and make good long term results. Being able to look right while doing right is the
essence of managing in any real world organization. It is a matter of packaging and product--if the product is great but the package is wrong, people do not buy it, they miss its true
Because of this dual nature to “performance” bubbles are inevitable--the accomplishments in “looking creative” at times greatly depart from “creativity” actually achieved and vice
versa. Collapses surprise only those willing to depart from reality entirely; but most of us want to depart from reality and build and imagine new things by departing partly from reality
in our imaginations. The imaginative force that drives economic growth also drives bubble formation and collapse.
Neither the Flaws Elicited by Rosy Economies Nor the Duality of Work Agendas is Complexity
This book is real. It acknowledges that rosy economies produce stupendous inventories of bad ideas that work anyway (whose true worth is hidden); it acknowledges that people are
responsible for both product and packaging, never just one alone. But this book is not about the complexity of not getting sucked into bad ideas during rosy economic times or the com-
plexity of working dual agendas each day at work. This book is about an entirely different dimension of complexity.
“Tampering” in one word might be a good way to say what this book is about. When you do not really know what influences and determines things you care about, yet you feel respon-
sible, have to look “managerial” and “do something”, you do something--something that usually makes things worse. This is tampering in general--acting into a situation while ignorant
of the dynamics that determine it, so that one’s actions make things worse. Dr. Deming the quality guru talked about statistical tampering--managers, ignorant of the statistical nature of
work processes, spotting variation in work process outcomes and blaming individual workers or firing people, thereby, not addressing the true causes in system design of variation, and
thereby, by messing with irrelevant variables making variation much much worse. I remember him pointing at the funny looking brown spot on the side of the forehead of the chairman
of General Motors (much like the one Gorbachev had) and accusing him of major tampering, because as chairman his ignorance of statistics made him incapable of designing work pro-
cesses that worked. That is statistical tampering, this book concerns a different but even more widespread form of tampering, complexity tampering.
Complexity sees the world as populations of intelligently interacting agents. The behaviors each agent is trained in and capable of, the other agents any one agent associates with, the
interactions permitted, supported, and done as work-arounds within certain groups of freely associating agents and between such groups, determine work outcomes--all of them. Top
Managing Complexity 3 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
manager commands, if they do not affect these--basic unit states/behaviors, basic unit neighborhoods, within neighborhood interactions, between neighborhood interactions--tamper.
Again and again managers, ignorant of the complex adaptive system dynamics of workplaces (or worse yet markets of customers) intervene in such a way as to make their wanted out-
comes more remote. This is complexity tampering. This book teaches you what it is, how you now suffer from it, and how to cure yourself and others.
Four hundred years ago, Mandeville, in his Fable of the Bees, introduced complexity theory to science. He showed how lower level units interacting with bad behaviors (badly inten-
tioned ones) produced overall good results for society on a higher size scale. Four hundred years later, about 30 years ago, Prof. Schelling in his Micromotives and Macrobehaviors,
introduced complexity theory to science, again. He showed how lower level units interacting with good intents produced overall results the opposite of those intents, that is, bad
results on a higher whole society size scale. The magic of complex systems of agents that inter-act in a non-linear way, is called “emergence” but it is simple magic--when you plan
and act on one size scale, you will produce results on smaller or larger scales that you may not plan for or see at first till they grow dominatingly large and overwhelm any results that
you have your attention and plans focussed on.
More recently Wolfram showed in a masterpiece book (A New Kind of Science) how 256 simple program types (one-dimensional cellular automata) might underlie everything in our
universe and our universe’s basic nature itself. Motion might be a happenstance “emergent” outcome from the nature of space as an automaton in time; living thing body designs
might be emergent outcomes of the most plentifully and simply available simple program types. Managers who see a problem on one size scale and respond to it on that same size
scale, miss the simple programs generating that problem as an emergent on a higher size scale from where the causal simple programs are. Thinking in simple program systems ways
is absolutely vital for making interventions in systems that address causes.
Avoiding the Flaws of Shallow Business Writing and Application-less Academic Theorizing
I have had a moderately successful career in charity and NGO work (third world development and fund raising for it), in business (as manager in three large global corporations and 2
venture businesses), in science and software (as researcher in artificial intelligence computation), in academia (as professor at three universities including the Univ. of Chicago Grad
School of Business), and in the arts (as author of three successful novels, and 20 songs). Success, modest though it be, in five different careers has made me skeptical of attitudes or
methods from narrow careers. In that context, this book questions books for business persons like “7 minutes for ...” and “one minute for...”. The best people I met in business found
that the money you get from associating with people who liked such books was not worth the quality of lunch conversations you had to endure. Similarly, this book questions Nobel
Prize winners at leading schools of business and other such academics. I have eaten lunch with such people and in not a few cases there was a Rush Limbaugh feel to their conversa-
tions (unthinking rightwing political bigotry). In all too many cases, the narrowness of their reading and the even greater narrowness of their exposure to the real world appalled.
This book aims beyond the “seven habits” and “one minute” type of cook-books on the market and beyond the narrow theoretical topics that win Nobel Prizes for economics. It looks
realistically at how powerful and effective people handle the non-linear systems around them, the social diversities that globalization exposes, and the new social and machine forms of
computation organizing our world, and distills from much opinion, principles that can repeatably be proven to work.
I had lunch with an extremely famous research and development corporate vice president years ago, when he was head of Xerox PARC the famous lab. I watched five grown men
fawn and “kiss his butt” for two hours, being careful to only say things nice to him that would “impress” him. It was doubly disappointing. What most disappointed me was his irre-
sponsibility to his job at this lunch. A director of research who allows his environment to become such sycophancy, such apotheosis, such “ass licking”, is well on his way to the faults
of monarchy. Separated from real criticism and the give and take of actual conversation, he accepts worship services to his ego instead. The second offense, was, of course, my peers,
sitting around the table, and reduced to “lesser monkeys” when talking in the presence of the “top chimpanzee”. This book shuns expressions of romance to the rear ends of luminary
business leaders and academic leaders. This book shuns tiny narrow theoretical research topics. This book follows a middle way that has proved popular in Europe and Asia.
The Parts of This Book
This book looks at complex adaptive systems, that is systems that self-consciously evolve (including all systems involving human beings). These are the most complex things known
in the universe. As complex as strings and quarks, the simplest situation of these systems immediately bursts beyond traditional continuous maths finding adequate expression only in
the “simple programs” of Stephen Wolfram and other digital modelers (Wolfram, A New Kind of Science). We all know a lot about them because all of our lives we have lived inside,
beside, around, over, under, and throughout them. They are the world we live in. There are only tiny fragments of that world that are approximately linear, all the rest is highly non-
linear, and hard to predict. This book, then, is about how to live in the highly non-linear, highly complex, world that we actually live in. This is a book, in that sense, on how to live,
period. This book also looks at social diversity--different genders, cultures, eras, professional ethics, practices, values, institutions--and how they expose the deepest most emotional
and intimate parts within us as we encounter them around the world. We cannot globalize without becoming deeply self reflective. The journey out requires a journey in (to para-
phrase Joseph Campbell’s book from 20 years ago). Globalization is delivering into our jobs and homes diversity of person, view, value, and product from elsewhere in the world and
delivering all over the world ourselves and our values as invaders of the jobs and homes of others. This book is about how to handle diverse forms of diversity exposed by globaliza-
tion. Finally this book looks at social institutions, routines, and organizations as types of computation system and the new forms of machine computation they give rise to. It also
looks at new forms of machine computation and the new social arrangements of living and working they inspire. Each new form of computation leads to surprising new products and
surprising new configurations of business organizations and customers. Managers and leaders have to get their minds around these emerging new computation forms. This book pro-
vides a map that does just that.
The first part of this book handles complexity theory, as it is called. It presents three major sources of complexity: the variety of surprises caused by non-linear inter-connections of
many things in systems, the diverse types of social diversity across the globe, and the variety of types of social and machine computation the interactions of which generate still more
newer forms of social and machine computing. This includes the usual Santa Fe Institute ideas on non-linear system dynamics, population style simulations of markets, consumers,
products, inventory flows, and the like, upgraded by deep careful reading of Wolfram’s masterpiece, A New Kind of Science. It goes beyond that, however, by looking at three very dif-
ferent sources of complexity in our world: various surprise types generated by non-linear systems of interacting things, diverse types of social diversity that make idea and values not
work everywhere equally, and various types of social and machine computation that interactions of which are daily spawning new forms of social and machine computation. The sec-
ond part of this book presents three paradoxes generated by all these sources of complexity: Leadership gets two chapters versus organization which also gets two chapters. In truth
all four of those chapters deal with one aspect or another of the tension between leader and organization. Customer gets two chapters versus creativity which also gets two chapters.
All four of these chapters deal with the tension between satisfying customers and amazing them. Quality gets two chapters versus re-engineering’s two chapters. All four of these
chapters deal with the trade-off between perfecting existing ways of operating and throwing them out entirely in favor of radically different ways of operating. These polarities are
profound contradictions that nothing eliminates or makes easy to handle. What each chapter presents is ways of handling these powerfully and well. Each chapter, both the core chap-
ters on sources of complexity and the following chapters on each pole of the paradoxes is followed by two tools, introduced in the chapter but presented as step by step methods and
exercises after the chapter.
There is a tremendous amount of research and practice packed into each chapter so there are fascinating side-light ideas in each chapter. For example, one chapter handles a social
movement that changed the goals, methods, measures, and values of all major businesses in the world in just 20 years--the total quality movement. That a social movement would be
done in businesses by business persons is ironic. Greenpeace, a few years ago, hired an experienced business executive to lead their organization when donations suddenly halved.
The long haired unshaven bad-smelling acid-freak of the 1960s was suddenly leading venture businesses and the bald-headed, control-freak, blue suited conservative father figure was
out on the street looking for work, his aged ways of thought and work no longer a growing part of the economy. The T-shirt economy has soundly defeated the blue suit economy,
soundly enough that only the completely blind have not rethought their style and values as a result (first defeat, the T-shirts built a West coast technology-based business model that out-
performed blue-suit East coast firms in the US for three decades; second defeat, the blue suit economy’s “resurgence” after bursting of the technology bubble of the early 2000s, ended
in a corrupt-CEO bubble that burst in SEC investigations and legal changes in corporate governance and accounting). Total quality taught businesses all over the world what “process”
was, enabling businesses to understand what the “internet” “meant”. Without the understanding of process that total quality provided, the internet as a faster, cheaper form of process-
ing would have languished. What is more, the total quality movement ushered in 63 other movements in business, worldwide. That social movements would become a major way of
“managing” and a key skill of managers is ironic. It is also due to managers being forced, initially by Japanese competition in the previous century, to manage complexity, instead of
avoiding or fleeing from it. The total quality movement’s tactical system was the first way of managing that fully embraced the complexity of any workplace. A couple of chapters of
this book show how we can re-vision and re-invent quality by moving it from being based on system science of the “system dynamics” era (Forrester, Senge, and the like) to being
based on systems science of the Wolfram-Santa Fe era (complexity theory). Another chapter of this book treats processware--where process in quality terms meets process in internet
terms. It shows how to use information systems differently, how to re-engineer processes differently, by doing them both so as to foster emergent phenomena rather than design ones.
Parts of this book, then, present complexity and tampering with it. They present a movement way of managing that fully handles complexity instead of fleeing from it. Then they
examine how the idea of “process” in business mixes with the idea of “process” in software and on the internet.
The sources of complexity presented in this book--diverse surprises from systems effects, diverse types of social diversity, and diverse new forms of social and machine computation--
are not going to go away. We and civilization will all have to learn to handle them well. This book presents proven tools for doing that. The paradox between leader and organiza-
tion, between satisfying customers and creating things beyond customer expectations, and between perfecting existing way quality and going radically beyond existing ways (re-engi-
neering) are not going to go away. We and civilization will all have to learn to handle them well, as well. This book presents proven tools for doing that.
This is a book of ideas. My experience has been that nothing is as powerful in business as a good idea--the more abstract and hard to understand, the better. My peers failed to stop
me again and again, though they were competitors, because they could not figure out where I was coming from and what I would do next. I was uncompetable because highly abstract
ideas guided my daily work style, content, and visions. Ideas become powerful tools when you use them to make a difference in situations. Most chapters of this book give detailed
stories of how I and others used the ideas within.
Managing Complexity 4 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Every chapter of this book is followed by two tools, of the many introduced in each chapter, along with instructions on how I get my students and consulting clients to use those tools so
as to master the core points of each chapter. There are 15 chapters in this book, so there is a total of 30 tools thusly presented after the chapters. Readers can test their understanding of
each chapter’s content by using those 30 tools as instructed. Such testing will show readers very clearly exactly how to apply the ideas of this book, abstract and many though they be,
to practical goals and concerns, to good effect.
I have applied nearly every idea in this book to three major corporations, successfully enough to get the CEO of every company I have worked for to visit me within a year of hire carry-
ing money, facilities, and additional headcount for my efforts (not vice versa), and I have applied every idea in this book to publishings in academia, successfully enough that top ten
departments phoned me offering work, purely on the basis of reading manuscripts of my books. I have applied for only one job in the last 20 years, all other work has, au contraire,
invited me.
The ideas in this book worked for me. How do I know they work for other people? First, my employees have gone on to forge rather stellar careers, after learning the ideas in this book
while working with me. I encouraged this by sponsoring every Friday breakfast study groups, wherein employees would read key books and plot out how to apply those ideas to oppor-
tunities at work. Second, I have sent twelve years of students out into the world. These students now star in movies, found venture businesses, and the like. Their career success is
obvious though just beginning.
This is a practical book. It turns ideas into tools for transforming competitions, customers, markets, organizations, beliefs, and persons. What makes it even more practical is most
chapters in this book include actual tools that I have developed and used myself in leading non-profits, government agencies, or business organizations. These organizations paid me
tens of thousands of dollars to teach them and guide them in applying these tools. Readers of this book get access to the same tools for a tiny fraction of that price.
Abstract Models as the Most Powerful Tools
Once you get the idea into your mind that your life will face a dozen basically different infrastructures each of which get implemented worldwide, one after the other, while you are alive,
things become simpler. Regular infrastructure change becomes a “normal” part of your work--you learn to abstract work functions from the current infrastructure means of doing them,
so as to implement those functions on the next “coming” infrastructure.
One way to greatly reduce the complexity you face is to have before your mind a model that shows a succession of changes likely to appear in a certain already known ordering. The
issue becomes, then, not what you face but when exactly you will face it. Abstract models of what is coming, for example in infrastructure change terms, greatly simplify the world and
organize our preparation and responding. This book contains a lot of models, not a few of which have 64 or 128 individual parts (usually organized in smaller groups of 4 and 16
items). They might intimidate some readers and scare a few people off but that would be a mistake. Complicated as they appear, they organize and make simple much more compli-
cated dynamics at work in our world. The models in this book, because they are somewhat abstract and very comprehensive, reduce greatly your exposure to surprise, undermining
done by unrecognized types of social diversity, and similar problems caused by facing new forms of computation. Models are tools, very powerful tools. They direct attention and
order diversity, they make viewing comprehensive both in terms of including everything and in terms of offering various scales of granularity to your viewing--many specific local con-
crete things organized by fewer more abstract general things.
The Missing Negatives
There is a strong bias in business culture around the world to never say anything bad about another business person--you may need their cooperation later--and to never say anything bad
about your own business--you may offend higher ups. The banishment of criticism and fault-finding from conversation among business persons infests business schools at leading uni-
versities. You cannot do research with a business if you criticize it or offend it. Contrary to what one might think, not a few large business organizations are populated with not a few
petty minded people--in some cases, more of them the higher you go, unfortunately. These people keep grudges, in spite of their vast wealth. Their tiny egos remember slight slights
from decades ago. Business school professors, even Nobel Laureates, have learned to tread carefully, never quite criticizing something till a major business magazine criticizes it first.
I do not mind this--it is part of nearly all human relationships from one viewpoint. You cannot simply say the truth to your wife and kids, anymore than you can do it to business persons.
However, because corporate and academic cultures grow up that omit criticism entirely, organizations become deluded (there is no more accurate word). This book tries to put some
sting back into language without picking on any one named organization. It tells some ugly truths just the way they are and, no doubt, the tinier egos of some executives somewhere will
be mightily irritated by comments in this book. Just enjoy, with me, when reading a “sparky” passage in this book, the knowledge that sometime somewhere a tiny man with great
wealth and a fragile ego is going bananas over the passage while you and I coast amiably along.
In truth, it is a somewhat ugly world. The people are what make it somewhat ugly. The human condition--complexity among other traits--contributes a lot to making it ugly. Large
organizations are not immune to this ugliness (inspite of having the beauty of nearly automatically generating great streams of wealth). Only six of them, as of this writing, can design
a web page that makes ordering over the internet a comfort (at least in the first decades of the 21st century). Seeing and naming that ugliness has only one redeeming feature--it saves
people and organizations. The nasty one that names the names of ugly parts of other people and groups, is the person who stops the weaknesses of one and all from ruining the destinies
of one and all. All the happier more optimistic un-gloomy people to be around turn out to be useless when push comes to shove. Their happiness prevents them seeing and handling the
ugly things that hurt people and organizations. Corporate cultures with their silly stories “we are all great people with a great past marching on to a wonderful future” are for children
and executives bent on treating employees as dumb children. Reverse the corporate story and you get near the truth, just as, when you reverse the meaning of an advertisement you get
the meaning (smoking is not like breathing beach air on the top of a boat with nearly naked ladies, it is more like kissing the exhaust pipe of a car).
This book at times directs your attention to some of the uglier uglinesses of this world and its people. If you do not have the stomach for that much truth, drop this book now and go buy
something more optimistic.
The Origins of This Book
All the chapters in this book started as presentations at conferences and consults to leading organizations, that were worked into texts used in graduate school classes at the University of
Chicago Graduate School of Business and at my present university, Kwansei Gakuin University, in Sanda, Japan. I always collect audience evaluations of my work and drove my pre-
sentation work till 9.5 out of 10 was my average score, putting audience satisfaction from my work above that for work by more famous peers and competitors I presented among. All
chapters of this book were highly evaluated by such audiences. Later I created manuscript versions of this book that I used with students at the University of Chicago Grad School of
Business and my present university, Japan’s 8th ranked private university, by adding particular tools to each chapter and using more research literature in complexity theory to frame
case presentation in the text. I also excluded a few types of complexity and their sources that were intellectually obvious and without enough depth to require college research treatment,
given the more serious other sources of complexity around us. In addition to the above uses, managers at half a dozen Japanese, European, and American corporations and NGOs have
used versions of the material in this book. The material in this book has been highly tested and achieved high evaluations by both these audiences for some years now. You are getting
a thoroughly tested product herein. Yearly I have updated the models in this book, while using it with students and consulting clients, to keep it useful, current, and relevant.
Information Reduction, Ideation Quality, Personal Integrity
Each chapter of this book condenses into thirty to fifty pages the contents of fifty or so books and fifty or so research journal articles. Single illustrations in these chapters not infre-
quently achieve similar feats of summarizing. If you master the ideas within, you save yourself much additional time spent gathering scattered reading sources and actually reading
them, extracting key points. By reading the thousand or so pages herein you save yourself reading 100,000 other pages.
Benchmarking My Competitors
I have bought and read nearly all the books published on complexity (over 330 as of this writing; over 572 if purely math books on fractal geometry and chaos theory are included). I
have found and printed out over 1200 articles on this topic. Careful grouping, organizing, and reading of this material furnished some of the ideas in this book. There is an additional
source, however, that is very important. I developed the ideas in this book while working at major corporations, for venture businesses, for consulting companies, and at top ten colleges
in the US, France, Holland, and Japan. While my massage of the readings was generating models of key ideas, I had the chance to apply those nascent ideas. Some of those applica-
tions failed miserably but a great number worked out pretty well and a few were astonishingly effective. The stories of those successes as well as the failures are in this book.
I have read the competition, seen their virtues and flaws, and endeavored in this book to do what they did not do well, to talk about what they forget to mention, and to apply what they
left vague, ambiguous, or overly general. Contact me if you find errors or omissions in this book at
Related Books
This book is the core of a number of others. I have written large books on educatedness (Are You Educated?), effectiveness (Are You Effective?), creativity (Are You Creative?), and the
power of abstract ideas for competing (Theory Power). Managing Complexity combines elements of them all. It is the core in a sense.
If being more educated, effective, creative, and using ideas more practically appeal to you, by all means buy these other books and apply the particular methods in them.

Managing Complexity 5 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Table of Contents of Managing Complexity by Richard Tabor Greene
Types of System Surprises:
Chapter 1: Complexity from Various Types of Surprise--How
Non-Linearity Makes Life and Work Complex p7
1. 54 System Effects p24
2. 128 System Effect Fault Types p26
Types of Social Diversity:
Chapter 2: Complexity from Various Types of Social Diversity--33
Tools for Leveraging Social Types of Diversity p29
3. 64 Dimensions of the Culture of Everything p61
4. 64 Social Process Functions of Every Unit of Every Society p63
Types of Computation:
(Options for Organizing People, Tasks, Data)
Chapter 3: Complexity from Various Types of Computational
System--How Machine, Biologic, and Social Computers Interact
to Spawn New Forms of Computation p66
5. 39 Computation Types and Their Interactions p86
6. 83 Biologic Forms of Computation Now Interacting p88
Chapter 4: The Social Automaton Process p94
Learning to
manage self
workforces; to
organize self
organizing firm
coalitions; to
design self
Chapter 6: Computational Sociality p139
Reduce Complexity by Managing Social Automaton Processes Reduce Complexity by Managing Workforces as Parallel Arrays of
Human Processors
7. Globalizing Quality by Quality Types p113
11. 77 Totalizations of a Body of Knowledge p160
8. Managing by Events, Not Processes or Departments p114 12. Just-in-Time Management, 64 Leadership Functions p162
Chapter 5: Complexity in Policy Making p116 Chapter 7: Community Quality Cabaret Events p164
Reduce Complexity by Deploying Functions to Social Automata Reduce Complexity by Managing by Events Instead of by Departments
and Processes
9. The Evolutionary Engineering Process p135
13. 24 Traits of High Performance Teams p171
10. The Social Automaton Process p136 14. 64 Ways Organizations Learn p172
Chapter 8: Measuring Satisfaction of Customers
of Customer Satisfaction Data p176
Learning to
detect cus-
tomer wants
and go beyond
to perfectly
define the prob-
lem then invent
a better prob-
Chapter 10: Uniting 8 Domains Via a Complexity Theory
(Non-Linearity) Model of Creativity p217
Reduce Complexity by Using Techniques Recursively and Fractally Reduce Complexity by Expressing Dozens of Domains as the Same Cre-
ativity Functions Applied to Different Aspects of Persons and Groups
15. Customer Requirements Matrix, 22 Product Aspects p193
19. Paradox Models of 9 Domains p248
16. Satisfaction of Customers of Customer Satisfaction Data
20. Models of 9 Domains as Creativity Functions
Applied to Different Parts of Societies/Persons p252
Chapter 9: Measuring Policy Receiver Satisfac-
tion with Policies They Receive p196
Chapter 11: Uniting 42 Models of Creativity Via an
Overall Model and a Cyclic Model p254
Reduce Complexity by Measuring Satisfaction of Customers of Poli-
cies with the Policies They Receive
Reduce Complexity by a “Model of Models”--Putting Different Models of
1 Phenomenon into One Overall Well-Ordered Model
17. Problems-Systems-Tools Chart p214
21. 476 Creativity Dynamics from 12 Models of Creativity p342
18. 128 Total and Global Quality Tools Triangles p215 22. 64 Dynamics of Highly Interesting Careers p350
Chapter 12: Processware--Merging Virtual Quality
with Quality Virtuality p352
Learning to
switch from
hardware to
software qual-
ity; to move
from product
ness to knowl-
edge production
Chapter 14: Total Quality Knowledge Work via De-
Professionalizing Knowledge p382
Reduce Complexity by Blending Advanced Software and Quality
Tools and Technologies
Reduce Complexity by Generating Superb Processes of Inventing and
Creating Using Quality Methods Applied to Knowledge Work
23. Quality and Virtuality Challenges p355
27. Quality Genres p421
24. Quality and Virtuality Synergies p356 28. Professionals Deprofessionalizing Knowledge, Hypotheses423
Chapter 13: Innovations in Quality p358 Chapter 15: Self Emergent Re-engineering p425
Reduce Complexity by Spotting Abstract Dimensions of Improve-
ment and Innovation in Any Domain
Reduce Complexity by Designing Social Automatons that Evolve and
Emerge into Needed Organization and Results
25. 40 Innovations in 31 Abstract Dimensions p377
29. The Femininity of Productivity p485
26. Recursive Tool Application p380 30. Emerging New Organization Forms p486
Managing Complexity 6 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Sources of
Source 1:
Variety of Types
of Surprise
Managing Complexity 7 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Chapter 1
Complexity from Various Types of Surprise:
How Non-Linearity Makes Life and
Work Complex
How Managers are Becoming Human Ecologists and
Mastering the Skills of Evolutionary Engineering So
They Can Manage Systems That Self Consciously
A Source of Complexity: the Non-linear Relations of Things in Large Systems
The first source of complexity we all face is the non-linear nature of interactions in the human, technology, and physical systems of our world. Till personal computers made non-linear
modeling cheap and easy, for hundreds of years mankind simplified the world using linear models. We assumed that if more A produced more X then that even more A would produce
even more X now (when, usually, it produced suddenly zero X and lots of unexpected Y). This left lots of unpleasant surprises in life unhandled, treated by religious hopes or folk cyn-
icism. Non-linearity, if faced or admitted at all, was treated in mystical retreating religious injunctions (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, “this world is a veil of
sorrow” and the like) or in folk sayings (“a stitch in time saves nine”, “let sleeping dogs lie” and the like clearly refer to non-linearity). Today we dare see the world as it really is, non-
linear, where doing more of something can suddenly produce startling entirely different unexpected results. The systems that people are asked to manage or lead generally evolve in
time--they are not a fixed stable target. When we delay response the target we must lead or manage changes, so we have to invent new responses all over again. The systems that peo-
ple are asked to manage or lead generally are self conscious, when they see us messing with them they change how they work so that intervening in them, itself, changes the target we
want to change. This is much like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics--seeing and acting redefine the target system so what we see and do changes reality mak-
ing our seeing and doings irrelevant or harmful. The result is a kind of Social Quantum Mechanics, explored in this first chapter of this book.
Management is becoming social movement building. That is dealt with in another chapter of this book. Management is becoming the shuffling of technical with social systems of
work. That is dealt with in a still different chapter of this book. Management is becoming the eliciting of new knowledge via creativity from bureaucratically organized teams, work-
groups, and ventures. That is dealt with in still another chapter of this book. This particular chapter, here, deals with something else--management is becoming the handling of self-
consciously evolving systems: of people, of market players, of technologies. You have to be something of an ecologist to manage superbly these days. You have to think biologically
where competitors, and you yourself some years ago, think/thought mechanically. Managers are becoming human ecologists--managers of ecosystems of humans interacting with
technologies and market players.
Indeed an entirely new common sense is emerging--”bio-sense” I call it, replacing “mechanosense”. Everywhere managers who think situations through biologically are defeating
managers who think the same situations through mechanically. Though much research will be required to prove this hypothesis, here, in this chapter, I make this hypothesis fully,
based on the limited evidence presently available. Managers in real businesses cannot afford to wait for academic researchers to prove something true. They have to try things out
before proof comes along, to stay ahead of competitors all too ready and willing to replace them.
This initial chapter of this book introduces non-linearity in full face form--the way it messes up strategies, plans, outcomes, investments, efforts, and dreams of everyone in any busi-
ness. Non-linearity is simply this--when a little more A produces more X and still more A produces still more X, if the system is non-linear, then a little more A will suddenly produce
zero X and lots of unexpected Y. Non-linearity is small ignorable side-effects that without warning suddenly become no longer ignorable or side. This chapter does more than face
this non-linearity full on, however. It sets up a framework of capabilities that managers and leaders will have to have if they are to handle well such non-linearities in systems they are
responsible for. It defines a new kind of manager/leader--the manager as “human ecologist”, that is, a person who manages self consciously evolving systems, rather than rigid
mechanical ones. Seeing the full specific explicit definition of this new role for managers is very helpful, career-saving in many instances. It takes a hundred partial insights and
nascent intuitions and pulls them all together into crystal clear focus. It turns hunch into precise powerful action. This chapter, like all of this book, liberates you from the thrall of con-
fusion that interacting with non-linear systems produces. It empowers you to ride and steer non-linearities that now flood you and mess up your best laid plans.
Since nearly all human systems, and all organizations, and all new technologies are extremely non-linear in nature, this chapter presents a non-optional set of skills. Executives who
must hire the best, that is, identify them, and vice presidents of human resources who must develop their workforces into the best can use the definition of capabilities of human ecolo-
gist managers in this chapter to build assessment instruments, spot potential leaders, and diagnose careers under-performing now.
This chapter presents Evolutionary Engineering, the creation and modification of systems that self-consciously evolve, as the skill that all human ecologists have, because it is the skill
that defines “human ecologist”. When businesses and government agencies say they want more systems thinking in their managers (I surveyed executive education directors some
months ago and their number one priority was systems thinking training for their managers), what this amounts to is saying they want their managers to become human ecologists. The
steps of that process of creating systems that self-consciously evolve show how 18 different bodies of knowledge are used by human ecologists when they create, improve, influence,
or design systems that reflexively evolve.
This chapter examines problems with non-linear systems caused by the segmented, linear, direct command nature of existing bodies of knowledge and professions, and how human
ecology overcomes those segmentations, linearities, and command processes. Difficulties in designing systems that evolve, living systems, human systems, and difficulties inherent in
design itself are used to specify roles for Evolutionary Engineers. Four attempts at creating a systems science that ended up lacking influence are compared with one successful form
of systems science that gained world-wide popularity--the total quality movement. We can learn from why total quality succeeded worldwide ways to make a new complex systems
form of quality also succeed. The relationship between personal change capability and capacity to change the systems and lives of others is explored as a limit to Evolutionary Engi-
A Theory of Surprise is presented, built from ways that linear models that we humans use to simplify our world get upset by various non-linear phenomena in our world. The study,
measurement, improvement, and self-emergent design of policy processes is examined as a major field of application of Evolutionary Engineering. Cases of policy failure are
explained with reference to particular steps in the Evolutionary Engineering process that were omitted by the policy formation process and policy implementation process used in each
case. Finally, a new type of leadership, being ushered in by Evolutionary Engineering is illustrated using examples of Evolutionary Engineering versus other ways of creating coali-
tions, and Evolutionary Engineering versus other ways of leading meetings (methods for personal leadership used as an example).
Some Historical Notes:
1.1866, Haeckel, first use of the word “ecology” in any language, by combining “economy of nature” with “biology” to pro-
duce “bioecology” which, in the 1893 Botanical Congress, became the word “ecology”. He used the economy as a metaphor
for the natural environmental organization of plants and animals. This ‘economy of nature’ evolved to become the concept
Managing Complexity 8 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
2.1896, Cowles, used some concepts of ecology--successional development, climax equilibrium, symbiosis, succession in space
and time, as metaphors for urban organization and change. The society metaphor in biology and the ecology metaphor in soci-
ology converged to become definers of the term ‘ecology’.
3.1921, Park and Burgess, first use in English of the term ‘human ecology’.
4.Park, 1926 “The concern of human ecology is not simply man, but the community; not man’s relation to the earth which he
inhabits, but his relations to other men.” “Everyone, I learned..., is now talking about the ‘ecological’ aspect of everything.”
He defined four social interaction processes among humans: competition, conflict, accommodation, and assimilation; two types
of competition: struggle for existence in nature (unwilled symbiotic relations), struggle for livelihood in social sphere (con-
scious social institutions). Human society is created by intentional competitive cooperation, he thought. He defined four types
of human social organization: ecological, economic, political, and moral.
5.Park, 1928, human ecology is a type of organization arising from the essentially social processes of competition in the strug-
gle for existence.
6.1921, Allee extended animal social organization concepts to human social organization. Allee saw all social life as derived
from natural survival struggles; the natural processes of cooperation and competition generate society.
7.1924, McKenzie defined human ecology as “a study of the spatial and temporal relations of human beings as affected by the
selective, distributive, and accommodative forces of their social, natural, and moral environment.” “The spatial relationships
of human beings are the products of competition and selection.”
8.1989, Mitsch and Jorgensen, textbook on “Ecological Engineering” produced, teaching the design of self-emerging ecosys-
Executives of Large Organizations Want Systems Thinkers, Why?
In 1995, while teaching at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, and again, earlier this year, I phoned the executive education directors of 50 of the world’s largest
international corporations--roughly a third headquartered in Europe, a third in the US, and a third in Asia. I asked them just one question:
You probably have adequate training suppliers for many of your training needs, however, there may be one or two topic areas
in which you see a demand for training right now, but you have been unable to find a good supplier of that training. What
one or two areas are these?
The overall answers from the 50 directors polled were as follows (the number is total number of mentions of the items by all 50 directors):
41, systems thinking
23, internet/intranet virtual business ventures
11, accurate forecasts
9, managing multi-company teams
less than 9 mentions, all others
(amazingly their top 4, as a group, did not change between 1995 and now though the top 4 of each individual did change).
The largest item by far was systems thinking. One might suppose that each director had a different reason that systems thinking was needed, yet not well supplied. That was not the
case. Most of them expressed the same idea:
Managers were failing to see ahead of time, plan for, and, take responsibility for the side-effects and second order effects of
intended actions (Maruyama, 1992).
What does this mean? It means that managers tend to take responsibility only for what they plan. If unplanned things happen, they drop responsibility. Examples will help.
Seven Stories About Some Current Needs of Our World
Oxymoron Systems, Systems That Produce the Opposite of What They Intend and Desire--the Yemen Mystery
The nation of Yemen for 5000 years had never needed to import food. All the food it needed was grown in small fields on the steep sides of mountains. There was no extra food for
export but plenty of food to feed the local population. When Yemen wanted to export food to Europe like Israel, they asked the World Bank to build a dam. This dam would turn a desert
into a rich agricultural area. The World Bank agreed and built a huge dam. Three years after the dam was built, Yemen became a net food importer for the first time in 5000 years. A
project planned to increase overall food production so that Yemen could export food, actually reduced overall food production so that Yemen had to import food. How did this happen?
Why did this happen? Answers will be given later in this article.
Basically, however, I can say here that the managers of this project took responsibility for doing their plan. They succeeded in doing their plan. But, they ignored data coming in, while
they implemented their plan, that indicated that what they were doing was having exactly the opposite effect from what they planned. Why they ignored this data is lack of systems
thinking, according to the 50 executive education directors that I polled.
Development projects in the 3rd world typically suffer this problem. Technocrats leave out human reactions in planning financial, technological, and other professional details.
A project I was once involved in illustrates this point. A Community Branch system was set up by the Royal Bank of Canada to invent a form of banking profitable among the world’s
poorest people. I was asked to design workshops that would be held monthly with all the customers of bank branches, wherein the customers would design new financial services, such
as child savings accounts, and small business accounting training to be provided by the bank. We did a social simulation of such a meeting using customers of Royal Bank branches in
poor neighborhoods of Canada. We found an unexpected side-effect of these workshops was general activism among customers of the bank that affected local government and social
services. This political side-effect had been nowhere in our previous plans. By seeing it appear before our eyes in a social simulation, we fundamentally adjusted our procedures to keep
community relations peaceful.
What is Needed--people who can take responsibility for higher order effects of intended outcomes.
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal method for designing not only systems but the side-effects of creating such systems and
the higher order unplanned effects of creating them..
Inhuman Systems, System that are Unlive-able--US Urban Housing
Urban housing in the United States has suffered through 30 years of giant buildings, nearly all of which had to be torn down, after becoming crime dominated, derelict, and abandoned.
Managing Complexity 9 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Enormous effort and expense, after the giant housing was erected, to persuade, force, incent, and otherwise get residents to live properly in them, produced nothing. New urban hous-
ing, not surprisingly, looks just like private homes and apartments, with small buildings, lawns, and parks.
There is some emerging agreement about what was wrong. I summarize three similar positions, quite common today, below:
planner grandiosity
incentives to build not succeed
lack of resident participation in design.
Planner grandiosity is the planners developing an imagination of their own, separate from and unchecked by the rest of the world. It is a kind of narcissism. They like an idea and
therefore put it into the design, without really anticipating its effects on people who have to live their lives daily in what they design.
Incentive to build, not succeed, is the way society pays designers. They get contracts to design something. Often it is other people who get contracts to build it. The designers design
wonderful things, if the builders fail to build them it is the builders’ fault. The builders build things wonderfully, if, when built, the things do not work, that is the designers’ fault. Both
can always blame each other. No one is held accountable for the overall result.
Lack of resident participation in design is using elite designers and elite builders to do things and then putting people into them at the end. The idea is that professionals have the exper-
tise to be listened to, but ordinary people lack expertise and are not worth listening to until after things have been designed and built.
The AUM religious group, in Japan, invented their own culture, allowing the economics and politics of their new group to be personally dictated by one man, their founder, Shoko
Asahara. With no resident participation in politics or economics, exploitation turned into mass murder, rather easily.
A personal experience I had illustrates the power of resident participation in design processes. The Yubari Eco-Venture project mobilized the residents remaining in a coal mining town
after that industry shut down. The 800 person, one-week, 16-hours-a-day workshop I designed for this project resulted in resident invention of 16 eco-business-ventures that were fully
designed, budgeted, staffed, and legally formed within 30 days of the workshop’s end. Resident participation in selecting business types and designing business procedures in these
workshops resulted in much more realistic designs than previous government and private efforts to help had produced.
Another experience I had was leading ordinary design engineers in a year long problem solving effort that ended up creating Xerox’ Taguchi Technology Development Project. They
specified not a software tool alone but changes in incentives, management, and careers that made use of the software attractive and powerful. Usual software projects pretend that new
software alone will change or improve work processes. By having the ordinary design engineers create the software’s design, social supports absolutely essential to good use of the
software were included.
What is needed--people who can make the user the primary customer of a project, not the doer of the project.
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal method for making final users the primary customer of projects instead of those
doing the project, in part by extending the category of doers to include users of the project outcome.
Orphan Systems, Systems that No One Owns--the Commons Problems
Global warming is a problem. Tuna becoming an extinct species of fish is a problem. Mass media enticing children to smoke cigarettes and become violent is a problem. The problem
with these problems is no one particular nation or company or group owns them (Hardin and Badin, 1977). This is called the problem of the commons--how to get someone or every-
one to own problems that fall through the cracks, that do not belong to any one group. Indeed, sometimes each individual group benefits by making the problem worse. When global
warming changes agriculture, people switch to more industrialized agriculture, adding more chemicals to the atmosphere, making global warming worse. When fishermen find fewer
fish, they try harder and catch more of the few fish remaining. That insures that there will be few or no fish for anyone in the future.
Responses thus far to these types of problems have mostly included the following:
create owners
spontaneous movements of people who care.
Creating owners means creating institutions that many nations contribute to, such as the United Nations. These institutions then own problems no individual nation owns.
Advertising means that people who worry about these problems get rich people or foundations to spend money making the general public aware of these problems.
Creating movements means that people interested in these problems make speeches, form local chapters of interested people, demonstrate against bad habits and practices, and orga-
nize to change laws and business policies.
Many of us have recently read about the Northeast Grand Banks fishing grounds off of Canada and the US. There was no common organization that united the fishermen of these two
countries till after all the fish their livelihoods depended on were gone.
Twenty years ago I worked for an NGO called the Institute of Cultural Affairs. They had for several years attempted rural village development of Kwang Yung Il, a poor farming vil-
lage in Jeju, South Korea. However, it had failed to improve from much development effort. I sensed that the men-women relations were key to this village’s lack of interest in devel-
opment. I asked permission to import portable backpack mowers from Japan to reduce 8 weeks of hands-and-knees rice harvesting by village women to 1 week of standing-up
harvesting. By changing women-men relations (giving the women suddenly 7 weeks of free time to earn money part-time in nearby cities) this single tactic completely changed village
development over the next 2 years. It turned women into a group wanting further development and men into a group wanting the part-time money now being earned by the women.
Before no one in the village wanted their place in the status quo upset by change. The mowers, and the free time and income they caused, created a movement of women wanting
change, that, in turn, created a movement of men wanting change.
What is needed--people who can create new institutions and movements, worldwide, that take ownership of commons
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal method for creating institutions and movements that provide ownership for orphan
Missed Systems, Systems that No One Sees All of--Medical Diagnosis
As all of us get older, we see more and more problems of our world coming from the way we split our world into segments. We see companies, projects, and government ministries
repeating the segmentations of knowledge found in university departments. Indeed we see lives of people split painfully apart by repetition of these divisions.
When young people go to college, many older people tell them to specialize early. By becoming really skillful in one area, they can develop outstanding levels of skill that attract
scholarships and other benefits. By learning a lot about the whole world, however, they will develop little skill in any one area, and not qualify for nearly all scholarships, jobs, and
rewards. Our world does not reward generalists. More and more of our most important problems, however, come from the failure of specialists to solve things.
Medicine is a good example. I went to the doctor with a hurt ankle; he diagnosed it as a sprained ankle and gave me a support for it. A female friend went to the doctor with a hurt
ankle; he diagnosed it as arthritis and gave her drugs. In truth, both of us had sprained ankles--I sprained mine getting out of a car, she sprained hers stepping onto the curb of the street.
But the doctors segmented the world into women who are weak, unathletic, and who suffer degenerative diseases for no good reason and men who are strong, athletic, and who put a
lot of stress on their bodies. The segmented view of the world of the doctors--men are this, women are that--caused them to see entirely different causes and to suggest entirely differ-
ent treatments. My female friend and I treated her ankle as a sprained one, bound it with tape, and it promptly got better.
In Chicago, a similar thing happened. When an acquaintance went to a rheumatologist showing a hurt foot, the rheumatologist diagnosed it as arthritis. When my acquaintance showed
the same hurt foot to a foot doctor, he diagnosed it as a bruised bone. If we had gone to a dentist he probably would have diagnosed it as a long toothache! Each specialty sees what his
or her training helps him or her see. The Mayo Clinic, acknowledging this, created a few years ago teams of doctors from a dozen different specialties who diagnose patients instead of
single doctors.
Many of us remember the explosion of the US space shuttle Challenger. Research showed that it was the direct result of project manager professionals sharing different values than
project engineers. When viewing the same data, the managers did not see danger where the engineers did see danger.
A personal experience I had several years ago illustrated the power of overcoming community and knowledge area divisions. Several thousand foreigners in Kobe, Japan spent hours
each year complaining about various aspects of living in a foreign nation, the Germans from a German perspective, the French from a French perspective, and so on. By organizing 21
nationalities into a one-day participatory town meeting, I catalyzed creation of a community center, serving all 21 nationalities, and allowing combination of their shared complaints to
reach critical mass for influencing Kobe City polity.
Managing Complexity 10 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
What is needed--people who take a non- or multi- profession view of issues.
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal method for combining the knowledge of all other disciplines to overcome that part of
particular problems caused by segmentations of our world.
Moving Systems, Systems that Evolve--the High Definition Television Failure
There was a Japanese High Definition Television project in the late 1980s (National Research Council, 1995). It involved new equipment for sending out TV signals and new TVs for
hundreds of millions of people around the world to buy. Japanese led the world in TV technology and production. They invested billions of dollars in this project. By the time, in the
early 1990s, that they were ready to start selling products and making money, however, technology had changed. They had used analog technology, like our old familiar TV s have; dig-
ital technology was much better. The Japanese electronics companies lost nearly all the money that they had invested in HDTV. Why did they make this error?
My executive education directors said it was a clear example of non-systems thinking. Technologies evolve, so when you decide to use one of them for a big project you have to be able
to create, test, and fully implement your project faster than the particular technology that you use evolves. The Japanese electronics companies did not complete their HDTV project
faster than broadcast technology evolved!
Why did this happen? The answer is profound. Because those designing the HDTV systems were a small part of the overall global use of TV broadcasting, namely, Japanese manufac-
turers, they omitted standards, values, and customer needs that others saw more clearly. In other words, because a small part of the overall global TV industry came up with the HDTV
design, that design was rejected by the overall global TV industry system.
In the newspapers today there is general frustration with Japan’s highly regulated telecommunications industries. The time it takes to reach consensus by industry and government on
what to do is so long that the decisions thus reached are already out-dated by new technical developments. Thus Japan’s policy-making process is slower than technology-development
processes, making technical policies poor or nearly useless.
I personally experienced the power of a larger system to implement what a small component of that system produced (Xerox, 1992). Xerox wanted all its workgroups and customers to
switch to a new groupware software platform for supporting work processes in a common fashion. Direct persuasion to switch to any such new platform would not work. Therefore, I
directed my employees to first support processes that all of Xerox was implementing and bothered by the work of. These bothersome processes were the total quality problem solving
processes. When people saw how the platform made doing those problem solving processes easier, they imagined the platform helping similarly their own ordinary work processes.
They then requested modification of the platform to support them. In this way, by marketing the platform, not as what it really was, but as a narrow but convenient role it could play in
solving a larger system’s problem, we made the platform popular.
I had a similar experience at General Motors (Greene, 1990). GM was introducing artificial intelligence technology. Those introducing it were highly educated Ph.Ds. Their first
projects were very complicated, risky, and did not address major problems that managers worried about. I created, for EDS, a part of GM, a series of workshops wherein ordinary GM
engineers proposed fast, simple, cheap, and non-risky first artificial intelligence projects. In the afternoon of those workshops, demonstrations from technology vendors, that matched
those proposals, were shown to managers of each GM division. Millions in funding for the new technology from local divisions was thus produced. My workshops replaced intimidat-
ing views of experts with proposals by ordinary company engineers.
What is needed--people who expand the doer of a particular system to the whole system that the new system must be a
part of.
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal method for designing systems that evolve via incorporating the dynamics of the larger
systems that a new one must be a part of.
Conflicted Systems, Systems Whose Design Fights Their Emergence--the Failure of Re-engineering Projects in Businesses
Re-engineering is was a very prevalent business innovation some years ago. Most major companies in the industrial world are still regularly applying it. As internet and other computer
and telecommunications technologies evolve, organizations regularly revise assumptions about how to organize work and what work to do.
At first re-engineering was done by elite committees, consisting of the top 50 people or so in a company. They designed new work processes for 5000 or 10,000 other employees to use.
80% of these early top-down design re-engineering projects failed.
What happened was during implementation, the 5000 or 10,000 people who were asked to use the new process designs, re-did the designs. The 50 elite people on the committee got into
fights with the 5000 or 10,000 as they changed the designs. This fight between pre-planned design and emergence of new designs by those asked to do the work, caused re-engineering
Now, typical re-engineering projects do not get elite committees of 50 people to do the design work. Now they find ways for thousands of employees to do the design of their own new
work systems.
Initial implementations of many recent business innovations (total quality, downsizing, globalization, virtual business ventures) have failed for the same reason--when those involved
re-did the design they got into a fight with the original designers.
Recently, I was asked to fix a broken re-engineering project. Famous consultants had set of an elite committee of 50 members to redesign the work of 10,000 salesmen. After 2 years,
nothing but fighting was accomplished. Using a technique called Managing by Events, I replaced the elite committee with large multi-day conference events wherein 500 employees at
a time designed new work systems for they themselves to apply, using workshop procedures designed by experts.
What is needed--people who know how to get thousands of people to design systems that formerly were designed by
small committees of people.
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal method for getting design work done by thousands not dozens of people.
Diverse, Cross-functional Globalized Systems, Systems that Cannot Reach Agreement on What “Excellent”, “Good Perfor-
mance”, or “Productivity” Are
Many organizations have sensed how segmentations of our world hurt productivity and effectiveness. They have created teams having both genders, having members from many sepa-
rate departments, having members from many different companies, and having members from several different nations. This certainly invites working across segmentations. What hap-
pens, instead, is all the diversity, segmenting, and difference bogs down the committee into ineffective squabbling. Such teams fail to reach agreement of what being excellent, good in
performance, or productive mean.
An example of the power of overcoming segmentations follows. A major corporation created a team of 8 people--2 in England, 2 in New York, 2 in San Francisco, and 2 in Japan and
Taiwan, to manage a $200 million a year business. Even though small companies are supposed to reach decisions faster and with more consensus than large companies, this company
spent all their time fighting. When world-wide email was set up among them, they sent angry messages back and forth, daily. What was the problem? The problem was they could not
reach agreement on whose procedures were best for any particular task. The London people wanted to use European procedures for everything; the Japanese wanted to use Japanese
procedures for everything.
The above company hired my group to help them. Applying techniques called Meta-Polity and Democratic Rules of Order, we created four workshop events, one every three months
during the year. At one workshop, European procedures for doing certain tasks were designed and tried out by all members. At another, Japanese procedures for other tasks were
designed and tried out. At another, US east coast procedures. At the last, US west coast procedures. Data was collected throughout the year on whose procedures worked well. Proce-
dures that worked poorly were replaced with new ones in later workshop events.
What is needed--people who know how to use and combine diverse skills, attitudes, and viewpoints in a systematic way,
gathering data to get beyond personal bias and opinion about what works, to get work done.
Evolutionary Engineering is a formal process for creating repertoires of ways to do work and processes of systematic testing
of each item in those repertoires to see what actually works.
A Specification of What Human Ecologists Do
An Initial Specification
The above discussion introduced seven parts to such a specification:
1.responsibility for and design of second order effects of intended actions
2.methods for making end-users, not doers of project, the primary customer
Managing Complexity 11 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
3.capability to create institutions and movements to own orphaned problems
4.non-professional or multi-professional viewpoints when solving problems
5.expansion of who is the designer and implementor to include entire systems of hundreds or thousand of people, as who
designs and implements things, instead of small elite committees or staff experts
6.methods for supporting patterns that emerge from the interacting of many local agents so that they change plans and
7.testing repertoires of diverse approaches to see what works.
There is a consistent direction of change within all the above:
1.Time Scope Expansion--expand time scope to include later effects
2.Customer Scope Expansion--expand incentives to make final users the primary customers of any effort
3.Institution Scope Expansion--expand institutions to incorporate homeless problems
4.Doer Knowledge Scope Expansion--expand doers from single professions or hand-offs among professions to fused
views from many professions
5.Doer Components Expansion--expand designer and implementor roles to include whole systems as enactors
6.Implementation Process Expansion--expand design and implementation process to include emergent patterns from
interaction of the basic units involved in the project
7.Diversity of Method Expansion--expand the range and number of alternative ways to do something and then reduce
that range and number by systematic testing.
The message from the seven stories above, is that too few, with too narrow an education, and too selfish a set of incentives, are working on problems that many, many more should be
involved in.
Most people have not been taught methods for getting hundreds of people, together for short workshop events, to do work in days that is usually done over a period of months or years
by small elite committees or groups of staff experts. There are, however, proven methods of getting hundreds to do design work that formerly was done by small staffs. More on these
methods--called Managing by Events--is presented later in this article.
The systems thinking that human ecologists employ may have more than an accidental relation to the way we divide our world into professions. It may be that the entire content of sys-
tems thinking is merely the undoing of the splintering of knowledge and action by the way our world is divided into professions.
Professionalization as a Root Cause of Lack of Systems Thinking, the Case of Quality by Profession versus Quality by
Dr. Deming, the guru of total quality, who launched it in Japan in the early 1950s, spoke about the workplace as a system. He invented the distribution of causes principle--one problem
appearing in one location and time has causes scattered throughout the system that the workplace is. There is a similar distribution of solutions principle--one cause, appearing at one
particular place and time can only be eliminated by actions scattered throughout the work system that the cause appears at one place in.
Total quality replaced quality assurance departments. Total quality made entire managements and workforces responsible for quality rather than making quality the responsibility of
just one department, the quality assurance department. By thus de-profession-alizing the quality function, total quality achieved much more powerful results than the quality assurance
profession had ever achieved. The body of knowledge was one--quality--but a profession applying it underperformed entire management and workforces applying it, part-time. The
de-profession-al treatment of that body of knowledge outperformed the professional treatment of it.
This raises the question of what other bodies of knowledge might produce more powerful results when given de-professional treatment.
The seven stories that begin this article answer this question by showing in economics, politics, culture, and nearly every area of life, that excessive narrowness and specialization are
causing us to fail to see, handle, and eliminate problems. We have succeeded in subdividing our areas of knowledge, creating narrow professions corresponding with each body of
knowledge, with the result that problems go unspotted, unmanaged, and unsolved. Just as total quality once again made the workplace an overall system, giving people responsibility
for that overall system’s impact on final customers, we need a more global kind of quality to make our world once again an overall system and give people responsibility for that overall
system’s impact on the population of the planet earth.
Evolutionary Engineers pursue Global Quality control of system outcomes. Just as total quality made whole workforces
responsible for the production system’s impact on final customers, Global Quality makes whole communities and nations
responsible for their social system’s impact on the population of the entire planet Earth.
Some Difficulties Specific to Designing Systems that Evolve
A part of our overall specification of the human ecologist role appears when we examine the difficulties of designing systems that evolve.
Designing HDTV, as illustrated in the story above, was a disaster. But designing individual TVs today is very successful. Why this difference? What additional factor is added in the
HDTV case that makes designing it so much trickier?
The missing factor is the limited channel capacity of the air. The wavelengths that signals can be broadcast on are limited and HDTV wanted to use certain of them in an analog fashion
that was more expensive than using them in a digital fashion. If the only new activity was HDTVs this would have not been a problem. However, HDTV was being invented while
major changes in cable TV, phone company business, and personal internet computing were also going on. That meant that the analog HDTV technology’s request for more wave-
lengths clashed with these other industries. The system that HDTV was in was just the TV industry if you considered the mechanical and electrical parts of TVs, but if you considered
all the materials that TVs use, then the airwave capacity for broadcasting signals is involved. Other industries had claims to the airwave capacity.
So, additional difficulties of designing systems that evolve include:
1.Component Evolution--the parts or components you design with change as you design
2.Component Competition--other systems claim all or some of the parts that you plan to use in your design
3.Purpose Evolution--what those who will use your system want changes while you design it.
The End of Organizations--Departments and Processes are Slower Than Our Problems and Opportunities
The issue of speed is omni-present today. There are so many people doing so many things that interactions among them generate unexpected consequences fast. No one expected the
Soviet Union to disappear as quickly as it did. No one expected new diseases and epidemics like AIDS and tuberculosis to become global menaces as fast as they did. The speed of our
problems seems to be faster than the speed of our responses.
Businesses have recognized this. As cellular phones put all the people in the world in touch, business speeds up. As the internet allows instant creation of workgroups from people
scattered all over the world, business speeds up. As groupware software allows automatic coordination of much more work by each person, business speeds up. Competitors develop
new products faster. Consumers see new possibilities sooner and change what they want faster. So businesses have emphasized cycle time reduction--reducing the time that it takes to
invent and produce new products. Businesses have also switched from departmental bureaucracies as a way of structuring people at work to cross-department business processes.
Recently these processes have been extended to inter-organizational processes. Business talks about “boundaryless “ organizations.
Governments and universities have not emphasized cycle time reduction, cross-functional processes, or boundaryless operation. Therefore, the public and knowledge problems we
face are responded to more slowly than the commercial problems we face.
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There is a leadership problem behind this. Many governments and academics want to lead, but their old style of leading--commanding, telling others what to do--is failing today. They
want another, faster way to lead. One solution is Managing by Events. This involves replacing departmental bureaucracies and cross-functional, cross-organizational processes with
events. Events are much faster than both departments and processes. Managing by Events is using mass workshop events wherein hundreds of people do work in a few hours or days
that otherwise would take small elite staffs months or years to do. In a previous article I described six such events and how they were used to unite the total quality movement with the
global environment movement.
Evolutionary Engineers mobilize quick response to our fast-paced problems by creating mass workshop events (Managing by
Events). Instead of leaders creating answers for others to obey, leaders design sophisticated workshop procedures for others
to use to design answers of their own. This is a new role for leaders and more responsibility for followers. This is a faster
way of responding to the problems of our time.
Some Difficulties Specific to Designing Living Systems
Living systems evolve, just as technologies do. They feed off of each other and become nutrients for each other as technologies do. They become the conditions of success of each other,
one niche creating new niches for subsequent species to thrive in, the way personal computers created niches for other technologies like video gaming.
Living systems differ in their evolution from technologies in some respects. We can re-invent old technologies that are no longer here; we cannot at present re-invent dinosaurs or spe-
cies that we make extinct. That is one important difference, failure lasts longer in the case of living systems. We can experiment with technologies to know all their behaviors; we can-
not isolate living systems and understand all of their behaviors in the same way. That is another important difference.
Designing an ecosystem adds additional difficulty. We take some action to “improve” the system and find that it has unpredicted side-effects worse than the problem we were solving.
We find that some “good” results that we planned for, actually end up not being “good”. A large lake in Peru had become polluted. A campaign to clean it up and eliminate the sources
of pollution feeding into it was begun. The result was the growth of an immense layer of floating plants that took all the oxygen and sunlight out of the water and killed every living
thing in it. The good deed of eliminating pollution had created an unplanned side-effect--making one plant dominant over the whole ecosystem.
1.Time Dependent Goods--partial, in space or time, good actions have side-effects that make them bad overall.
2.Combination Dependent Goods--many partial good actions, when combined, produce the opposite or contrary of what you
The End of Design--Complex Adaptive Systems Cannot Be Designed In Usual Ways
Living systems typically consist of populations of many thousands or millions of individuals. In fact, living systems typically consist of many populations of different species living
together in a complex web of inter-dependent relationships. The dynamics within populations are complex; the dynamics among populations are complex. Overall events and patterns
emerge from such interactions that no one designs.
The typical example is the ant colony, consisting of millions or tens of millions of individual ants. It seems to reach decisions. When the weather changes, the ant colony will suddenly
move from one place to a place a number of kilometers away. There is no President Ant that calls a Cabinet meeting of leading ants and discusses the need for changing location. Some-
how the overall “decision” to change location emerges from tiny changes in behavior by thousands of the ants. Such emergent “decisions” or “behaviors” are startling when they emerge
from the daily chaos that the behaviors of so many ants seem to human observers.
So many human community decisions and patterns are not reached in an ant-like emergent way, but are commanded by actual presidents, dictators, leaders, or managers. Researchers
have asked “is there a way for decisions to emerge in human communities as they emerge in other biological communities?”
There is a way. It is called the Social Cellular Automata Process (Greene, 1996). I have described its origin and application elsewhere. Instead of leaders designing what whole com-
munities should be and do, leaders equip individual people and groups with: certain behaviors (through schools and adult education), certain connections with other people (abstract
neighborhoods, via telecommunications, geographic, highway links), certain ways of interacting with neighbors (though repertoires of events). By managing these, leaders adjust the
amount of interaction among basic units till there is neither too much order nor too much chaos. At this point, spontaneously, without anyone designing it ahead of time, patterns of great
complexity and sophistication in behavior and communication emerge from the summed up local interactions of people and groups. This is a new way to lead that avoids the error of one
leader imposing his or her right answer on thousands of people.
Evolutionary Engineers lead by equipping basic societal units--persons and groups--to interact till the edge of chaos pro-
duces spontaneous emergent pattern and behavior (the Social Cellular Automata Process).
Some Difficulties Specific to Designing Human Systems
A further part of our overall specification of the human ecologist role appears when we examine the difficulties of designing human systems.
Designing a TV, an HDTV system, or a multi-media computer is simple compared to designing an urban neighborhood, an ecosystem, or an international conference. The parts of the
TV do not have minds of their own. They do not disagree suddenly with other parts of the TV. They do not inconsistently change opinions so that what they believe today differs from
what they believed yesterday. When you put a TV together the parts do not get into arguments and angrily walk away from each other! Designing TVs is very very simple compared to
designing any human system.
It is useful to be specific about some of these difficulties. Human systems, when design of them is attempted, produce the following problem types for design work:
1.Path Dependence--how a good design is implemented determines whether people support and sustain it
2.Initial Condition Dependence--how people launch an effort determines whether they finish or support it when finished.
3.Component Combination Dependence--certain human components when combined with others break apart the system
4.Final Result Dependence--humans, once they experience the final result, can reject it in spite of having participated in
envisioning, designing, and implementing it.
5.Process Dependence--humans can tire of a system after the time and work of creating and implementing it.
6.Expectation Dependence--achieving a new system can raise human expectations so much that they hate the improved sys-
tem they just created.
Reflexive Systems--Designing Systems Conscious of Their Design
If we examine the above problems in designing human systems we see a common element in them all--humans see and react to every step of the design process--the beginning (launch
conditions), the middle (how change is attempted), and the end (what the final result is, relative to human expectation levels). The reflexive nature of humans makes designing human
systems very tricky indeed.
Consensus is much more complex and important than we realize, I believe. Consensus means designing the reflexive responses of humans to systems, not just the systems themselves.
If we design housing, but do not design the emotive, integrative, interpretive, or decisional responses of people to that housing and to the process by which that housing was designed
and implemented, then people end up hating or not using the housing. In designing human systems we have to design the artifact and the human responses to the artifact. Our tech-
niques for designing artifacts--houses, machines, communications media--are vastly better than our techniques for designing human responses.
There is a technique called Stratified Responding, that has successfully been used to design human responses to systems, and to resolve policy and system implementation conflicts. It
divides all things that people experience into what is noticed, emotive responses to those noticings, patterns of relationship among those emoted noticings, background reminders that
interpret those inter-connected emotive noticings for us, and decisions to be or do something differently that we reach based on interpreting those connected emotive noticings (Morris,
1989). Famous policy process researchers (Schon and Rein, 1994) in a recent look at policy studies have advocated a version of this designing of response dimensions, that they call “re-
framing”. This involves reaching consensus by all parties holding stakes in a policy process about each of the five levels of experience in Stratified Responding.
Evolutionary Engineers design artifacts and five layers of human responses (Stratified Responding and Re-framing) to the
components of the artifacts, the process of designing the artifacts, and the process of implementing the artifacts.
Some Difficulties Specific to Design Itself
While working with Dr. Genichi Taguchi at Xerox Corporation, I listened as he advised particular workgroups. These were product designer groups. Each group was designing one sub-
system of an overall product. Each group was required to attain a certain performance target for their subsystem. Most groups were quite good at reaching such targets. The problem
Managing Complexity 13 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
was, in their effort to reach their assigned performance target, they changed other values that were needed by the other subsystems. Arguments ensued. Each team would lose its own
target if it kept particular values needed by the other subsystems. Dr. Taguchi believed the process by which design was being conducted created this conflict and these arguments.
If the groups, instead of optimizing their subsystems to attain a single point value, could optimize their designs to achieve a region of values along a straight line, then they could adjust
along that line to assist other teams in reaching their values. Dr. Taguchi recognized that the process of designing an overall product was non-linear--you could not simply add up com-
ponents each optimized to do its own job. Each component had multiple requirements of the behaviors of the other components because the other components were the environment of
any one component. Our processes of doing design work assumed design was linear--each team works independently, then when each design attains its target value, the teams combine
them. Instead, they need a non-linear process of design, optimizing around regions of value and adjusting along those regions to allow other subsystems attain their target values.
In general designing systems today involves:
1.Components as Environment--all other components are the environment any one component operates in
2.Mutual Optimization--only when all components achieve their own functions in such a way as to assist other components
in achieving their functions does the design work.
The End of Linearity--Non-Linear System Dynamics
For several hundred years, before we had computers, people simplified the relations between things. They sought how one variable changed in value linearly with another. If I
changed X by 5 units, then Y changed by 5 times X or 25 units, for example. This involved a particular way of viewing the world. If I changed one part of the world a little bit, other
parts changed different amounts. If I changed that one part of the world a little more, other parts changed more. There was continuity among changes. Of course when I changed
things a lot, lots of things also changed a lot. But when changes were small and incremental, the rules of the game stayed the same.
In the real world there is the sandpile phenomenon. If a sandpile is a certain height, adding one little tiny grain of sand extra, causes giant avalanches on all size scales. An immense
change in the size and shape of the sandpile results from adding just one extra grain of sand. A world like this is tricky to live in. You never know when your one little tiny action will
be the extra grain of sand causing the whole system to change status and shape. This is non-linearity. When a little change in one variable completely changes the character of lots of
other variables and the status of the whole system.
For several hundred years researchers and scientists, artists and policy makers ignored non-linearity because there was no way to calculate, predict, and manage its tricky outcomes.
Now, however, we have personal computers that can handle the solution of non-linear mathematics.
One aspect of that non-linearity is fractality. The shape of the way--fires burn through wood or cloth, cities grow through geography, industries use technologies, trees develop from
seeds, species inhabit niches in ecosystems--all are fractal. We are all familiar with the smooth squares, circles, cones, and triangles of Euclidean geometry. The world we are born
into, however, has few such shapes (the moon, crystals of rock, and a few others). Most of the shapes in the world around us are irregular. It turns out they are irregular in a special
way--they are fractal. That means two things--the same shape is repeated on different size scales (invariance of shape to changing the size scale of phenomena you look at), the way
veins of a leaf branch from a central vein, like leaves branch from a central twig, like twigs branch from a central branch, like branches branches from a central trunk of a tree. The
other thing that “fractal” means is fractional dimension (Mandelbrot, 1977). We know points are dimension zero, lines are dimension one, planes are dimension two, solids are dimen-
sion three, and Einstein’s space-time is dimension four. Fractals are dimensions like 1.333 or 2.732. They are objects systematically filled with holes, with the remaining parts of the
object filled with still smaller holes, on and on without end.
Recently, people have started building models of concepts that are fractal--that repeat the same shape on different size scales. Such fractal concept models allow people to see and use
the non-linear relations among ideas. Certain special fractal concept models, ones that have been regularized in certain ways, can be used for monitoring the non-linear results of sys-
tem actions. That is called Management by Balancing; it is explained later in this article.
Evolutionary Engineers build social, cellular, and system dynamics models of non-linear relations among system compo-
nents, and fractal conceptual models of non-linear relations among ideas thereby predicting and managing phenomena
hithertofore missed by linear simplifications.
The Change Illusion--the Link between Personal Change and Societal and Policy Changes
Research shows that when people contemplate other people changing they become optimistic and enthusiastic. When people contemplate themselves changing they become pessimis-
tic and doubtful. In some of my business school teaching I had my students select 9 irritating or suboptimal personal behaviors to try to change. They wrote down each day how many
times the bad behavior appeared in spite of their efforts to erase it. In a typical class of 50 students, after ten weeks of trying to eliminate 9 behaviors each (for a total of 9 x 50 = 450)
less than 6 behaviors were eliminated! That is the typical success rate by highly educated MBAs trying for 10 weeks to eliminate bad behaviors was 6/450 = <1%! Yet these same
MBAs are enthusiastic about getting hundreds of employees who work for them to change a dozen behaviors each month or quarter! These gaps between how much people actually
change and how much people want to change, between how much people change personally and how much they expect the people around them to change, have enormous social power.
They cause much of the turmoil in human history.
Research also shows (Klar et al, 1992) that the primary groups that people are in--workgroups and families usually--are highly resistant to change of most sorts. Your friends and fam-
ily are the first to oppose you in most of the changes you attempt and the last ones, there at the end, regretting any changes you did succeed in making! Research also shows that your
own personality opposes most of the changes you wish to make in yourself--personality traits are highly stable and interpret nearly any environmental encounter using old familiar cat-
egories rather than using such encounters to change categories. The only exceptions of significance are those few people who have, as an enduring stable self-image trait, the idea that
they are the kind of person who is always continually changing.
In addition, to change people you have to change the systems they are embedded in, mainly, their primary system. Ecological models of personal change (Klar et al, 1992) have exam-
ined how each of 12 common ways of changing people changes either the environments of people or what people notice in those environments. Changing who you converse with and
changing to conversing about topics new to you, either put you in a new environment or let you notice new potential good and bad things in your existing environment (improving your
“attunement” to environmental “affordances”, to use ecology terminology). Primary groups that a person is in, can be changed by putting the whole group into new environments or
into activities that change what they notice about existing environments.
This ecology of personal change is absolutely essential understanding for any person who would spend a good portion of their life proposing that other people change their lives, work,
ways, or tools of living. Those who would design systems that other people live in and interact with must master human psychology at a deep level, or fail continually, throughout their
career. The primary error of systems designers of our past has been their ignorance of, shallow models of, or de-valuing of the human reactions to what they design and how they imple-
ment it. The reflexivity of human systems defeats most World Bank, third world development, ecological and new technology venture business projects.
The Evolutionary Engineer is able to entice people into new self-images that they are people continually changing and
capable of changing, by changing several of the environments people live in, including the primary groups, yet Evolution-
ary Engineers know that there are large gaps between what change is likely and what change people expect.
System Thinking--A History of 4 Failures and One Success?
Norbert Wiener, of MIT fame, is credited with inventing and leading the first systems theory movement, the cybernetics movement. It came from efforts in the second world war to
understand systems that contained feedback. Controlling the flight of missiles, for example, required feedback from sensors, to keep the missile on course. People realized then, in the
early 1940s, that many living systems and social systems had lots of feedback. However, nothing much developed from this initial effort. No outstanding new concepts or methods
were invented by it.
Next, in early 1960s, came General Systems Theory by Bertanffly and Boulding (Boulding, 1978). This work looked at arms control and the inter-nation dynamics of the cold war, as
systems phenomenon. But again, no new concepts of great interest and no new methods appeared so the effort lost interest. A few concepts that have endured were created, the most
significant of which was self-organizing systems (Morin, 1992). There were systems with large-scale ordered patterns that no one designed or planned ahead of time. The patterns
simply emerged from the interactions of many small local actors. However, this concept was not made measurable and precise, so it had little immediate impact. Bertanffly wanted
General Systems Theory to unite all the arts and sciences; instead it became a specialized discipline among them.
In the early 1980s, Systems Dynamics became popular. Jay Forrester (Forrester, J. 1971), at MIT and a consulting company called Innovation Associates, created software for model-
ing systems with lots of positive and negative feedback. This effort produced no new concepts of great worth, but it did produce a new tool, software for modeling systems that had lots
of feedback. Stella II, Dynamo, and Powersim are the leading commercial forms of this software today. The limits to growth argument, about our planet’s limited capacity to absorb
industrial growth, did not originate with this group but this group did create simulations showing how current trends produced dangerous long term consequences.
In the mid-1980s a new systems effort emerged. Called Complex Adaptive Systems, or more briefly, Complexity Theory, this is an effort, largely by University of Michigan research-
ers, relocated in the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, to find common principles underlying wildly different types of complex systems: the rise of civilizations, immune responses in
animals, origin of human languages, artificial intelligence programs, network traffic flow on the internet, and others. A number of systems concepts have been made more precise,
mainly because this group had cheap powerful personal and parallel computing tools available that none of the previous groups had. Later in this article I define a number of the con-
cepts they refined: supercritical systems, edge of chaos, order parameter, avalanche events, fractal growth, and others. Recently this effort, too, has been criticized for producing a lot
of promises but few new concepts and no new methods other than cellular automata models (Wolfram, 1994) on personal computers.
While I was a graduate student at the University of Michigan, in 1983, I took courses from John Holland on genetic computation systems. At nearly the same time I was working as
Manager of Artificial Intelligence computing applications at the computer subsidiary of General Motors, EDS (where my group created the first object-oriented genetic artificial intel-
ligence rulebase for automating CAD design of truck spring systems). I took turns driving to work with a partner, Marciel Losada, who was introducing Varela’s autopoesis theory
Managing Complexity 14 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
(discussed later in this article, see Goodwin, 1994) to those people beginning to plan the creation of what became the Santa Fe Institute. Holland’s genetic computer programs were pop-
ulations that competed with successful members reproducing more than unsuccessful ones. Varela’s theory emphasized how living systems maintain themselves by repair, reproduction,
and learning. Complexity theory arose from combining Holland’s kind of computer model with Varela’s kind of theorizing about living system capabilities. Complexity theory has, as
of yet, failed to create new concepts or tools that ordinary employees can apply to improve work systems.
Why have these four efforts at a systems theory not had more impact and permanence? One reason, surely, is none of them arose from actual solving of our systems problems as societ-
ies. They arose from intellectual interests of researchers and never were able to offer concrete methods to solve societal, business, and economic systems problems.
There is an interesting story here (Obloj et al, 1995). Deming, Juran, and Feigenbaum, three US scientists invented total quality control, in the late 1940s. It was not at all popular in the
US. However, Dr. Deming went to Japan and it became very popular in Japan. What was new about total quality was it took the responsibility for quality from a profession, called Qual-
ity Assurance, and gave that responsibility to entire workforces. It also had a social methodology of making every workgroup in the company do research on its own work processes,
continually improving them. It had a technical methodology of statistical process control and Taguchi experiment design. It made each employee responsible for how the entire work
process impacted the final customers of the company. Before, each employee was responsible only for his or her own section of that process. Technical methods (to find which steps in
a work process caused customers to be dissatisfied with characteristics of what the process produced) were provided in total quality. In fact, total quality took a systems view of busi-
nesses and work processes. In the mid-1980s it became a world wide hit, with companies everywhere copying Japan’s success with total quality. Why was total quality developed well
in Japan before interest in it developed elsewhere?
Many now say that something in the systems viewpoint that total quality contains, matched a systems feeling to inter-company, inter-industry, inter-person relationships in Japan (Coo-
per, 1995; Choi et al, 1995; Hamilton and Sanders, 1992; Maruyama, 1992). That is total quality gave form to a systems part of Japanese culture.
A student of Forrester, at MIT, Peter Senge made the systems software that they developed into a seminar for giving business managers a systems common sense. However, few compa-
nies were interested and for years this seminar had marginal interest and impact. Then, in the mid-1980s, because of Japanese competition, total quality gurus--Deming, Juran, and
Feigenbaum--became very popular. Thousands of companies hired them and their kind of systems view of the workplace became what every company implemented. This frustrated the
systems dynamics people greatly. [In fact, if you go hear Prof. Senge speak, he rants against all the quality people while himself using their systems perspectives.] Why did the quality
gurus succeed in making systems approaches popular where the systems people, four different sets of them, have not?
The quality people had a social method of whole workforce and every workgroup participation and a technical method of statistical modeling and measurement of work processes and
customer requirements. These tools were practical and any worker could learn and apply them. The systems movements never had tools that every worker could learn and apply.
Unfortunately, the total quality people tended to stay in businesses, never seeing the wider applications of their systems way of working. Only recently have people begun expanding
total quality methods to handle other kinds of quality issue, in, what is called, the Global Quality movement. I present more on that later.
Another reason systems science efforts produced more hope than accomplishment was the self-contradictory nature of the term “systems expert”. The term “systems” applies to all col-
lections of many things interacting complexly, hence, nearly everything, big and small, in the universe. The term “expert” applies to people who focus on some part of the universe in a
lasting and deep way. Hence, people who are “systems experts” must either not be experts or must be experts but not in handling all systems.
This is related to key steps in the Evolutionary Engineering process model, presented later in this article. A key step is selecting critical variables to collect data on and pay attention to.
How does the human ecologist know, in a system of tens of millions of variables, which ones are high leverage, which few suffice to affect the overall outcome you are interested in?
The answer to this question largely determines the structure of education required of working human ecologists. It turns out that it takes years of study of a discipline to learn what vari-
ables are key in various situations. That means human ecologists, necessarily, must master one disciplinary area at significant depth, even though they must, in order to act as human
ecologists, be generally conversant and ready to recognize key variables from a dozen other different fields.
A human ecologist must master the 18 bodies of knowledge presented later in this paper and the ten steps of the Evolutionary Engineering process, also presented later. Foreign lan-
guage and computer simulation and gaming literacy are also required, as minima for participating in all systems with global and data components. Two things, in addition to these four
General Foundations (18 bodies of knowledge, Evolutionary Engineering process, computer and foreign language literacy) are also required: mastery of a disciplinary skill area and
mastery of an application area.
The disciplinary skill might be macroeconomics of trade or microeconomics of village agriculture. The application area might be mediation of international territory conflicts or design
of urban settlement zoning laws. What is essential is general education (the four General Foundations) is not enough. Students must develop a first class skill level in a traditional dis-
cipline of knowledge like economics, political science, management, or the like. Students must also develop a first class mastery of an area of application (of skills). In general, it works
nicely if freshmen and sophomore years are dedicated to the General Foundations and junior and senior years are dedicated to specialization in a skill area and an area of application.
There are naive students who want to work in the United Nations and who therefore study international organizations for four years. Unfortunately, when they interview for a job with
the United Nations, the least necessary background is knowledge of the United Nations. The United Nations itself knows a lot about itself and can readily teach itself to anyone. It hires
people with skills that it wants but does not easily develop inside itself. To get hired by an international organization you generally need a skill they do not now have enough of.
Similarly, developing a great skill fails you in job interviews if you have no imagination of how to apply it. Organizations hesitate to employ, even impressive skills, if the person being
interviewed shows no evidence of knowing what use that skill is to the world of work. Hence, students, to interview well, need to evince mastery of the General Foundations of human
ecology, a key disciplinary skill area, and a key application area.
Evolutionary Engineers have mastered 6 things: 4 General Foundations (18 bodies of knowledge, the Evolutionary Engi-
neering process’ ten steps, computer gaming/simulation, and foreign language literacy) plus skill in a discipline and mas-
tery of an application area.
Towards a Theory of Surprises
Since so much of life is managed by government, university, or corporate bureaucracy, and since the thing bureaucracies most dread is surprise, one practical outcome of systems science
has been much valued--a theory of surprises. One positive outcome of the Senge work (Senge, 1990) was a list of ten ways that systems effects surprise people used to living in linear
simplifications of the real world:
Delayed Feedback--Surprised by Delay--person takes action, sees little initial response, takes more action, but is over-
whelmed by robust but delayed response
Self-Reinforcing Growth--Surprised by Switch from Positive to Negative Feedback--person takes action, that makes
more action easier, person takes more action, cycle repeats till suddenly more action makes further action harder, till no
action is possible
Solving Symptoms--Surprised by Fundamental Cause Being Unchanged and Atrophy of Fundamental Solving Capabili-
ties--person takes short term immediate action to handle symptom of problem, that works so is repeated, deeper solving
capabilities, unused, atrophy, till the fundamental cause overwhelms short term actions
Outside Intervention Dependency--Surprised by Never Being Able to Solve Things Yourself--person sees problem, does
not know solution, asks outsider for help, repeats this whenever the problem appears, never learns to solve themselves.
Table 1:
many variables influence any one variable distribution of causes principle; distribution of solutions principle;
depth of causes principle; depth of solutions principle
self-organizing patterns horizontal cascade processes (Quality Function Deployment); vertical cascade processes (Policy Deploy-
each part of system responsible for the whole process and its final
customer satisfaction as the primary measure of how well all work and roles are done
system boundary open to environ-ment inter-organizational processes across supply chains; cross-functional management
gigantic reactions to small local actions root causes identified that unleash disproportionate change
variation in system outcomes statistical control of the processes which produce outcomes
local unit inter-actions producing large scale outcomes quality circles; workgroup problem solving teams; cross-functional teams;
Managing Complexity 15 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Redefining Away Problems--Surprised by Regular Solving Actions Making the Problem Much Worse--person sees
problem, person tries short term solution and person lowers performance standards, this repeats till person finds stan-
dards have become so low that solution is no longer possible.
Price or Performance Wars--Surprised by Parties Competing Till Both Fail--person takes action, person sees competi-
tor match that action, person takes more action, sees competitor match, this cycles till both are unable to succeed.
Rich Get Richer or Lock In--Surprised by the First or the Wealthier Getting More and More Advantage--person takes
action, competitor matches that action, first actor gets big advantage, so takes more action, getting more advantage, so
other party never can succeed.
Overfishing as Incentive to Overfish--Surprised by What is Personally Rational Ruining Success by All--person takes
from commons, competitors take from commons, person, seeing less available to take from commons, tries harder, com-
petitors try harder, till nothing is left in the commons.
Ignoring Costs of Fixes--Surprised by Cost of Solution Being Worse than Original Problem--person tries solution that
has cost or delayed negative side-effect, solution works so is tried again, this repeats till enormous costs/side-effects
overwhelm in importance the original problem.
Unnecessary Diminishing Returns--Surprised by Greater Performance Available from New Investment that Was Never
Made Because Diminishing Returns from First Investment Made Further Investment Look Risky--person invests, per-
son gets good returns, person invests more, gets more returns, this repeats till suddenly more investment produces less
results, this repeats till person gives up investment altogether, but large increment in investment would have produced
more increases in return, yet large increment in investment was never thought of.
People, capable of handling linear models of their world, have a hard time living in a world that is basically non-linear. They are continually surprised in the above ten ways. The
result is people who experience different amounts, timings, and kinds of non-linearity in their lives develop different linear models of what the world and life are like. These images of
life and the world come as valid generalizations of personal experience that has been limited to a small part of non-linear system behavior (the items below are modifications of models
by Thompson et al, 1990).
Fatalists--Overwhelmed by System’s Non-Linear Responses--nature is randomly delivered goods, human effort is
futile; people act only out of self-interest; human nature is unpredictable; neither your needs nor resources can be man-
Egalitarians--Frightened by Smallness of Stable Linear Part of Overall Non-Linear System--nature is a hidden hand
that makes small actions into big disasters, humans must look out for each other all the time; people can act out of
wanting the good of the group; people are born good, corrupted by institutions; you can manage your needs but not
your resources
Individualists--Enjoying Non-responsiveness of System to Experimental Local Linear Actions--nature is a hidden hand
that makes small mistakes turn out all right, nature is responsive to our degree of skill and effort; people act only out of
self-interest; human nature is unaffected by institutions; you can manage your resources but not your needs
Hierarchists--Well Aware of Boundaries of Safe Linear Actions within the System--nature is safe within such-and-such
bounds and dangerous outside those bounds, humans must learn and obey limits; people can act out of wanting the
good of the group; human nature is a layered system, some parts good, some parts bad, therefore needing order outside;
you can manage both your needs and your resources not now but over time by a career within an ordered hierarchy
Hermits--Reject Entire System as Unreliable and Unnecessary--man and nature are one and social interaction hides us
from that truth, hence withdrawal is good; you can manage both your needs and resources but more resources requires
interacting with others, hence reducing needs is helpful.
The actual world we live in is non-linear so that at some periods of your life you may get overwhelmed by system non-linear responses (the fatalist’s experience), or you may get fright-
ened by the smallness of the stable linear part of life you depend on and control (the egalitarian’s experience), or you may enjoy the freedom to do what you want caused by the part of
the system you are in not responding much to local errors that you make (the individualist’s experience) or you might see clear boundaries within which action is safe and beyond
which action is treacherous (the hierarchist’s experience) or finally, you might reject the entire non-linear system you are in as an illusion (the hermit’s experience). Each of these
responses is rational if you experience that aspect of non-linear system behavior it is based on.
These five ways of life are valid generalizations from the experiences they are based on yet they misrepresent the entire panorama of non-linear system behavior in our world. They are
based on small parts of non-linear system behavior. Surprises, then, come from our present experiences presenting to us aspects of non-linear system behavior that we did not encoun-
ter in our past. That means the way of life we built, based on the past part of non-linear system behavior that we experienced, does not handle well the new aspect of non-linear system
behavior we are now experiencing. Such a mis-match between our way of life and our present situation creates major surprises about how life is and who we are.
If we assume the environment that people live in is a non-linear combination of many non-linear systems, then people can expect four types of treatment by their environment--small
actions sometimes have good consequences, sometimes bad, one cannot predict (the fatalist’s experience); small actions have giant unpredictable bad consequences, don’t trust the
world (the egalitarian’s experience); small and large actions both produce largely good consequences, anything goes (the individualist’s experience); and finally, actions up to a certain
size are okay, after that things are dangerous (the hierarchist’s experience). Each way of life is supported by encountering the type of environment it is based on and is surprised by
encountering any of the other environments. That means 4 ways of life each encountering 3 types of non-fitting environments equals 12 types of surprise.
Fatalists encountering consistently large bad consequences of small actions, find life and they are unlucky (surprise type 1: unlucky), encountering good outcomes from any action, find
they and life are lucky (surprise type 2: lucky), encountering good outcomes from small actions but bad ones from larger ones, find they and life have unknown principles (surprise type
3: unknowns). Egalitarians encountering the lack of pattern and predictability of reactions to small actions, find care and caution do not work (surprise type 4: futile care); encounter-
ing good outcomes from any action, find irresponsibility is rewarded (surprise type 5: care is punished); encountering good outcomes from small actions but bad outcomes from larger
ones, find temporary leeway (surprise type 6: headed for trouble). Individualists encountering lack of pattern and predictability of reactions to small actions, find skill unrewarded (sur-
prise type 7: effort futile); encountering consistently large bad consequences of small actions, find skill is punished (surprise type 8: skill is dangerous); encountering small actions are
good but larger ones produce bad outcomes, find limits to growth (surprise type 9: growth limits. Hierarchists encountering unpredictable outcomes find no rules (surprise type 10:
unfathomable universe); encountering bad consequences of even small actions find life and self are not worth living (surprise type 11: collapse); encountering good consequences of
nearly all actions, find self and life are unnecessary (surprise type 12: why bother).
When people encounter the Senge ten surprise types or the twelve surprise types immediately above, their commitment to their way of life is weakened. They become ready to change,
if more data disconfirms what their way of life has caused them to expect.
The Evolutionary Engineer designs tactics to handle the 22 types of surprise that linear people living in a non-linear sys-
tems world can expect to experience.
How Human Ecologists Differ From Ecologists
One of the most important confusions about the field called human ecology is how it differs from the field called ecology. Hawley, in his famous book on defining human ecology,
Managing Complexity 16 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
starts by saying that the first point in explaining human ecology is realizing how humans are different than animals. The primary difference, he says, are humans live in more types of
environments and some of those environments are more complicated than the environments that animals live in. Human ecology deals with interactions between people and all ten of
the environments that they live in, while ecology deals with humans and animals and the natural environments that they live in. Note that there are more than one kind of natural envi-
Animals can be said to live in the last four environments, and certain animals have a sense of self, family, and society. There are differences of degree, however, so that human selves,
families, and societies are more complex than animal ones. Also, human interventions in man-made nature, gaia, wild nature, and the cosmos dwarf in complexity and power animal
interventions. When we get to media, real differences of degree become apparent. Animal use of tools, languages, and cultural rituals and rites is immensely simpler than human use.
Human ecologists begin their work by selecting a reflexive evolving system that they want to fix or create or influence. Their second step is selecting environments, from these ten, that
are relevant. Ecologists can largely ignore the three media environments and concentrate on the other seven, when dealing with ecosystems having monkeys, apes, and sea mammals.
When dealing with other creatures, however, only the four nature environments pertain.
Human ecologists differ from ecologists in the number and type of environments they must examine in order to influence or create a situation.
Evolutionary Engineers select reflexively evolving phenomena to create, design, modify, or influence, then select the envi-
ronments relevant to those phenomena.
A Brief Survey of Ecological Models in Various Disciplines
It is worth noting that ecological models became quite popular in many different fields, in the 1980s, as the world-wide environment movement succeeded in gaining increasing political
power. Because the idea of systems effects has been made popular by the environment movement, many people confuse systems concepts with environment concepts. There are ten, at
least, environments that people live in. Each of those environments as well as combinations of them support many systems dynamics.
The chart below mentions--there is not space in this article to explain--some of the common ecological-systems models now popular in various academic fields of study. That does not
mean these models are the best or even are true. It just means that people are finding it creative and insightful to examine familiar issues from the viewpoint of ecosystem, evolution, and
non-linear system dynamics. For students it does mean that if you master systems simulation, gaming, and modeling, you will be able to make intellectual contributions to nearly any
intellectual field.

tools and artifacts
information and language
man-made nature
gaia (how life has changed wild nature to suit itself)
wild nature

music New Age music (Harris, 1993)
dance Danced Composing of Music or Lightworks (Harris, 1993)
plastic arts Interactive Populations of Exhibits;
Agent Sculpture (Harris, 1993)
history societies as niches in historical evolution (Back, 1994)
philosophy evolution of memes (Dennett, 1995)
literature genres as ecosystems (Dennett, 1995)
physics renormalization groups (Caudill and Butler, 1990)
chemistry self-catalyzing chemical sets (Kauffman, 1993)
biology theoretical biology of self-organizing systems (Wolters et al, 1995)
economics lock in and the evolution of technologies (Arthur, 1994; Waldrop, 1994)
sociology social role sets as ecosystems (Dennett, 1995)
political science elections as evolutionary interest competitions (Somit, 1992)
anthropology cultures as evolving ecosystems (Altman, 1984)
business markets as ecosystems (Weibull, 1995; Casson, 1990; Costanza, 1991)
medicine/nursing evolutionary dynamics of disease distribution (Dawkins, 1995)
law justice as niche in ecosystem of imagined allocative preferences (Dennett, 1995)
social work selves as dissipative structures; ecological modes of self change via affordance/attunement shifts (Klar et al, 1992)
public health ecological disease reservoirs in populations
public administration/pol-
icy studies
policy positions as niches in ecosystem of interest space (Sklair, 1991; Haas, 1990)
Managing Complexity 17 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Evolutionary Engineers contribute to any field of knowledge that they choose to concentrate on.
Some Intellectual Roots
There is no agreed on philosophy or intellectual history of systems concepts. So instead of trying to give form to something inherently formless, below I mention a few sources of
philosophical and careful thinking about life and the world. These form, for me, a useful context for thinking about humans and the systems they live in.
Hannah Arendt contributes four key concepts to our understanding of systems. She distinguishes (Arendt, 1958) labor (expending energy for keeping alive) from work (erecting a sec-
ond “artificial” world that humans live in instead of living in raw nature) and from action (disclosing oneself before peers in word and deeds that initiate into existence among humans
the utterly new, setting into motion changes whose consequences are unpredictable). She shows how the risk and uncertainty, the unbounded responsibility of action scare people and
human institutions so that they want and try to make all of life into work, removing the image, the dream, the memory of action. Since, however, action is an inherent part of the human
condition, it cannot be effectively eliminated, and if not collectively inspired and influenced, terrible forms of it happen as if by chance.
In our desire to design, control, influence, and manage systems (that are non-linear), we are, in part, trying to turn action into work. That is always somewhat unrealistic--hoping to
remove some permanent unpredictabilities from our world.
The second idea she introduces relative to systems (Arendt, 1958) is a certain process, recurrent in history, the revolution process. We liberate ourselves (from old ways of doing things
that have become oppressive), experience the happiness of freedom (collectively with peers creating new power from nothing by making promises to each other that we carry out),
which happiness creates in other people historic dreams (our actions here and now showing other people around the globe new possibilities for their lives), allowing us to found things,
that is usher into human history the utterly new (which must be “conserved”--protected--from the forces of tradition and which is “liberal”--utterly new to human existence.
Most actions merely disclose their enactors as distinguished, glorious ones among us. A few of such actions change the imaginations and aspirations of people around the world.
These are revolutionary actions. In the context of this paper, they are interventions into the non-linear systems that our world is that create spontaneous new patterns of overall order or
immense collapsing avalanche events.
The third idea she contributes to understanding systems (Arendt, 1961) is the self-emergence of human freedom after or during wars of liberation throughout human history. Unfortu-
nately, such spontaneous appearances of freedom were usually systematically destroyed by liberators. It appears that many liberators want to throw out old systems in order to impose
their own imaginations on other people. Such pseudo-liberators do not embrace the spontaneous emergence of self-governing bodies after old orders fall. She showed how the fall of
the Tsars in Russia was followed in hours by the emergence all over Russia of self-governing councils, called soviets, that Lenin spent the next six years eliminating in a war, no longer
of liberation from the Tsars, but of liberation from the ideas and initiative of the Russian people themselves.
The self-organizing nature of complex systems, and the self-emergence of complex patterned behavior in systems, have been accepted in non-human systems much more than they
have been accepted in human systems. There is a new way of leading that is appearing today. New leaders include people who can notice self-organizing forces in human organizations
and strengthen them and build on them, instead of imposing the ideas of a few on other people.
Arendt’s fourth contribution to understanding systems (Arendt, 1961) is her criticism of how modern society, having given up being a community of peers speaking and acting before
each other in political life, having instead dedicated itself to economic consumption, invented “childhood” as a separate world that young humans spend time in, separated from the
world of labor, work, and action. The result, she says, is each new generation is educated about everything except effective acting in the actual world that humans create. Our failures
to design and handle well the non-linear systems of our world in part come from keeping our young humans inhuman by separating them for years from the human condition, their only
responsibility being to memorize verbal formulas about a world they are not allowed to participate in.
Talcott Parsons contributed a key concept for understanding systems. He presented action factors in society, huge impressive implementation machineries that got things done. He
pointed out that their work and products were valueless unless the code factors they were based on were correct. Getting social codes correct before acting makes the difference
between much result from little work and much work producing little result.
The code factors, that he mentions, correspond to knowing the dynamics of a non-linear system well enough to know when one of its variables is near, in value, to a magnitude that will
cause general system avalanche events or spontaneous rearrangement of the entire system into a new order.
Ron Burt (Ron Burt, 1994) created the idea of structural holes in the network of human relationships that make up any group of people. Where one set or ideas, technologies, needs, or
persons are well connected to several particular groups but not to others, bridging connections, over those holes, to those other groups can revolutionize relationships throughout the
community. This is just the sociological network way of describing the code factors mentioned by Parsons above.
Finally, Varela, a Chilean philosopher, talked about fields making use of objects that come into them to enact certain behaviors inherent in those fields. Living things, from this view-
point, are systems that maintain themselves actively by repair, reproduction, and learning new responses to their environments and how to find or create new environments (a process
he called “autopoesis”). They are fields that use intruding objects and forces to maintain themselves. This viewpoint is the opposite of the usual one in science--reality is objects that
passively get affected by forces transmitted by other objects. Things in usual science are objects; things in Varela’s science are fields that maintain themselves.
Japanese roots of systems thinking are impressive. First, article 10 of Prince Shotoku’s constitution for Japan describes Japanese society as a ring without end, to be undisturbed by
personal opinions or feelings of rightness. Second, the collective responsibility system of Hideyoshi, made whole towns and villages responsible that no violations of laws took place.
Populations were mutually responsible for designing, monitoring, and enforcing processes to conform to such laws. Responsibility was not fragmented by individual wrong-doer.
Nishida Kitaro in his book Nihon Bunka No Mondai (Nishida, 1958) presented the manyness becomes one principle upon which Oriental culture was based. This referred to how many
causes produce any one result, in contrast with Western culture’s interest in finding only one or two causes of any one result. Finally, Maruyama, Magoroh (Maruyama, 1992), at
Aoyama Gakuin University, has, for 30 years, been one of the world’s most creative systems theorists. His typology of systems types, which he calls “mindscapes”, are still a good ini-
tiation to systems theory.
The Evolutionary Engineering Process
1.Evolving Phenomena: Select Area of Interest
The first step taken by Evolutionary Engineers is selecting a part of the world to influence, modify, change, or create. Evolutionary Engineers specialize in handling parts of the world
that evolve reflexively. This rules out designing televisions, furniture, and the like. It rules in a great many phenomena: selves, families, communities, tools, fashions, technologies,
media, cultures, landscapes, ecosystems, entertainment, welfare needs, policies, international relations, markets, consumer tastes, and cities, for example.
2.Environments: Select Relevant Environments
The second step taken by Evolutionary Engineers is selecting which of the ten possible environments are most appropriate for understanding the part of the world chosen in the first
Design Arts
architecture occupant redesignable spaces (Treib and Herman, 1980)
landscaping path-complete garden design (Treib and Herman, 1980)
forestry/agriculture diversity banks (Hochberg et al, 1996)
journalism social attention as genetic competition among drives/stimuli (Jackendoff, 1994)
communications messages/advertisements as niches in customer interest space; news & fad avalanche events (Kauffman, 1993)
media indices as fitness peaks in attention space (Natarajan, 1995)
mechanical populations of nano machines as ecosystems (Dowla, 1995)
electrical genetic optimization (Dowla, 1995)
aeronautic cellular automata simulations of turbulent air flow (Chambers, 1995)
hardware genetic logic gate arrays (Back, 1996)
software evolving programs (Back, 1996)
networks network message traffic as ecosystem (Huberman, 1988)
ary Sciences
ecology OBVIOUS (Hochberg et al, 1996)
urban planning fractal growth of cities (Savitch, 1988; Suzuki et al, 1987)
international relations power balances as niches in ecosystem of competing interests (Sklair, 1991)

Managing Complexity 18 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
step. Some problems will require only one environment to be considered; others will require several or all of the ten.
3.System Sciences: Understand System Dynamics
The third step of the Evolutionary Engineer is to apply the system sciences to understanding the dynamics of the part of the world and the environments chosen in steps one and two
above. Here it is the behaviors that the whole system is capable of and the initial and final conditions that the system shifts among that are learned. Later, knowledge of specific vari-
ables for influencing this system level behavior will be studied.
Non-linear systems theory includes such concepts as state-space, attractors, and trajectories through state spaces towards various kinds of attractors. Complexity theory includes such
concepts as managing systems to the edge of chaos, finding order parameters that adjust a system between order and chaos, and avalanche events of spontaneous state change in a sys-
tem. General systems theory includes concepts such as self-organizing systems, systems that spontaneously, without anyone planning ahead of time, shift everywhere into complex
ordered patterned states. Evolution, ecology, and human ecology theory include concepts such as affordances, the uses for an organism offered by an environment, attunements, the abil-
ity of an organism to find and recognize affordances, and effectivities, the benefits and capabilities an organism enjoys once it recognizes and uses affordances in its environment. The-
oretical biology includes such concepts as Lamarkian inheritance--inheritance of learned behaviors from parent to child.
4.Algorithmic Sciences: Understand Information Dynamics
In this step the Evolutionary Engineer examines system dynamics for the role that messages and information play in sustaining and causing sequences of events and shifts of overall sys-
tem state. Usually the understanding gained here of what information gets transferred when particular systems phenomena appear prepares the way for more precise determining of key
variables in later steps of this process.
The algorithmic sciences include biological forms of information processing. This is the various computers that for millions of years have operated in the biological world, before man
created machines that compute. For example, DNA is a program, read by a complicated computer in each egg, that computes the adult form of an animal. Similarly, the bees in a hive
compute where nectar is from aspects of a dance done by honey bees inside the hive. Social information processing deals with the various computers that have existed for millions of
years inside the social interactions among animals and persons. For example, animals compute the size and quality of personal territories for foraging or hunting via a social process of
signs, signals, and fights. Adaptive computation is a human area of knowledge devoted to computations done by combining many thousands of small agents, each capable of pattern rec-
ognition, learning, or adaptation. Genetic algorithms, evolving cellular automata, and evolving neural nets are three types of adaptive computation. Data gathering and analysis is usual
linear statistics and the skills of gathering data for such statistical analysis: surveying, sampling, interviewing, measurement.
Gaming and simulation are an increasingly important part of the algorithmic sciences. A hierarchy of types of games that evolve gradually into simulations exists. This allows people
to start out building simple games to understand a phenomenon, then add more players, intelligent agents against which those players play, then networked people and communities
against which to play, till finally, no “game” aspects remain and whole communities of people are playing with each other to simulate a biological, social, or informational system and its
Note that the last few levels in the progression above amount to groups of people, connected to each other with groupware software, doing real work together across computer networks.
In other words simple games can be incrementally enhanced till they become real people doing work together. In this way gaming can evolve to simulations which then evolve into
doing real work. This is a natural environment for educating people.
5.Arts and Sciences: Choose Key Variables
This was discussed earlier in this article. Evolutionary Engineers, after understanding system dynamics and the information flows within them, must search through the hundreds of
variables in the system in order to find a few variables that have greater than average influence on the outcomes that the Evolutionary Engineer wants to create or influence. Finding key
variables in a complex system generally requires deep knowledge of one or more academic disciplines. The arts and sciences have knowledge that directs the Evolutionary Engineer’s
attention to some variables rather than others. Since the arts and sciences are well known parts of any college curriculum I will not explain them further here.

one person against non-learning game environment
several non-cooperating persons against non-learning game environment
several cooperating persons against non-learning game environment
network connected cooperating persons against non-learning game environment
single person against single learning game agent
several non-cooperating persons against learning game agent
several cooperating persons against learning game agent
network connected cooperating persons against learning game agent
single person against several non-cooperating game agents
several non-cooperating persons against several non-cooperating game agents
several cooperating persons against several non-cooperating game agents
network connected cooperating persons against several non-cooperating game agents
single person against several cooperating game agents
several non-cooperating persons against several cooperating game agents
several cooperating persons against several cooperating game agents
network connected cooperating persons against cooperating game agents
single person against other person and learning game agent
several non-cooperating persons against other person and learning game agent
several cooperating persons against other person and learning game agent
network connected cooperating persons against other person and learning game agent
single person against non-cooperating other persons and learning game agents
several non-cooperating persons against non-cooperating other persons and learning game agents
several cooperating persons against non-cooperating other persons and learning game agents
several network connected persons against non-cooperating other persons and learning game agents
single person against cooperating persons and learning game agents
several non-cooperating persons against cooperating persons and learning game agents
several cooperating persons against cooperating persons and learning game agents
network connected persons against cooperating persons and learning game agents
Managing Complexity 19 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
6.Applied Sciences: Choose Key Variables
The Evolutionary Engineer, after selecting some key variables using knowledge from one or more of the arts and sciences, turns to the applied sciences to select other key variables.
Generally a different type of key variable is found in the applied sciences than is found in the arts and sciences. The applied sciences include more of the real world, politics, limited
budgets, persuading other people kinds of factors that help actually change the world. Key factors found here more the Evolutionary Engineer closer to being able to influence the key
variables found in the arts and sciences. Since the applied sciences are well known parts of college curricula everywhere I will not explain them further here.
7.Implementation Sciences: Change Key Variables
The Evolutionary Engineer wants to influence a part of the world, modify it, improve it, stop it, or create a new part of the world. This requires knowledge of how to actually do things
in the world. There are sciences that pertain to changing the world. Knowing the key variables from the previous two steps, in this step the Evolutionary Engineer constructs forces
capable of implementing change in the real world by affecting those key variables’ values.
Design science (including parts of architecture, business, and the arts) teaches how to find and specify what customers want and how to combine resources in an efficient process to
produce something that satisfies that want. Organization science teaches how to structure a group of humans into departments, processes, and events in such a way as to effectively
perform design work. Management science teaches how to operate organizations that exist as well as how to bring new ones into existence, such as venture businesses, so as to get the
departments, processes, and events that do design work, to work well. Cultivation science (including parts of human services, agriculture, biology, and psychology) teaches how to
grow and nourish things that evolve and reproduce. It is equivalent to design science in some ways. It involves designing a nurturing process. Policy science involves design and nur-
ture of the processes by which to manage how human communities find problems, recognize problems, reach decisions, implement solutions, change directions, and develop new capa-
8.Quality Sciences: Insure Customer Satisfaction
The larger contexts of life and work--the meaning of life, fairness among people, justice, ethical values, spiritual depths to life--are essential in order for change in the world to last.
Unfair changes tend to be undone over time as people dislike them. Spiritually shallow ways of living tend to be rejected as people find them unfulfilling. Unethical deals tend to cre-
ate court cases and bad publicity when they are discovered. So to make a change last, it has to be grounded in deep values and respect for all forms of life.
Evolutionary Engineers in this step apply Global Quality’s ten perspectives to three things: one, evaluate ends and means; two, create movements to implement change using Manage-
ment as Movement Building techniques; and three, manage processes so that combinations of local actors produce un-designed patterns of great creativity using the Social Cellular
Automata Process. Global Quality is a system for measuring customer satisfaction and identifying which steps of an implementation process produced the aspect of the output of that
process that dissatisfied the customer. Management as Movement Building is a way of getting change to occur without requiring that existing bureaucratic organizations go away. It
gives a new role to leaders, making them designers of procedures in mass workshop events, and it gives a new role to followers, making them designers of solutions using those proce-
dures. The Social Cellular Automata Process is a democratic way of getting ordinary people to design solutions rather than getting them to merely implement elite leader ideas.
This step is an overall result of the previous 8 steps--the creation of new knowledge. Evolutionary Engineers discover the origins of complex systems and the precise dynamics by
which they learn and evolve.
10. Action
Another overall result of the above 8 steps is action--changes in the world. There are four kinds of action produced by Evolutionary Engineers: design of evolving things like fashions,
technologies, housing, communities, events, institutions; management of evolving processes like careers, parenting, lifecourses of people and populations; organization of cities, inter-
national institutions and relations, ecosystems; and cultivation of health, nutrition, human service, and well being.
A Note on Using the Evolutionary Engineering Process
When a person or group wishes to solve a problem or create something new in society, that is itself reflexively evolving or that is in something that reflexively evolves, the Evolution-
ary Engineering process should be used. Evolutionary Engineering differs from Ecological Engineering in that all ten environment types of human ecology pertain, whereas ecological
engineering restricts itself to the 4 natural environment types. Hence, Evolutionary Engineering adds algorithmic, implementation, quality, and applied sciences that are omitted from
nearly all ecological engineering work.
There are two or three ways Evolutionary Engineering can be used. First, you can apply it to designing a solution; second you can apply it to building a policy coalition that supports
that solution; and third you can apply it to implement that solution. However, properly understood, it is a new way of mobilizing many people to do work that formerly was done by
only a few. Understood that way, proper use of it eliminates the need for three separate and sequential applications of it. Done properly it needs to be applied only once. In such uses,
enough different parties, interest groups, and stakeholders are engaged early enough in the ten steps of the process that implementors, policy supporters, and idea creators/refiners all
work together from the start applying the Evolutionary Engineering process. Failure to include the right people early on, leads to using the process three times as mentioned above.
A Provisional 200 Concept Knowledgebase for Human Ecology
Below, I present several of the ten concepts in each body of knowledge shown in the corresponding figure. I know very well that there are more than ten key concepts in each body of
knowledge. However, space limits what I can present in this brief article. To understand how these concepts are used, refer to the section above on the Evolutionary Engineering pro-
EVOLUTIONARY ENGINEERING. Populations of computer programs that mutate and compete to reproduce are a way of Evolutionarily Engineering software systems. Chemicals
that randomly combine and reproduce via self-catalyzing reactions are a way of Evolutionarily Engineering new chemical traits. People that offer products and services and bid for
products and services in markets are a way of Evolutionarily Engineering economic growth. Organizations that make all employees business unit managers or venture business
founders at age 40 in a “silicon valley” around their firm are a way of Evolutionarily Engineering innovation. In this way Evolutionary Engineering creates innovation quite generally.
GAMING. (Weibull, 1995; Sigmund, 1993) There are new types of games including the following. In one type, the moves that players make are changing how populations evolve.
Several populations compete with each other and players adjust mutation rates, genetic cross-over rates, and other foundations of the evolution process. There are also games in which
human players select one or more of several pre-built roles to play. Also people invent new roles. These role-play games teach by helping people experience the systems effects that are
responsible for other people’s views and values. Cellular automata games teach a new way to manage systems, by adjusting local unit capabilities rather than imposing leader ideas.
Such games have grids of squares, like a checkerboard, that allow human players to define various things--a distribution of types of agent on certain squares, states those agents can
have, neighboring regions affected by those states, and ways the state of one agent on one square affects the states of other agents on neighboring regions.
COMPLEXITY THEORY. (Kauffman, 1993; Waldrop, 1994; Emmeche, 1994; Holland, 1996; Mittenthal et al, 1992) The butterfly effect refers to sensitivity of non-linear systems to
initial conditions, so that a butterfly in Brazil flapping its wings once upward, changes the weather in Japan, a month later. Optimal diversity (how many types of population suffice to
make a system’s overall patterns stable), optimal patchings (how many local centers of initiative make a system’s overall ability to find an optimum state for all its members optimal),
and optimal order (how many things can any one thing in the system be connected to in order to optimize the complexity of overall system behavior) refer to the degree of connected-
ness between items in a system. As the number of other items any one item is connected to increases, the system’s overall behavior does not change smoothly, but suddenly jumps from
one overall pattern into entirely different ones. Finding just the right amount of connectedness is hard--too little connectedness and one action here and now affects nearly nothing else
in the system, too much connectedness and any one action here and now changes nearly everything in the system so total chaos ensues.
ENVIRONMENT TYPES. These are the three personal environment types (self, family, society), media types (artifacts and tools, information and language, and memes and cultures),
and the 4 natural types (man-made nature, nature-made nature--gaia, wild nature, and the cosmos).
BIOLOGICAL INFORMATION PROCESSING. (Chambers, 1995) People wrongly assume that only computers process information. Biological organisms have been processing
information for millions of years. Sets of chemicals that catalyze the formation of themselves form a self-reproduction chemical computer. Sets of chemicals that catalyze the forma-
tion of themselves and that have the ability to react to their environments and remember environment encounters constitute life itself. Life is a kind of self-reproducing computer. Get-
ting adult plant forms out of DNA plus the computer for reading DNA that is in a plant’s seeds is a form of biological information processing. Species that enter an ecosystem and find
other species that they can eat and other species that they can hide behind is a biological way of computing niches from species needs.
SOCIAL INFORMATION PROCESSING. (Swedberg, 1993; Wellman and Berkowitz, 1988; Wrong, 1994) People wrongly assume that computers are single entities. Societies of
organisms have been processing information for millions of years. The computation each individual in a species makes about whom to mate is social information processing. Treating
every member of a human workforce as a computer by assigning processing procedures to sets of people and designing whom such sets of people hand the results of their processing to
for further processing creates a social form of computation among people. Combining companies from different industries to examine human needs no one industry can deal with,
results in social computation of new product types, like automobile navigation. It is a form of social computation.
TYPES OF SIMULATION. (Emmeche, 1994) Creating in computers entities that have all the characteristics we use to define “life” means creating artificial worlds populated by new
kinds of living system, having sensation, intelligence, and purpose. This field is called artificial life research. Social simulations are different. In them people study a system to find all
the key roles in it, the interaction of which, produces its major dynamics. Then, instead of using computers, individual people or groups of people play those roles. This allows social
simulation of how a system looks and feels to people who occupy different roles in it. Virtual sociality is the construction of societies on the internet with housing, jobs, events
invented by members electronically; social virtuality is devising new kinds of human interaction, possible across the internet that are not possible face to face.
The reader, here, must not confuse the process of systems modeling with the Evolutionary Engineering process. Systems modeling is done in step 3 of the evolutionary engineering
process. It is a part of the overall process (a significant part). So readers will clearly see the difference between the two processes I outline a common form of the systems modeling
process below. Compare it with the ten step Evolutionary Engineering process presented earlier in this article (modified from Sims, et al, 1986; and Maruyama, 1992).
1.Subjective cognitive causal modeling
Create a matrix: rows = what works (type of action or speech) around here and what does not work around here; col-
umns = what gets done around here and what does not get done around here
Managing Complexity 20 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Find inputs that influence strongly the outputs in that matrix. Mark outputs that have no strong influence from inputs as
needing further research.
Create a second, more refined matrix: rows = variables we easily manipulate around here, variables we inexpensively
manipulate around here, variables we manipulate only with great effort or difficulty, and variables we influence only at
great expense; columns = outcomes we usually get around here, outcomes we sometimes get around here, outcomes we
try but usually fail to get, and outcomes we never get.
Find inputs that influence strongly the outputs in that matrix. Mark outputs that have no strong influence from any of
the inputs as needing further research
2.Quality root cause analysis
List all the key outputs of the system
Measure how well each aspect of each output satisfies the needs of the current customers who receive that output
For outputs with large gaps between what customers want and are now getting do the following steps
Build a model of the process by which the output is produced
Find the key steps in that process model which strongly influence the output having the characteristic that now dis-
pleases customers
Perform root cause analysis of why that step in the process has the characteristic that it now has that causes the output of
the process to have the characteristics that it now has that displeases customers
3.Make a matrix from the above types of analysis with all key variables found being lists as both rows and columns.
Show key strong influencing relationships at the intersections of that matrix.
4.Turn the results of step 3 into a cellular, systems dynamics, or social simulation model of the system’s dynamics
5.Put initial conditions and inputs typical of the system into the model built in step 4. Compare outputs from the model
at intermediate stages and final outputs with real outputs of the system.
6.Where there are gaps between the model’s behavior and outputs and the real system’s behavior and outputs, redo steps
1 through 4, till no large gaps are left.
7.Perform sensitivity analysis on all key variables of the system to see which can be varied considerably without moving
outputs into regions of value that are not good.
8.Design control interventions or practices that influence key variables of the system so that all key variables of the sys-
tem maintain value ranges that assure the outputs please customers.
DISCIPLINARY CONTRIBUTIONS. These are concepts, from particular academic disciplines, that assist the Evolutionary Engineering process. Business has contributed industrial
ecosystems, such as the Dutch coastal communities where the wastes of one company are the resource inputs to another. Law has contributed animal and plant rights laws that protect
the environment from harm. Economics has contributed total costing--a way of charging to products produced the cost of harm that their production has done to the environment and the
harm that using and getting rid of those products does to the environment. Philosophy has contributed animal consciousness studies showing that whales, monkeys, and many other
creatures have a sense of self and family and suffer much as humans do, when harmed by humans.
APPLICATION CONCEPTS. Applying Evolutionary Engineering requires new thinking. Fractal citizenship is the idea that each person on the planet has more than one kind of citi-
zenship, from small size scales to large global size scales. National citizenship becomes just one of several types: local community citizenship, region-of-nations citizenship, and global-
community citizenship. Taxes, laws, and voting for all these forms of citizenship are just now being tested on the internet (Gamst, 1995). Value meshing practices are a way that differ-
ent quality related movements, such as quality of life and the quality-of-the-earth environment movement, can get together and invent practical methods for implementing the values of
both movements at the same time. For example, poor villagers who shot elephants to get money to feed their families (quality of life fighting with quality of the earth) were trained as
wardens to protect the elephants. They earned money by guiding tourists to the elephants that they used to shoot.
POLICY CONCEPTS. (Schon and Rein, 1994) Most policy processes have never been modeled, measured, and improved. Most policy processes assume a linearity that is false about
our world. Most policy processes are executed by narrowly trained professionals. Such professionals do not care about or know how to model human reactions and evolutionary dynam-
ics in the systems that they build and affect. Responsibility for the side-effects of intended actions is the defining quality of Evolutionary Engineers. Self-emergent “biological” policy
formation is allowing policies to self-organize and self-emerge from disciplined interactions of all involved in a system, using mass workshop events from Management by Events the-
ory. Most policies are implemented in systems without knowledge of the major system level variables, hence, most policies have side-effects much larger and more powerful than their
intended planned effects.
ECOLOGY CONCEPTS. (Pickett et al, 1994; Brockman et al, 1995) There is a conflict in most living systems between the unpredictability caused by the non-linear nature of interac-
tions within the system, and the stability given the system from the diversity and complexity of what interacts. Co-evolution of species on fitness landscapes has recently been modeled
on computers. It is teaching us the optimal size and number of niches and landscape patches. The optimal such numbers make all members of the ecosystem “fit” (Darwin’s type of fit-
ness) and make populations stable and when disasters or major system changes occur.
EVOLUTION CONCEPTS. (Pickett et al, 1994; Brockman et al 1995; Brandon, 1996) We initially thought that DNA was a computer that calculated what adult animal form and fea-
tures would be. Now we know that DNA is a program, read by the egg, which is a complex computer that uses the DNA to calculate an adult animal. There are genes that, when read
by the egg’s computer, generate an animal’s feature, and other genes that, when read, determine what other genes to ignore or emphasize. Mutation in the first type of gene, changes an
animal as Charles Darwin assumed mutation would. Mutation in the second type of gene, can change the mutation rate in the first type of gene, not at all what Charles Darwin assumed.
It appears that mutation in the first type of gene explains evolution of individual organisms and mutation in the second explains evolution of species. It also appears that important fea-
tures of new species do not help them adapt to the world, but are there because of internal “attractors” that are highly stable. That is individual organisms are themselves non-linear sys-
tems having developmental state spaces, trajectories, and attractors. Some of those attractors determine what parts of the organism’s environment it adapts to.
HUMAN ECOLOGY CONCEPTS. (Hawley, 1986; Baron et al, 1992; Suzuki et al, 1991 and 1987) Human communities, when looked at as if they were animal species, exhibit certain
regularities of system behavior. Over time any human community increases in specialization of roles--for example creating more types of family, jobs, professions, and neighborhoods.
Also, increased contact between different communities always results in increasing similarity of basic systems in the communities. Changes seem to have two sources--external environ-
ments and non-linear dynamics within the community itself. New niches create other new niches. For example, new technologies increase chances for further new technologies, and
new styles of clothing increase chances for further changes of style. This process continues till communities reach a state of supercriticallity. Supercriticality means tiny additional
actions change the phase (ice to water, water to steam) of the entire community.
NON-LINEAR SYSTEM DYNAMICS. (Scheinerman, 1996) Many items above referred to the concepts here. Systems have unimaginably large numbers of possible future states they
may be in. We could imagine most systems wandering aimlessly in such immense state spaces; instead, most systems converge, quickly and continually, to small parts of their overall
state space. Such wanderings are called trajectories, and such favored parts of state spaces are called attractors. There are types of attractors: point attractors, the system holds one
value and stops changing; periodic attractors, the system alternates among a few point values; chaotic attractors, the system appear random but each future state is actually precisely
determined; saddle attractors, the system has a stable region but small changes can throw it into irregular unpredictable highly different states; and unstable attractors, the system
achieves a stable pattern but any tiny action loses that stability.
GLOBAL QUALITY. This is extension of the problem solving, human involvement, measurement, and organization change techniques of any one quality-related movements for use by
other quality-related movements. This involves: ethical and spiritual methods found in the spirit movement, concerned with Quality of Mind; aesthetic methods found in the fad and
fashion movements, concerned with Quality of Taste; cognitive methods of analyzing ideas found in the intellectual movements, concerned with Quality of Learning; lifestyles found in
Managing Complexity 21 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
the consumer movement, concerned with Quality of Life; publicity and pressure methods found in human rights movements, concerned with Quality of Conflict; political and power
change methods found in liberation movements, concerned with Quality of Representation; human growth and work system enrichment methods found in QWL movement, concerned
with Quality of Worklife; system preservation and development methods found in environment movements, concerned with Quality of the Earth; standardization of value, measure-
ment, and practice methods found in standards and morality movements, concerned with Quality of Care; and finally, improvement and mobilization methods, found in total quality
movements, concerned with Quality of Production.
Global Quality evaluates overall system states and the particulars of how systems change from the viewpoint of satisfying the customers of the system’s outputs. This reduces or elim-
inates the usual system problem of building systems for the sake of implementors, not those who have to live with the final system result.
THE ETHICAL, SPIRITUAL, AND WELFARE DIMENSION. Quality of Mind, Quality of Life, Quality of Conflict, as well as other components of Global Quality bring the spiri-
tual and ethical dimensions into Evolutionary Engineering. To achieve Global Quality a process and its outcome have to meet conflicting requirements from many value perspectives
(that are here expressed as quality). Quality here does not mean simple commercial satisfaction but life, mind, social, and spiritual satisfaction with the outcome of a design process.
The temptation in our age is for administrative procedures to be used as excuses to justify horrible consequences years later suffered by innocent people. Design rationality that does
not include serious ethical and spiritual values, creates not small errors, but horrible, career destroying errors. This type of administration-by-procedure-excuse is becoming increas-
ingly impractical, arrogant, and generally condemned, as the news media uncover how casual everyday procedures allow leaders to overlook the health and fate of tens of thousands of
other people.
THE SOCIAL CELLULAR AUTOMATA PROCESS. (Greene, 1996) This is a way to get systems to design themselves self-emergently rather than imposing leader ideas on complex
systems that will inevitably undermine or resist them. You select or create basic units. Then you select or create states that those units can be in (if the units are humans, this can be
done by education, standardizing skill sets across workforces, or similar actions). You select or create which basic units or types of basic unit are connected with which others to create
abstract sorts of neighborhoods (if the units are human, this can include which units are physically adjacent, which have network connections, which broadcast to others, and the like).
You then select or create types of interaction that occur when basic units in one state connect to basic units in particular other states. The workshops of Managing by Events are one
type of such interaction when the basic units are human. You then select or create ways for basic units to evaluate and recognize the complexity of any overall patterns that emerge
from their interactions. You then select or create ways for basic units to choose overall emergent patterns to optimally achieve some overall system goal that the basic units agree on.
You then iteratively apply all these rules to all basic units in the system. You manage the system of interactions to the edge of chaos by modifying basic units, their states, neighbor-
hoods, or interaction types.
FOUR ACTIONS. (Cornell, 1996) Evolutionary engineers cultivate health, nutrition, and human services; manage lifecourses, careers, and parenting; design fashions, housing, interi-
ors, communities, and events; and organize urban systems, environment systems, and international systems.
FOUR KNOWLEDGE AREAS. Knowledge of the origins and evolutionary dynamics of nature, civilization, the human mind, and the cosmos is the result of Evolutionary Engineer-
Evolutionary Engineering of Policy Processes and What Such Processes Implement
Policy processes are a type of coalition building activity. More exactly speaking, they involve two coalitions: one that is built when forming policies; another built when implementing
them. Elsewhere I have presented steps in creating policy design coalitions: one, battleground preparation (selecting what jurisdiction to give a policy issue to); two, problem analysis
(finding what each stakeholder in a policy want, usual policy analysis scenario building); three, mobilization and alignment of interested parties; four, a private dialog of threats, pres-
suring, influence trading; five, a public dialog of announced support, countering opponent arguments; and six, institutionalizing the policy issues and opportunities that emerge during
the policy process. Evolutionary Engineers have two roles to play in policy making. First, they study and improve policy making processes in three ways. One way is re-framing
positions of parties in policy processes so common ground emerges. A second way is total quality modeling of particular policy processes, followed by re-engineering them on the
basis of new basic assumptions about how work can get done, and that followed by continuous improvement of them by the parties involved. The third way is replacing the usual top-
down done-by-elites policy making process with a self-emergent one using the Social Cellular Automata process:
ground preparation
problem analysis: select basic units, states, neighborhoods, and interactions
mobilize and align: manage to edge of chaos, butterfly effect, genetic competition among basic units
private dialog: edit out remnants of central control, make final customer satisfaction the primary success criterion
public dialog: create cascade processes across levels and functions among organizations and organization units till pat-
terns spontaneously emerge; select emergent patterns that optimally satisfy final customers; allow basic units to select
their own neighborhoods and exchange information
institutionalizing emergence: create libraries of best practice states, neighborhoods, and interactions; create social and
software automation of above functions; allow SWAT assembly of social cellular automata in response to broadcast
Second, Evolutionary Engineers make, what policies propose to implement, into processes of evolutionarily engineering particular outcomes. That is Evolutionary Engineers change
society so that more and more of the actions that societies take are done in an evolutionary engineering manner.
To understand what this means the reader will no doubt need examples. Below I present simple examples from college student life, that all readers can identify with and understand
Toward a New Kind of Leadership: The Evolutionary Engineer as Leader
An Evolutionary Engineering Approach to Creating Student Governments on Campus
Some students recently approached me about their effort to create a student government on campus. Their problem was they needed a vote by 2/3s of all students on campus in order
to create such a student government but most students showed little or no interest in having a student government. I asked them what process they were using to respond to this prob-
lem. They were persuading students, in small conversations that student government was important. Their method assumed: some leaders have an idea for student government, they
persuade ten people to support that idea, those ten people persuade 100 people to support that idea, those 100 people persuade 1000 people to support that idea. This is the usual top-
down method of dictatorships (Graumann et al, 1986). To be fair to these students, their experience in previous schooling was largely being dictated to by teachers and being given lit-
tle or no opportunity to self-organize as students and develop democratic cognitive habits.
I suggested a different process, based on cultivating evolutionary dynamics within the situation. It was an evolutionary engineering approach to creating a coalition in support of stu-
dent government. This method assumed: five people create a proposal for student government containing description of the mission, the methods, and the structures of that govern-
ment; those five show that proposal to 50 students for them to evaluate what is positive, what is negative and what is questionable about it. From that feedback the five create a new
proposal and join with the 50 in showing it to 100 students to evaluate what is positive, negative, and questionable about it. The 50 then incorporate that feedback into a third proposal
shown to 500 students, who note what is positive, negative, and questionable about it. That feedback is incorporated into a fourth proposal.
Notice that in the first process, an elite group has “right” ideas and when other people do not support those ideas they are accused of being wrong or bad minded. Notice that in the first
process, persuasion means making 500 people accept the idea of 5 people. In the second process, an elite group uses the feedback from others to create a new proposal, different than
the elite group wants. They then show that to larger groups and use that larger feedback to create another proposal. Each proposal is created by interaction of more and more people.
Each proposal is the result of evaluation by many people. The proposal in the first process does not evolve. The proposal in the second process evolves. This is one way that Evolu-
tionary Engineers build coalitions in support of a new idea.
An Evolutionary Engineering Approach to Leading Groups
Recently at a weekend conference, organized by students, I noticed how students lead meetings. One person gets up and tells everyone else what to do. This is the first tiny step on the
way to dictatorships like Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, and Stalin’s Soviet Union (Haas, 1990). I suggested an Evolutionary Engineering approach to leading groups instead
(Weimann, 1994).
In the usual meeting an elite group decides on a list of items to cover in a meeting. That becomes the agenda of the meeting and members of the meeting interested in anything else are
criticized for being off the topic. The leader then leads the group in doing this agenda with the leader being the only one responsible for everything. The problem is this method makes
members more and more quiet, passive, sleepy, bored, or angry, and the group gets smaller and smaller.
I suggested instead the following procedure. The leader lists possible agenda items on the board. As each member enters the room they add agenda items that they want covered in the
meeting. The first task in the meeting is designing a meeting. This is done by organizing all suggested agenda items. Similar items are grouped, those groups named (this is called list
management). Then the group (not the leader) discusses and chooses the proper method of treating those sets of topics, the time that that particular method would take, and an appro-
priate person in the meeting for leading the applying of that treatment to that topic. This produces a list of topic groups with each group having a different treatment leader assigned to
it. Finally, the groups of items are put in order, by what the meeting will do first, second, and so on. Then the leader of the design process stops work and the leader of the treatment of
Managing Complexity 22 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
the first set of topics takes leadership. In this way one meeting has six or seven leaders--one who leads designing the meeting and closing it and several others who lead how each topic
in the meeting is treated.
The first meeting method imposes one person’s ideas on many other people; the second method imposes many people’s ideas on each other. The first leader leads by telling people
answers; the second style of leader leads by asking people questions (for example: what other agenda ideas they have, what treatment is good for this first set of topics, how much time
should we spend on handling this topic, and so forth). The first meeting deals with all topics by general discussion; the second style of meeting deals with each topic in a different way.
That way evolves as groups learn what treatment works well with particular types of topics. This is an Evolutionary Engineering style of meeting.
Some Social Methods that Support Evolutionary Engineering Style of Leadership
Management as Movement Building
This is a technique for implementing change in large organizations or sets of interacting organizations. There are two kinds of movements that can today be built. One is the familiar
top-down movement, led by elites. This is the one Marxists like. The other is a bottom-up self-organizing movement of masses of people who, by adding up many hundreds of local
events and interaction types, create overall movement patterns, practices, and beliefs that no leader designs. Management as Movement Building is a technique for creating the latter
type of movement.
It involves applying the Social Cellular Automata process, presented earlier in this article, to those you want to mobilize into a movement or new institution.
Management by Balancing
Once you have applied the Evolutionary Engineering process to create a system or modify a system, you can identify the key variables, found during that work. You can then create a
regularized fractal model of those key variables and their inter-relationships. That regularized model can then be used to monitor the health of the entire system. Because it is regular-
ized, it is easy to teach, learn, and remember. That means you can teach it to thousands of people in the system and they all can use it to measure system health. When key variables
become out of balance with countervailing variables, actions to rebalance the system’s variables can be invented and implemented.
Managing by Events
These are a new kind of leadership. Leaders, instead of giving solutions, design processes. These are a new kind of following. Followers, instead of obeying leader ideas, design solu-
tions of their own, using mass workshops designed by leaders and world experts. These events change leaders into servants of the cognitive enrichment of followers. These events
change followers into initiative takers and inventors.
Many of Japan’s current problems as an economy come from an old style of leadership by bureaucratic elites. There are simply too few of such minds to handle the amount of policy,
creation, and direction setting needed today. If those bureaucratic elites removed themselves from making answers themselves and instead designed procedures for thousands of others
to use to come up with their own solutions, then social cohesion would flourish and the amount of work done by the same number of people would increase ten-fold, with reduction in
cost in both time and money spent. Some leaders in Japan’s bureaucracy are now experimenting with Managing by Events methods for transforming leaders from answer-givers to pro-
A few such events include the following. Participatory Town Meetings bring 200 to 500 people together for one or two days of workshopping challenges facing their community and
responses needed. Research Assemblies bring 500 to 1000 people together for 5 to 7 days to entirely redesign organization missions and processes once every year or two, or to survey
thousands of books or other sources and build new businesses, processes, or initiatives based on the results of that research. Problem Finding Work Outs bring 50 to 200 people together
for two days to survey all the problems, opportunities, and challenges facing a group or process and to figure out which of them to pay attention to and handle now. Problem Solving
Work Outs bring 50 to 200 people together for two days to survey all possible solutions to problems found in Problem Finding Work Outs, and design the implementation of the best of
the solutions found. Solution Implementation Work Outs are two day events that bring together 200 to 500 people to actually implement in full solutions decided on in Problem Solving
Work Outs. Quality Weimar Cabarets bring 50 to 200 people together to analyze the spiritual, cognitive, emotive, and social challenges facing a community and design comedy, dance,
drama, songs, festival games, prize awarding. These participant-designed arts are combined into a two-hour show that is given all the employees of a company, all the members of a
community, all the customers and suppliers of an effort or company, and so forth. This show moves those attending from one set of values and one commonsense to a new set of values
and new commonsense. It makes heroes of kinds of action though unimportant in the past. It shows new roles that people can aspire to. It moves a group’s emotions into the future.
Managing by Virtualizing
This is choosing then creating one of several new ways to have community among people. The Internet means people who have not met face-to-face can meet each other and work
together on projects. That means that people are not required to be geographically together in order to think and work together.
For Evolutionary Engineers this means inexpensive ways for thousands of people to participate in electronic workshops exist. This extends, dramatically, the number of people who can
be included in the process of designing or implementing a policy. Political candidates are already mobilizing electronic campaign managers, who meet and organize people over the
internet, and physical campaign managers, who meet people in some geographic community. Figuring out what functions in building a new movement or organization to virtualize takes
care. It is easy to be enthusiastic about technology without finding your customer at all enthusiastic. Only careful introduction of technology along with social tactics, such as Managing
by Events, will work well.
A Note on Some Other Skills Needed by Evolutionary Engineering Process Leaders
Fund Raising
My first job out of college was fund raising for an NGO. I flew to a different city every week and had to raise $2000 cash donations within 4 days and $6000 in pledges. In some cities,
my NGO had a list of people it had already trained. I used their advice about services to offer in that city that would allow me to meet wealthy people so as to interest them in the pro-
grams of our NGO. In cities without such people, I visited the local art museum. I looked at the gold plaque on the wall listing important families who had donated the money for the
museum. I then went to the local library. I found the names on the plaque in the society section of old newspapers. I read about those people and found what clubs and organizations
they belonged to and what their values were. Where our NGO had work that matched those values, I marked the person as a good person to visit. In this way I developed funding ;sup-
port for my NGO. In four years I visited 160 different cities.
Many students do not realize that NGOs are less financially strong than corporations. They underestimate how much time and effort NGOs spend getting money. It is paradoxical. If
you work for a big corporation, you spend no time talking about making money, because strong systems for making profit are already established and working well. If you work for a
non-profit agency, however, you can be disappointed to find that you spend all day, every day worrying about money, because there is little of it and good systems for getting it are not
working well.
Recently, in the US management programs for training NGO leaders in how to create profit-making services within their NGO have become popular. I recommend these programs to
students. Without knowing how to make money for your NGO well, you can find NGO work very hard. With proper training, you can do two creative things. One is you can create a
way of raising donated funds that also trains outsiders in your NGO’s values and involves them in working with your NGO’s program. The other is you can design profit-making ser-
vices that your NGO uses to fund the charitable parts of its mission. Being good at these two things makes you very popular with NGO’s in hiring interviews.
Building Chapter Organizations and Networks
Many NGO’s have a headquarters. However, many of them also have widely dispersed local chapters. These partially self-governing local groups do the work of the NGO in local com-
munities. There are two networks of these local groups. One is a network of support and supply groups. These tend to be in wealthy countries or among well-educated populations.
They seek to influence policy in those nations and direct resources from those nations to others. The other network is a network of application. These are NGO groups in nations
receiving NGO services. They tend to mobilize people needing services and organize local distribution of resources from the NGOs.
Students wanting to become human ecologists who do Evolutionary Engineering may need not only to raise funds, but to create such local chapter organizations and networks among
them. The skills of creating new social institutions from scratch are important to such students. Fortunately, my experience has been that creating the events in Management by Events,
is an excellent way to build local support for new ideas or initiatives.
When, many years ago, I introduced artificial intelligence computing to General Motors, my approach was to not do that work myself. Instead, my small staff and I created Artificial
Intelligence Workshop Fairs. These were one day workshops where the top 400 managers of each GM division were invited for one day to see, in the morning, artificial intelligence
project proposals from their own division’s engineers, and in the afternoon, to respond to demonstrations of applications of working systems developed by technology vendors, carefully
chosen to match the engineer proposals. Knowing human nature, when GM upper managers, seeing how successful these high technology workshop fairs were becoming, wanted to take
this project over for themselves, I was ready. My staff and I trained them and willingly gave the project over to them. We had already developed a new project to invent. By freely giv-
ing our first project to others, we turned our success into a movement broadened and expanded by others. In this way, human ecologists can create movements that they give away to
Transplanting Business Practices Across Cultures or Reinventing Practices in Various Cultures
Within any particular society there are professions, ministries, regions, generations, and industries--each having different cultures. Many nations want to believe they are one culture,
but actual observation of behaviors shows large variations, even in nations that claim to be homogeneous. For example, Japanese and Koreans both claim their cultures are very homo-
geneous, yet they have greater differences in culture between the genders, males and females, than less homogeneous Western cultures. They also have greater differences in culture
between professions (doctors and patients, for example) and sectors of the economy (big company workers versus owners of restaurants and drinking bars) than Western cultures. More-
over, each nation’s various cultures evolve, so that statements like “Japanese management is productive” are non-sense if you talk about 1900 to 1910 and true if you talk about 1970 to
1980 but less true if you talk about 1990 to 2000. This phenomenon of different sub-cultures by social cleavage and by time, when added to national differences in culture, makes oper-
Managing Complexity 23 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
ating globally a challenge. Global operation involves within nation culture variety and between nations culture variety.
Human ecologists, because they deal with many global phenomena, must master how to deal effectively with cultural diversity. First, they must be able to transplant practices from one
culture to another. This requires modeling the first culture, modeling the second culture, and modeling the culture of the practices themselves. Synergies and conflicts between the cul-
ture of origin of a set of practice and the culture of the practices themselves can be determined. Synergies and conflicts between the culture of the practices and the culture they are
being transplanted to can be determined. Then particular tactics to enhance and use synergies while blocking or redirecting conflicts can be invented.
Second, human ecologists must be able to reinvent practices in different cultures. Things like banking and how banking is done by bankers, large businesses, small businesses, and
individual consumers, have been reinvented. They were reinvented after trying to transplant banking practices from large rich countries to developing countries failed. Instead, people
in poor countries invented forms of banking that poor people could use. Islamic people invented forms of banking consistent with their religious prohibition against interest payments.
Human ecologists cannot themselves reinvent practices for cultures new to them. They can, however, design procedures that local people use to reinvent practices from their own cul-
tural imagination.
I remember my first trip to Japan, twenty years ago. I had created the largest Participatory Town Meeting in the US. That was an accident--my partner, a banker in Kansas City, was
wonderful. He had organized Kansas City leaders into a powerful coalition--I only advised. However, the leaders of my organization mistakenly thought my own talents, not his, had
produced a good result. So, they sent me to fix a Participatory Town Meeting program in Japan that was not working. I found the same workshop procedures, that were used in the US,
being used in Japan. Knowing nothing about Japan, I organized a committee of Japanese academics, government civil servants, and businessmen to advise me. They examined the
workshop procedures and pointed out what was difficult about doing each step in Japan. I redesigned the procedures, merely following their advice. The result was 42 successful Par-
ticipatory Town Meetings in a row, each in a different social club, town, or corporation. One corporation, Seibu Department Stores, put all 1200 of its headquarters personnel, through
this Participatory Town Meeting process as a result. In this case, deliberately involving local people in redesigning a set of practices, resulted in changing failure to success. Human
ecologists must be good at such transfers of practices among cultures.
At the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, where I taught courses in transplanting business practices across cultures, I found that Japanese company workers had less
experience of initiating projects than European workers or US workers of the same age. That is because Japanese managers gave them less freedom of action and imagination than US
and European managers. That meant that they had less experience of tailoring a program for different cultures. I had to change my courses to teach them how to initiate new business
proposals, then, how to transplant those proposed business practices from one culture to another.
Revisiting the Seven Stories Using Evolutionary Engineering to Solve Their Problems
I began this article with seven stories illustrating particular typical ways that systems fail today. It is useful to note here briefly how Evolutionary Engineering approaches prevent or
solve such problems. Oxymoron systems, like the Yemen damn, produce the opposite of what they plan. In Yemen, human responses to the damn by the Yemen population were not
modeled. Also, ecological responses to the lake the dam produced were not modeled. This is typical of World Bank planning. Only technical and economic factors are modeled.
What happened was young people left their traditional hillside farms. Their parents, being old, could not repair these hillside fields well, therefore the soil washed off the mountains
when it rained. This washed down soil made the land below too salty with minerals to grow food, hence Yemen became a food importer. Evolutionary Engineering’s step 5, finding
key psychological variables, and step 8, checking quality of life variables would have spotted hillside youth motives and likely reactions. Step 2’s selection of man-made nature as a
relevant environment would have noticed the lake created by the dam and all the minerals washed into it.
Inhuman systems, like US urban housing, would be handled by step 8’s inclusion of final customers in the design process, Global Quality. Orphan systems, like global warming, or
mass media inspiring child violence, would have been handled by step 7’s creation of new institutions and movements to own homeless problems. Also, the movements in step 8’s
Global Quality function take ownership of orphan problems. Missed systems like inadequate diagnosis are handled by the inclusion of many different disciplines in steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
and 7. Moving systems, like the Japanese HDTV project, are helped by step 3’s modeling of the system dynamics of the system that the Japanese TV industry is in. Also, step 8’s use
of the Social Cellular Automata process to engage the world-wide media industry in specifying a new TV system would have prevented HDTV system failure. Conflicted systems,
such as re-engineering projects in companies, are handled by switching from elite-led, top-down redesign to Social Cellular Automata processes of design, step 8. Diverse systems,
like the corporation having 8 employees on 3 continents, are handled by the Managing by Events tactics of the Social Cellular Automata process in step 8. In sum, the Evolutionary
Engineering process does have specific features that handle the typical ways that systems fail today. No process is perfect but this one is a good one, at present.
The perspicacious reader will have noticed in the above that step 8 solves more of the basic systems problems than any other step. The combination of Global Quality, Management as
Movement Building, Managing by Events, and the Social Cellular Automata process that is found there solves these systems problems. That is because these 4 items were invented to
extend systems science, by generalizing then most successful form of systems science--total quality--then applying that generalization to achieve things beyond just quality of produc-
tion, like quality of the earth, quality of life, and so forth.
How to Educate Human Ecologists
Cross-Discipline “College”
This article derived a specification for the skills of Evolutionary Engineers by examining problems in designing and implementing systems. The result was six components to the edu-
cation of Evolutionary Engineers. All of these should be learned to the level of competent practice except the first of the General Foundations, 18 bodies of knowledge, which should
be learned to the level of conversancy:
mastery of one disciplinary skill area,
mastery of one application area
competence with four General Foundations:
18 bodies of knowledge,
ten steps of the Evolutionary Engineering process,
gaming and simulation literacy,
mastery of a foreign language.
The first two fit well junior and senior years at college while the four General Foundations fit well the first two years of college.
System Design Practicuums
It is not enough for students to absorb concepts and methods, they must gain the confidence and savvy that come from actual practice of skills. Special practicuums in which students
identify problems and apply the Evolutionary Engineering process to them will be needed.
Graduation Portfolio
Students of human ecology related departments should graduate with a portfolio containing documents on the various problems they solved in college using the Evolutionary Engineer-
ing process. Employers can then concretely know what capabilities they are getting from hiring these graduates.
Masters of Surprise
Graduates who have mastered the Evolutionary Engineering process are masters of non-linear systems dynamics. They are not surprised by them as are others who live in linear sim-
plifications of our world. What is more, they surprise others, by being able to produce non-linear systems phenomena that others, living in linear simplifications of the world, cannot
This article is one person’s model of the defining skill of a new field, human ecology. I do not expect agreement with its contents. I do expect to stimulate better models by others. The
university department where I currently work, Kwansei Gakuin University’s Policy Studies School, is structured to produce Evolutionary Engineers. In a few years we will all know
what they are capable of concretely. I expect we will be pleasantly surprised.
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Tool 1:
54 System Effects
Managing Complexity 25 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Instructions: Either name a different problem, that you have experienced, for each of the 54 items below or name a different aspect of one significant problem, that you presently are
experiencing, for each of the 54 items below. Since each of the 54 items below refers to a distinct, different type of system effect, a different non-linearity phenomenon in math terms,
it is surprising to most of us to find that many of them pertain to any one significant problem we have. It is less surprising that we face 54 problems, one for each of them--that is to be
expected, we live in a non-linear world but out minds are filled with linear simplifications of life from our educations, cultures, and personal habits.

54 Systems Effects
Identifying System Problems (Gaps Between Professions)
Effect Name
System Effect Type Description
Unplanned Effects
1. Name a problem of some note caused by people not taking responsibility for the unplanned second order effects of planned actions.
Producer Customers
2. Name a problem of some note caused by the producers of a product becoming the final customers rather than the intended end-users of product.
Ownerless Problems
3. Name a problem of some note caused by problems that fall between the cracks so that no one owns enough of them to make it worth their while to deal with them.
Omitted Professions
4. Name a problem of some note caused by a few professions planning things then aspects of the situation only a different un-included profession could understand undermine the
planned on outcome.
User Omission
5. Name a problem of some note caused by a few remote expert professionals designing something instead of the myriad people finally to use and be involved with the outcome getting
engaged in the design process.
Unsupported Emergents
6. Name a problem of some note caused by patterns spontaneously emerging from myriad local intelligent actors interacting but, because those patterns were unplanned by professionals,
they are unsupported or casually counter-acted by professional actions unwittingly.
Plural Goods
7. Name a problem of some note caused by various professions involved in them not agreeing on what excellence, productivity, and good outcome mean.
Changed Components
8. Name a problem of some note caused by the components of a design changing as the design process evolves.
Claimed Components
9. Name a problem of some note caused by the components of a design becoming unavailable to the design project because other projects notice them, (often due to the design project
itself) and make claims on them.
Changed Requirements
10. Name a problem of some note caused by the people receiving the output of the design changing their requirements during (and often due to) the design process.
Overwhelming Side-effects
11. Name a problem of some note caused by the side-effects of an action completely countering the intended purpose of the action.
Solution Interactions
12. Name a problem of some note caused by combinations of appropriate actions interacting in such a way that they result in something unacceptably different than they intended.
Process Overwhelms Result
13. Name a problem of some note caused by the particular way that a design was produced counteracting the value or support for or interest in the design that results.
Launch Overwhelms Result
14. Name a problem of some note caused by the way an effort is launched counteracting the intended results of the effort.
Human Combination Counter-effects
15. Name a problem of some note caused by particular humans combined by a design in such a way that their combination undoes the intended result of the design.
Unwanted Wants
16. Name a problem of some note caused by humans wanting a result but when presented with it finding they dislike it and reject it.
Experienced Solution Non-solving
17. Name a problem of some note caused by humans accepting a result but after living with it a while, tiring of it.
Process Expectations Overwhelm
18. Name a problem of some note caused by human expectations being raised so high by the process of achieving a result that the humans reject the result of that process by the time it
Components as Component Environ-
19. Name a problem of some note caused by the environment that all other components are for each component undoing the functioning intended/needed of that component.
Identifying Systems Solutions
Intercomponent Consideration
20. Name a problem of some note solved by getting all the components to do their role in such a way that leeway is allowed for helping nearby components achieve their intended roles.
Causal Depth
21. Name a problem solved by finding causes deeper than those humans quickly first assume for problems around them.
Causal Distribution
22. Name a problem solved by finding causes in various aspects of the system the problem appears in rather than in just the place where the problem appears.
Intercleavage Proposing
23. Name a problem solved by mobilizing all social ranks, levels, classes in a system exchanging and editing each other’s proposals.
Customer Directed Systems
24. Name a problem solved by mobilizing all departments, functions, or firms in a system exchanging how they will play roles that help final customers of their overall effort.
Customer Defined System
25. Name a problem solved by having the final customers of the output of a process define what “good quality” “good performance” and “good product” mean.
Implementor Pluralization
26. Name a problem solved by allowing groups of companies/organizations to implement systems hithertofore implemented by single companies/organizations.
Root Cause Analysis
27. Name a problem solved by identifying the cause of most of the other causes assumed about the problem.
Common vs Special Causes of Varia-
28. Name a problem solved by distinguishing variation in a process inherent in the way the process is designed and set up from variations resulting from accidental factors influencing
steps in the process.
Non-Linearity Effects
Butterfly Effect
29. Name a problem caused by inputting a similar input but finding an enormously different output results
Edge of Chaos
30. Name a problem caused by too much order preventing inter-component mixing, interaction, and overall pattern emergence; or conversely, too much chaos not reducing interactions
enough for interactions to add up to some change worth having
Avalanche Effect
31. Name a problem caused by similar, usual, typical inputs suddenly radically changing overall system state
Building Block Effect
32. Name a problem caused by solution processes and solution-produced results getting hijacked by other forces that use them as components in a different process
Credit Allocation
33. Name a problem caused by inappropriate allocation of reward and credit to components contributing to a solution state
Taking Credit for Luck
34. Name a problem caused by severe environment caused component failure getting confused with component weakness caused failure; or, conversely, easy environment caused suc-
cess causing weak components to be wrongly assessed as strong
Identify Surprise Caused Problems
Delayed Feedbacks
35. Name a problem of some note caused by delayed feedback--people take immediate positive results and all the results, then get surprised by delayed feedback.
Self Reinforcing Growth Plateau
36. Name a problem of some note caused by self-reinforcing growth--initial actions that are small produce small positive increases in results, larger actions produce larger increases in
positive results, but at some increment the next step produces strongly negative results.
Solving Symptoms
37. Name a problem of some note caused by solving symptoms--initial actions that handle well the symptoms of a problem leave untouched the fundamental cause of the problem so that
after more such initial actions are taken, suddenly the problem reappears greatly enlarged because its fundamental cause has been un-countered, and in the mean time capabilities of han-
dling the real cause have atrophied.
Help Dependency
38. Name a problem of some note caused by people seeking outside help to solve it, again and again, till their own capability to solve atrophies, then, suddenly or gradually, the outside
source of help becomes unavailable.
Self Reinforcing Partial Solutions
39. Name a problem of some note caused by people attempting a do-able solution, that only partially works, then the people lower their standards of success, till the partial solution sat-
isfies them, causing atrophy of their capability of fully solving the problem.
Price War
40. Name a problem of some note caused by a price war wherein one party reduces prices, causing a competitor to reduce prices, which causes the first party to reduce prices still more,
till finally both parties go bankrupt.
Rich Get Richer
41. Name a problem of some note caused by the rich getting richer, where the first party to do something gains disproportionate advantages making second and third parties attempting it
unable to compete, all gains going to the already bigger first party.
42. Name a problem of some note caused by overfishing, wherein one party, seeing less of something, tries hard to catch it, followed by its competitors trying even harder to catch it, till
the resource being caught dwindles to zero for all parties.
Delayed Cost
43. Name a problem of some note caused by a solution to another problem having a delayed cost that turns out, by being bigger than the original problem being solved, making a new
problem bigger than the one the solution first solved.
Timid Solutions
44. Name a problem of some note caused by attempting moderate solutions that are not too effective, then giving up, when a little bigger attempted solution would have been enough, if
done promptly and at first to solve the entire issue.
Managing Complexity 26 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Tool 2:
128 Fault Types
Caused by
System Effects
There may be 54 or so distinct types of non-linearities we encounter as system effects in our work and lives, but the number of types of error and fault that they cause is larger. The
model below organizes 128 distinct types of fault caused by non-linearities of the 54 sorts of Tool 1, above.
Instructions for Use: There are many uses of the below model. First, and most obvious, is listing where in your past or present experience you experience each one of the 128 fault
types below. Second is seeing in a significant present problem you face, an aspect that comes from each or many of the 128 fault types below. Third is building an interaction matrix
of subsets of the 128 below that pertain to some present significant problem you face--put the subset of the below as both rows and columns of the matrix and at each intersection note
how interactions of some of the below 128 cause problems for what you are undertaking.
Note that there are quite a few businesses and NGO persons for whom working at levels of detail like 54 and 128 is not normal. Such people will resist listing 54 examples or 54 aspects,
much less 128 examples or aspects. Readers need to be assured that people who handle 54 not five or six, and 128 not ten or twelve, outperform normal people by factors like 80 to 100
or more times. It is a matter of being more comprehensive in parts of the world covered, more detailed and specific in what you look for and respond to, and doing much more work--
handling 54 things not five or ten things. Our lifelong habits of doing only five or six things at a time are merely products of rural elements in the backgrounds of the cultures we come
from. Such habits are not good ways to behave but merely easy ways to behave because of two factors--we learned how to operate these ways in childhood automatically by just grow-
ing up in a particular culture and everyone else in our cultures behaves similarly so it feels “alright” to do what they do, to lower ourselves continually to their standards. This book, an
all my books, demand more comprehensiveness than others, more detail and specificity than others, and more work than others do--my books try to entice you into higher standards of
Fatalist Under-effort
45. Name a problem of some note caused by a fatalist response to challenges--assuming human interventions do little good.
Equalitarian Disagreement Rejection
46. Name aproblem of some note caused by an egalitarian response to challenges--the world is untrustable, we have to stick together at all costs, people disagreeing with the group are
Individualist Error Tolerance
47. Name a problem of some note caused by the individualist response to challenges--the world is trustable, small errors are okay, till errors become so usual and comfortable that they
grow to catastrophic size.
Hierachist Boundary Enforcement
48. Name a problem of some note caused by the hierarchist response to challenges--there is an important boundary within which action is safe, beyond which action is dangerous, punish
people acting beyond traditional boundaries.
Hermetic Withdrawal
49. Name a problem of some note caused by the hermit response to challenges--the world and human systems in their entirety are unreliable, withdraw and do not get involved.
Component Change and Scope
Fat Components
50. Name a problem caused by components being too big to be readily recombined to handle new situations
Thin Components
51. Name a problem caused by components being too small to come to the attention and be recombined to handle new situations
Fixed Component Relations
52. Name a problem caused by past inter-component structure being used without adequate modification to handle successive new situations
Unfixed Component Relations
53. Name a problem caused by past inter-component structure being unpreserved as totally new configurations get used to handle new situations till past problems keep being repeated as
the organization does not preserve working parts/experiences of its past
Adding the Future
54. Name a problem caused by handling new situations by adding new components rather than re-configuring relations among past components

54 Systems Effects
Managing Complexity 27 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
second order effects
from interactions
partial solution
standards side-effects
of main action
counteract it
counteract intent
of humans
conteracts intent
manner of
growth becomes
solution bad so
miss good from
larger solution
problems of
result side-effects
much worse
than result benefits
intended result
is itself not
once really done
similar input
very different
usual input
whole system
delayed negative
feedback after
faster good
has delayed
giant cost
cause where
problem seen
only is attacked
cause of
other causes
not addressed
system caused
variation “solved”
without system changes
severe environmt.
caused failure
blamed on
undoes 1 part’s
lack of
leeway in
other components
stifles 1 part’s function
changes during
solution so
particular to
1 environment
be used
credit &
rewards not to
those who solved
outside help
used till own
capability atrophies
for situation
too weak to last
great solution
gets enemies
cuz of who
enough chaos
local actions
effect goes
enough order
local actions
sequence of solvings
exacerbate user
overfishing rich get richer
price war
envy isolate
when get what
want, dislike it
when live with
result, hate it
so hate result
of customer’s
spec are
or requirements
production way
kills interest
factors from
not included
profession not
on basics
more complex
than problem
fatalist &
too big
overkill solutions
solution too
perfectly suited
to present
component config
lost in responding
so problems
new parts added
rather than
reconfig old
culture of
than culture
of customers
ranks block
feedback flows
firms or
feedback flows
single solver
pushed to heroics
cuz alone
1 2
9 10
21 22
25 26
29 30
53 54
or vital waste
consulting =
roles assigned by
precedent not
ignore = solve
social will not
mind used to
an issue
admit issue =
create issue

fact outweighs
intolerance of
agreement all
if new, not an
issue, only
old are
rivals outweighs
inventing solutions
issues are
just distractions
from real work
managing =
changes in
interpreted as
already found
inside group
whether to do
so thorough
it = doing
coopted early
responded to as
long standing
irrational situation
is natural = not issue
pay money to all
= solving
repetition is
work, not
issue handling
cost of issues
is lost focus on
unity of group
establishing a
thing called a
solution = solving
super direct
solutions, by-
discussing =
repeating elders’ opinions
group wrongs
are better than
people interrupting
unity feeling by
being right
“no mind” state
is ideal consciousness
mastery & auto-
mation of
routines =
perfecting every-
day life =
issue preventing
= garbage
slight disturbance of
“no mind” dailylife
state intensely
of handling trivialities
long cycle times
allow time for
giant greenfield
initiatives that
don’t build
on past
career system rewards
distinguishing self
from others not
building on
specs that
ignore capabilities
long cycle times
allow many outside
market changes
many changes of
long cycle times
allow many
changes of
marketers “know”
customers but don’t
and don’t see
engineers as
projects when all
know competition
will instantly respond
one old generation
manages so younger
shut out
unfunded capability
development so
must invent
product &
early phases
unrealistic schedules
from remote leaders
often cancelled
no manager
action till
problems are huge
resouces adequate
only at project end
subsystem team
escalate cuz
team members no
co-located; global
suppliers jerked
management causes
waits for many
sign offs
travel, waiting, reporting
are most of
work time
reviews distort
actual capabilities
no incentives for
needed behaviors:
building reliable
leaders remote &
ignorant, do not like
nuts and bolts
waiting till problems
huge then killing
entire project
preferred as it
no personal,
social, knowledge
basis for inter-
manager agreement,
so solutions are political
managers lack social
skills to guide without
managers force symp-
tom only solving by
tacit intimidation
promotions not based
on actual problems
faced and solved
no consensus
building process
on product strategies
no building
on success/failure
of previous teams
tradition of
hiding slack time
and no one covering
for others on teams;
creativity valued
65 66
85 86
89 90
93 94
113 114
128 System Thinking Fault Types
From Greene, Prietula, Senge, Wildavski, Kano, Taguchi, Ishikawa, Morishima, Boulding, Kauffman, Arthur, Gladwell
no pain sharing system
Managing Complexity 28 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Source 2:
Variety of Types
of Social Diversity
Managing Complexity 29 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Chapter 2
Complexity from Various Types of Social Diversity:
33 Tools for Leveraging Social Types of Diversity
Another Source of Complexity: Diversity of Social Diversity Type
As organizations, economies, cultures, and nations globalize, extend their influence globally and receive similar extensions of others into their domains, they encounter diverse types of
diversity--of value, of gender, of age group, of tradition, of legal system, of culture, of market, of living arrangements, of profession, and on and on. Learning to treat other genders and
races fairly is tough intimate emotional work that many old-style managers still fail at, repeatedly. Learning to treat other living arrangements, professions, and markets fairly is just
as tough, intimate, and emotional as that work but with the added stress that it is life or death, sell or not sell, deficit or profit determining for globalizing organizations. If you fail the
tough intimate emotional work of treating other living arrangements, markets, and professions fairly your organization fails to handle the globe, and shrinks into local obscurity. Fail-
ure to handle the source of complexity presented in this chapter means failure to handle the world as a whole. This is truly huge failure on a giant scale. Yet it is the most intimate
unconscious emotional parts of us where success or failure of this sort is forged.
Outsourcing has been called “pitfall science”, the pitfall of missing infrastructures in India, the pitfall of missing legal frameworks in China, the pitfall of excellent English hiding
entirely different values and mindsets, the pitfall of outsourcer mergers creating competitors, the pitfall of sudden political undercutting of prior pro-business policies. Going out, in
out-sourcing terms, requires going in, mapping all sorts of differences that are unimaginable to someone not grown up in another culture and land. Outsourcing requires insourcing.
This chapter looks at tools for mapping that insourcing involved in all our outsourcing efforts.
Going Out Requires Going In
Globalization puts us into contact with diversity we must sell to, diversity we must work with as colleagues, and diversity we must report to as leaders, managers, and evaluators. To
handle this diversity we must come to terms with unconscious commitments we made as a child of a particular set of parents, in a particular community, in a particular nation and era.
These unconscious commitments differ from those unconscious commitments others have made. Included in such commitments are wholly different understandings and achievements
of what a “person” is (see Johnson in Marsella et al, 1985). Progress and understanding require that both of us make conscious the value-commitments and habit-commitments that,
hithertofore in our lives, remained unconscious. Going global requires going interior, deep inside ourselves. People incapable of new self realization are incapable of functioning well
in global organizations. Joseph Campbell expressed this at length in his book Inner Journey Outer Journey (Campbell, 1986). There he went beyond globalization to the Apollo moon
missions, as the outer journey, and sloughing the murderous jealous gods in local religions for the sake of an emerging more “ecological” global religion, as the inner journey.
Todorov, exploring diversity, found the Spanish invaders of America, going interior in letters back to Spain, where Christianity that justified killing become problematic to some of
them (Todorov, 1991, 1993)
The “going interior” that going global requires contains a side-benefit. We come out of it with more self-conscious more examined lives. We come out of it with less unconscious
commitment to particular values or practices. And, we come out of it more flexible, with tactical alternatives that others, raised without global exposure, cannot imagine or use.
A Second Profound Frontier of Diversity
Many of the problems of our world that remain resistant to repeated solution attempts stem from holes and gaps between professions (Raelin, 1985). Our world, in particular its
knowledge, is divided into professions jealous of each other and protecting their own turf. Too many times, problems, not fully fitting any one profession, fall between the inter-pro-
fession cracks and get dealt with well by no one. Global warming is one such problem--to wide, too long term, too general for any one profession to get engaged in, but so multi-
dimensional that if it happens entire nations may disappear, and entire continents may suddenly become frozen wastes (the Gulf Stream re-directed away from warming northern
Europe for one example).
The diversity that, that menu of professions amounts to, is a primary challenge to making horizontal business processes work well and serve their final external customers. People able
to handle globalization’s diversity of people and systems, and horizontal process diversity of different types of knowledge and ways of work have an immense competitive advantage
over people lacking such skills.
Diversity versus Leveraging Diversity
Most of us already know some things about diversity:
1. people in homogeneous situations seek diversity; people in diverse situations seek homogeneity (Brown and Duguid,1991)
2. groups with diverse members take longer to reach agreement but the agreements tend to be of better quality that those of less diverse groups (Watson et al, 1993)
3. ecosystems may achieve fundamental amounts of resiliency with as many as ten different species and addition of species beyond ten may add little to the amount of resil-
iency that is there.
The case for diversity in business workforces is also largely familiar:
• certain types of people were systematically omitted from workplaces or from the better roles in workplaces in the past; now out of fairness considerations, we are welcom-
ing all types of people at work
• globalization of businesses requires that business functions be done by diverse peoples and perhaps how those functions get done should be as diverse as who does them.
I believe this substantially understates the importance of diversity for business and organizations in general, to wit:
1. The Scope of Business Requires Handling Well Three Types of Diversity--Nation, Profession, Gender: if an organization is to benefit from a person’s capabilities it is con-
venient if the person can be deployed to any nation, working with colleagues from any of a dozen different professions, including women newly entering authoritative
roles in organizations. People unable to work well in different national cultures, with different professions of knowledge ,and with different genders, limit severely the
parts of the world and its work they contribute to (Hampden-Turner and Tompenaars, 1993)
2. Lack of Diversity Kills: long standing organizations tend to become simpler and simpler, as people within them copy what “works”, till they lack, within, diversity suffi-
cient to respond to major changes in their environment, hence, fail (Miller, 1993)
3. Organizations Are Diversity Libraries: large organizations consist of two layers, a bureaucratic “library” layer of components, with specialized capabilities, which are
drawn from, to form teams of diverse capabilities, in a teaming layer that executes changes and projects not fitting the fixed bureaucratic structure (Kohut and Zander,
1992; Huber, 1984)
4. Diversity Drives the Creativity that Constitutes High Performance: many organization phenomena--leadership, high performance, knowledge management, group dynam-
ics, network economics--are the four “natural selection” functions of creativity applied to different parts of people and organizations, hence, the role of diversity in natural
selection parallels its role in organization dynamics (generate variants, combine them, select them, and reproduce them, Greene, 2000)
5. Diversity Saves Organizations from Their Self-Destructive Corporate Cultures: nearly all organizations have organizational cultures that sustain substantially false stories
about how good the organization was in the past and is now; these cultures mislead employees into false confidence, repetition of past errors, and failure to compensate for
organizational neuroses (Miller, 1993; Denison,1990)
Managing Complexity 30 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
6. Diversity Creates Birthplaces for Innovation: organizations have immune systems that attack change, whenever it diminishes powers-that-be; diversity creates a minimum,
omnipresent level of noisy chaos which hides new initiatives and slack resources, allowing new capabilities to be born and get propagated (Van de Ven, 1993; Paz, 1984).
The word “diversity” sounds nice, neutral, and positive, but when you and I experience it in real human groups, under time or other pressure to get something done, it is not so nice and
positive. We have to labor to get people to agree on even the simplest concepts (what is “productive”, “excellent”, “just”). We have to weave wildly different values, experiences,
backgrounds, and biases whenever we want to get something done. Diversity radically increases the workload, the mental/emotional hassle, and the time-to-completion of doing tasks.
In real life, in our daily worlds, we do not like it and we frequently do quite a bit of conniving to reduce or avoid it. Being effective, something many organization cultures actively pro-
mote, requires being un-encumbered by diversity, in many cases.
The answer is simple. Most of the benefits of diversity go unrealized. People may know about those benefits but they do not have tools for actualizing them. Lip service gets paid, that
is all. People are satisfied if diversity does not bust up their plans, goals, and processes. The idea of positively benefitting from diversity never arises for them. This chapter concerns
ways of actually leveraging the types of diversity that are there in real situations so as to achieve what diversity is capable of contributing positively to situations. Having diversity is a
far cry from leveraging it effectively.
Diversity as Being Educated, the Recent Discovery of Diversity
In Western Civilization quite a few intellectuals (Sartre, 1956; Tarnas, 1991) have defined “being educated” in part, at least, as undoing all the unconscious commitments to values and
ways of working that we acquire as children. The West, in their eyes, is a self-negating culture and people are negations of selves, especially for Sartre and the other existentialists. The
educated person, when he or she expresses an opinion, we can not tell, from it, how old they are, what gender they are, what nationality they are, what profession they are. The process-
ing of information that went on inside their heads has overcome the imbibing of whatever environment happened to be around them while they were raised. By this definition, most of
us are partly uneducated at present. By knowing where we were raised, where we went to college, what our profession and nation are, most people can predict large areas of our present
beliefs. This, however embarrassing, is dangerous. It strictly limits our humanity--the degree to which we realize our potential for “being human” self determination.
Existential philosophy is perhaps the quintessential philosophy of responsible action. It attacks as no other philosophy ever has, all the mousy little excuses by which we avoid being
responsible for our actions and situations, and hence, by which we avoid facing our freedom to influence our selves and worlds. Existentialism, thereby, is the quintessential philosophy
of educated people (Olson, 1962 Tillich, 1952). It asks us to uncover all the unconscious commitments made in our childhoods and undo them. It asks us to replace those parts of us
replicating our environment with new parts we invent and deliberately choose. It asks us to make our selves products of our freely chosen values and interests. In doing so it also
examines the Other and our reactions to the Other. Existentialism sees a profound anxiety when we become, in the Other’s eyes, an “in-itself” object rather than a “for itself” conscious
subjectivity. Encountering the other necessarily reveals our own “objectness” to ourselves. Our dislike of this can then be projected back as hatred of the Other (Dunning, 1985; Sartre,
Being an educated person, then, and being a human who fully lives his/her human-ness require coming to terms with the diversity inherent in being born here not there, now not then,
male not female, and so forth. It asks us to take responsibility for the arbitrary absurdity of the diversity each of us already from birth is. We take such responsibility not by giving our-
selves over to the comforts of where and when we were born, but by undoing those comforts and replacing them with what seems wiser, fairer, more influential, more moral. This tak-
ing responsibility for the diversity that each of us from birth is, is a fundament, a base, for dealing well with the diversity that others are from birth.
The unleashing of various liberations on world popular culture since the 1960s--liberation of blacks, handicapped, women, and others--embarrassed various textbook manufacturers in
nations all over the world. Nations had been brainwashing their children that one tradition, belonging to one “primary” ethnic group, was the “nation’s” history. The discovery that
many diverse ethnic groups did the work of developing each nation was embarrassing. The efforts, so clear in high school textbooks of 20 years and 50 years ago, to deny that anyone
other than the dominant ethnic group, was good, productive, or involved in the nations’ histories, now embarrasses. Never again, in human history, will populations be able to trust gov-
ernment stories about what history is. This discovery of diversity in histories that for most of history had denied it, is a profound happening. The nature of women, it turns out, is not
being big in belly most of their lives, and wasted by 13 childbirths, by 50 years old. That was never women’s nature, but a commitment by cultures to let biology dominate civilized
choice and enforcement of freely chosen values. The nature of black people, it turns out, is not being whipped for refusing to serve without pay their masters. That was never their
nature, but a commitment by cultures to let accidents of history override the simplest basics of human decency and justice.
Kinds of Diversity--a Framework
If we ask where people have already faced diversity and categorized it, a few places appear. Biologists have categorized species into phyla. Physicists have categorized elementary
particles into boson families. Clearly there are too many types of diverse phenomena in the world for us to simply take categorizations in any field. We have to focus on kinds of diver-
sity that pertain to human performance in organizations, particularly globalizing organizations.
Human cultures are a major form of diversity, showing up in global business and civic organizations, and they have been classified using standard social psychology dimensions ( Hamp-
den-Turner, Tropenaars, 1993):
• individualism versus communitarianism
• distant authority versus nearby authority
• analytic versus synthetic
• internal versus external locus of control
• diachronic versus synchronic.
Discourse styles are another major form of diversity: corporate lingoes, profession lingoes, rational utility lingo, generational lingoes, gender lingoes (Scollon, 1995).
Recently gender--male versus female--has received serious research attention, with categories such as the following (Tannen, 1994):
• talk for status versus talk for intimacy
• give way versus interrupt
• synthesize versus distinguish
Human organization has been categorized (Mintzberg, 1989), shown, with some of my modifications, in the figure below. The seven ways to structure human organizations in this fig-
ure have been tested in research with modest results. It turns out any one organization is a blend of three or more of the ideal types in the figure. Moreover, a particular part of an orga-
nization appears to operate as different types at different times and under different leaders. So the model becomes not seven ideal types but blends of 7 things taken 3 at a time, 4 at a
time, and so forth. While not as easy and neat as 7 types of organization it is still a manageable model.
But we need a more abstract framework for distinguishing types of diversity, one that subsumes culture, gender, and organization structure types. I turn to a very abstract framework for
modeling human organization, the social automata process (Greene, 1998).
• types of basic unit
• types of states that basic units are enabled to take on
• types of neighborhoods that unite types of basic units
• types of interactions among basic unit types or basic units within neighborhoods
• types of interactions among types of neighborhoods or individual neighborhoods.
An example will help here. Type of basic units might be types of people, with all their differences of background, ambition, culture, and gender. Types of states might be the capabili-
ties of those people, what they individually can do and cannot do. The types of neighborhoods might be the teams, departments, and processes that unite them. The types of unit inter-
actions might be conversations, messaging (phone, email), and the plural functions of any discourse--making promises, checking reactions, challenging ideas, and the like. The types of
neighborhood interactions are the same, just applied to larger neighborhood units.
This framework is more practical than the above ones in terms of managing a group or a group managing itself. People can choose where to intervene, at which of the five levels to
intervene. If I take the earlier three categorization types this is less so. How do I change the individualism/communitarianism setting of a person or group? How do I change the talk
for status versus talk for intimacy setting of a person or group? How do I change the commitment to machine operation versus commitment to polis operation of a group or individual?
Whereas, we can more or less easily change the basic units--people--in a group, change the states that people take on via training them in common or special tools, change the way peo-
ple combine by team, departmental, process, or event structures, and change how people within certain types of group interact via training, or how certain types of group interact via
other training.
In addition these categories define a social automaton. By tinkering at the level of what defines this automaton--units, states, neighborhoods, and interactions--we influence unplanned
actions that simply emerge from basic unit interactions. This avoids tampering, acting at the level where emergent actions appear without handling the lower level forces that generate
those emergent actions (Greene, 1998 ).
Finally these social automaton categories are abstract enough that the other category schemes presented above can be re-expressed in terms of these social automaton categories. Talk
for intimacy versus talk for status, for one example, can be expressed as male basic units, taking on certain states, that is, trained by families to establish status first, then relate to people,
thus, categorized into high and low. ranks.
Managing Complexity 31 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Experienced Diversity
The Emotions of Diversity
Diversity, as real human beings experience it, engages emotions:
• ANGER--that person’s authorities are different than my authorities, they do not respect my authorities
• FRUSTRATION--they do things unthinkingly and automatically that they should instead think about and change; everything subtle and easy that I do, they object to
• HOPELESSNESS--they do not respect my authorities and I do not respect their authorities so we both have to operate without any authorities or values (a type of cyni-
• OFFENSE--many of my values and actions cripple my effectiveness in the vast majority of situations outside where I was born and raised; I offend people I have no inten-
tion of offending
• GUILT--my self, what I am, dissatisfies me and I must change it; I have been happily contented for years to be the same person with the same values, somehow blithely
assuming what my upbringing turned me into must be universally appealing and relevant
• DREAD--there are many routines and games I am not master of; here and now, in mid-career, I must do intimate and deep and difficult learning
• WONDER--that person’s way of doing X is a lot better than my way of doing X
• HORROR--that person’s way of doing X is immoral, vile, primitive, compared to my way of doing X
• DELIGHT--that person had an instant response that worked that I could never have come up with
• MYSTERY--what they are doing is okay, even if somewhat strange, but why they do it that way is a complete mystery to me.
Other cultures, other professions, and other genders engender these emotions in us. It is this emotive richness to the encounter with diversity that makes it something people avoid and
flee from.
Many workplaces have an ideal image of impersonal professionalism (Vaill, 1991). People in corporations, for example, are not supposed to have emotions at work. Getting angry and
yelling at a boss who has just stollen your work and published it without permission under his own name, is unprofessional conduct and reprimanded in most companies. The imbal-
ance--the boss can “professionally” steal from his employees but the employees must react “professionally”--chafes at most employees and embitters them. Acting professionally, in
effect, drives emotions underground where they do unaccounted for harm. It destroys, over medium periods of time, ability for people to work effectively.
dant of
Adapted from
Copyright 1984
by R. T. Greene
Managing Complexity 32 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
East Asian cultures, fearing such underground emotionality to the workplace, invite emotions into all work relations, particularly hierarchical ones between leaders/managers and fol-
lowers/subordinates. They engage in after-hours drinking together and leisure wherein people get to know each other personally and emotionally, letting off steam that otherwise would
undermine work performance and trust.
Nevertheless, in most global organizations, the ideal of professional behaving drives emotions out of the workplace just as globalization, horizontal teaming, and women entering the
workforce vastly increase the emotional content of daily work. This contradiction must eventually be resolved, probably by explicit tools for inviting emotional relations surfacing, such
as East Asian or other tactics.
The Pain and Cost of Diversity
Pretending that handling diversity is costless is a sure way to fail. People who unconsciously have assumed that workplaces would only be filled with people like themselves, pay a huge
price when they are no longer allowed that assumption. Companies underestimate how much effort, thought, practice, and change such people must undergo. A comprehensive model
of the costs of diversity allows realistic appraisal of what benefits must be obtained from it for it to be worthwhile overall. Research on exploration learning versus exploitation (of tech-
niques discovered in previous exploration) learning has shown that striking a proper balance is extremely difficult in practice. Slightly too much exploration learning results in poor exe-
cution of existing technique; slightly too much exploitation learning results in being blindsided by unexpected new capabilities in competitors (March in Cohen and Sproull, 1996).
1. cost of coming to understand a behavior, reaction, attitude of others
2. cost of coming to understand a behavior, reaction, attitude of yourself (we often do not understand ourselves till really other others see us--see Paul et al, 1994, p. 10)
3. cost of explaining one’s own behavior, reaction, attitude
4. cost of finding common ground among competing, incompatible values, behaviors, reactions, attitudes
5. cost of compiling an agreed on new value, behavior, reaction, or attitude into automatic routine personal behavior patterns.
The last item is where people stiltedly slowly with great conscious effort do a routine new to them. Slowly after much practice parts of this performance get easier and automated. Even-
tually it becomes an automatic reaction needing little conscious thought.
All the five costs above have the same multiple dimensions--time costs, effort cost, rehearsal cost, emotive cost. If any one of those is too high, people fail to embody the new agreed
on value, behavior, reaction, or attitude. In actual work situations treacherous ground results from people agreeing to pay one or more of the above costs, while refusing others, usually
unconsciously, hence, little resulting change despite much intent, declaration, and good will. Having people fill in the matrix below, helps them develop realistic assessments of how
much work any particular kinds of diversity is likely to entail.
Assessing Your Personal History of Encounters with Diversity
At some point in any person’s life an assessment is in order of the types of diversity they have encountered in life and what each such encounter produced in the way of expanded reper-
toires of response to situations. It reveals that nearly all that you have become and that you value in yourself comes from encounters with diversity that at first utterly frustrated you.
Two forms of such assessment work well. One is a simple prose story telling, in chronological order, what happened, in diversity encounter terms in your life. The other is a table form
of the same content. Both work well. I give examples below. When re-seeing your life as encounters with diversity, select times where you were at a loss, times where you encoun-
tered something “other” than anything you knew how to handle, something for which your existing values, views, and routines did not work.
Prose Diversity Encounter Assessment
Rather than artificially objectify the language in this section, I will write in the first person. Readers can imagine a similar story of their own, capturing their encounters with diversity.
Riding in the back of the car of a Philip Morris scientist, on my way to a scientific boy scout troop meeting where we examined cell nucleus changes resulting from exposure to cigarette
tars, I found Arnold Toynbee’s history of Western civilization. I asked the scientist driving the car why he read dull history books like that. He said people tend to make the same kinds
of mistakes, and history is the only subject which studies human mistakes in general, and their effects. I had never thought of history like that and for the first time in my life I devel-
oped an interest in history. That Toynbee book became the first history book I voluntarily read. It started a lifelong interest in viewing our civilization from the vantage point of other
civilizations that thrived and failed in the past. Other conversations with that scientist introduced me to the difference between code factors and action factors in life. Code factors are
small, unassuming knowledge entities that prefigure all the larger more impressive implementation machineries of life. If you get the codes wrong, all the impressive implementation
work produces nothing.
The other gender was unimaginable to me when I cross-registered at Wellesley college, while an MIT undergraduate. I very slowly learned that women were a different culture than
men with different values, visions, purposes, and attitudes. Shortly the otherness of women gave way to the otherness of the humanities and social sciences compared with MIT’s hard
sciences and engineering. The thing that was hard about MIT, an immense workload pointing us at emulating the greatest minds in the history of science, was no harder than what was
hard at Wellesley, thinking clearly about the most contentious and ambiguous situations humans actually face. While at MIT, I started reading existentialist philosophy; its emphasis on
seeing all the excuses for denying my own freedom in life, freed me from unwitting continuation of beliefs from my background. It made me diverse from my background, in a sense.
At MIT I also met a practicing Taoist philosopher, dedicated to turning each day into a separate work of art. Seeking the diversity of all of life in each day was a radically new way of
living, I never before had imagined. Also while at MIT the US population themselves stopped their government’s Vietnam War. This introduced me to Guatemalan history (Eisenhower
sacrificing 40,000 lives for banana company profits). I learned my own government was only as good as I was as a participant in it.
A religious order I joined after undergraduate school was equally unimaginable. Everything was subtly different yet everything fit together. Groups were everything, individuals noth-
ing in this order; so individuals became so dependent on groups that commonsense and productivity evaporated. Responsibility became so diffuse it disappeared entirely. When I trav-
eled to a different city every week doing fund raising with strangers, I found how stories embodying the right values had power to pull hundreds of thousands of dollars from ordinary
lives. I was changed by the kindness of heart of complete strangers and their willingness to fund ideals and values even when not totally sure of the organizations they were taking a
chance on. This experience made me an optimist for life. I went to Japan and found a culture not interested in aping American values and systems. This non-American centric world
was immensely refreshing in a way I could not have imagined until coming to Japan. My basic habits of managing were forged in experiences there. In particular, I organized partici-
patory town meetings in a society where citizen participation was anathema. An unromantic image of Japan gradually emerged from this experience and overwhelmed my initial more
romantic image. Work at the headquarters of Japan’s largest plastics manufacturer, improved my mood by exposing me to the immense joys of afterhours wining and dining with work
colleagues, and the fluid way Japanese organizations spotted talent and leverage it in spite of age and other barriers. Delivering donated motors to poor Korean village and having them
stolen by the richest family in this poor village taught me that poverty does not ennoble the personality.
Graduate education, next, at the University of Michigan completely mystified me. My whole life, till that point, had been run on the basis of half-assed personal opinions. Shifting to
basing my life on research was a major change. Private consulting while a grad student for a famous US firm amazed me with the power of small actions, properly placed, to have dis-
proportionate consequences; my small personal methods sufficed to revolutionize a large corporation’s relationship with its biggest customer, impacting the company over the next ten
years. My first serious job in a US corporation, Ross Perot’s EDS, demonstrated how blending cultures in conflict had powers beyond either culture alone. Way down in the hierarchy,
my group organized conferences gathering the top 400 managers of each General Motor’s division for one day of hearing their own engineers propose artificial intelligence projects and
seeing demos from 30 vendors corresponding to those presentations. In this way, without being a salesman, my group became the first of 7000 employees in EDS, other than the chair-
man, to sell new business to GM. That brought us to the attention of the chairman of EDS who invited me to work in Washington D.C. with US intelligence agencies. Instead, I
switched to a higher paying company, Coopers & Lybrand where I combined apples with oranges, Japanese circles with US high technologies, selling artificial intelligence circles pro-
grams. While at Coopers I worked with N.V. Philips’ high technology council of employees from 14 countries--immensely cross-cultural daily meetings. As soon as Coopers &
Lybrand found out I could sell, they got serious about me as an employee.
However, Xerox hired me from Coopers & Lybrand to set up the first such program in the world at their Rochester design center. Reporting to 3 corporate vice presidents there, I got the
chance to work with one of the highest rank female executives in America, Tosh Barron. At Xerox I invented and founded a new initiative every year: knowledge based systems circles
program, Taguchi expert system program, high performance work center, and Qsoft spin-off venture business. Each initiative combined apples and oranges, that is bridged diverse
realms not usually in contact with each other. Just as that venture was getting launched the University of Chicago invited me to teach their MBAs. By publishing a book on the Xerox
work, University of Chicago people noticed my use of diversity in quality and re-engineering environments. After five years there I went to my present university in Japan.
TABLE 2. Costs of Diversity of Value, Behavior, Reaction, Attitude
Finding common
Compiling into
Managing Complexity 33 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
I summarize the diversity of these experiences below and the various phenomena that were unimaginable to me until these experiences occurred. .
The items in the third column simply were beyond my imagination till I encountered the diversity in the second column. If I were to now subtract the third column contents from my
life, much of my effectiveness and joie de vivre would disappear. Diversity can be immensely enriching, at a cost in short term effectiveness. Properly invested, however, the learn-
ings from diversity can allow you years later to propel yourself beyond where you would have arrived without its learnings. These profits to diversity, operating long term, are all too
often underestimated.
The Femininity of Productivity
There is a most peculiar effect of diversity in our time that has gone largely unheralded. It has an important side-benefit of making clear that using diversity is not a matter of giving
equal time to each diverse element. Using diversity effectively quite often involves considering, then shutting out, most diverse elements in favor or one or a few essential for some
particular purpose of the group. Diversity is a repertoire to choose from not a quota system to visit each element of equally. People and groups who forget this kill their personal and
organization’s effectiveness by the subtle way they replace diversity as a principle with equality.
Re-engineering is a world-wide movement of catching up the social forms of work to the potentials of the technical forms of work. In the process, much of middle management disap-
pears, their coordination roles replaced by faster, more thorough, and less expensive software networks.
If you look at the adjectives that describe work processes before they were re-engineered and the same processes after they are re-engineered you find a change from status orientation
to collaboration, from self-presentation to thorough listening, from analytic emphasis to synthesis, and the like. Something about these transforms rings familiar. Indeed, these are the
polarities between male and female discourse patterns. Re-engineering makes workplaces more feminine. Apparently more feminine forms of work are more productive forms of
If we examine feminine discourse characteristics we notice something else familiar about them. We find not analysis but synthesis, not individualism but communitarianism, not inter-
nal locus of control but external locus of control, and so on. The characteristics of female discourse patterns are the characteristics of Japanese culture/management. Re-engineering
is making workplace more feminine and more Japanese.
If we go to Japan and read up on the voluminous literature on evolution of Japanese management systems we find a strange thing. Relations between men in Japanese workplaces are
nearly entirely feminine. However, relations between groups in Japanese workplaces are nearly entirely masculine. Japanese, when they re-engineer, if they ever finally get around to
doing it, will become more productive by making their processes more masculine, not more feminine as in the rest of the world.
This is not just a quaint insight, there is some initial data indicating that people who re-engineer with this knowledge in mind, get more out of it than people who re-engineer without
knowing all this (Greene, 1994 ).
The surprise here is this--the entire contents of some major business productivity movements is diversity--transforming an organization from male style to female style. For those who
thought re-engineering and like things were real and solid and central and things like diversity were fluffy, optional, and non-essential, this is a shock. Re-engineering, at its base, when
most powerfully understood, is a way of achieving a major diversity transition. A way for overly masculine workplaces to become more productive by becoming more feminine.
Hence, organizations who complete much re-engineering work without somehow changing to feminine modes, values, and styles, fail to become more productive (Greene, 1994).
Management by Balancing is a new approach to management built on top of this insight (Greene, 1999).
All Management is Cross-Cultural
When I am managing one employee, it is my culture and their culture. We have different personal cultures. If I take Hofstede’s categories (or better yet Trompenaars’ more explicitly
social psychological ones derived from Hofstede’s) and apply them to my culture and their culture, insight occurs. The categories pertain and produce useful understanding.
If my group wants to negotiate something with that other group, the same thing happens. That group, if understood as one culture, and my group, if understood as another, manage the
negotiation better than without this cultural diversity approach to negotiation.
One to one, one to many, and many to many situations in business can all be well understood as cross-cultural encounters. In this sense all of management is cross-cultural. The unfor-
tunate thing is few managers have any tools for thus handling their work, and those that have tools, have too few tools, and those few tools are dangerously weak. This chapter ends
with 30 tools for correcting this deficit.
TABLE 3. A History of Personal Encounters with Diversity
The Experience The Other Encounter The Unimaginable Aspect to Life Produced
Scientific Scout Troop
the knowledge-dedicated life there is code that can be developed to understand things in the world that has immense power such that actions, oblivious to it,
simply fail to have much effect
Virginia Institute for Scientific
LISP computer language manual given by
researcher to me to control crystal grower machine
the completely unknowable can be attacked by successive small attempts till, in a matter of weeks it becomes the completely
Steel Union Member
labor union power to fairly distribute the “good”
the democracy of laborers collaborating politically in their union to allocate fairly various job types among various combina-
tions of human talent and need
the female gender women are another culture
humanities versus hard science equally hard but extremely different hardnesses
Self Study at MIT
existential philosophers, Taoist lifestyles it is amazing that ancient Chinese and modern French intellectuals would converge on similar philosophies of living and a sim-
ilar commitment to demystifying how we give power over our lives to institutions as we grow up that we must take back if we
are ever to be “educated”
Vietnam war & Civil + womens’
an American revolution where the British “oppres-
sor” role is played by the Americans; an American
democracy where 1/3 the population in one ethnic
group is prevented from voting and 1/2 the popula-
tion in one gender is prevented from holding leader-
ship positions, public and private
my country unable to understand itself
Ecumenical Institute
group based society just as ineffective as individual based society
Fund raising
different city of strangers every week stories of shared value tap immense generosity within ordinary people
not American centric communist population pretending to be capitalist democracy
Korea, New Village Movement
rapacity of poor village human relations village revolution emerged from freeing women from 7000 years of rice harvesting on hands and knees
Participatory town meeting set up in
participation in a society forbidding participation every part of the culture undermines initiative
Sekisui Chemical
Japanese workdays un-understandable without
experiencing Japanese worknights
the elan of going to twelve music, food, hostess resorts in one night
University of Michigan Ph.D.
research based opinions versus casual opinions the horror of a life, thus far, based on casual opinion
Consult for major corporation
the hunger for ideas in corporate America the power of one tiny person’s handful of ideas to rearrange relationships among immense corporations
EDS AI Workshops
the immense permeability of US corporations to
new bold ideas
I am the block to my success not my society or situation
Coopers & Lybrand AI Circles Pro-
sales is everything in consulting companies consulting companies as multipliers taking one success and turning it into hundreds of copycat ones
Xerox, KBS Circles, Taguchi, High
Performance Work Center, Qsoft
venture spin-off
blending different disciplines outperforms within
discipline work
intellectuality of upper management in US firms
acquaintance’s illness
phony diseases rheumatoid arthritis, the most profitable diagnosis in medicine, caused by poor-fitness-caused poor blood circulation, foisted
on women who accept drugs instead of exercise (men resist, hence, largely don’t get it)
Univ. of Chicago
rightwing bigotry among faculty complete trust of individuals hired, no bureaucracy
Kwansei Gakuin University
immensely sincere, hard-working, motivated stu-
powerful self-organizing social habits among young Japanese
Managing Complexity 34 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Some of the Operations Businesses Perform on Cultures
One way to really convincingly see this cross-cultural nature to all of management is to examine the operations that managers perform on cultures in business (compare Trice and Beyer,
1993, p. 399).
• creating cultures from scratch with new teams/ventures
• transplanting sets of business practices from one culture to another
• mastering the imagination underneath a set of culture/consumer/competitor practices to spot new market/product opportunities
• using the synergies and conflicts between two cultures to negotiate lasting win-win agreements
• spotting the forces causing cultures to evolve so as to project new market, product, and venture opportunities
• fusing diverse people into a new meta-culture that preserves unique capabilities of each component culture
• joining two organizations having different cultures in such as way that they continue to have different cultures while more and more joining to create a shared common cul-
Wherever the word “culture” is used in the above list of operations, either new values are replacing no or old values or values developed in one context are being used in a different one.
Diverse value sets, habits, traditions, and practices are implied wherever the word “culture” is used. Much of business is managing diversity in this sense.
The Productivity of Diversity
Immigrants, in one word, expresses the productivity of diversity. Immigrants form the entrepreneurial diasporas of overseas Indians, Chinese, Jews, and others. Immigrants are the loci
where the old (home that was left) culture interacts with the new (home that was recently established) culture. Immigrants are vessels of culture systems interacting. Immigrants seem
to understand their old cultures in powerful new ways when in their new culture. They also seem to understand their new culture in some ways better than those born into it. However,
after two generations these advantages seem to be lost, as assimilation reduces the extra insight from bi-cultural viewing of the world (Boyd and Richerson, 1985)
Before getting into diversity’s productivity effects a warning is in order. There is a destructive form of diversity that has been reported to undermine productivity. The career system in
many companies, including many US companies, fosters launching things impressively, proposing new initiatives, doing showy things, displaying new projects before they have hardly
begun, and similar behaviors. These can frequently be done at the expense of whatever one’s job assignment is. The result can be nobody notices or much cares about keeping prom-
ises, finishing things, doing things well, and the like. A general slobishness of work can pervade every initiative. Dozens of initiatives are generated to handle what would better be
handled by getting a few people to simply attend to and do the task assigned to them well. This excess of creative diversity, caused by the career system, can devastate productivity in
organizations. It is a counterforce to the more positive effects of diversity dealt with immediately below. It usually gets solved by a back to basics campaign, when new managers arrive.
The process of recognizing the diversity that is there and attempting to leverage it into workplace productivity produces a number of benefits. First, one switches from managing roles
to managing the people who do the roles. People bring remarkably different capabilities to the standard roles in any bureaucracy. By dealing professionally with people you get only
that tiny part of themselves the role calls for, greatly reducing productivity (Vaill, 1996). Second, one switches from managing status in hierarchies to managing basic unit interactions
in a complex adaptive system (Kauffman, 1995). This is the vertical correlate of the first point. You combine diverse things in diverse ways till good results emerge rather than design-
ing one way and trusting that it will work. Third, one switches from suppression of culture flaws to explicit examination and resolution of them. Entire layers of human reaction and
emotion, unadmitted in the past, get brought into forums for communication and consensus. This enriches the workplace (though unpopular among blue suit Americans who act as if
totally uncomfortable with the emotive strata of life, preferring technical fixes). Fourth, one switches from own perspectives on own and other markets to foreign nation, gender, era,
age, background perspectives on such markets.
This last point deserves additional attention. Diversity expands one’s menu of alternatives, when considering personnel matters, product invention, market approaches or any other
business decision. If you have diversity no one else in the room has, no one, in all likelihood, is going to be able to come up with the alternatives you can come up with. Like Darwin’s
natural selection, if you have an equivalent natural selection process to your competitor’s but you are feeding into it as input a much wider variety and more alternatives than your com-
petitor, then better things are going to be selected and reproduced.
Understanding Organizations as Complex Adaptive Systems
A major step towards understanding diversity’s role in things is knowing the other parameters, besides diversity, that affect the same things. Any complex adaptive system has plenty of
variables one can tinker with to affect outcomes. However, three systems level variables stand out--connectedness, diversity, and patchings (Prigogine, 1996; Kauffman, 1995; Hol-
land, 1998; Vallacher and Nowak, 1994; Fogel, 1995; Auyang, 1998) . Connectedness is the number and quality of connections between various things in the system. Diversity is the
number of different types of things and connections between things in the system. Patching is the granularity of authority to take certain kinds of initiative in the system--does one place/
thing have authority to change the budget or does a meeting of ten things or ten meetings of six people each have that authority.
Seeing the diversity parameter sandwiched among its two partner parameters changes things. It removes from view things that diversity alone probably cannot do for a system. It nar-
rows our image of diversity’s role. Imagining extreme values for the various parameters focuses this discussion. For example, if there is only one center of initiative and it controls all
the initiatives of all sorts in the system and there is virtually no connectedness in the system, then diversity of various parts of the system will have little impact, most likely. For another
example, if there are an immense number of widely distributed units each having a different type of initiative they can take and if the connectedness of the system is little to moderate,
then diversity may have big impacts.
Study of other complex adaptive systems has found what are called “order” parameters, such as the three above. These should be set where? If the system has too much order, changes
in one part of the system have no effects on any other parts. Such systems fail by stasis. They are immune to their environments. If the systems has too much chaos, every local change
propagates to effect all components in the system, allowing no coherency of response to environments. Such organizations fail by incoherency. The proper setting is somewhere
between frozen order and emollient chaos, the so-called “edge of chaos”. One should have enough diversity to achieve this edge value. In most complex systems there are several such
edges of chaos, some of which may not be helpful for particular situations and needs. The items below summarize this perspective.
Complex Adaptive System: The Emergent Systems Perspective as Replacer of the Designed Systems Perspective:
1) Define basic units
2) Define simple rules by which they interact: level one--within workgroups; level two--between workgroups
3) Set loose hundreds to thousands of groups interacting using those rules
4) Watch for emergence of complex patterns of adaptation no one has designed or could have designed
5) Learn the boundary between order and chaos--the “edge of chaos” for any given set of interaction rules
6) Fine tune by modifying, adding, and removing rules of interaction and observing effects on global patterns of response that emerge
Gender/Culture style as one of those rules of interacting.
From: Central Control To: Local Autonomy
From: Designed Answers To: Emergent Solutions
From: Serial Execution To: Parallel Execution
Diversity’s Role in Producing Competitiveness
In the context, then, of the two other system variables of complex adaptive systems, what can we expect diversity to do for the subset of such systems we humans are primarily con-
cerned with? When organizations adapt very well to a stable environment, so that nearly every component of the organization is optimized for responding to that environment, if that
environment changes, the organization may catastrophically fail to adapt. It lacks within it enough diversity to have any capabilities at all at ready when a different environment,
immune to the old capabilities, appears. Diversity in this way prevents organization death.
Diversity can be re-worded as wide and deep repertoires of response. The wider and deeper the alternatives in a repertoire of response, the more likely a creative choice can be made
from it. It is a matter of natural selection operating on 10 species versus 1000 species. There is a cognitive correlate of this that is imposing, when viewed seriously. Each person and
society grows up with a largely unconscious cognitive list limit. When you ask someone for some ideas on where to invest, how to go, when to do something, and the like, most people
generate 3 or 4 alternatives. Some people habitually generate 2 or 3 and others generate 5 or 6. Very rarely do you run into someone who generates 16 or 64 alternatives.
Imagine now individual people or whole societies whose “cognitive list limit” setting is higher than that for other individuals or societies. Think of the myriad small decisions made
every day. In each of those decision situations, one group is reviewing 3 or 4 alternatives where the other is reviewing 5 or 6 or more. Over moderate periods of time, those with larger
cognitive list limits substantially outperform those with smaller ones (Greene, 1998). Diversity, here cognitive diversity, outperforms unwitting focus.
Managing Complexity 35 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
The examination of concepts usually unthinkingly used--”productivity”, “excellence”, “on time”, and the like--and the self examination after we find others do not share our default
definitions of them, produce side-benefits. More reflective, self-aware people--made that way from handling diversity--get to apply those characteristics to work challenges and
opportunities. Diversity produces better people in this sense.
The conflict inherent among diverse people makes simple hierarchy dysfunction. If I do not understand or respect at all the values of the person higher in the hierarchy, then their
attempts to order me around are doomed. Diversity situations undermine hierarchy, requiring consensus be reached on fundamental values, processes of work, and evaluation means.
This is one of the major aims of the total quality and re-engineering movements--making explicit and visible the criteria of success of work situations. In this way dealing with diver-
sity sets up the foundation for total quality and re-engineering methods.
A world-wide movement making workplaces more feminine--re-engineering--and the coincidence that making workplaces more feminine also makes them more Japanese--shows how
major business movements have, as their contents, achievement of diversity. This moves diversity from a nice thing to do to a major underlying secret to business renovation. Re-
engineering understood as feminization of work practices, outperforms re-engineering understood as total quality values plus high software technologies (Greene, 1994).
Every step in improving your handling of diversity of various types also, thereby, expands you by making you effective in more of the world’s situations and territories. This linking
of the inner journey with the outer journey makes diversity the way you achieve globality.
Imagine a product developer just returned to the US from 5 years in Malaysia, 3 years in Yemen, 2 years in South Africa, 4 years in Japan, and 3 years in Brussels. When human needs
and products to meet those needs get discussed, she will be able to notice things that people, only raised in the US, never will have imagined. When ways to market something are dis-
cussed, she will think of approaches wholly unknown in the US. Encounters with diversity expand your repertoires of response. You end up bringing to the table alternatives your
peers cannot imagine. In business, this is competitive advantage.
The entire Japanese phenomenon in the 1980s, world-wide, was just an extrapolation by size of the above point. Japanese, with a different way of living and social imagination, went
around the world, using the high yen to establish facilities, and applied their different perspective to spot market/product opportunities. They “saw” things that native Americans,
native British, and the like simply could not “see”.
The default, unconscious understandings each of us has of what being “excellent”, “productive”, “supportive” and the like, may, after much time, allow us to substitute looking produc-
tive for being productive. Diversity, which challenges our implicit understandings of such terms, forces us to get serious about just exactly what they mean. We frequently, thereby,
discover that looking productive was what, for years, we were doing. Diversity encounters can lay bare unwitting capitulation to the appearance of things as a substitute for the things
Ways to Leverage Diversity
Research on situations like crowdedness, uncertainty, and diversity consistently shows that people having a sense of control perform better with greater satisfaction (Baron et al, 1992).
Diversity is a reality; being able to leverage it gives you control that others may lack. Having proposed possible benefits of diversity (much research needs to be done to confirm the
size, whats, and hows of getting these benefits), it is time to examine how, exactly, to go about obtaining these benefits. Exactly how does one use each type of diversity that is there,
in order to improve work outcomes? A three part research process--combing the literature, interviewing experts to confirm points on a model derived from the literature, then testing
methods thus produced--resulted in the model immediately below and the detailed methods that follow it. Reviews of other literature, or other reviewers building different models
from the same literature that I reviewed, would produce other results. What is claimed about the below model is only that no other published model of the skills of handling diversity
is more comprehensive or as broadly grounded in literature and interview data. There are several studies of single diversity handling approaches more deeply operationalized in terms
of constructs of some theory and more deeply tested by appropriate samples and data analysis.

Balances Meetings
stages tion
ship shifts
Rules of
Copyright 1999 by Richard Tabor Greene, All rights reserved, Government Registered
1 2
10 11
13 14
of Expec-
Managing Complexity 36 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
A Very Brief History of Methods Used to Study Diversity Situations
International management has a rich literature and history. Certainly nationality is one dimension of diversity of interest to globalizing organizations. A brief look at research into
nationality’s influence on business phenomena can be used here to represent a lot of other research on other types of diversity.
Four approaches to understanding the role of nation in influencing management systems are: emic (unitary, self interprets self)--understand a culture using its own terms (anthropology
field work for example); gestalt (localized universal principles)--hypotheses derived from general principles, not from any of the nations being studied, then explicit comparison of how
each nation embodies the hypotheses; reduced (local component relations viewed by outside theory)--break down a nation into components but derive hypothesized relationships among
the components from other nations; hybrid--combine the “own terms” insights of emic approach with the general principles localized of the gestalt approach with the hypothesized rela-
tions among components from the reduced approach. “Understanding how and why differences exist vis-a-vis nation or culture...” is key (Earley and Singh, 1995).
It is key because most studies of diversity explain Japanese phenomena with reference to other Japanese phenomena. This ends up circular as those explaining phenomena get
explained, ultimately by the original phenomena they explained. Better it is to explain Japanese phenomena with reference to general constructs of some theory. The national origins
(hence biases) of the theory, stemming from the nation in which the theory originated, may contaminate the theory. Usually they do in ways the researchers seem oblivious to. Well
reputed studies, for example, taking personality development psychology theory from the United States and examining national culture phenomena from several nations around the
world think they are measuring objective true “culture” variables when in fact they measure the “Americanness” of peoples, psyches, and cultures. Ultimately using theories from one
nation to understand others, as if objective, becomes just as circular as using constructs from one culture to understand itself. Making this already bad situation worse is the tendency of
anyone researching plural cultures to, for the sake of manageable complexity of work, assume each individual nation/culture is unitary as a culture with everyone and everything in it
equally representing its “itness” .
Anthropologists treat diversity either via universalism (there is a privileged perspective or method by which the value and meaning of diverse phenomena can be determined and com-
pared), developmentalism (the variety that is there can be ordered along some dimension of progress into early, under-developed and later, more fully developed), or relativism (there is
no privileged perspective hence in some sense all diverse phenomena are equally valid, true, or right (Shweder, 1991). In real life and work situations one uses all three views of the
same situational contents--universalism, these contents illustrate universal principles, developmentalism, these contents are more sophisticated than some and less sophisticated than oth-
ers, and relativism, the peculiarities of these contents contain useful information.
When scholars research nationality or gender as to how they influence typical business processes or functions, an implicit assumption that a given diversity aspect will consistently
everywhere and always have some influence operates. Fearing that, scholars have invented “contingency theory”, an oxymoron, that is, a theory that says that you cannot state theoret-
ical relations among variables without taking into account a host of contingencies from the here and now of where something happens. A theory that is contingent is close to being not
a theory at all. If nationality and gender influence things in ways that utterly depend on an uncountable host of local factors peculiar to each case, then there is little leverage one can get
from knowledge about such contingent relations. Leverage is knowledge developed here that is useful there.
My point of departure is that forms of diversity have to be dealt with in lived management situations. “Their” way of operating becomes part of “my work situation” as “my way of
operating” becomes part of “their work situation”. This mixed situation is what globalization of businesses produces lots of. I need to survey how people actually handle such mixed
situations, find what part of how they handle them works well, refine that part from irrelevant case details, then test the methods that result.
The type of research undertaken here is synthesis (Boyer, 1996) of a model from a great deal of research, then that model amplified by interviews into procedures, tested in a pre-test,
post-test design.
Books and research journal articles on globalization, diversity management, managers handling professionals, gender issues, cross-national negotiation, and the like were structurally
read (Greene, 1999). The structural reading diagrams, thus produced, were used to generate a fractal concept model of diversity handling skills. A simple questionnaire was sent to 60
organizations, 3 each of 20 different types--large businesses, small businesses, non-profits, government agencies, NGOs, and others--asking them to nominate people skilled at handling
various types of diversity. One person in each organization was interviewed using protocol analysis, from cognitive science, as they handled sample diversity cases. This resulted in 2
people in each of the 30 diversity-handling skill areas being interviewed. The resulting protocols were reviewed, fused, stylized, simplified, and taught to a sample group as “methods”.
Pre-test and post-test data on application of all 30 methods within 2 of the above 60 organizations confirmed modest positive results four weeks after one two-hour exposure to each
method (except one method that failed, in its initial form to produce any post-test improvements--that method was revised and re-tested till it produced results in line with the average of
the others).
The method descriptions below combine the key points in books, articles, interviews, method designs, and test results for each of the 30 diversity skill categories. These methods are in
no way exclusive. There are likely to be many many effective methods for each of the 30 skill categories. What is claimed here is merely that review of literature combined with pro-
tocols of people reputed to be good at handling diversity produced methods that pre-test, post-test results confirmed as modestly effective (self-reported outcome improvements correlat-
ing with other-observed outcome improvements at the 81% level, and 70% of outcome changes by all tested (n = 33) were ranked very good or excellent (6 or 7 on a 7 level Likert scale).
The Skill Model’s 30 Categories
The research literature on handling diversity tends to focus on detailed study of particular responses to particular diversity situations--genders in management positions, nationality
affecting R&D decisions, and the like. The best literature when taking a much broader view of handling diversity is the creativity literature, where research for more than 60 years has
looked at a certain fluidity of concept and belief underlying creative performance. People able to deeply commit to unlikely courses but in an instant wholly uncommit when more
promising avenues open suddenly up, are able to be creative. People unable to fanatically commit to unlikely alternatives and people unable to quickly and radically change commit-
ment fail to be creative. Handling the various types of diversity well may well be characterized, then, as a subspecies of being creative. The three primary functions in the skill model
below--recognizing situations, undoing commitments, and balancing commitment to various alternatives--captures well this mental fluidity variable in the creativity research literature.
Perceiving dimensions of diversity encounters, perceiving strata in responding to diversity, and recognizing plural cultures and ways of operating, allow us to manage diverse values.
Undoing our socialization as children, undoing our present automatic behavior routines, and deliberately modeling diversity impacts on intended actions allow us to manage our selves
as they respond to diversity. Balancing diverse elements, behaviors in group situations, and processes, protocols, and procedure variety in events allow us to get groups to use the diver-
sity within and around them. The recognition function in managing values, the “undoing” function in managing self, and the balancing of variety function in managing groups capture
the most important ways to handle diversity. Recent “emotional intelligence” consultants confirm this with their lists of key skills: emotion management of self and other, cognitive
management of self and other, behavioral management of self and other (Goleman, 1995, p. 301). The skill dimensions underlying each of the 30 diversity-handling methods of the rest
of this chapter are listed below.
TABLE 4. 30 Skill Dimensions for Handling Diversity
skill method

srecognizing plural possible reactions to diversity scenarios; scenario judging
recognizing your own propensities along ambiguous dimensions of response to diversity; culture self assessment
recognizing social, cognitive and other dimensions to responding to diverse situations; skill dimensions
recognizing your own stage of penetrating a diverse situation/culture; culture penetration stages
recognizing your own stage of personality development; personality development
recognizing cognitive step sequence in responding to diversity; stratified responding
recognizing illusions all people have about the nature of values and cultures; culture illusions
recognizing the uses to which culture is put in business situations; plural culture definitions
recognizing the other guy’s way of doing things; learning to do things the other guy’s way; learning cultures
Managing Complexity 37 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 1: Judging Diversity Scenarios
The costliest way to encounter diversity is in time-limited important real work situations. Some way to encounter it before such situations, if found, would allow people to practice
handling diversity where the cost of handling it badly is inconsequential. To that end, researchers have used written or video scenarios--small paragraph-length stories about daily life
encounters involving various types of diversity. Each scenario has several possible “next steps” for characters in the scenario, judgements for those observing the scenario, or correc-
tive actions for faux pas in the scenarios. People choose their own favorite answer and everyone holds up their own answer for others in the group to see. The diversity among
answers then becomes the topic of discussion, unwinding why people react as differently as they do and winding up the implications of the responses chosen by each person if done in
real work situations. The method as laid out below corrects what I consider errors in the work of Fielder et al (1971).
Some example such items follow.
First scenario: The team has been together two weeks, one week off-site and one week in Shanghai. A customer the team visited that first week is on the phone, some-
what irate because they have not heard back from the team. The team members are puzzled because their first visit with this customer discussed nothing concrete or
time-limited. The winning team response to this phone call is:
a. ask the customer what is wrong
b. offer the customer some discount or prize
c. challenge the customer to be more reasonable
d. arrange to meet the customer again to discuss things at an attractive or entertaining venue
e. visit the customer instantly in lieu of the phone call to discuss things face to face.
Second scenario: You propose, in a usual business meeting, something rather ordinary, but are astonished as one member of the team objects strenuously to your idea,
and uses much more emotional heat than needed to kill it off. Afterwards, during a coffee break, you approach this member, to, in individual discussion, clear the air,
but this person refuses to talk to you, acting offended. Your winning response is:
a. let the matter blow over for a few days, then approach the person individually again
b. privately consult others in the meeting about the strange encounter and if several of them are also puzzled by it, challenging the person openly when the meeting
resumes to explain the excess emotional heat involved
c. drop the matters as unworthy of response; you have more important things to do than worry over every emotional whim and encounter at work
d. privately consult others after the meeting and if several of them are puzzled by the encounter, challenging the person involved at a later meeting where several of you
ask him/her questions about it.
Third scenario: JJ had been employed by Sock-it-to-Em Inc. for 6 years. JJ was an average performer during that time. On the other hand, it was true that JJ had hap-
pened upon some of the hardest and worst arranged engagement the company had during that time. John, JJ’s boss, was picking prospects for partner promotion. JJ cer-
tainly met the minimum criteria as did other candidates but John never seriously considered JJ for this promotion because had many more people who wanted to become
partner than the firm could afford, hence, John sought some way to exclude possible candidates and JJ’s average performance rankings made JJ less attractive a candi-
date for this position than any of the others.
JJ sensed that this was John’s situation and visited him to make the case that average overall results from unusually hard assignments should be treated as equivalent to
above average performance with average assignments.
John’s most appropriate response--assuming other info he obtains about this issue is neutral--is:

eundoing unconsciousness of costs of talents; counter neuroses
undoing unconscious value commitments made in the process of growing up (socialization); being educated
undoing power given over to outsider institutions while growing up; de-myst, myth, constructing
eundoing commitment to plans and process not outcome; problemlessness
undoing casual dropping of self-reflection in daily life; personal quality checklist
undoing automaticity of response to situations; response stopping


undoing ignoring implicit culture supports and blocks to business practices; transplanting business prac-
tices across cultures
undoing common bounds and intensities of doing mundane work tasks; being stretches
undoing information shifts to diversity results rather than people shifts; leadership shifts

balancing how management functions are delivered where and when and in the amount needed; JIT managing
balancing costs of improvement among people at work; pain sharing
balancing (and recognizing imbalances among) dynamics of various comprehensive models of all the diverse elements at work; manage by balancing
sbalancing types of remarks in meetings; meeting behavior plotting
balancing causal analysis types; causal diversity
balancing types of topics, types of treatments of topics, and leaders of treatments in meeting and work process assignments; democratic rules of order
balancing public display of excellent word and deed with functional appearance opportunities for employees at work; polis
balancing emotional infrastructure in support of needed transitions with rational requirements; community quality cabaret
balancing need to specialize with need for organizational learning and parallel processing; managing by events
scripting what you are having feeling about emotion mapping
scripting the interplay of different frames for viewing the same action stream comedies of expectation
scripting the market principles inherent in outrageous products/services that already sell well in some market extreme product extrapola-
TABLE 4. 30 Skill Dimensions for Handling Diversity
skill method
Managing Complexity 38 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
a. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, unfortunately JJ I can do nothing for you.
b. I will re-examine your data, in light of what you just told me, but if I were you I would not expect too much.
c. Your point is well taken, I will re-examine your case.
d. The system needs improving at the point you mentioned; I will work with you to change it and to change my initial assessment of you for this promotion.
Note: students are distributed 5 versions of this scenario without it being announced. One has JJ identified as a female, another has JJ identified as a male, and a third has
JJ, as above, not identified by sex, a fourth has JJ treated with male characteristics without overt designation of gender, a fifth has JJ treated with female characteristics
without overt designation of gender. After individual responses are shown, they are discussed in the first discussion. Then use of 5 versions is admitted, and another dis-
cussion takes place. Following that second discussion data from others judging the same scenario is revealed and a third discussion held. Use of this scenario by
researchers has shown that:
Neutral version produces 62% of men choose 3, 18% choose 2.
Male characteristics but no overt male designation produces 56% of men choose 3, 19% choose 4.
Male gender designated: produces 75% of men choose 3, 24% choose 4.
Female gender designated: produces 40% of men choose 3, 3% choose 4.
Female characteristics but no overt female designation produces: 41% of men choose 3, 8% choose 4.
The group then discusses these data.
This method does not work if one answer is treated somehow as correct and other answers as wrong. The point of the exercise is to surface latent differences in value and purposes in a
group before more expensive-to-handle real business issues surface such differences. The point is to get displayed the variety of perspective in the group so people can begin to explore
this alternative value universe. Simply seeing, when everyone holds up their different answers, those differences, relativizes strongly help personal opinions and makes the futility of
pushing personal perspectives without knowing other’s likely responses, visible. However, differences, thus exposed, are not only costs but benefits; it is those differences of perspec-
tive that broaden the group’s imagination of response to future situations.
The third scenario is the best, as it involves three separate discussions, one of everyone’s response, then one when the versions are revealed, then one when the data are revealed. It helps
greatly if data from one’s own organization is already available. This exercise makes it completely untenable for people to maintain that neutrality and fairness obtain in the naive
untrained workplace. A questionnaire made up of such scenarios and administered significantly before training can generate such data.
Method 2: Personal Culture Assessment
If we define “culture” for our purposes here as unconscious commitments to values, practices, ways of work or living, and ways of treating people that powerfully determine behavior
without being consciously examined, then individual people have such “cultures”. In fact, most of the diversity in people comes from them and most of the resistance to the cultures of
others comes from them. When most diversity is unconsciously derived and committed to, trouble is sure to result.
Managing your own self, the culture you have become, precedes in many ways managing your relations to the selves others have become. If you cannot bring your own unconscious
values and commitments into conscious reflection and revision, then you cannot fairly expect others to do so with their unconscious values and commitments.
If you assess yourself, and develop an understanding of your own unconscious commitments and values you can combine that with assessment by others, comparing their views of you
with your own. The gaps, between what they see and what you see, are your actual culture. You then should discuss, in a group setting, why there are major parts of your values and
behavior that you do not see but others see and why are there parts of your behavior that you interpret positively while others interpret them negatively, and vice versa. Instruments for
assessing personal culture abound--the Hofstede categories for distinguishing cultures, the gender discourse categories for distinguishing genders, and a host of usual psychological
assessment instruments distinguishing optimism from pessimism, introversion from extroversion, and the like. Bandura’s instruments for measuring self-efficacy are also useful in self
characterization work. Kegan’s stages of personality development, made by combining carefully and unifying many other stage models, are particularly useful as he offers scenarios
showing dysfunctions of lower stages when facing higher stage situations.
Assessing your personal culture, of course, works best when you also assess, or get others to assess, their culture. It is important to assess all the dimension below as the dimensions in
most anthropology or business books are largely incomplete.
TABLE 5. Personal Culture Assessment
area culture dimensions basic question to answer

individual versus communitarian
is the story what you did or what your group did
inner locus versus outer locus of control
did you do things or did situations make you
serial versus parallel
did you do the right things or sequence things right
power from closeness versus power from distance
do you influence by being close to people or do you influence by being distant from them
universalism versus particularism
do rules apply equally everywhere or does each locale have its own rules
analysis versus synthesis
does understanding mean seeing what the parts are and how they relate or does understanding mean seeing the whole and how
it behaves
achieved status versus ascribed status
do you achieve high rank via accomplishment or via community designation
hierarchy versus equality
are people fundamentally different in importance or fundamentally the same in importance
independence versus dependence
do you communicate to display your independence or to display your dependence
status versus connection
do you struggle to show status over others or to develop connection to others
exclusion versus inclusion
do you work to exclude others or to include others
information (mind to mind) versus relationship (person to person)
do you talk idea to idea or person to person
contest versus community
do you establish contests among people or community among people
solving versus empathy (sharing problems)
do you talk to solve or talk to share troubles/experiences
detail versus exactitude
do you talk to elaborate or to specify exactly
apologetic versus argumentative
do you readily argue or readily apologize
mis-hearings taken as relationship threat versus taken as status threat
do errors threaten your sharing or your respect
harshness as personal rejection versus harshness as sign of respect
do people treat you better when you are harsh or when you are nice
feelings are interesting versus feeling are embarrassing and irrelevant
do feelings assist your work or get in your way
telling versus listening
do you tell people or listen to people
in but not of
do you give yourself wholly to what you participate in or do you reserve the essential part of you to watch the rest of you par-
deeply focused via parallel engagements
do you focus by eliminating alternate engagements or by expanding plural engagements
design versus emergence
do you do what you plan or set in motion actions that cause wanted outcomes to self emerge
self indulgent ascetic
do you indulge yourself/ refuse to indulge yourself or do you do both simultaneously
Managing Complexity 39 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 3: Basic Skills for Handling Diversity
We have three dimensions--types of diversity (gender, nation, generation, socio-economic status, profession, expertise level, social connectedness, personality development stage, per-
sonality style, character commitment, ambitions), cognitive stage (perception, intellectual response, emotive response, procedural response), social interaction stage (learning that there
are differences, learning what the differences are, experience limits of value of your own value set, expand personal repertoire of response). These three dimensions interact.
A difference of character, producing differences of perception, may produce nothing good or bad because of failure of the person to experience the limits of value of their own value
set. All three dimensions are needed for change to occur.
The cognitive stages can be elaborated so as to show what capabilities suffice to handle diversity well.
1) Intellectual Component
• case analysis
• building concepts
• vocabulary for discourse
2) Emotional Component
• ability to not do
• expanding tastes
• delaying reactions
3) Perceptual Component
• listening skills
• spotting potential issues
• layered hearing
4) Procedural Component
• learning “their” ways of doing
• teaching them “my” ways of doing
• expanding repertoires of response
People can handle one type of diversity masterfully while handling another in a clumsy ineffective way. As we live, we run into more types of diversity in more important circum-
stances. Similarly, people can intellectually respond well to a type of diversity while emotionally losing poise and control. Finally, people can fail to recognize that there are differ-
having versus being
do you gradually have what you originally were or do you struggle to be what you originally were
knowing what we know
do you know what you know or not know what you know
why this here and this now
do you accept the fatedness of who you are or do you refuse the fatedness of who you are
why destined to die
do you accept the shortness of your life or do you refuse the shortness of your life
why acts have unforeseen consequences
do you accept responsibility for unforeseeable consequences of your acts or refuse responsibility for them
professional (dry) versus personal (wet)
do you suppress emotion at work in order to act professionally or do you elicit emotions in order to manage real impacts on
solving what is relevant versus solving what is there
do you carefully solve only problems you are competent at and experienced with or do you carefully solve any sort of prob-
lem facing you
jurisdiction determination first versus problem elaboration first
do you first determine whose problem this is or do you first elaborate the dimensions of the problem facing you
opinion versus evidence
do you base the decisions of your life on opinions or on evidence
comparing opinions versus comparing evidence
do you compare opinions against each other or do you compare the evidence supporting various opinions
temporary commitments to own opinions versus permanent commitment
to own opinions
do you defend you opinions as parts of or representatives of your self or do you toy with opinions other than yours as possible
improvements in the opinion set you currently hold
respect for all opinions versus respect for those opinions supported by
do you respect all opinions equally or do you favor opinions that have better support by evidence
friends versus what is right
do you think or do what your friends think or do or do you contradict your friends when they are not in the right based on
some principle
“right versus wrong” versus “right versus right” morality
do you believe morality is doing the right thing (applying rules) or is morality resolving profoundly ambiguous situations
second chance society versus one chance society
do you forgive errors, transgressions, and faults and give people and institutions a second chance or do you break relation-
ships when faults or errors occur
imminent gods versus transcendent god
do you believe all the world and everything in it is divine versus the world is sinful, fallen, and broken; do you believe god is
nearby and in everything or do you believe god is distant and judgemental
primacy of humans versus equality of humans and other forms of life
do you believe humans are different from and better than other forms of life versus humans are part of and of equal value to
other forms of life
primacy of life versus primacy of quality of life
do you believe life itself outweighs all other values versus life itself is an equal with quality of life values
seniors caring for juniors versus seniors competing with juniors
do you care for those junior to you or do you work to make sure they do not overtake you
effort based results versus talent based results
do you achieve results via effort or via talent
work as pleasant end versus work as unpleasant means
do you experience work as pleasant and the purpose of life or do you experience work as a temporary bad idea in order to get
certain things in life
support by affirmation versus support by challenge
do you best help your friends by supporting what they now do and believe or do you best support them by challenging what
they now do or believe
result versus process
do you live for results you attain or do you live for experiencing the processes of life
TABLE 5. Personal Culture Assessment
area culture dimensions basic question to answer
Managing Complexity 40 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
ences at play, or, sensing differences they can fail to detect exactly what they are and what they affect. Training in handling diversity must cover methods for handling each type of
diversity, each cognitive reaction to it, and each social reaction to it.
Method 4: Culture Penetration Stages
Anthropologists used to explore the world, doing observation of “primitive” cultures before they disappeared in the onslaught of modern industrial civilization. That sort of anthropol-
ogy has given way to a much broader exploration of all the cultures within modern industrial civilization and people. The cultures of professions, of neighborhoods, of socio-economic
strata, of labor unions, of young girls on street corners, of stereo photography clubs, of field service representatives who repair copy machines, and the like have been explored by con-
temporary anthropologists.
All these anthropologists have spent years or months inside someone else’s culture. A few of them have described in writing the stages they have gone through as they tried to make
sense of and relate responsibly to what they were observing (Bohannan, 1995; psychologists also study acculturation processes see Berry et al, 1992, chapter 11). If you read a number
of such accounts, a general pattern emerges of the stages of relating to another culture. But, what is the use of such a model of stages of relating to another culture?
There used to be a guy at the Tokyo American Club in Tokyo, Japan who would bet you a drink that he could guess how long you had been in Japan by asking you four or five questions.
I had heard about him at various times from various people. One evening, I actually met him at the bar of the Club. I had lived in Japan for years but not in Tokyo, so I seldom had vis-
ited the Club. He propositioned me--a free drink if he could guess how many years I had lived in Japan after asking me a few questions--I accepted. The irritating thing is he guessed
right--seven years. Being known this way by a complete stranger was really irritating. It meant that my reactions to Japan were not unique to me, someone could predict them. I found
this exasperating. You too have to go through this experience and suffer this humiliation; your reactions to cultures new to you are not unique to you. You will go through largely the
same stages as everyone else does, whether you want to or not.
If you manage employees you will have to manage their going through these stages. There are types of mistake typical for each stage and you will watch amazed as each employee goes
through each mistake type in the designated sequence. Particularly dangerous are employees who want to be exceptions to these stages. Because of special undergraduate education,
special overseas experiences with their parents, special language or other capabilities they want to avoid, be beyond, have outgrown such stages of adaptation to foreign cultures. Such
people are dangerous. Their very desire to be beyond other people in this regard is dangerous. When combined with the inability of any special prior experience or training to eliminate
these culture penetration stages, their desire to be beyond other people becomes positively destructive to organization success. Dealing effectively with diversity means humbling your-
self before these stages, not fighting them, not denying them, but accepting them, and being aware of how they appear in you and your behavior. Recognizing them as they are is the key
to penetrating a culture responsibly and avoiding large scale errors in handling diversity.
Method 5: Stages of Personality Development, “Having” What We “Are”
Prof. Kegan, reviewed stage models of personality and moral development, and created his own systems model of personality development (Kegan, 1994). Key to personality develop-
ment was a certain process, found at every stage:
1. crisis not handled by current “you”
2. discriminating what you “are” into various parts, one of which is blocking your way to handling the crisis
3. withdrawing your habitual unconscious dependence on that part of “you” for obtaining the confidence for handling life’s vicissitudes
4. turning that part of you into something you “have” instead of something you “are”.
In other words, psychological growth is a process of shrinking what you “are” and expanding what you “have” or manage intentionally. For example, there is a stage of development of
personality where we discover that “being” our opinions destroys the possibility of relating well to others and destroys the possibility of influencing others with our opinions. Such peo-
ple get angry when people have opinions different than theirs. Such a person tries to verbally beat others into giving up their different opinions and taking on the person’s own opinions.
We have all met such people; moreover, we have all been such people at one period of our life or other. We learn to be a being that “has” opinions; what we “are” becomes something
beyond any opinions we have. Our value, to ourself and others, comes not from opinions we have, but from our processes for deriving and modifying opinions based on collecting valid
data, experience, and evidence. Our opinions continually evolve as we come in contact with new reading, people, experiences, and data.
The four step personality development process above is how you pass from one stage to another in the previous method’s stages of penetrating other cultures. At each stage you encoun-
ter challenges you cannot handle. You have to discriminate parts of “you” that are in the way of progress and parts that are not blocking you. You have to come not to depend on those
blocking parts for your image of yourself, for your confidence. You then have to learn to manage those blocking parts so as to handle the challenges before you.
Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, Perry’s stages of undergraduate self-understanding, and Piaget’s stages of cognition development are incorporated in Kegan’s model. In a way
they all deal with stages of encountering the Other, encountering diversity. You fight it, insist it away, reluctantly admit it to minor status, embrace it, get lost in relativism, get hurt by
relativism, and develop at the end something like provisional committed relativism--deep temporary commitments that you instantly revise when new data proves the world more than
you originally thought it was (Maimon et al, 1989).
Method 6: Stratified Responding
Stratifying how you respond to situations amounts to making explicit and seeable, therefore sharable with others, how you actually already respond. Much of psychological and family
counseling is getting couples or parents/children to stratify their responses. By separating out each part of how we respond, and examining each part for completeness, we can catch
flaws in our responses to the world (see research by Kuhn, 1991). We can see the unconscious points in our habitual reacting where bigotry, insensitivity, and partiality appear.
TABLE 6. Stages of Penetrating Any Culture
Speed of going through the nine
stages can vary but not the order
of stages gone through
dominant response
relation to
what is essential typical errors
typical error:
knowing more than you know
all is different my otherness is advantage doing nothing is learning
missing what is the same
all is the same my otherness is disadvantage learning is doing
missing what is different
I do not know my otherness is neutral learning is unlearning
missing what you actually know
typical error:
doing more than you realize you
are doing
getting serious otherness is a tool essence is unimportant
success on the margins, missing success in the
fighting for mastery otherness is conquered essence is victory on any terms
missing side-effects of existing results
mastery is impossible otherness is unconquerable essence defeats me
main effects for you not main effects for them;
missing main effects
typical error:
being more than you really are
in the situation
partial understanding otherness is mundane willing to be ordinary
social reception mistaken for impacting the
other’s system
partial capability the other is familiar enjoying limits
the wrong limits enjoyed; avenues of success
contributory opportunity familiarity is other loyalty happily split among two ways
deciding when to contribute to which side sty-
mies action
Managing Complexity 41 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Above, diversity was defined as the unconscious commitments we all have made to values as we grew up and to ways of doing things. Stratified responding is a method of making
conscious such unconscious commitments. It is a very powerful method.
Simple as the above steps are, if they are followed exactly, with discipline, powerful results emerge. First, the lower stratum reaction component must be kept out of the upper one.
That means when stating what we noticed, all statements of feeling are out of bounds. This must be enforced. It is decidedly not natural. We naturally do all the steps in parallel, often
in such a way that past experiences, as bigotries, dictate what we notice in situations. When, however, we are pressed to be thorough and complete about what we notice, and forbid-
den to leap ahead to feelings, patterns, and the like, we notice things we usually are not allowed to notice by our bigotries. Second, we must strive to be honest and complete about the
contents of each stratum. We do not seek casual noticings or salient ones, we seek everything we noticed. We do not seek some of the feelings we had, we seek all of them. If these
rules are followed, profound results are assured.
Group Response Stratifying
When a group has shared an experience--going to a movie, hearing a speaker, struggling through a contest, suffering the death of a colleague--they can build a common group response
that incorporates the diversity of all members, using this method. Each person in the group answers every question in the table above before moving on to the next question.
When this is done, the enormous differences in what people notice are found. This startles people who are used to assuming that “objective facts” are “there” for everyone to see and
only stubborn bigots fail to see them. In fact, by that definition, every human ever alive was a raging bigot, for all people notice things in every situation that no one else there notices.
Research on trial by jury and eye witness testimony has proven that noticings vary with each observer, not sometimes, but always. It is not just the noticings level where this occurs.
Feelings from the same noticing are quite different. Patterns among the same feelings are quite different. Remindings from the same noticed patterns are quite different, and so on.
Stratified Response Negotiating
This is an important sub-method. It is a generalization from group response stratifying. The question is--what is the incident that both parties to a negotiation stratify their responses
to? Well, at first, it is the various crises of the negotiation process. When things do not go well, when talks break off, when one party reneges on earlier promises--then both parties can
do group response stratification. The result is slowing down responses, and stratifying them, to see differences at each level (Ross, 1993, p. 192) and how they gradually turn into
enormously different thoughts and actions at then end.
When plural incompatible seeming moral systems interact, of course, conflict, even terrible hundreds-of-years of conflict can result. However, some comings together of moral or cul-
ture systems, is always involved in the development of any values or morality overall. We develop moral sense as pre-adolescents by thinking about values in conflict in situations of
our lives and playing with incompatible systems of values around us that guide us in interpreting these situations (Paul et al, 1994, p. 16). Stratified responding is a way to bring such
values, cultures, moralities, systems together in great meticulous, ordered detail. It turns incompatible systems in contact from war to furthering development of each such participat-
ing system.
Beyond group response stratifying, is designing crises into the negotiation process, either announced to both parties or secretly planned and executed, that generate in the second party
key experiences in first party’s past that cause them to view things as they now view them. In other words the negotiation creates a history of mini-crises that cause the parties to expe-
rience each other’s backgrounds in miniature. This allows responses on each stratum to converge over time.
Method 7: Culture Illusions
All of us have seen optical illusions, for example, two lines of identical length one with outward “v”s drawn at the end the other with inward “v”s drawn, so that one looks longer than
the other. These optical illusions are so powerful that we cannot “not” see them. They appeal to inherent deep parts of our mental machinery for seeing. There are other types of illu-
sion just as powerful, created by culture, cognition, and group dynamics (Piattelli-Palmarini, 1994; Berg and Smith, 1987; Frason, 1996; Tingley, 1993; Paul et al, 1994; many of these
illusions arise from connectionist network implementations in the mind of cognitive functions, see Overwalle and Rooy in Read and Miller, 1998.
TABLE 7. Stratified Responding (Ask all questions for each stratum before asking any question for the stratum below it)
strata type response strata sample questions
objective and
subjective per-
cept types
What did you notice in the situation/event? What went on? What was there? What happened? What was first, second, last? Who was involved? What did they do?
How did you feel? What did you feel first, second, last? When were you scared? When were you bored? When did you look away or go to the restroom? For each thing that
was there, how did it make you feel?
synchronic and
diachronic inte-
gration types
What was the climax? What built up to that climax? What seemed irrelevant to the main flow? What subplots were there? What was the conclusion? Where did you have
an epiphany? What related to what? What influenced what? What was the opposite to what? What conflicted? What synergized? What was subordinate? What meshed,
what clashed? with the whole flow? with its neighbors?
For each thing that was there or that happened, what did it remind you of? what did you think of while experiencing it? For each pattern that was there, what did it remind you
of? For each emotion there, what did you think of while feeling it? What image came to mind in the first part, the second, the climax, the finale? What part of your back-
ground came to mind?
knowledge and
action modifica-
tion types
How do you interpret this part of this event? What do you make of this pattern? What was the point of this incident? What is this incident all about? How would you name
the first part, the second part, the last part, the entire incident?
What does this change in your thinking? What actions does this make more likely? less likely? How is your future different because of this incident?
TABLE 8. Culture Illusions
Illusion Type
Illusion Elaboration of the Illusion
The Your Productivity is Unproductive Illusion
Each gender (nationality, profession, etc) has a different image of what is “productive”, thus, the other gen-
der’s way of work is seen automatically as unproductive
The way of work of both genders (nationalities, professions, etc.) is productive contingently--in
some situations but not others--you have to judge carefully, not assume productivity
The Your Managing is Bad Managing Illusion
Each gender has a different image of what is “being managerial” thus the other gender’s way of managing is
seen as unmanagerial, automatically
Same with “being managerial”, it is contingent.
The Your Leadership is Bad Leadership Illusion
Each gender has a different image of what is “leading well” thus the other gender’s way of leading is seen as
bad leadership, automatically
Same with “leading well”, it is contingent.
The Your Criticism Means What Mine Means Illusion
Each gender has a different image of what “criticism from others” means thus criticism from the other gen-
der is automatically misunderstood
Same with the meaning of criticism, it is contingent.
The Equality is Productivity Illusion
All people in a meeting expect more than their fair share of talk time and influence effect
Each person getting their fair share of attention, talk time, and influence produces horrendous meet-
ings that everyone hates; who gets attention etc. must be contingent on what talents and topics are
relevant to the group at the time
The Inequality is Evil Plot Illusion
A productive arrangement that uses some people more than others in a group and is continued for a long
time is seen as a plot against those not thus used
In factions and outfactions form in most groups (that are poorly led) because those sharing uncon-
scious values and images of “productivity” and the like clump together making, unconsciously, their
favorite personal ways of working the “norm” without fair discussion of alternative ways
The Plans are Results Illusion
Unintended bad side-effects of an action are considered surprising, unfair happenings not the responsibility
of those designing the work
People conveniently split their lives into planned results, for which they feel responsible, and
unplanned side-effects, for which they deny responsibility.
Managing Complexity 42 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 8: Plural Culture Definitions/Uses
Culture is often used in business to avoid cooperation with, agreeing with, or succumbing to the positions of others (Pucik et al,1992; Eisenstadt, 1987). “ This place is different, we do
not do things that way here” is a way of staking out a negotiating position favorable for a group’s own values. People in business claim culture requires things, and most business per-
sons, not educated as anthropologists, go along with such statements, for lack of any way to argue back against “culture says” statements.
Recognizing the use of culture for negotiating advantage is one of the first steps in being effective in global companies. It is helpful, in this regard, to respond to all such statements by
others with your own matching statement saying--we are proposing a business tie-up that benefits both parties, therefore my culture requires that we do X (often the opposite of their Y
requirement). Many times people will use the place to justify using the values of that place alone. This argument is used so frequently it deserves particular attention below.
You are in Japan so Japanese ways work best here, you have to do things our (Japanese way). There are a number of obvious errors with all such statements:
The Japanese way--of 1920 was enormously different than the Japanese way of 1950 which in turn was enormously different than the Japanese way of 1998--which way
do you mean?
There is solid evidence that the most effective methods for use in Japan are not Japanese methods at all--foreign methods often, in fact, usually outperform purely Japa-
nese methods in most business situations in Japan.
The millions of Japanese companies exhibit an enormous variety of methods of work and systems of employ so that “the” Japanese way is indeterminate inspite of
national propaganda machineries telling Japanese citizens and foreigners the contrary. Every year thousands of Japanese firms using Japanese methods fail, go bankrupt,
and many of those reporting success actually by international accounting standards were never profitable organizations.
These objections to “when in X do as Xers do”, can be called the diachronic diversity objection, the synchronic diversity objection, and the not-thought-of-method objection. The
assumption of unity of any “culture” is just that an assumption, used in arguing with others, to create wining positions. Beware of this! No culture is unitary or else all firms in it would
have failed or all would have succeeded. Every culture is a mix of crap that fails and good stuff that succeeds. Distinguishing these two is very very hard or else entire national popu-
lations would already be billionaires.
This is just a skirmish in the war against sloppy, self-contradictory, and sneaky use of culture concepts in business. There are several types of definition of culture used around the world.
If you observe, as I have, negotiations by the same company executives with dozens of different foreign and domestic partner firms, you find the same executives taking a totally differ-
ent view of what is “culture” depending of what positional advantage they seek with each partner. The same people take completely incompatible positions about what culture is,
depending of what business advantage they want. If you are aware of this, you can challenge quite successfully such disingenuous uses of “culture” when people use them to win posi-
tional advantages over you.
People rate own opinion reliability too high
People consistently rate the reliability of their own opinions and beliefs much higher than actual fact
or reasoned supposition
Illusory causes (neo magical thinking)
People rate co-occurrences as causes
Co-occurring things are taken as mutually causing each other rather than actual or more likely coin-
cidences or being commonly caused by an unconsidered factor
Hindsight predictability
People rate anything as predicting anything in hindsight
People think they could have predicted any event from data of relevant conditions preceding the
event even when those data are false, made-up, or counter-indicative of the event that was supposed
to be predicted.
Perceptual anchoring
Anything that precedes an action will bias response to the action towards that anything
Exposure to an unrelated number, word, event before an action predisposes the mind strongly to
return to use of that number, word, or event in the action, even though the person knows the “anchor”
is logically unrelated to the action situation.
Ease of representation (spontaneous baseless generalizations)
Salient recent events are taken as representative of a population of events
Well reported emotional events are taken as more frequent, more important, and more related to any-
thing than less reported, less emotional ones.
Probability blindness
People selecting from different outcomes with different probabilities of occurrence consistently choose sub-
optimal alternatives
People are intuitively anti-rational when probabilities must be computed or compared; we naturally
make choices not in our best interest when high probability of a modestly good outcome is compared
with low probability of a great outcome
Joint occurrence overestimates
People rate joint occurrences more likely than individual occurrences combined would indicate
People consistently think the joint occurrence of two happenings is much more likely than the indi-
vidual occurrences of either happening even though joint occurrence is much less likely in reality
The If It Works Use It Illusion
Using well existing talents of a group is done so much (because it is thought “productive”) that future group
failure is certain because new talents are not developed
People tend to depend on talents they see, and if that works, depend on them more and more till situ-
ations for which those talents are inappropriate are bound to appear, causing massive failure.
The My Way Is Productive Illusion
Ethnic groups not working “their own way” feel they are being unproductive even when working “other
ways” objectively can be shown to produce more.
People have mastered their own ways of work over decades till all routines are unconscious; routines
of others, thus unmastered, have to be laboriously done by step by step conscious effort at first, feel-
ing unproductive even when more productive in result terms
The Diversity is a Time Waste Illusion
Time spent getting diverse groups to learn the various talents of their members and develop consensus on
what is productive etc. is felt wasted by all even though not spending such time produces worse results
People feel diversity is pure cost and do not measure the improvement in solutions found that later
results from effective leveraging of it
The Being There is Learning About Elsewhere Illusion
3 year assignments to a foreign nation produce global people
3 year assignments do not produce any learning about the nations in which one is assigned but some
detachment by way of being away from one’s culture of birth and upbringing
The Being Born There is Mastering There Illusion
People are masters of their culture of birth (see Paul et al, 1994)
People born in a culture usually know little about it (a great deal about small parts of it), and what lit-
tle they know is largely unconscious, whereas recent immigrants to a culture know a great deal about
it and what they know is largely conscious
The I am an Expert at Culture Penetration Illusion
Some people penetrate cultures foreign to them faster than others, skipping stages others have to go through
People go through exactly the same stages in penetrating cultures; however, some people do go
through particular stages faster than others
The Workplaces are Pieces of Geography Illusion
People work where they live
People who work where they live, in a piece of geography are intensely upset when sent abroad,
either as employees or as spouses of employees; people who work in a profession of world-wide
extent, independent of geography, can work happily in nearly any comfortable geography
The Living Equals Working Illusion
Living in a foreign market equals understanding that market
Living in a foreign market usually produces nearly no learning about that market; particular research
techniques are needed to turn “being there” into “knowing there”
TABLE 9. The Basic Types of Definition of Culture Used Globally
Position Brief Explanation
Assumption that Produces Loss of Positional Advantage with Persons Taking the Position
culture is everything nothing that people do is not culture assuming “a culture” is a unitary thing, not an image imposed on vast diversity
culture is particulars details that differ among people assuming they know what a case requires via “culture” and you cannot know better than they; assuming people born into
a culture know it better than outsiders trying to operate in it; assuming a culture because it is there is somehow good or
necessary and not bad
culture is relative details are inconsistent creating var-
ious interpretations of patterns
among them
assuming no definite knowledge about a particular case can be gotten
culture is nothing sociology, economics, and political
science added up equals culture
assuming there are no special routines essential for communicating effectively with people and winning their trust
culture is structure components functionally interre-
assuming past structure is unitary and unchanging
TABLE 8. Culture Illusions
Illusion Type
Illusion Elaboration of the Illusion
Managing Complexity 43 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 9: Learning Culture--Our Own and Others--For Personal Repertoire Expansion
This turns ordinary people into anthropologists. There has to be a way to get people to learn that they themselves have unique cultures and that others have such cultures. The hard
way to learn this is to blow an important negotiation because you miss the cultural drivers in yourself and other people. Teaching culture, however, is not a matter of usual seminars
and books. Culture, as defined above as the unconsciously committed to things in one’s life, cannot so directly be taught. You are unconscious of it in yourself and others. Hence, a
process must be gone through to raise to conscious awareness things hithertofore done unconsciously.
The basic mode of doing this is simple. You divide people in several ways--so that they are among similar people, so that they are among different people as a majority, and so that
they are among different people as a minority. In each of these three settings you ask people to perform some normal procedure for private life or daily work. You then ask people to
reflect on the differences in results as the same procedure gets done in different diversity situations.
When in these three groups, you can ask people how they think people like themselves operate, how they see others operating, and how they think others view how they themselves
operate. These perceptions can then be compared. This works well if people characterize exactly how the procedure gets done by different groups.
All the above steps get done for each type of diversity you want to deal well with. Take gender. Put people in groups wholly of their own gender, doing some routine task. Put men
as minorities in female groups. Put men as majorities in groups that have female minorities. In each of these three settings have people characterize the male way of working and the
female way of working. Then have people try out, in role play form, the way of work of the different group--here the men try out the female way of work and the females try out the
male ways of work. In this way males add female ways of work to their personal repertoires of ways to work and females add male ways of work to their personal repertoires (see
Schon and Rein, 1994). The mode below corrects what I consider to be serious errors in the similar work by Fiedler et al (1971) on a culture assimilator.
Method 10: Countering Neuroses
One type of diversity seldom emphasized is neuroses. There are many types of neurosis. One way to understand neurosis is as the cost of your talents. Each talent you have is also a
focus--you spend more time there than elsewhere. Each such focus, deprives other areas of your life of attention and development. Thus, for each talent you have, there are areas of
your life stripped of attention and development, the costs of that particular talent. That is a neurosis (Hirschhorn, 1988; Sartre, 1956; May, 1981).
There are personal neuroses, gender neuroses, profession neuroses, organizational neuroses, national neuroses, and human condition neuroses.
There is a trick to neuroses. We tend to know our talents; get praise for them from others; remind ourselves of them when we are down. The costs of each of those talents are often
never admitted in entire lives. This asymmetry--talents acknowledged, their costs denied--produces surprise and pain and error when the costs of those talents are discovered operating
in our work and lives.
culture is context high context admits many details,
low context admits few
assuming high context culture people cannot learn to operate in low context ways and vice versa
culture is evolution cultivation of people, survival of fit-
assuming culture is static cooperation not dynamic competitions among pieces of a society having different interests and
futures they are vying for
culture is response culture is a trait of people’s response
to environmental challenges
assuming uniformities of response across situations do not exist
TABLE 10. Culture Learning Combinations--Seeing and Doing Things Their Way and Our Way
Perform a common task in these group settings then
afterwards characterize the ways of work at right;
try out the others’ ways of work--fill in each of the 16
squares for each type of diversity that interests you:
gender, personality, nation, status, etc.
how we think we operate--
compare--how we observe
we operate--try operating as
we think we operate
how we think they operate--
compare--how we observe
they operate--
try operating as we observe
them operating
how we think they think we
operate--compare --how
they observe us operating--
try operating as they think
we operate
how we think they think they
they observe themselves
operating--try operating as
they think they operate
people-like-me group (with and without our-
selves as observers of ourselves)
I as majority in a mixed group (with and
without ourselves as observers of ourselves)
I as a minority in a mixed group (with and
without ourselves as observers of ourselves)
I in an optimally mixed group that we
all choose (with and without ourselves as observers
of ourselves)
TABLE 11. Diverse Neuroses
Neurosis Type
Definition Examples
personal the costs of each of your talents;
what each talent makes you bad at
Joe is a great, outgoing initiator who tends to talk too long and take too much limelight himself after the start of things when real thought and involve-
ment of others is needed, hence, who hurts overall group outcome consistently though he is useful for getting groups formed.
gender the costs of what your gender is good
Men start conversations to prove their status and relative importance and cannot communicate till relative status is determined.
profession the costs of what your profession is
good at
Professionals take responsibility for that part of a problem their discipline can help with or look good handling but deny responsibility for the entire
organization the costs of what your organization is
good at
IBM was good at mainframe computing hence could not understand or manage the PC business, letting the most profitable aspects of it all get devel-
oped by Microsoft and other upstart companies 1/1000th IBM’s size.
national the costs of what your nation is good
Americans like flashy quick short-lived launches of new initiatives that are poorly implemented with no one remembering to measure to see if the final
intended effect was achieved. Japanese have a culture of 1000 excuses for doing nothing in order not to hurt “others’ feelings”.
human condition the costs of what the human condi-
tion is like
life is short so people speed up their lives, viciously competing against others when such zero-sum-ing is not really necessary or useful
TABLE 9. The Basic Types of Definition of Culture Used Globally
Position Brief Explanation
Assumption that Produces Loss of Positional Advantage with Persons Taking the Position
Managing Complexity 44 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 11: Being Educated
Being educated means (Sartre, 1956; Walberg in Sternberg, 1988; Schon, 1987; Tillich, 1952; Olson; 1962):
1. “e” “duco” being led out from what your parents, local community, nation, and era believes
2. replacing those values and habits unconsciously absorbed while growing up with freely self-consciously chosen new ones
3. finding power that we automatically give over our lives to institutions and retracting those gifts of power over our lives in favor of we exercising power over our own
4. replacing casual opinion formation from folk intelligence of daily life with evidence based reasoning as the basis of opinion formation
5. replacing a person who “is” his opinions, you attack his opinions you attack his self, with a person who “has” opinions, you attack his opinions he considers changing
them, knowing his present opinions are limited, transitory, provisional commitments that will be upgraded continuously as life provides new data
6. making a person who, when asked any question, from the answer, you cannot guess what gender, age, nationality, profession, or background they are from; processing
in their mind makes their current beliefs not simple repetitions of the environments they grew up in
7. turning every experience and personal learning into a tangible product that others can benefit from
8. learning to choose by learning that choosing one possibility means dying to 99 other possibilities not chosen; people who can choose in life are people who can say
goodbye to routes not chosen, happily facing and managing the limited resources of life.
Education, thus defined, amounts to being diverse from your own self and the background that generated it while you were too young to exercise free choice. Dealing with diverse oth-
ers starts with being diverse from your own background and the self it created. What educates people, thus defined, starts with being in a community of people of different backgrounds
who do not share beliefs, values, or habits of work and life with them. Colleges traditionally do a good job of this, while parents often are the primary retarders of education, fighting to
get their children to worship the values that the parents absorbed one or two generations before their kids were born. Beyond simply being among people of diverse backgrounds and
beliefs, people get educated when they are challenged to provide evidence to justify positions and win arguments. Getting evidence is work, and requires recognizing the various more
and less valid ways to generate beliefs. We can survey people around us casually for what they believe--this has very little truth value. We can survey everyone in the world via a rep-
resentative random sample for what they believe--this has more truth value. We can model what the particular belief is as one or more variables affecting others in certain directions and
magnitudes, then form an experiment to see if manipulating the input variables as the model says produces the outputs the model predicts--this has much truth value. In every case,
higher truth value requires much more work than lower truth value. Lousy opinions come from lazy lives and thinking.
Being educated also means changing how we relate to our individuality and personal experience. The uneducated person constantly has learnings and experiences that he or she turns
into nothing so that only he benefits from them. The educated person constantly turns what happens in his life into tangible expressions, products, or services that many other people
can benefit from. Only a very few universities have elements of this in them--work portfolios that turn student homework from something for a class then lost into something for pos-
terity as a record of accomplishment. Related to this is being educated as learning to choose. So many young people do nothing of note for the first ten years after undergraduate col-
lege because, they say, they do not know what they want to do. This indecision wastes decades and usually results in choices finally being made twenty years after the same choices
could easily have first been made. Mere delay is the outcome of “not knowing what to do”. It is not true that students do not know what to do. What is revealed in recent research is
students hate losing a kind of easy consciousness that “all is possible for me”. Choosing one way, one job, one career, one project means giving up 99 possible ones. Students in college
spend 4 years living in a soup of “all is possible for me”. Quite a few students fall in love with this feeling and are loathe to let it go. The result--decisions made at age 40 that could
have been made at age 20. It is a tragic waste. Being educated means learning to die to possibility in order to have a real reality in one’s life.
Method 12: De-mystification, De-mythologization, De-construction
Marx and Engles (Arendt, 1954) looked at people laboring for minimal wages for six twelve-hour days per week, then going to church Sunday mornings to be told that their present life
was unimportant compared to their divine life to come. They said that the two--long work weeks largely unrewarded and Sunday services promising a reward in a later life--were parts
of one system. The Sunday part was the ideology used to make people stupidly tolerate the self-destructive nature of the weekday part. They said the workers “mystified” the church--
giving power and allegiance to it over their own lives in the hope of some benefit. They urged workers to de-mystify the church--that is, see how it had self-interests that caused it to
say things counter to the workers’ own interests. Indeed, the church got more money and members in a world where misery of worklife drove laborers to the church for “salvation”.
The Vietnam war made this quaint argument by “bad” communists like Marx and Engles something ordinary self-respecting capitalists could also believe. The Vietnam war de-mysti-
fied the US government and its use of the military. First, the Texas friends of Lyndon Johnson two years before the Gulf of Tonken incident (that was used to vastly widen the war and
US involvement in it) were told an enlargement of the war was coming and guided to investments in businesses in Southeast pacific areas that would profit from servicing the US mili-
tary. Second, the tactics by which the US government tried to sell the Viet Cong to the US public as bad and evil people were revealed along with the essential similarity between the
US role in Vietnam and the British role in the American revolution two hundred years earlier. The US was revealed to be the bad guy preventing freedom of what were essentially
nationalists fighting colonial rule, as the US colonists had two hundred years earlier. It was not, then, just the Vietnam war that was de-mystified but the entire US government appara-
tus for selling wars to the public. Tactics that the populace had seen as in their own interest were now seen as only in the interests of certain businesses profiting from enlargement and
generation of wars.
Bultmann and other theologians in the early 20th century de-mythologized religions (Campbell, 1972). They examined how stories told to illiterate populations before the printing press
was invented (therefore, when all books were sacred) gradually lost their metaphorical original meaning and incidents in them were taken literally as the truth. For example they
showed how the church did not decide that the body of Jesus was raised from the dead till 300 years after the death of Jesus, in a large church council where Northern Italian bishops
needed the resurrection of the body in order to collect money from wealthy nobles facing death’s door. What was originally a metaphor--Jesus’ resurrection meaning that people had a
spiritual life beyond the material one furnished by the body, was turned into people had indestructible bodies that God protected from death. Similarly the virgin birth story, found in
hundreds of religions around the world, originally a metaphor for how the spiritual life differs from the material one was turned into a literal story of a ghostly penis spurting sperm into
a human vagina. The process of taking myths and seeing the original metaphor they were--what parts of ordinary human consciousness they referred to--replacing the literal interpreta-
tions of them--was called de-mythologization.
Jacques Derrida, a French philosopher of the 1960s and 1970s, considered Saussure’s idea in the early 20th century of how words do not designate parts of reality by themselves (Cilli-
ers, 1998). Saussure said that what a word meant depended on what other words it was in a system with. The ways of viewing and ignoring reality other words fostered strictly circum-
TABLE 12. Getting Educated
Goal Definition Sample Way to Achieve
Abandoning Past Beliefs
leaving behind unconscious beliefs from your
join community of many other people each having different values and background to you
Creating Freely Chosen
replacing unconsciously imbibed beliefs with
freely and self-consciously chosen ones
face menu of many alternative actions each of which requires beliefs beyond those you were born and raised with
De-mystifying the World
taking back power that we unconsciously
gave over our lives to institutions or authori-
ties while growing up
tracking the self interests of the institutions and authorities that presented themselves to you in the past as sharing interests with you, and seeing
how their self interests caused them to tell you things that were not in your best interests
Evidence Based Reasoning
replacing folk intelligence with evidence
based reasoning
join as assistant, experienced researchers as they try to resolve some typical truth dilemma; discover how many ambiguities and what sort of
ambiguities make telling truth from untruth difficult in particular cases
Provisional Evolving Opin-
replacing being your opinions with having
your opinions
attack someone’s opinions with equally absurd opinions equally justified by evidence; then attack the resulting relativism that all opinions are
equal by showing with evidence that all opinions are not equal, till it is discovered that one must provisionally commit to temporary opinions
based on the best presently available evidence
Background Generator Not
creating a person whose answers to any ques-
tion do not reveal what gender, age, national-
ity, or profession they are
tackle a different major field every three years of your life, attaining some significant innovation or result in each within 3 years, till the experi-
ences you chose outweigh those of growing up
Productizing Experience
not keeping personal experience result-less
but turning it into tangible outputs that others
can benefit from
work portfolios replacing usual homework for classes, so you bring not just a resume to get jobs but a group of complete projects and their out-
puts showing what you contributed to organizations in your past
Die to the Possible; Grasp
the Actual
learning to choose by learning that choosing
one possibility means dying to 99 others;
learning the sickness of living in “all is possi-
ble for me” consciousness
usual universities are hosts of courses that students must choose from; as such, universities force students to die to 99 possible courses whenever
they choose one; the frustration of this and the usual wasted first two years of doing this by undergrads, teaches, indirectly but powerfully,
choice ability to students
Managing Complexity 45 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
scribed what any one word could point to. Most people in daily life consciousness use words as if they unambiguously point to things in reality, ignoring the way relations among
words circumscribe what they mean. Derrida created a procedure for undoing works of literature and interpretations of events based on literal meanings of one word pointing to one
part of reality and replacing them with how the system of relations among words supported plural dynamic meanings, without one fixed literal one. This procedure he called de-con-
structing texts.
So we have 100 years ago, demystifying, and 50 years ago demythologizing, and recently deconstructing. Seen in this sequence there is little innovation in moving from demystifying
to demythologizing to deconstructing. A certain forgetfulness in intellectuals is needed to get hot and bothered about the more recent two “de”s.
The humanities have felt inferior to the social sciences and hard sciences for a long time. They lack fields of direct application, and therefore well structured careers. There is a lot of
intrinsic satisfaction to their activities hence they have an over-supply of students relative to social desire for their services. They also attract students who for whatever reason are ter-
rible at mathematics. As a kind of substitute for fields of application, from time to time, they develop overweening philosophies, that interpret all the world except them, as deluded
and inferior, and themselves as the pathfinders of new values and ways of viewing the world. They never test these ideas with real experiments or field research, producing data to con-
firm their beliefs. They share these attributes with cults and Nazis of all eras (and egoistic leaders of all sorts, see Fineman and Gabriel, 1996, p. 66). When frustrated career choices
turn into rabid beliefs in one’s personal mental superiority to others, and that gets harnessed to one of the above analysis types, the results are horrid and ambiguous. A perfectly
decent analysis gets muddied up with a rabid intelligence of intolerant self appointed superiority. When, on the contrary, the above analyses are done by usual people, not certain of
their rightness, and willing to admit and learn from their mistakes, then the results are good. The history of Marxism and De-constructionist academics thoroughly illustrates the dan-
gers of harnessing rabid people to these global analysis types.
Method 13: Problemlessness
Working in an environment of much diversity produces intense frustration as a daily stratum of all work experience. Everyone experiences this frustration. People not used to it reg-
ularly break down, get angry, make decisions when tired and frustrated. This can easily destroy productivity and even elemental effectiveness. Some way to contain this immense
layer of daily frustration is essential if diversity is to be welcomed and actually used well.
People simply have to be trained in problemlessness. Problemlessness is a shift of loyalty from the plans inside you to revealed aspects of the situation that surprise you. You shift
loyalty. You become loyal to revealed aspects of the situation that surprise you and you stop being loyal to your plans. That does not mean you stop being loyal to your purpose, your
intent. No, you continue loyalty to your intent but you readily abandon plans when they get surprised by or crushed by new developments in the situation. In fact, properly speaking,
you applaud the sudden irrelevance of your plans, as an invitation for inventiveness. Problemless people do not have problems. Instead, they have revelations. Reality irregularly
reveals itself causing plans based on the previous image of reality to become dream figments that never had a chance of working. Problemless people do not blame people or reality for
disappointing them. They anticipate being continually disappointed all their lives. They know that ultimate victories are built on long streams of disappointment. Victors are redun-
dantly defined as people who walk roads of disappointment that discourage all others. Problemlessness is a kind of resiliency. It is a cognitive operation upon your own emotional
reactions that produces resilience. You observe yourself surprised, then angry at a change in the situation you expected, and you stop the anger response, and pause. During that pause
you substitute a gratitude response “thank you, reality, for revealing the true path to victory to me”.
I have worked with a few people who developed problemlessness. They were immensely powerful and smooth, patient and persevering. They tolerated crap that no one else I knew
would tolerate; hence, they accomplished, regularly, things they had no business succeeding in, for lack of skill, prior experience, the right “contacts”, and so forth. Simply by never
giving in to disappointment they bounced back more than the situation bounced away. They outlasted reality’s tricks. In return, they drastically reduced the amount of anger in their
As children most of us are born into a fight or flight mode. We tend to treat every little surprise in our days as a fight or flight situation. If we have good parents and a good education,
we gradually learn that not everything is a crisis. However, most people I know, apparently had bad parents and educations in this respect. Most of the people I know constantly make
situations much much worse by getting angry with the situation and demanding that it disappear in favor of the situation they had expected. The problemless person goes to the airport
much earlier, expecting delays, lines, and cancelled flights, or, alternatively, goes to the airport at the last minute, perfectly happy because fully expecting 2 hours of unexpected delays.
The problemless person is loyal to unexpected and unwanted changes in situation. He never gives his loyalty to his plans, only to the situation as it changes before him and to his ulti-
mate intent. When the situation changes he re-imagines how to use that situation for his ultimate intent. “Oh-ho! How do I use this new situation to accomplish my ultimate goal?”
he says to himself.
Problemless people sometimes train themselves into problemlessness by practicing delaying reaction to all situations by 24 hours. They write down the time when a crisis comes to
their attention and they refuse all response to it till 24 hours later. There are extremely few situations that this is not appropriate for and the vast majority of situations in life are greatly
improved by this tactic. A vice president of your biggest customer firm is writing letters to your president complaining that you are a bum and he does not want to see your ugly face
around his company again. Your reaction--nothing for 24 hours. After a good night’s sleep and four or five hours of regular work, you automatically find yourself distanced from
both the situation’s offense and your own reactions. In that distance you automatically imagine interpretations of the situation from viewpoints other than your own. The things you
actually have done are so far from justifying that outre’ reaction that the letter makes the vice president look mentally unstable. You look up in the DSM diagnostic books for mental
illness, which mental disease the letter seems to indicate. You realize the vice president has so little contact with you and knowledge about you that his letter is really an unconscious
invitation to get to know you better, so you call him and invite him to lunch to hear his advice about how to improve your miserable life. You disarm him with your complete lack of
offense or defensiveness. You simply see no problem in his letter, only a chance to do good deeds with a much higher level and wider audience. Taoists, followers of this ancient Chi-
nese philosophy saw “problems” as pure opportunities. Opportunities they saw as opportunities for fools, problems were opportunities for wise people. Problems often automatically
have folded within them a larger audience of people you would not normally meet. They also often have folded within them people who do not yet know you well. They also often
have folded within them intense attention and emotion on the part of various people and groups. Visibility, attention, emotion, networks--these are all key resources for career promo-
tion. Problems are reality inviting you to expand your circle of influence and mobilize what your past has made you into a current disarming performance.
A great deal of what emotional intelligence consultants say they provide is really just a rehash of problemlessness (Goleman, 1995). Experience teaches people, anyway, that most
“crises” are not fight or flight situations and that delayed responses are wiser than immediate ones. Younger people torture themselves for decades, over-reacting to every little disap-
pointment and surprise in life.
TABLE 13. Diversifying Meaning Itself
De-mystify De-mythologize De-construct
the error to be cor-
that organization or person is working in my own
the elements of that story or myth are the literal truth that text or interpretation points to reality more than others
the nature of the
what are the self interests of them that cause them to
present themselves as if they have my self-interest in
mind while really working against my self-interests
what part of the ordinary consciousness of every person alive does
each part of the story or myth refer to and how does the overall
story or myth reveal aspects of ordinary human consciousness
rather than some special consciousness only an elite have
what system of relations to other key terms/meanings determines what this
one term means as a relative thing; what several such systems of relation-
ally determined meaning of the term are there for males versus females,
old versus young, rich versus poor and so on.
effect on diversity
replace the diversity of authorities with a diversity of
power players
replace a diversity of religions and corporate cultures with a
diversity of aspects of consciousness some of which any one
group emphasizes
replace a unity to reality with a diversity of different realities, each relative
to the power interests of who is speaking (males, the old, the rich, etc.)
TABLE 14. Problemlessness
category problemless functions
Switch loyalty loyal to intended result not plan or process of achieving it
stopping all arguments with the situation
manage actual achievement, not managing “doing your plan”
take changes of situation as information revealed to you about the real path to success, not interference with your great plans
take unreliability of people and systems as information about the path to success not sinful bad behavior
take changes of outcome requirements as information about how to succeed not betrayal of promises you, for some reason, are forced to depend on
Practice new
instant substitution of new tactics and tactical approaches for old
pace work sensibly enough to allow slack for responding to surprises
wide social support community nurtured to provide instant resource reconfiguration when needed
invest pride in your bricolage capability not your anticipate reality capability
place your life in the dance of improvisation, not the faithful making of the future into what we planned in the past
Managing Complexity 46 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 14: Personal Quality Checklist
When we learn something about diversity, there remains the issue of doing something about it. Knowledge unapplied does not change the world. There is a disparity between the
change we expect others to make and the changes we actually can be observed making. We tend to expect a lot of changes in others and we tend to be highly resistant to change in our
selves. Scientists who study human personality have noticed a stability of self image is highly adaptive for people, and therefore, the mechanisms by which we unconsciously maintain
our self image may work as major blocks to even modest changes in our selves (Silka in Klar et al, 1992).
Diversity of financial accounting systems, diversity of leadership styles, diversity of values on human life, diversity of commitments to living life innovatively spread across a spectrum
from tangible, institutional, material to intimate, emotional, personal. Some forms of diversity are rather objective while others are rather subjective. When we have to handle well the
more material, objective forms of diversity, change tends to be easier. When, on the other hand, we have to handle well the more personal and subjective side, change eludes us.
The Personal Quality Checklist (Roberts, 1994) is a way to handle this personal hard side of the changes required in handling diversity. It depends on reminding and self observation,
alone, to change us. Research has shown that most of the changes we personally are capable of can be generated by simply reminding us, at times, of our intent to change. A second
technique that actually works is observing ourselves (Prochaska et al in Klar et al, 1992; Reason, 1990, p. 151). This means reflecting on our selves or behavior at times. Seeing a vid-
eotape of our interactions, for example, by itself, without comment or context, produces intense desire for certain changes, throughout the lifespan. Combine these two--reminding and
self observation--and you get the Personal Quality Checklist method of personal change.
The checklist itself is a matrix. The row titles are particular behaviors we want to reduce or eliminate (including such things as eliminating missing certain opportunities--by using neg-
atives we eliminate lacks of initiative and the like). Rows are grouped into sections. Each row section is a particular type of defect we want to count regularly in our behavior and
reduce. The column titles are periods of self observation, wherein we count defects in each row category. There are three types of such periods--per day, per event (of some type you
choose), and per transaction (of some type that you choose). For example, everytime I attend a staff meeting at work I want to praise something good done by a colleague. Failure to
state that praise during the meeting I will count as a defect. I cannot count this defect nightly, that is, per day. I count it per event, that is, every time I have such a staff meeting, after
the meeting sometime, I make a defect count of changes in behavior I failed to make during that particular meetiing. That is what per event counts of defects are. Per transaction counts
are simply whenever I do a particular transaction, such as buy groceries, take the train to work, eat lunch. The difference between a transaction and an event is a bit vague. Events
bring people together, they also happen. Transactions are repeated activities, often more mundane than events (though many staff meetings in businesses can be more mundane than any
other thing in life).
A warning is in order. Wastes are things you do that produce little, nothing, or bad results. Some of them, however are dangerous to change. Some of them are valueless looking but
hide important rest, relaxation, and other activities that undergird other more intense periods of your daily life.
Missed opportunities are things that you know you would benefit from but you fail to try. People fail to latch onto such possibilities because of a mental error. People think their daily
lives are largely waste now and they can simply add on new functions. This is an illusion. In reality our lives, all of our lives, are filled completely. What appears as utter waste is
often essential change of context, relaxation, personal time away from people, or the slack that sustains intensities of various sorts in the rest of our time. If we eliminate our random
magazine perusals in the bath, we will find ourselves yelling at spouse or kids over trivial matters, for a common example. Thus, some of our “wastes” are not wastes at all. That is one
warning. Much of what we would eliminate is actually hiding essential functions. This generalizes somewhat, we have to kill off something we value in our lives to make time for
missed opportunities and new functions we would like added to our lives. If we understand that new functions or actual response to new opportunities in our lives requires us to shut
down something we now value, then change becomes possible for us. If we continue the illusion that we have slack and can simply add new functions or opportunities, we fail to
change, again and again.
At some point you fill in the row titles and row section titles. When you do that you choose what event and what transaction to count defects for. Then you decide when each day to
count the defects of that day, and when to count defects after each event and transaction. You then regularly count defects for a period of 15 weeks. At the end of 15 weeks you plot all
your data on a spreadsheet, and take corrective actions depending on the general trend in defect counts for each row title. Some rows will have increasing rates of defects in spite of all
your counting effort. Some rows will have stable rates in spite of all your effort. Some rows, quite a few, usually, will have decreasing defect rates, rewarding you effort. For stable or
rising rows, you devise corrective actions. These get added to your row titles (failure to do one of these becomes a “defect”). You count defects another 15 weeks, then do this analysis
again, coming up with corrective actions for flat or rising count rows. After 30 weeks you can stop. Past experience shows that behaviors that do not change after 30 weeks of remind-
ing and self observation, will not change without major crisis or enormous change in your social and physical environment.
Earlier in this chapter I mentioned personal change capability as an upper limit on what management or leadership is possible. Followers will follow what you do not what you say. If
they see you never changing, they will never change, though they will cleverly look like whatever changes you impose. If you want to lead, you simply have to be observed making
long lasting regular changes in your self. Do that, and the people around you will feel the heat. They will know it is possible to change inspite of all their reluctance to do it. Do not
do that and your followers will know you are a typical phony leader, as most are, wanting others to make vastly more changes than they themselves are willing to make.
TABLE 15. Personal Quality Checklist
Defective Behaviors to Reduce Per Day Per Event or Transaction
occasion defect type your defect
for waste--its valuable function;
for rest, valued activity you’ll
remove to make room
Week 1 Week 2 Events Transactions
occasions for counting defects: m t w t f s s m t w t f s s
per day waste 1 1
2 2
3 3
missed opportu-
4 4
5 5
6 6
new function not
7 7
8 8
9 9
per event
event name:
waste 10 10
11 11
12 12
missed opportu-
13 13
14 14
15 15
new function not
16 16
17 17
18 18
per trans-action
waste 19 19
20 20
21 21
missed opportu-
22 22
23 23
24 24
new function not
25 25
26 26
27 27
Managing Complexity 47 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 15: Response Stopping and Substitution
Several places above in this chapter arguments have been made that going global requires going interior and that going interior is meaningless unless personal change occurs. Diver-
sity is handled when people use it to expand personal repertoires of response and when organizations use it to expand organization repertoires of response.
Personal change requires getting into the automatic response circuits of our nature (Sternberg and Kolligian, 1996). Much of what we do its complicated sequences of behavior prac-
ticed so well they are entirely automatic. Diversity at first irritates us because it requires building new response circuits that at first have no automatic elements, hence, are labored,
overly self-conscious, and distinctly slower than our usual behavior repertoire items. Of course, repeated practice with these new response circuits eventually makes them as effortless,
unconscious, and easy as those we have already learned.
Many people have never deliberately gone into their unconscious response circuit layer and tinkered around. Quite a few people, however, have less deliberately done so. When mov-
ing from childhood through adolescence to adulthood, quite a few times we confront childish response circuits inside us that embarrass us in public and cause us to “stomp out” such
response patterns as quickly as possible. We catch ourselves when just beginning to make such responses, and stop them (“bracketing” one’s own beliefs to follow an inference from
information given, appears to be a definitive mental operation learned in adolescence, see Kuhn, 1991). We then substitute new preferred responses for the ones that embarrass us.
Thus, we all have, in growing up, many times engaged in personal change of the automatic response circuits in our nature.
Personal Response Stopping and Substitution is merely the deliberate doing now of what we less deliberately did many times while growing up. Instead of doing it to handle the diver-
sity between adult styles and childish styles, we do it to handle the diversity of other professions, nations, genders, and the like.
This method requires slowing your response times. You train yourself to react slower to things. You stretch out your responses. During the extra time, often a few seconds, that this
provides, you notice your habitual response and you substitute for it a different better response. You then perform this new response with style and verve.
Method 16: Transferring Business Practices Across Cultures
The EuroDisney story is wonderful. Disney created a Disneyland in Tokyo that made tremendous profits. However, the Disney company, being careful about risk structured Tokyo
Disneyland so that local partners took most of the risk and got most of the profits. Not wanting to repeat that mistake when EuroDisney was later planned, the Disney company struc-
tured it so that it took most of the risk and would get most of the profits. However, EuroDisney was an immense failure, with a major restructuring that gave much future profits to
local investors. How could the same Disneyland that worked well in Japan work not at all in France?
Anyone with any global business experience just laughs at that question. Anyone with any commonsense at all guesses that something that works well in Japan, by definition, will not
work as is in France. The executives of French companies are immensely different people than the executives of Japanese companies--if nothing else an immense difference in math
ability is found. The executives of Disney did not think that way. They made a fundamental error.
They made the mistake of thinking that sets of business practices do not have cultures of their own and they made the mistake of thinking that sets of business practices do have cultures
of their own. They managed to make both these mistakes at the same time--a remarkable feat.
They did not examine in detail what the culture of Disneyland is and what the culture of Japan is, and what the culture of France is. They did not see particular interactions between
these cultures. They did, however, sense that Disneyland had a strong culture of its own that was “more important” than Japan’s culture and France’s culture, hence, no culture inter-
action analysis was required. If they had done detailed culture interaction analysis they would have found that Japanese culture matches Disneyland culture especially in childhood in
ways France’s culture does not.
Lincoln Electric, following the Disney disaster with Eurodisney, went global with their unique and long-lasting piece-work pay for performance system (that allowed many blue collar
employees to earn more than their company executives). They assumed, like Disney, both that their way of work had no culture of its own and that it had a culture of its own so strong
that interaction with other cultures was irrelevant. What they missed was piece-work pay systems of Lincoln Electric were, in many European countries, illegal--a small but fatal busi-
ness detail. A costly disaster ensued, forcing workers in the US who had not been involved in making the globalization decision, to pay for errors of their management.
The fact is that sets of business practices have cultures of their own (Berger, 1991). That means total quality control has a culture of its own; re-engineering has a culture of its own;
intranet networking has a culture of its own. Lincoln electric’s piecework pay system has a culture of its own; Disneyland has a culture of its own. The point is to see ahead of time the
interactions of each of the aspects of the culture of a set of workpractices with the aspects of the culture those practices are being transferred to.
It is actually a little more complicated than that. Sets of business practices are invented somewhere. They depend on many aspects of the culture of the somewhere that they are
invented in. However, many of these dependencies are never consciously realized and remembered. In other words Disneyland depends on aspects of southern California US business
culture but Disneyland does not realize just what those dependencies are. France is not southern California and its does not support Disneyland the way southern California does. So
you have to find the blocks to Disneyland and the enablers to it in southern California’s culture then see which of those blocks are missing in France, what new blocks are found in
France, and which enablers are missing in France, and what other enablers are found in France. Anything less than this will produce stupendous business failure on a regular basis as
a company takes its practices and spreads them around the world.
corrective actions 28 28
29 29
30 30
31 31
32 32
TABLE 16. Response Stopping and Substituting
type step description
self observation situation recognition recognize you are in a situation that usually leads to an unwanted response
delayed response delay any response in the situation--stretch out your reaction time
self control stopped response stop your usual response before it becomes overt
substitute response substitute a wanted response for the one you naturally would have produced
performance response delivery deliver this substitute response with passion and style rather than limply or in a pro forma manner
recognize new responses of others notice how this new response by you draws out of the person(s) you are interacting with different responses than you
usually draw out, helping you make further new responses
TABLE 15. Personal Quality Checklist
Defective Behaviors to Reduce Per Day Per Event or Transaction
Managing Complexity 48 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 17: Stretching the Dimensions of Personal Being
Religious orders, some of them for thousands of years, have developed intense disciplines of living (Wilson and Dobbelaere, 1998). Some never talk, taking vows of silence. Some
labor in menial occupations. Some work in the poorest environments of the world. Some serve the most dirty, miserable, and uncared for. Some live in war zones, among bombs and
bullets. The people taking up such terrific constraint sets can be anyone--professors, carpenters, housewives, bureaucrats, dancers, or any other role. Not coincidentally, such orders
tended to operate globally, going to new lands and destroying indigenous cultures in the name of better values in their own belief systems. Thus, there is a rather strict limit to what we
can learn about globalization from them.
There is a long tradition of learning from extreme values. The field of psychoanalysis was developed by examining patients with extreme manias and hysterias, discovering what was
going on in their lives and minds, then assuming smaller versions of those same dynamics operated in normal minds. We can view the disciplines of thought and action, achieved by
religious orders, as similar extrema, from which we can extract dimensions of possible human performance. Viewing several world religions, Taoism, Islam, Suffism, Roman Catholic
Monastic Christianity, Buddhism, the following dimensions of human being, stretched to extreme values in religious orders, show up.
By taking the below dimension of human existence and stretching them to extreme values in each dimension we educate ourselves in the diversity of human dimensions. We also begin
to see human capability as more plastic and changeable than we previously imagined it to be.
TABLE 17. Transplanting Business Practices Across Cultures
category step advice
cultures in
develop a model of aspects of any culture (see Personal Culture Assess-
ment table much above)
the more professional and grounded in real research this model is the better subsequent
steps; the Hannah Arendt social process model presented above can be used here
apply that model to characterize the culture of origin of a set of business
between 30 and 50 items is best; viewing a set of business practices in terms of what is
optional about them and what, if changed, would kill them, helps with this step
apply that model to characterize the culture of the set of business prac-
between 30 and 50 items is best; viewing what changes in work or life people would wel-
come and what changes they would resist helps here
apply that model to characterize the target culture into which you wish to
transfer the business practices
between 30 and 50 items is best
create culture
create a matrix of aspects of the culture of your set of business practices
as rows and aspects of the culture of origin as columns
in general this is a 30 by 30 or 50 by 50 matrix (I use a 64 by 64 matrix eventually but
first use a 16 by 16 matrix of higher level category labels from my 64 item culture mod-
els--see my Hannah Arendt model of social processes above)
create a matrix of aspects of the clture of your set of business practices as
rows and aspects of the target culture as columns
in general this is a 30 by 30 or 50 by 50 matrix
mark matrix
with syner-
gies and con-
at intersections of both matrices mark synergies (the origin culture
strongly supports the practices culture aspect; the target culture strongly
supports the practices culture aspect)
double pluses for strong support, single pluses for moderate support, single X’s for mod-
erate conflict and double X’s for strong conflict are useful
at intersections of both matrices mark conflicts (the origin culture
strongly hinders the practices culture aspect; the target culture strongly
hinders the practices culture aspect)
same as above
invent coun-
and ways of
using advan-
where the origin culture has a support that the target culture lacks invent
missing supports in the target culture are the major killers of business transplants--do this
step well
where the origin culture has a block that the target culture lacks invent a
way of using this opportunity
many businesses fail to take advantage of missing blocks in the target culture
where the target culture has a block that the origin culture lacks invent a
new blocks not present in the culture of origin are major killers of business transplants--
do this step well
where the target culture has a support the the origin culture lacks invent a
way of using this opportunity
many businesses fail to take advantage of supports in the target culture that the origin
culture did not have
TABLE 18. Stretching Dimensions of Humanness
Stretch dimension
Definition Explanation
Sample Ways to Stretch
word detachment (medita-
letting go of things you think are necessary; getting access
into your life of all the world’s lives and resources
operating on smaller and larger size and time scales
than others do
making 100 phone calls an hour; one employee out of
six reading great books while others work
engagement (prayer)
getting involved in deeper goals you were too scared to try
before; describing to the universe your troubles relating well
to it
operating on deeper goals using wider parts of the
world than others do
reading Sartre’s L’etre et le Neant; bitching at the uni-
verse as modern psalming
awareness (contem-
letting all dimensions of life into each moment, hour, and day;
shutting down ego, personality, needs, desire, till you are mas-
ter of the irrational machinery you were raised into and that
was raised into you
operating using more aspects of your self and less
aspects of it than others do
collecting pictures of everyone you most admire and
putting them on one office wall; making a list of each
aspect of your childhood and identifying how it dis-
torted your values, shrank the world you cared for
deed enleanment (pov-
sloughing needs that get in the way of your one primary goal operating with less needs than others; getting your pri-
mary goal becomes your only lifestyle
a week in a strange city entirely without money;
taking drastic changes of situation as reality kindly revealing
itself to you instead getting angry at the lost relevance of your
plans and intents
achieving changes in reality not planned tactics for
changing reality
zen meditation; meditation at the point of each crisis
focus (chastity)
sloughing goals that get in the way of your one primary goal operating with fewer goals than others; choosing pri-
mary goals that actualize dozens of other goals
using hobby, profession, job, and friend relationships
to achieve your one primary goal
presence knowing what you
know (meta-knowl-
acting on the knowledge you have knowing less than others in terms of unapplied knowl-
parallel projects for each of your major interests in life
doing what you do
achieving the intent behind what you are doing not just going
through motions
doing less than others in terms of not mistaking tactics
for purposes and accomplishments
operating with quality standards several notches above
the standards of your friends, competitors, and society
being what you are
being what your life ultimately means not what your life ini-
tially was born to be
being less than others in terms of sloughing your past
and more than others in terms of attempted futures
outgrowing every ten years all that your life up to
them seem pointed to
Managing Complexity 49 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 18: Leadership Shifts
An automobile company in Japan in the early 1980s put women in charge of a car development program, removing all the usual managers from all key positions and making them into
advisors, without authority to run things. The women were in charge, consulting the men from time to time. The result was the world’s first line of fashion cars--limited editions of
350,000 cars or so, sold to precise limited markets. The car the women designed was, in a thousand ways optimized for women drivers and business owners. It had windshields,
grills, and headlights that looked like a human face. It had a heart shaped body. It had interior storage places within reach of the shorter arm length of women. No men would have
put all of these features into a car. It took putting a new set of people in charge to get a totally new imagination into car making. After initial successes with this first program, old
people were put in charge of a car project; then college students, then the handicapped, and so on. In each case, thousands of changes, product designers had never thought seriously
of making were incorporated into successful car lines. Some of these features moved from the fashion car line into the company’s other car lines.
Putting a set of new managers in place of existing managers who have worked for much of their careers to attain their present positions is something most companies are incapable of.
It takes a very clever and trusted human resource management system to pull off.
Organizations do not want trouble more than they want success, in most cases. So they avoid diversity rather than try to leverage it. Moving a set of managers out in order to make
them consultants to successive different diverse sets of managers--females, youth, the elderly, professionals, and so forth--in some nations is too legally fraught with difficulty. In
other nations it is legally simple, and a way to use diversity that is there, powerfully, to obtain results that others, more legally constrained, cannot hope to match by asking men to
imagine what women want, to read reports about what women want, and so forth as in usual product development methods.
Method Eighteen: Just-in-Time Managing
The 60s revolutions--anti-war, women’s movement, civil rights for blacks and indigenous populations--and the rise of personal computing united across the internet--have together
blended into a new interest in de-centered, de-centralized, non-elite, parallel systems having many local centers of initiative not one central source of initiative. Initiative has recently
proven more profitable than control. T-shirt business culture on the West Coast has soundly defeated blue suit business culture on the East Coast of the US, for one example. Beer
bashes on Fridays with stock options for ordinary employees have defeated dress down Fridays and vacations to golf courses as rewards for employees. Indeed, entire corporations
have split into dead, non-growing blue suit halves and vibrant, wealth-producing t-shirt halves.
One fall out of this change in values, success, and prospects is managers and managing. Total quality, a social movement within business communities, installed social movement tac-
tics as permanent parts of organization structure in firms. It analyzed the inventories that companies borrowed money to keep and found ways to reduce them nearly to zero. Compa-
nies with 60 days of inventory could not compete against competitors with 2 days of inventory. Enterprise computing systems, vastly accelerated by the internet, made such inventory
reductions almost easy to achieve by making tighter coordination cheaper to achieve than earlier sloppy coordination. After physical inventories were thus eliminated to everyone’s
benefit, executives began to notice authority inventories in the form of a permanent inventory of managers, who, sometimes during the month delivered needed managerial functioning
but most of the month looked managerial to justify their rank and privileges. Executives began getting rid of this inventory too. The result--Just-in-Time managing--ways to deliver
manager functions without a permanent social class of managers.
Creating a diverse set of ways to deliver manager functions is another way for diversity and managing to interact. It is another way to manage diversity, this time, by diversifying man-
Method 20: Pain Sharing
When we have a solution or program we wish to implement some cultures thrive and others wimp out. Conceptual cultures tend to think having the right idea is 90% of the work and
they try to wing implementation, resulting in sloppy implementations, that make the original ideas appear to be wrong. Perceptual cultures tend to think that having the right idea is
TABLE 19. Cleavage Leadership Shifts
category step description
train train mangers to enable train existing managers to be consultants to cleavage manager sets
train cleavage managers train cleavage managers to do the roles of managers
train genba train “genba” to support the assumption breaking behaviors of cleavage managers
do replace usual managers
with cleavage ones
replace usual managers with cleavage manager set
optimize design optimize for design change not cycle time or cost down
measure effects measure feature changes that customers appreciate and ones that do not affect “buy” and “use” satisfaction
TABLE 20. Just-in-Time Managing--Achieving Managing Functions without a Social Class “Inventory” of Managers
Category Steps in the process
Specify function
Turn managing from a social class into a function
Measure exactly when the managing function is needed in a process or event
Measure exactly what type of managing function is needed
Measure exactly what amount of that managing function is needed
alternate delivery
Choose or invent ways of delivering that amount of that type of managing at that time, that outperform delivering it by a social class of “managers” constantly
Try creating a rescue squad of managers who are on call and when a team needs a particular managing function they rush over and provide it
Try creating workshop events for each major manager function that allow the team to perform the function on themselves by following workshop procedures
that capture excellent manager functioning
eliminate costs Eliminate the costs of using a social class to deliver a business function--managing:
eliminate: paying managers whether their managing function is needed everyday or not
eliminate: the generating of unnecessary manager functioning to look managerial and justify their salaries
eliminate: the politics that managers with a lot of free time on their hands get involved in
eliminate: the distortion of information from workers to executives that managers are largely responsible for
capture benefits Capitalize on the benefits of the line-employees performing managerial functions on themselves
capitalize on: more focus on essential managerial functions of a specific sort and duration needed at specific points in defined work processes
capitalize on; more precision on the type, amount, timing, and locale where managing is needed
capitalize on: the de-politicization and de-distortion of more direct, measured delivery of manager functions
Managing Complexity 50 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
10% of the work and they sweat implementation details so much that there is reluctance to think of solutions and commit to implementing them in the future. Obviously an optimal
approach would combine the conceptual and perceptual approaches.
One of the primary reasons that implementations fail is top down command. Leaders get people to do things and feel proud that they got people to do those things. They do not carefully
see the quality with which things got done. In particular they do not see the degree to which people went through the motions without putting their heart into the solution, the degree to
which people deliberately undermine the solution, the degree to which people look like they do the solution while keeping reality largely as it was before this “boss” came along, and the
like. Leaders want to look leaderly and they sell their successes getting people to do things, quite happily exaggerating reality or lying about it, knowing that it will take months or years
for others to discover any gap between what they sell and what really is there.
If we examine why people game solutions, undermine them, and the like we find that solutions are a random rearrangement of work load and work quality over most of the people
affected. Some people, get a lot more work or a lot of unpleasant new work from a particular solution, other people get a lot easier work or a lot less work from the same solution. This
unfairness of how any particular solution allocates work across a group, causes people to mightily resist solution implementation. Pain sharing is a simple accounting method for elim-
inating this source of resistance to and gaming of solutions. It is based on recognizing the diversity of effects of any proposed solution on those in a workgroup. By not pretending that
a solution has minimal or equal effects on the people around, it gets enthusiasm for solutions replacing sullen resistance.
1. create a matrix
2. the column titles are aspects of the solution your group has proposed implementing
3. the row titles are all the people in your work group affected in any way by implementation of the solution--either the implementation process or the final state of affairs
after full implementation is achieved
4. at each intersection put a mark: double plus for people whose amount of work will decrease and whose quality of worklife will increase as a result of that aspect of the
solution in the column; single plus for people whose amount of work will decrease or whose quality of worklife will increase; single minus for people whose amount of
work will increase or whose quality of worklife will decrease, double minus for people whose amount of work will increase and whose quality of worklife will decrease
5. at each intersection put, at the bottom of each box the number of extra minutes of work each week required by the solution aspect at the column title (+ minutes are
extra work time required and - minutes are decreased work time required)
6. select the single person who will receive the most negative effects of implementing the solution and the single person who will receive the most positive effects of
implementing the solution--assign the positive affects-receiving person to partner with the negative affects person to help them with their extra workload or quality of
worklife problem resulting from the solution’s implementation
7. select the person receiving the next most negative effects and next most positive effects and assign them as a pair to help the negative effects per do their work as in step
6 above; continue this till everyone has approximately the same amount of positive or negative overall effects from implementing the solution.
Recognizing the diversity of effects of any proposed solution and how those effects fall differently on different people at work, is key to good implementations, anywhere in the world.
Method 21: Social Process Rebalancing
Many of us have felt great community at times in our lives, though most of the groups we are among seem stunted or partial communities. There are social functions that, if all are
present and well balanced with each other, make a group a microcosmic civilization, containing everything humans value and are capable of. Most groups are, instead, sadly unbal-
anced, emphasizing money, forgetting human social relationships, exploiting well intentioned members, investing nothing to create trust between members in the future, and the like.
This diversity of social processes, some of which are formally included in group life and some of which are ignored, forbidden, or otherwise stunted, is another important type of diver-
In fact, the female gender prefers certain social processes and slights others. Older generations prefer others and slight others. Japanese prefer ones American slight and vice versa.
Each type of diverse group expresses its diversity, in part, by preferring social processes and slighting others, characteristically.
One way to specify any diversity that is there and to leverage it well is to characterize it in terms of what social process emphases and slightings constitute it.
The model below was created by a conference of several hundred people from East Asian and Southeast Asian nations modifying previous work by North Americans and Europeans.
The procedure for using the above model is simple:
Economy Polity
Distribution Productivity
Wisdom Style
Liberty Freedom
Natural Human Tools Forces Defense Police Legislation Juridication
Time Technology Quality Systems Norms Laws Mediation Execution
Resource Variation Property Markets Interests Plans Spaces Rights
Innovation Measure- Incentives Consump- Inputs Purposes Opportunity Checks
ment tion
Initiative No man’s Action Happiness Exercises Meanings BenevolenceStructures
Utterly Preserva- Drama Showing Language Art
New tion
the Way
Fame Haven Secularity Religion
Promise Novelty Covenant Skills Knowledge Generations Families

Modified from Greene, September, 1997
Managing Complexity 51 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
1. what is the strong point characteristic of the person or group in question
2. what is the cost of that strong point
3. what is the weak point characteristic of the person or group in question
4. what is the positive capability that weakness implies
5. what social processes in the 64 item quad model constitute the strong point in step 1 and the positive capability in step 4
6. what overly emphasized or over-used social processes constitute the strong point cost in step 2 and the weak point in step 3?
7. what slighted social processes constitute the strong point cost in step 2 and the weak point in step 3?
8. what tactics will allow the person or group in question to make better use of the slighted social processes and de-emphasize any overly dominant or over-used ones?
Method 22: Plotting Meeting Behaviors
Meetings in totalitarian societies are dangerous places; you can only lose in them. Meetings become purely ceremonial, all real work is done off line, usually by elites who arrange for
ordinary people to suggest the “right” things during the meeting. Much of the world lived under military dictatorship for hundreds of years until recently. Much of East Asia did so--
particularly Japan for 350 years and China for the last 400 years of her empire. The result is a profound tradition of useless meetings in which people say only what they guess the
party-line to be.
Much of the West, however, evolved the idea that conflict, openly expressed among different social strata and members in meetings, resulted in better social decisions than elites
manipulating such meetings for pre-arranged decisions. There are two ideas of openness here--open expression of ideas and open meetings where what gets decided in the meeting is
not known ahead of time.
In global management teams all over the world these two meeting paradigms clash--the totalitarian tradition of ceremonial meetings with the Western tradition of genuinely open meet-
ings in which real work gets done. If you take a group of East Asian people and try to get real work done in a meeting (or much the same thing, get a group to do workshop steps) you
end up very frustrated. In you are an East Asian in the West leading a meeting in which everyone is supposed to placidly go along with the general, pre-decided party-line, you end up
very frustrated. Ordinary employees feel no compunction about blasting an idea as a stupid waste of time, and badly conceived by uninformed people. These clashes--the totalitarian
in the democracy and the democrat in the totalitarian tradition--are among the greatest challenges to globalization since East Asia, Southeast Asia, and China proper are among the fast-
est industrialization areas in the world the past 20 years.
Another major divide in handling meetings worldwide is the pragmatist-artist divide. Lunch, dinner, initial meetings among business partners, and many other occasions are where
people come together to enjoy their limited time in this world for some people and are where you immediately start getting work done for other people. The warm cultures, you could
call them, bask in life itself at various times and places. The cold cultures, you could call them, shun life in favor of promoting concrete steps in parts of life. To the warm people,
concrete steps make people narrow and cause errors of value that undermine long-term outcomes. To the cold people, basking in life’s richnesses makes people lazy, slow, and unfo-
Let’s say you have a meeting with both of these divides present--totalitarian warm people, totalitarian cold people, democratic warm people, and democratic cold people. How do you
leverage that diversity well, in particular meetings?
There is a way. There is a neutral standpoint that all can agree to use that allows the group to find, what works among its divides, without any one faction imposing its way on the oth-
ers (Kaiser, 1990).
Researchers studied effective meetings some years ago. They categorized remarks that people made and counted the types of remarks made in particular meetings. They then mea-
sured which meetings people felt were effective compared to which one’s had productive results, and correlated these outcomes with frequency distributions of remark types. Certain
frequency distributions of remark types correlated well with productive meetings and others correlated well with unproductive waste-of-time meetings. More recently this work has
been repeated in different cultures. Different frequency distributions were found effective in different cultures. When people from two or more cultures were present in the same
meeting, there was a tendency for frequency distributions between the extremes of those attending to correlate with productive outcomes.
So, you can count the types of remarks of certain types, and get everyone present to evaluate the productiveness of the meeting for them. Gather this data for a few weeks or months
and, voila, you have a database telling you what pattern of distribution of remark types makes your particular group most productive. This method does not prescribe one “right” pat-
tern of remark types; its does not select among the favorite ways to meet of the various factions in your meetings. It is a neutral procedure. Instead of people pretending to know
ahead of time, you build a database that tell everyone what works. As the group finds that more of a particular type of remark makes meetings better and less of some other type, indi-
viduals end up voluntarily adjusting their own behaviors to incorporate this data. The group as a whole enforces this as people notice when too many mentions of a type of remark are
found to degrade group performance is being done.
TABLE 21. Three Meeting Behavior Typologies You Can Use
Typology Name Types of Categories
Types of Remarks
Basic Communication participation Bring in (people not participating)
Shut out (people dominating or irritating)
provision Seek info (ask for information)
Give info (that people have requested or that you think is needed)
checking Test understanding (see if you understand their points correctly)
Summarize (what you have heard)
assist Support (what others say)
Defend/attack (defend you statements/ attack others--this is not good behavior)
initiate Propose (new ideas)
Build (on ideas others have proposed)
Managing Complexity 52 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Three types of remark categorizations are presented in the table. Basic communication categories emphasize exchange of information without dealing with how it is treated. Scientific
thinking categories emphasize theory, hypotheses, measures of variable, positions, evidence for positions, and arguments about what is convincing evidence. Democratic rules of order
categories emphasize designing the meeting as the first agenda item in any meeting, and plural leaders, each leading a particular treatment the group suggests for handling particular
named groups of topics. Such meetings split into a meeting design process, done by a meeting design leader, and treatments of each topic in the design, each led by a possibly different
treatment leader. The flow of evolution is from basic to scientific to democratic. Any group that appoints someone to count the types of remarks each person makes and the meeting as
a whole contains, and that evolves from basic to scientific to democratic category sets, will gradually find distribution patterns of remark types that correspond with good and bad meet-
ing outcomes for those in the meeting and for those receiving the outputs of particular meetings. This allows vast improvement in handling the diversity of people in meetings without
imposing any one type of interaction on the group.
Method 23: Causal Diversity
In our everyday commonsense when there is a problem somewhere there is a cause somewhere nearby. We look for a cause near where the problem appears. Both of these commitments
are mistakes--looking for “a” cause and looking for it “nearby”. Most problems have many causes, not one or two, and those causes do not appear where the problem appears, but scat-
tered throughout the system the problem appears in. Simulations of non-linear systems quickly demonstrate how wrong our daily life folk commonsense really is.
So to find actual causes we have to undo several distortions in our minds--the leap from problem to solution being a prime one. Most of us, when a problem is stated to us, immediately
think of several solutions. Putting causal analysis between problem statement and solution imagination never occurs to us. Somehow we have stored up in our minds ready solutions
to whatever problems crop up. That alone should make us suspicious of our folk commonsense way of thinking. The fact that most of the problems in daily life that we “solve” reappear
days or weeks later, again and again, is a hint that our folk, automatically thought up solutions, were not real solutions at all. Between problem and solution we must labor to inject
actual causal analysis and that analysis has to seek plural not single causes and distributed not locally located causes. These three changes in folk commonsense reasoning are essential
for operation in any system having many inter-linked components, that is, most of life.
Why does folk thinking of our daily lives have these 3 distortions--automating solutions, single solutions, and single locale solutions? Blame is a good part of it. We tend to blame
things for causing things instead of doing actual causal analysis. Also we never collect data systematically in our folk lives. We observe what happens rather than conducting experi-
ments with various conditions to see what regularities are determining things. Our folk minds are not scientific but emotive, intuitive, and usually wrong when dealing with things other
than hunter-gathering on the veldt.
How does one diversify, then, his or her own causal analysis or the causal analysis of his or her group? See the table below.
Scientific Thinking
positions and supports express agreement
express disagreement/ambiguity
express pro-position/ con-position
give evidence for position
reasoning compare evidence quality for position
argue for what evidence has best quality
framework propose way of measuring variable and state measures obtained with it
propose hypothesis
propose theory
points suggest relation among points
give evidence for relation among points
challenge evidence given for relation among points
suggest modification of relation among points
start and stop the meeting describe situation needing understanding or decision
invite proposals of theory, hypotheses, measures, agreements, disagreements, or positions
summarize consensus of best positions and evidence thus far
declare time is up and whether consensus on winning position has been achieved and what it is
Democratic rule of order participation use person’s talent
challenge person’s weakness
meeting design propose agenda topic
propose treatment of topic
propose treatment leader of topic
propose time required for treatment of topic by leader
propose output of treatment of topic by leader
propose form of output of treatment of topic by leader
propose customer who receives output of treatment of topic by leader
propose postponable topics
assign outside-of-meeting treatment leaders for postponed items
design reasoning support proposal
suggest alternate proposal
suggest modification in proposal
oppose proposal
list reduction group similar topics
name topic groups
treating topics remind of treatment steps
suggest modification of treatment steps
play personal role in treatment
performance improvement ask for better playing of roles in treatment
remind of role, remind of time limit, remind of treatment type, remind of treatment leader
suggest how to better play roles in treatment
evaluate meeting quality for those in the meeting
evaluate meeting output quality for each external customer of the meeting’s outputs
TABLE 21. Three Meeting Behavior Typologies You Can Use
Typology Name Types of Categories
Types of Remarks
Managing Complexity 53 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 24: Democratic Rules of Order
Leadership strangely lacks diversity. The entire world seems to have one person on top of ten, twenty, or hundreds and thousands of others. The idea that one person, with their one
way, one personality, and one point of view could “manage” dozens of people well seems, to commonsense, strange. Careful research has found it hard to confirm major “leadership”
effects of actual leaders. Such research tends to find the groups want to feel led but resist mightily being actually led.
One way to get a handle on this is to look at the number of behaviors in ourselves we regularly change. Leadership equals changing people or it means nearly nothing. Since people
are in charge of themselves, if leaders want people to change they are going to have to induce people to self change. However, people expect others to undergo much self change while
undergoing very few changes themselves. This asymmetry of change expectations puts a hard upper limit on leadership possibility. If nearly all people expect others to change more
than they themselves are willing to change and if most followers of leaders follow not what leaders say but what they see them doing, then most leaders fail to lead in two ways--they
fail to undergo the self changes that would provoke follower following and thereby the fail to change followers.
Getting diversity into leadership is hard because those having leadership positions fight so hard and ofttimes dirtily to keep others from exercising leadership functions. The preva-
lence of monopolizing instincts within usual current leaders forces the world to get along with much less leadership functioning than it needs, as others are prevented from exercising
leadership functions by existing leaders. Also, the world gets more leadership functioning than it needs as leaders, a kind of permanent inventory of specially designated people, feel
compelled to look leaderly even when no leadership at the moment is called for. So we paradoxically get both more and less leadership functioning than we need.
If we could get various people to take up particular leadership functions when they are needed, or get groups to apply to themselves various leadership functions when they are needed,
instead of depending on a permanent inventory of a special social class called “leaders” or “managers”, then an important step toward getting diversity into leading would be attained.
The Democratic Rules of Order method gets one person leading a meeting changed into six or seven people leading each meeting.
How does it do this? First a meeting design leader asks questions (they are forbidden to provide any answers). The questions that they ask get the group to design a meeting that the
group then executes. The meeting design includes topic groups, suggested ways to treat each topic group, a person to lead the group in applying the treatment to its particular topic
group, a time limit for each treatment, and similar data for each topic group postponed to be handled not in this meeting but outside it. The design being done, the first treatment leader
gets up and leads the group in applying the first treatment to the first topic group within the appointed time and producing the output format agreed on during meeting design. Then the
second treatment leader gets up and does the same for his or her topic group. This continues till the meeting design leader closes the meeting by rehearsing action items accumulated
during the meeting and appointment of someone to be the meeting design leader of the next meeting. In this way each meeting has six or seven leaders, not one. Also in this way each
member of a group develops skill at leading first one then several treatments. Eventually all members become skilled at applying all treatments to new topics, making all competent at
leading the group. Democratic Rules of Order turn all members of any group into leaders of that group.
TABLE 22. Diversifying Causal Analysis
Fixing Solution Leaps Fixing Automatic Solutions Fixing Single Point Localized Solutions
Disciplined Solving Sequence Layered Causes Distributed Causes
describe the problem and the conditions in
which it seems to appear; articulate layered
causes (see right) then distributed causes (see
right); then devise solutions, not to the prob-
lem, but to handle the causes
ask what is hard about the problem, what is
hard about that answer, what is hard about
that second answer; then ask what causes
that last hardness, what causes that first
cause, and what causes that second cause
for two categories you invent plus the categories--human capabilities system com-
ponent, material system component, tools of work component, process of work
component, values-aims-politics component--perform layering causes; find simi-
larities among your final cause statements, group similar cause statements, those
groups are your “Root” causes, for which you devise solutions
TABLE 23. Democratic Rules of Order--Diverse Leaders and Methods (Treatments) for Each Meeting
category meeting function purpose
setting the
meeting con-
remind group of negatives from last meeting to be changed in today’s meeting continuous improvement
review meeting support role assignments for today’s meeting--note-taking secretary, board-drawing secretary, time-keeper, etc. back of the room leaders assist front of the room leaders
ask for reports from treatment leaders of items in last meeting postponed about how such items were handled make sure implementation does not become sloppy
rehearse limitations of present meeting in terms of who is present, and what external customers expect this meetingto produce keep expectations realistic
rehearse opportunities of present meeting in terms of what it can do even with limitations to go beyond external customer expectations of
keep expectations not depressed or cynical
review history for each meeting member of what treatments they have mastered and what they have not so group can help members
develop themselves by assigning new treatments to people that they have not led before
remind group of what role assignments would grow abilities of each
topic groups
invite topics for today’s meeting agenda contents are suggested not by leaders but by members
ask group to indicate similar topics, forming topic groups reduce overlap, redundancy, and tight relationships into single groups
ask group to name topic groups avoid leaders biasing via wording
ask group to prioritize topic group indicated first, second, etc. last to be handled members enact priorities not leaders
ask group to indicate which topic groups to be handled outside today’s meeting key to prioritization is deciding what cannot be done in today’s meet-
treatments of
topic groups
ask group to suggest good treatment types these are series of steps for treating certain topic types--a repertoire of
methods the group builds up over time
ask group to select good treatment types group selects not leaders
ask group to suggest good people to lead the selected treatment to be applied to the topic group group chooses particular leaders for particular treatments of particular
topics not vague general “leadership”
ask group to suggest time for treatment time setting is a subtler form of prioritizing
ask group to select time for treatment group decides not leaders
ask group who customers of treatment of topic group are, within and outside the group customers of meeting outputs have expectations that must be met or
the meeting appears ineffective
ask group what format of output will satisfy such customers group decides not leaders
leaders lead
handling their
assigned topic
let first topic group leader take over the group leading it in applying the treatment to the topic to produce the output that satisfies the cus-
tomers in the time allowed
several people lead, each handling a different topic group using a dif-
ferent treatment, with time limit, output format, and customer assigned
closing the
for postponed topic groups, reviewing what treatment, treatment leader, output format, customer, time duration, time and place it will be
postponed items are specified as exactly as included items; both have
leaders of their topic groups
for each action item collected during the meeting reviewing who will treat it how, for what time duration, with what output format, for
what customer
actions decided en passing while treating a topic are specified as
exactly as topic treatments themselves
ask the group to suggest meeting design leader for next meeting group decides who leads it
ask group to state positives about current meeting evaluate current meeting
ask group to state negatives about current meeting to be changed in next meeting evaluate current meeting with items to be enforced in next meeting
appoint note-taking secretary, board-drawing secretary, time-keeper, and any other meeting support roles for next meeting group assigns people to these roles considering what needs for growth
members have
thank people for their time and attention and the chance to lead the meeting’s design courtesy
Managing Complexity 54 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 25: Handling Human Plurality with Polises
Why is there politics? Philosophers answer “because there is human plurality”. There is more than one person on the planet, hence, disagreement, divergent values, cooperation, bat-
tles, divergent needs, divergent interests, war, and so on. Politics, taken overall in all its history and forms, is the human attempt to come to terms with plurality, or, in the context of this
chapter, diversity (Arendt, 1957). Yet the idea of “be political” as a prescription for dealing effectively with diversity does not appeal.
One approach is to ask if there is some polity type, within all our political present and history, that is especially conducive to diversity, tolerant of it, useful for seeing and using it well.
Indeed, some political philosophers argue that the ancient Greek polis and its modern guises--quality circles, NGO local chapters, social automaton process basic units--are such a polity
type (compare this with “practicing positive politics” in Egan, 1994). What they all share is they are a space of appearing before peers to show excellence of word and deed. The
dynamics of polis polity arrangements were summarized in the Mintzberg model earlier in this chapter.
Modern polises are often units in giant social computational processes. The workgroups in a bureaucracy, however, report results upward and receive orders downward. This vertical
computational process has become outmoded as the coordination functions done by the middle layers can now be done by computers in the internet. It is being replaced by horizontal
computational processes along value chains to external customers, with the drivers being customer requirements at one end and technical capability developments at the other end of
these chains. The computations pass horizontally among teams or workgroups in several cooperating organizations.
However, the purely functional nature of such giant social computation processes omits the diversity of the people playing roles in those processes. To omit the diversities, of various
sorts, of the people playing those roles, is to omit the entire political dimension of life, according to political philosophers. The chance to appear before one’s peers to speak words
judged excellent and to report deeds remembered throughout history by community retelling of stories, is the political function, much omitted these days in favor of household manage-
ment functions. Omission of this political dimension makes modern societies non-political assemblies and modern governments a-political household management institutions. The
result of lives totally denuded of the political function is tremendous loneliness, inspite of being next to others, that breaks out in explosions of violence.
Modern polises--circles, local chapters, social automaton basic units--that are places for purely functional work and that omit the appearing before peers to present excellent words and
deeds--are not true polises and are not political at all. They are dangerous, stunted, conveniences of social computational machineries.
By creating polises out of such stunted current units, you bring diversity into the center of community life and encourage a diversity of excellent deeds. Knowing there is a community
of peers who will remember one’s deeds and immortalize one by retelling the story of your great accomplishments, salves egos wounded in the anonymities of modern social life.
Diversity cannot be leveraged among lives ignored.
Method 26: Community Quality Cabaret
Much of twentieth century art was inspired by goings-on in Le Chat Noir, a cabaret in Paris in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first two of the twentieth (Segel,
1987). It had the unusual feature of two audience sections, one reserved for practicing artists, who also became the performers, improvising things, and the other reserved for the general
public, though in later years only kings, queens, and presidents could get reservations there, so great was its popularity. The general public, through this arrangement, could see what
artists wanted to try out before other artists. The result was no dumbing-down for the public, rather mutual encouragement of really avant garde ideas and approaches. Thought too far
out for the public at first, it was evidently quite appropriate for the public a decade later.
Art, whether we like it or not, predicts. It presents strange, disorienting, and sometimes beautiful images to us now, that become the world we grow into later. It challenges current
tastes, self images, and lifestyles. It separates people from their own separations into conscious and unconscious parts. It gets unconscious parts talking to consciousness. It gets the
rich seeing the poor and vice versa. It gets people to see themselves, as they are and could be, not as they wish they were.
Organizations without art cannot see themselves and cannot participate early in their own coming futures. They lack early warning systems. They end up looking dumb and clumsy in
the press--big corporation X discovers personal computing seven years after most of the rest of the world does, for example. If lack of art is this harmful, why do many groups lack it?
Broadcasting in a word is one major reason. We borrow art that does not come out of our experience, rather than generate art out of our own experience. There are commercial reasons
that broadcasting grows till most lives lack all art. The content of broadcast art becomes so slovenly, so lowest-common-denominator like that few realize that years of “watching” have
nearly entirely removed performing from their lives. Lives without performance become consumer husks, with no souls inside.
A second reason we lack art is the talent problem. School systems in some nations present art as a matter of having talent. Children are segregated into talented ones and ones lacking
talent. Talent, it turns out, is assessed in the most arbitrary and sloppy way in these school procedures--the kid who copies his mother’s drawing style (his mother being an artist by pro-
fession) is declared “talented” while the kid next to him, whose drawing shows real imagination but terrible execution because no one in generations in her family participated in art is
declared “untalented”. These causal, early, brutal, and non-professional labellings do immense harm. The vast majority of entire populations become convinced they lack talent.
Their role is to consume art, not generate it. Their role is to admire the experiences expressed by people who have real talent. This system also means that most of the experiences in
life go un-art-ed. Artists, do art and since they live artist lives, they miss immense kinds of experience that non-artists have. Listen to any FM radio spectrum in any nation and you will
hear a sameness to the rhythms and lyrics of music that makes it clear that teenagers having nearly no experience of life are the primary customers of CDs. The stresses of job life go
unsung. The loves of fifty year olds go unsung. The ups and downs of communities trying to revive themselves go unsung. Go to art museums in any city of the world and you will
see no art hanging around on job stress, fifty year olds in love, or reviving communities. The fact is nearly all of human experience goes unexpressed by art because artists become a
professional caste monopolizing the generating of art. Art as a group, any and all groups, expressing, giving form to their experience, is destroyed and replaced by masses consuming
images about the experiences of a professional caste of artists, whose experiences are a tiny fraction of those of the masses they sell to. Excellence of technique defeats the social pur-
pose of art as expression and imagery invention.
The Greek idea of political life was not citizens determining foreign policy or domestic tax rates, in the first instance. It was a regular forum where citizens gathered to inspire each other
with word and deed. It was a space of appearing before peers, a chance to make one’s life immortal by so conducting one’s life that it generated stories told after one is dead. Perfor-
mance, in this sense, is being political. Modern lives so lack all political participation, in this sense, that it is no wonder that people become deluded with video games and leap into
homicidal manias.
The history of karaoke in world popular culture is interesting in this regard. I went to a Holiday Inn in Chicago for karaoke, after years of doing karaoke in Japan. The difference was
amazing. In Japan, around a small bar holding ten or twelve people, people pass around a microphone, in turns, singing songs. Customers learn the nature of the other customers and
amuse, inspire, enthrall them by appropriate song selection as the night rolls along. The mama-san, the woman running the bar, knows the customers well, and works to keep all happily
involved ( and drinking up a large bar tab). In the American Holiday Inn the small bar is replaced by a large stage with floodlights. Passing the mike from one customer to another is
replaced by competition to “be the best”. Song selection changes from learning other customers natures and inspiring them to defeating the previous best singer with something
grander. At the end of the Japanese karaoke evening, you have new friends, though most will be poor singers. At the end of the American evening, you have heard one or two semi-pro-
fessional people beating all others.
This story is powerful because it presents two images of performance, broadcast culture performance and local society performance. The American karaoke evening has all the profes-
sional equipment of “performance” as something we observe, while sitting on our bottoms, passively before the TV or in a concert. The Japanese karaoke evening has little professional
equipment of performance. Instead it offers songs as a way to create a small new little community among customers, with the bar owner orchestrating the social dynamics of getting to
know each other through song. Broadcast performance seeks excellence through victory and defeat in a professional emotionally distant setting. Local society performance seeks inti-
TABLE 24. The Polis Polity Type as a Way to Leverage Diversity
polity dynamics definition impact on diversity
distinction pull this type of polity pulls participants to distinguish themselves from other participants
by outdoing each other in word and deed
directly encourages diverse accomplishments
elected centralization and
this type of polity elects its current structure from time to time so that its form of orga-
nization continually changes as members elect different degrees of centralization or
directly selects diverse organization forms
campaign staff the key part of the organization in this polity type is the campaign staff who define
projects, provisionally committed to by the community, and who carry them out
the projects that each campaign amount to are diverse
standard participation the touchstone of valid membership in this type of community is whether you fully
participate in the community’s events and campaigns, with a quality type of “fully”
being once in a great while great deeds and a quotidian type of “fully” being regular
daily good deeds that never attain greatness perhaps
unwanted diversity is diversity of participation except for a
norm of great heroes with a past record of extraordinary accom-
plishments are afforded the chance to withdraw and reappear
only at infrequent intervals
deed groups the form of organization that emerges over time from this polity form is deed groups--
members who happened to accomplish something wonderful that the community still
tells stories about and tries to outdo
several such groups are usually present
historic environment the environment against which this polity type struggles is history--the record of great
deeds done before by members in the past
the record varies by what each era required of the polis
Managing Complexity 55 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
macy through self disclosure in a non-intimidating close setting. Stated this way the American karaoke experience is male--rank determining, combative, dueling egos--while the Jap-
anese karaoke experience is female--intimacy, self-disclosing personalities. Male performance versus female performance.
Many corporations have an art, overtly or covertly threaded through their daily life routines. However, most corporations have purely male art performances, or female only ones.
Few corporations self diagnose their own excess maleness and emphasize feminine values to compensate, or vice versa, self diagnose their own excess femininity and emphasize male
values to compensate.
The Community Quality Cabaret is a way for groups, even quite large groups, to self diagnose their own culture of the past year, and design new values, habits, and role models to com-
pensate for over-emphases and under-emphases, and other imbalances found. It is a way for organizations to generate the culture they need to get themselves as organizations to grow
rather than generate the culture they need to feel smug, self-satisfied, and convince gullible customers that a duck is really a swan.
That brings us to corporate cultures. Corporations do have cultures. The vast majority of such cultures are fostered by top executives completely uneducated about culture in any pro-
fessional sense, hence, nearly all corporate cultures foster the unity illusion, well reported in anthropology research 80 and 100 years ago (Trice and Beyer, 1993, p. 171). The unity
illusion is the idea that an organization has one culture. This has been true only in totalitarian groups or equivalent religious cults (Trice and Beyer, p. 424). In non-totalitarian groups,
there has never been found “one” culture at work. Rather, hosts of subcultures interact in complex patterns, creating overall emergent culture phenomena that no one plans, intends, or
designs. The overall culture patterns of any real, non-totalitarian organization, are emergent, not designed, and dynamic, not stable.
Top executives who design, foster, spread, and enforce a unitary corporate culture thereby end up unconsciously fighting the emergent culture patterns already there and continually
appearing. This fight de-rationalizes action, erodes value support for practices, and is called complexity tampering--top down plans for higher level parts of an organization, made
without noticing the way lower level units interacting generate emergent patterns at that higher level.
Why do corporate executives engage in harmful complexity tampering by imposing unitary corporate cultures? CEOs report to boards of directors who, when not putty in the hands
of the CEO, have kinds of change they insist the organization make. The question is really, what “is” the organization that must do the changing. CEOs err by assuming a unitary
organization “is”, when what “is” is competing fiefdoms, subculture groups, historic factions, and the like in a complex mix. If a major crisis permits, the easy route is declaring all
such variety part of a failed past. If no major crisis justifies such dumping of organization variety then tactics for mobilizing something complex and interacting have to be imagined.
Business magazines all too often, tend to report crisis-handling CEOs as heroes--Jack Welch saving moribund GE, Gerstener saving wayward IBM. These stories are easy to write.
Unfortunately, they are the easier type of leadership--declaring all past variety as bad, cleaning the slate, starting afresh. Few real CEOs have this luxury (the ones I have talked to
lacking this luxury make fun of the Jack Welch “fan club” of what they consider naive CEOs). Solidarity in Poland is a case in point. The press hunted for a single creative leader who
did Solidarity, selecting Lech Walensa out of hundreds of equally good candidates. They invented a history for Solidarity that turned spontaneous cooperation among hundreds of labor
organizations into one man’s “leadership”. This makes an inspiring story at a cost of hiding the diversity, the interacting of local units, that really were there and that really overthrew
the communist government. Hannah Arendt laid out all of these dynamics of social revolutions in her book On Revolution, 50 years ago.
So we have corporate cultures of the unitary illusory sort hiding the diversity basis of the organization’s overall patterns and outcomes from employees gullible enough to believe the
corporate story. I used to teach in an MBA program and mentioned in my lectures that Z corporation won the Malcolm Baldrige Award for best quality while still having a product
development cycle time twice as long as their Japanese competitors. Employees of Z corporation, walked out of my lecture after I mentioned that and dropped my class. This is the
unitary, diversity-denying corporate culture at work, showing its charms. The unitary story retells corporate history as pure victory, minimizing or excusing away any defeats as tem-
porary smirches on a generally glittering march of progress. If an inconvenient fact--your corporation won a quality prize without being able to develop products within a period twice
as long as your chief competitor’s cycle time--appears, employees consider themselves and their corporation insulted by the fact and by persons bold enough to know and mention it.
Reality is impolite to such employees and the unitary illusion corporate cultures that sustain them. Any person or group for whom reality becomes impolite is already dead, there
remains only the exact timing of the funeral.
Community Quality Cabarets are ways to get the diverse elements within the organization to generate arts that transition the organization from its present to its desired futures, by see-
ing how reality is getting in the way and figuring out ways of responding to reality with new values, practices, role models and the like. Community Quality Cabarets are employees
designing new corporate cultures for their corporations on a regular on-going basis. One such cabaret a year, performed before all the employees, suppliers, and organizational cus-
tomers of the corporation, in a few weeks of 2 hours per night performances, becomes the signature event marking what each year was about for the entire corporate family. It
becomes a place where each member of that diverse community inspires new growth and images in other members. It becomes a place where bureaucratic groups get emotionally
pulled outside their fears, and inspired to have enough courage to change. It becomes a time where side-effects of past efforts that split the organization painfully get counteracted,
healing those splits. It becomes a place where all parts of the organization invent stories that tell the meaning of their past year for themselves, their organization and their customers.
Once you have experienced this as a yearly dynamic, it becomes unimaginable to live without it. It is like a family life without New Years, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Buddha’s birth-
day and the like.
Method 27: Managing by Events
In Just-in-Time Managing you try to devise ways other than a social class of managers, as a permanent inventory, for delivering the managing functions. Events are one way, other than
a social class, to deliver such functions (Greene, 1993). They have a side-profit of greatly spreading and deepening individual and organizational learning (in two of three organization
memory ways--procedure and advice networks--given in Sandoe in Prietula et al, 1998)
Leveraging diversity is hindered when you have not specified the types of diversity around you and particular ways to apply some of those types of diversity to help particular work
process steps. Really two inarticulations are involved: unarticulated diversity and unarticulated work process steps.
In the world of departments and top-down control, where employees “professionally” do roles and the whole person is not wanted at work, the diversity is fixed, stable, and limited.
The diversity is the diverse departments and sections into which the organization is functionally divided. The trouble is, inertia makes it very hard to quickly eliminate such sections
so the tendency is to handle environment changes by adding new sections. Overlapping missions, budget competition, and lack of focus increase till the organization overwhelms its
own purposes.
In the world of processes, horizontally managed so that different functions and professions cooperate to satisfy external customer wants, the diversity is fixed, in terms of participating
departments. What changes is particular cooperations among departmental functions to handle evolving customer requirements. This is a step towards greater flexibility but a modest
In the world of events, vertically cascaded throughout a fixed organization or organization set and horizontally thus cascaded, diversity is in the type of events, the subsets of the orga-
nization combined in them, and the ways people’s minds and experience are used in the event procedures. These three types of diversity substantially overpower the diversity attained
in process management and department management systems.
diverse types of events
diverse subsets of the organization(s) vertically, horizontally
diverse ways people’s minds are used in event procedures.
There has been a trend toward process management from department management (ushered in by the total quality movement in the late 1970s). There has been a trend toward event
management from process management (ushered in by the internet revolution in the early 1990s). Process management proponents used to state that departments were bad and pro-
cesses were better. That was never true. What made department bad was turfism, career systems creating giant incentives for people to optimize career outcomes at the expense of
organization outcomes, largely by growing their departments, regardless of the effect of that on the organization’s customers.
TABLE 25. The Community Quality Cabaret
Pre-Work: Community Spirit Analysis Work: Holding Several 2-Hour Performances
Post-Work: Inserting Images from Performances Into
Community Life
The challenges, successes, failures of the past year are
compared to the challenges, needed successes, and pos-
sible failures of the next year, in each of 64 parts of
community life; where the community is denying real-
ity is specified; images and role models of the particu-
lar types of courage, care, effort, and change needed to
handle the transition between years are invented and
turned into arts: comedy, song, drama, dance etc.
Each performance consists of welcoming-performance,
performance, and departure performance; a four-part
theme pervades all time scales fractally--repeated as the
theme of each act, each artwork in each act, each verse
within each artwork, etc.; four roles conduct the perfor-
mance--overt performers, hidden performers in the
audience, service staff performers, secondary simulated
audience members
The process of setting up the cabaret and following it up involve
performances along the themes of the particular cabaret perfor-
mance involved; copyrights to all performed material are turned
over to the community for free use during the next year; perfor-
mances are repeated till all members of a community, all organi-
zations of a community, all suppliers or customers of a group are
teams of two--an expert with a novice--practice particu-
lar art acts for inclusion in the cabaret performance--so
the cabaret does not become flaunting of talents by
already well known performers
particular roles, attitudes, and practices of the past year
are made fun of, their weaknesses shown; particular
roles, attitudes, and practices of the next year are imag-
ined, their good and bad points explored, the comedy
and drama of transitioning to them explored
the follow up is primarily voluntary; if the performance is good,
local groups within the organization will on their own initiative
copy and expand use of the images provided
Managing Complexity 56 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Process management systems, when in place for a few years and made required steps in career ladders for becoming vice president, became as turfistic as departments. Each process
manager growing his or her process at the expense of the organization as a whole serving its customers. It is not departments or processes that are the problem but turfism--career sys-
tems creating incentives to optimize self outcomes rather than organization outcomes.
Artificial intelligence movements within business in the late 1970s and early 1980s, found lots of ways that knowledge was underutilized, misused, and misdeployed. Artificial intelli-
gence software could handle around a third of these cases cost effectively, leaving two thirds, initially, with no way to handle them. Knowledge management arose in the late 1980s as
a way of handling the knowledge problems that complicated software was not effective handling. As total quality’s influence blended into management commonsense in general and
mixed with knowledge management experience, a new image of the meta-cognitive corporation arose. Such corporations manage self-consciously their cognitive assets, set overall
workforce cognition at competitive levels through standard training and cognitive promotion criteria, continuously improve knowledge utilization, and target particular cognitive func-
tions that help generate current problems.
The general de-centralization revolution ushered in by the total quality movement combined with personal computing and internet coordination software replacing middle management
control caused a new image beyond the meta-cognitive corporation to arise--Computational Sociality. This is using workforces as an ordered array of intelligent human processors, in
analogy with massive parallelism in computers. Computational Sociality sees various computations passed over arrays of employees. For example, the total quality method called Pol-
icy Deployment, is a particular goal setting analysis cascaded down and up organization levels, while a related quality method called Quality Function Deployment, is a particular cus-
tomer requirement meeting analysis cascaded across organization functions and organization boundaries. Such social computations if managed as social computers of a sort, harness
workforce cognitive power in new ways unimagined in earlier eras (though in World War II US scientists at Princeton University filled football stadiums with students each assigned
particular computational roles, in order to quickly calculate trajectories for missiles and artillery).
The fundamental idea underneath Managing by Events is getting a great many people to do quickly functions that a small specialized staff would otherwise take weeks or months to do.
The second fundamental idea underneath it is getting the world’s best experts at doing some function to design procedures for ordinary people to use to do the same function in mass
workshop events. This was unimaginable till artificial intelligence did protocol analysis of tens of thousands of experts who had claimed there was no method to their work, finding par-
ticular mental operations these experts used that they had been, for decades, unconscious of. The third fundamental idea underneath Managing by Events is computational sociality--
distribution procedures across an array of workshop groups that pass messages among each other hourly and daily, so that 40 or so parallel workshops, benefit from knowing intermedi-
ate results of related workshops. The fourth idea undergirding Managing by Events is the changing nature of employees--their greater education level--and the changing nature of work-
-knowledge economy rise--which together change leadership--from telling people to designing procedures by which people can tell themselves what needs doing.
There are powerful benefits of Managing by Events rather than by departments or processes:
speed--events get functions done faster than processes or departments
organizational learning--events expose employees to many more functions than departments and processes do in the same amount of time
de-politicization of decisions--events publicly expose private interests and by following explicit design workshop protocols minimize ability of private interests to opti-
mize outcomes for their private gain
mixing diverse elements--events allow precise use of particular kinds of diversity to enhance what those types can enhance.
There are many ways to generate event types to use. I prefer 85 types of events, one for each box on the social process quads diagram presented earlier in this chapter. This chapter is
not the place to explain each one. Instead I will just make some general observations that apply to all 85 event types. First, each event actualizes in a fast, intense, mass participation
way the social function it is attached to. Second, each event is composed of a set of parallel acts, workshops, investigations, or the like that exchange intermediate results with each
other hourly, daily, or weekly. Third, experts are used before such events to design procedures for them. Then, the procedures the experts suggest are modified to make them more
ambitious than the patronizing attitude most experts fall into when designing procedures for “amateurs” to do. It does no good to ask the experts not to patronize; better helpfully ask
each expert how to simplify, while noting what the expert is simplifying from, then later execute that “from” in the procedures. Fourth, each day of any event must have a celebration,
study, relaxation, private, public appearance, conflict, cooperation, and generosity component for each member to participate in. Fifth, each 3 or 4 hour unit’s work must produce a tan-
gible output that is published and distributed daily to all other workgroups in the event. Sixth, everyone playing a leadership role in any part of each event must have a shadow who has
seldom or never led anything, who does 50% of the leading along with the experienced leader. In other words, half the leaders of each event are people utterly new to leading and prob-
ably quite scared of it. Sixth, people should in each such event work considerably harder, at greater quality levels, and at times at greater speed levels than in daily life, but this should
be alternated with as many periods in which people are put in relaxed and enticing environments in which to meet strangers and hear the ideas and experiences of the variety of people
working in the event.
Each event is created by a preparation period of some weeks and followed by a follow up period of some weeks. The themes, styles, and unique contents of each event are folded into
the set up process of mini-events and the follow-up process of mini-events except that the follow-up process should be different themes and so forth based on what the actual event cre-
ated that the set up process did not anticipate.
In general, existing leaders of any community should be menial servant roles in these events and second and third tier people should be promoted to major leadership roles (where they
are accompanied by shadow leaders, who do 50% of the leading). That way the top people can influence things informally, not formally, and must dialog with the real power being in
the hands of people who usually kowtow to formal leaders. This, if done well, allows a kind of echo to develop of desires, insights, and methods frustrated under usual leaders but
released temporarily in these events. This educates both the formal leaders as to the cost of their leadership and the second and third tier people as to the cost of their kowtowing.
In some of these events you have 2000 people divided into 200 workshop groups of 10 people each, with each workshop group doing different expert procedures for a different output
than all other such groups. An immense amount of work can be done in such a format. For example in three days all customers of a company can be interviewed about future plans or
present satisfactoriness of the company; eleven hundred scientists around the world working on the same topic can all be phone interviewed building a knowledgebase on the very latest
thinking in a key field, twelve thousands books are outlined, summarized, and turned into comprehensive models in two days, and like deeds are possible. There are entire classes of
accomplishments unimaginable save you have hundreds of people in intense workshop events cooperating together. That comes in part from the vast speed up in cycle time that mass
event forms of work produce compared to process management or department management. While your competitor mails out questionnaires to customers twice a year, you physically
visit every last customer yearly getting richer, more heartfelt, detailed data, for one example. The internet, using software by companies like PlaceWare Inc., is making new even wider
kinds of events possible for delivering managing functions.
Managing Complexity 57 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered

Method 28: Emotion Mapping
One of the irritating aspects of encountering diversity is fast, big, important emotions that one ofttimes does not exactly identify. Frustration gets stated as anger; confusion gets stated
as helplessness, when we fail to identify emotions exactly. Finding out just what feelings you have, can reduce many large-scale threat situations to something far more manageable.
Recent research combining cognitive psychology with social psychology and existentialist philosophy has produced a map of emotion types that helps people locate exactly what their
feeling are and mean.
People, both individuals and groups, start out by finding a word for their emotion. That is not what is done in emotion mapping. Rather, in this method, people or groups figure out
what they are reacting to, and by going top down in the table below, they select alternatives and answer questions, all further specifying what it is that they are reacting to. By going
through this mapping process, they come to the emotion they are feeling, but, having gone through the table, they now know what situation or what in their situation is generating this
feeling and why it is this particular feeling that they are having. Note that the emotion words in the table below are categories representing dozens of related words that differ in the the
intensity of feeling involved. For example, “anger” in the table below represents a whole spectrum of intensities from pissed off to murderous rage.
Two of the rows in the table below contain variables that do not affect what emotion type you have but that do affect the intensity with which you feel that emotion. The global vari-
ables row contains four variables that affect how intensely you feel all the emotion types. The local variables row contains seven variables divided into four groups. The variables in
each group are local, affecting only the intensity of emotion for the emotion type whose column they appear below.
Going through the table below to find the emotion you already are having (or to better specify what you are feeling), gets you inside how your own mind reacts to events, agents, and
objects. You see your emotion as directing your attention, better said, mobilizing your attention to certain parts of your environment. This is a kind of internal perspective on your
emotion, getting you out of the object (agent or event) that you feel things about. You replace “I hate you” with “I am reacting to a dependency I made on a promise from you some
time ago that you have now violated, leaving me with no place to depend on and uncertain prospects for the immediate future”. This latter protocol of reaction reveals how you are
structuring your self to have certain emotions. Change your prospects, dependencies, or other internal attitudes and commitments and you will not have to feel the same emotions.
This gives back to you a degree of control over what emotions you feel and what the emotions that you do feel do to you.
Diversity, as was stated in the beginning of this chapter, generates a whole plethora of emotion. Tracing back how your self is so structured that these emotions result, is the beginning
of restructuring your self for better emotional interacting with diverse others.
TABLE 26. A Self Diagnostic Map of Emotion Formation (modified from Ortony et al, 1988)
You are reacting (having a feeling not just a thought like “surprise”) to which of the following:
consequences of events actions of agents aspects of objects
GLOBAL VARIABLES: how real is the situation and how much are you accepting it as real; how expected, in the sense of how normal, is the situation: how aroused are you by relevant or irrelevant immediately prior things; is there an
effective way you have of coping with the situation or not?
You are pleased or displeased with You approve or disapprove of You like or dislike
the consequences for others the consequences for yourself your self as an
an other as an agent
which are desirable
for them
which are undesir-
able for them
Are the consequences of the event rele-
vant to you?
Are the conse-
quences of the
event irrelevant to
the object
LOCAL VARIABLES: what is the degree of desir-
ability, deservingness, liking involved?
what is the degree of likelihood, effort, realization
what is the degree of deviation from expectation
what is the degree of
familiarity involved?
happy for
Economy Polity
Culture Founda-
Peace Justice
Welfare Anticipation
Symbol Diversity
Natural Human Tools Forces Defense Police Legislation Juridication
Innovation Measure- Incentives Con-
Initiative Action Happiness Exercises Structures
Processes Promise Novelty Skills Knowledge Generations Families

Tamp- Fatal
Quality Systems Norms Laws Media-
perty Markets Interests
Spaces Rights

Purposes Opportunity Checks
Drama Showing the
Fame Haven
system dynamics
Modified from Greene, September, 1997
Quality Cabaret
Venture Founding
Town Meeting
Culminate the
Self Automation
Job Shrink
Customer Sat
Pain Sharing

Town Meeting
Quality Fair
Hidden Agenda
System Effects
Visitation Consult
Bridge Breaking
Kept Workout
Action Inventory
Deployment Fair
Star Cascade
Success Costing
System Effects
Social Simulation
Demo Events
Founding Days
Measures Fairs
Invention Way
Civilizing Leap
Managing Complexity 58 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Method 29: Comedies of Expectation
The punch line in a joke is often where a series of already presented incidents that were “naturally” interpreted in one frame get explosively re-interpreted in a different frame. The bell-
boy stops outside a door in the hotel hearing words of explosive sexuality “push harder, haarrrder! Now jump! Jump higher! Thrust hard! Thrust really hard!” He visualizes a
woman on top of a man, during intercourse. Excited the bellboy leans against the door for more. Suddenly the door swings open and he sees a fully dressed man and woman jumping
together on top of a giant over-stuffed suitcase. Everything he understood in the sex frame, make equal sense in a suitcase closing frame he did not think of till the door opened. In this
way jokes, with their punchlines, cause people to explosively re-interpret sequences of events from another frame of reference. Encounters with diversity frequently constitute the same
multiple frames viewing the same sequence of acts that constitute jokes.
Ethnic jokes, all over the world, have developed a well deserved bad reputation. They denigrate the diverse, the other, the newcomer in favor of the old, the bigot, the narrow. In many
corporations such jokes are career destroying. The reverse of the ethnic joke, comedies of expectation, however, are legal and for good reason. They praise the other, the diverse, the
newcomer. I call “comedies of expectation” scenarios that embody the humor of trying to expand personal repertoires of response with techniques observed in diverse, other, newcomer
As such, comedies of expectation are a kind of pure art:
The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make things “unfamiliar”, to make
forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of
experiencing the artfulness of an object. The object is not important”--Shklovsky 1917/1988.
A comedy of expectation makes our own culture become strange to us, as if seen by aliens coming from another planet amazed at the quaint practices we call normal life. It is not nec-
essarily a joke in the traditional sense. It is a scenario that lays out some of the trials and tribulations of living in a world having multiple frames from which streams of action can be
People compose comedies of expectation by laying out the acts, and their different meaning from the different frameworks involved. Then each act in the sequence is told, showing how
each person, is misled by his own frame or the other’s frame. Real incidents can be analyzed this way. Once comedies of expectation, about real incidents or possible ones, have been
written, they may become the basis for skits or actual dramas, for example, in Community Quality Cabarets. There, performed before audiences, they become, essentially, what comedy
always was, as in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Method 30: Extreme Product Extrapolation
Executives assigned for three or four years to a nation do their best to develop a product imagination appropriate for that region. They have to make, after all, final decisions, that affect
a great number of marketing, product development, and distribution decisions. There is no way, ultimately, that they can delegate responsibility for understanding markets whose ulti-
mate decisions come to them. If inter-cultural communication between their best employees from the region and them is really good, perhaps that will be enough. Usually, however, it
is not.
There are, however, particular structured methods that get executives into the principles underneath particular national and regional markets. One such method is extreme product
extrapolation. It is based on the idea that studying extremes reveals principles that work generally, though with lesser intensity. Psychoanalysis, for example, was invented by studying
hysterics and paranoids, then supposing the same dynamics operated in normal people, but with much reduced intensity. This supposition was largely born out. Similarly extreme
product extrapolation gets executives to gather examples of extreme products and services from a market, then extract from these examples, principles of the market that make such
fortunes of others is confirmed is disconfirmed well being attribution attraction
fears confirmed
are you simultaneously focusing on the action of an agent
and the consequences for you of the event that agent was
involved with?
prospect based gratification
well being/attribution compounds
TABLE 27. Comedy of Frustrated Expectations
category step, actual incident step, possible incident example
Analysis of
the clashing
what, from their frame, did they think they
were doing when they did X
what is their other way of doing interesting function X;
Japanese exchange business cards with every new person they
what, from your own frame, did you think
you were doing when you did X
what is your own way of doing interesting function X;
Americans casually forget the names of people they just met,
unless likely long term cooperation is present
what, from their frame, did they think you
were doing when you did X
from their point of view what is ridiculous or counter-pro-
ductive about your way of doing X;
American are either impolite or mentally forgetful
what from your point of view, were they
doing when they did X
from your point of view what is ridiculous or counter-pro-
ductive about their way of doing X;
Japanese constantly are satisfied by mere form rather than real
the story and
what happened first A interprets Z in B’s way and acts
Sugimoto comes to America and decides to not be a stereotypical
Japanese; he is introduced to John and immediately forgets John’s
name, feeling proud of his budding cross-cultural abilities (and
saving money on the printing of name cards)
what happened next B interprets A’s act as coming from A’s own interpretive
framework and acts
John, his expectation that Sugimoto would bow and hand him a
business card now frustrated, assumes Sugimoto sick or some-
how on vacation; so, he asks him how he is.
what happened next A, interpreting B’s remark in B’s framework, acts
Sugimoto, expecting John to be pleased by meeting a non-stereo-
typical Japanese, decides to continue his successful experiment
by answering, non stereotypically “I am feeling philosophical.”
what happened next B, confused by A, asks A to do something stereotypically
John, wanting to get things back on track, that is, wanting to get
Sugimoto to act more Japanese, says: “Do you have a business
what happened next A, enjoying his new frame, continues to answer in B’s frame,
confusing B.
Sugimoto, being even more American now, directly answers: I
don’t carry business cards anymore, it’s cultural chauvinism!
what happened last B, suddenly guesses that A is using B’s frame, enlightenment
John, suddenly getting it, that is, seeing Sugimoto’s project of
being non-Japanese, says:
TABLE 26. A Self Diagnostic Map of Emotion Formation (modified from Ortony et al, 1988)
You are reacting (having a feeling not just a thought like “surprise”) to which of the following:
Managing Complexity 59 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
products and services successful there. This works especially well when the executive collects products or services that would never work in his home culture or market. “Why are
people here buying stuff like this?” is the reaction you are looking for when hunting examples for this exercise. The table below lays out the process in brief.
The fun of being assigned to explore, with a group, and the fun of being assigned to find extreme, ridiculous products and services should not be underestimated. Past applications of
this method were enormously fun, and provoked immense amounts of work. The parties where participants get together to show what they found, the first day, and what model they
composed the second day, and what they invented, the third day, are enormously educative while being naturally entertaining. Participants usually are divided into several subgroups
that compete to find the most outrageous things, build the best model, and invent the most realistic product or service.
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Greene, R., Global quality. Milwaukee, WI: American Society for Quality Control with Homewood, IL: Irwin Professional Publishing, 1993.
Greene, R., Procedural Literacy: 100 Methods Every Manager, Employee, and College Grad Should Know, Bestest-Mostest Press, 1996.
Greene, R., Predictors of adoption of TQM by a research faculty: The collision of professionalization of knowledge in the academy with TQM’s concept of deprofessionalizing
knowledge. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor,MI: UMI, 1994.
Greene, R., Industry Methods Applied to Universities: Total Quality Applied to Research Universities, Annual Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University, 1995
Greene, R., Evolutionary Engineering: Designing Systems That Self Consciously Evolve--the Defining Skill of Human Ecologists, Journal of Policy Studies, Sept. 1996
Greene, R., The Social Cellular Automata Process: Applying Complexity Theory to Improve the Movement Building Aspects of Management, Journal of Policy Studies, March 1997
Greene, R., What Complexity Theory Can Contribute to Three Current Japanese Policy Challenges--Internationally Competitive: Higher Education, Venture Business, and De-regula-
tion, Sept. 1997
Greene, R., Gathering Customer Requirements of Public Sector Services Using Questionless Questionnaires--Automating Policy Making and Leadership in Customer-Driven Democ-
racies, Journal of Policy Studies, March 1998.
Greene; Establishing Customer Requirements in Multi-Sector Coastal Policy-making ,Towards Global Quality Coastal Zones; Journal of Policy Studies; November, 1999.
Greene; The Selection Automaton Model of Creativity as Non-Linear System Dynamics--Culturing Creativity in East Asia Examined Using 50 Interviews to Study Culture Impacts on
the Insight Process; Journal of Policy Studies, March, 2000.
Greene, R., unpublished book, Emergent Re-engineering, 1994
Goleman; Emotional intelligence; Bantam; NYC; 1995.
Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars; Doubleday Currency; NYC; 1993
Hirschhorn; The workplace within; MIT Press; 1988.
Holland; Emergence; Addison-Wesley; Reading, Mass.; 1998
Huber.; The nature and design of post-industrial organizations. Management Science, 30(8): p. 928-951; 1984
Kaiser; Mining group gold; Xerox Press; Stamford, Conn.; 1990.
Kauffman; At home in the universe; Oxford University; 1995
Kegan; In over our heads; Harvard University; 1994.
Klar, Fisher, Chinsky, Nadler editors; Self Change; Springer-Verlag; New York, 1992.
Kohut and Zander, 1992, August. Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities and the replication of technology. Organization Science. Vol. 3, No. 3.
Kuhn; The skills of argument; Cambridge; London; 1991.
Maimon, Nodine, O’Conner; Thinking, reasoning, and writing; Longmann; NYC; 1989.
Ortony, Glore, Collins; The cognitive structure of emotions; Cambridge Univ. Press; London; 1988
Marsela, Devos, Hsu, editors; Culture and self, Asian and western perspectives; Tavistock Publications; London; 1985.
May; Freedom and destiny; WW Norton; 1981.
Miller, D.; The architecture of simplicity; Academy of management review; January, 1993.
Mintzberg; Structure in fives; Prentice Hall; Englewood Cliffs, NJ; 1989.
Olson; An introduction to Existentialism; Dover; London; 1962.
Paul, Miller, Paul; Cultural pluralism and moral knowledge; Cambridge; London; 1994
Paz; One earth, four or five worlds; Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; NYC; 1984.
Piattelli-Palmarini, Inevitable Illusions; Wiley; NYC; 1994
Prietula, Carley, Gasser, editors; Simulating organizations; MIT Press; 1998
Prigogine; The end of certainty; Free Press; Cambridge, Mass.; 1996.
Pucik, Tichy, Barnett, editors; Globalizing management; Wiley; 1992.
Raelin; The clash of cultures, managers and professionals; Harvard Business School Press; 1991.
Read and Miller, editors; Connectionist models of social reasoning and social behavior; LEA; London, 1998
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Roberts; Quality is Personal; The Free Press; Cambridge, Mass.; 1994
Ross; The Management of Conflict; Yale; New Haven; 1993
Sartre; Being and nothingness; Washington Square Press; NYC; 1956.
TABLE 28. Extreme Product Extrapolation
Step name Step function Detailed instructions
Example collection collect extreme products and services
1) give everyone a digital camera and send them out to photograph both the ads and the product/services as well as people using them if
relevant; 2) give people $5000 to buy actual products or services brought back to a demo party that night 3) have an evening party
wherein participants present their extreme product examples
Model building build a model of the principles of this mar-
ket that make such products/services suc-
cessful here
1) for each product/service ask “what characteristic do consumers in this market have that causes this to be a successful product here?”;
2) group similar characteristics, name these groups; group groups, name groups of groups; 3) put characteristic and group names into
fractal concept model
Product/service invention invent new products and services each of
which covers as many of such market prin-
ciples as possible
1) invent a new product of service that embodies as many of the fractal concept model principles as possible 2) have an evening party
where participants present their inventions showing how they embody each principle in the market fractal model
Managing Complexity 60 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Schon; Educating the reflective practitioner; Jossey-Bass; San Francisco; 1987.
Schon and Rein; Frame Reflection; Basic Books; New York; 1994.
Scollon, Intercultural communication; Blackwell; London, 1995.
Segel; Turn of the Century Cabaret; Columbia Univ. Press; NYC; 1987
Shklovsky; Art as technique in Lodge, editor; Modern criticism and theory; Longman, NYC; 1988
Smith and Berg; Paradoxes of group life; Jossey-Bass; San Francisco; 1988
Sternberg, editor; The nature of creativity; Cambridge University; 1988.
Sternberg and Kolligian; Competence considered; Yale; New Haven; 1990.
Tannen; Talking from 9 to 5; Morrow; NYC; 1994.
Tarnas; The passion of the western mind; Harmony Books; NYC; 1991.
Tillich; The courage to be; Yale; 1952.
Tingley; Genderflex; Amacom; NYC; 1994
Todorov; The conquest of America; Harvard University; 1991
Todorov; On human diversity; Harvard University; 1993.
Trice and Beyer; The cultures of work organizations; Prentice Hall; Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1993.
Vaill; Managing as a performing art; Jossey-Bass; San Francisco; 1989.
Vallacher and Nowak; Dynamical systems in social psychology; Academic Press; NYC; 1994.
Van de Ven, A.; Managing the Process of Organizational Innovation. in Huber and Glick, editors. Organizational Change and Redesign. New York City: Oxford University Press;
Wilson and Dobbelaere; A time to chant; Oxford University; London; 1998
Watson, Kumar, Michaelsen; Cultural diversity’s impact on interaction process and performance--comparing homogeneous and diverse task groups; Academy of management journal,
June, 1993.
Managing Complexity 61 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Tool 3:
64 Dimensions of the
Cultures of Everything
Everything that we spend enough time handling to develop automated routines that drop from our conscious awareness generates culture--families have cultures, genders have cultures,
tools have cultures, particular technologies have it, interfaces have cultures, groups and organizations have distinct cultures, places have cultures. Since nearly all of culture is power-
ful and attractive to us because it is automatic and without the need for conscious labored effort, we have an incentive to stay ignorant of all the cultures operating within us. Thusly,
the cultures within us come to ruin our plans and thinking, our actions and caring. We end up filled with routines we are unaware of and cannot edit--they operate so fast and automat-
ically inside us. Educatedness is the opposite of culturedness--education pulls us out from this ocean of easy automated routine that we absorbed while in a group or while growing up
and forces us to examine its contents, throwing out most and preserving relationship to essential few routines, supplanting the rest with better routines consciously chosen and designed.
The model below of 64 dimensions that any culture has and can thereby be characterized by, allows readers to measure exactly just exactly how different techniques, tools, social
groups, organizations, genders, nationalities and the like operate. You may know men differ from women but till you measure them both along the 64 dimensions below, you are vague
about just exactly what those differences are and how they operate. You may know that Germans do business differently than Chinese but till you measure both of them against the 64
dimensions below your sense of their differences is either too general--Germans are exact, Chinese are approximate--or too specific--Germans eat sausage, Chinese eat eggrolls--to be
useful, to you and others.
Instructions for Use: Any “other” that you are encountering for the first time or encountering in an important way, needs to have its “otherness” mapped carefully if you are to know
what is different and what requires new ideas and responses from you. Answering the questions below and marking a score in the last column of the below are a way for you to quickly
“measure” just exactly what sorts of otherness and how much of each you face.
First, choose a feature of a group you will face, a system or technology you will face, or a tool or interface you will face. Second, answer the question in column 4 with respect to what
you chose. Third, state how exactly what you chose exhibits the culture pole you marked. Fourth, score how much it exhibits that in the sixth column below. For example, if you are
traveling to Germany to study or do business and face or will encounter there “family life”, possibly different and unnatural as you imagine and experience it now in your own culture,
then answer columns four, five, and six below, for how German family life differs from family life in your own culture. If necessary read books and interview Germans to fill in the
below form before actually travel to Germany.
Dimension of Culture
Feature Name___________________________Does this interface feature/ Does this
technology feature
Does this group feature
How exactly? Score




hierarchy or egalitarian make or encourage status differences or equality among users 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
power from closeness or power from distance make users closer to each other or more distant in relationship terms 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
achieved or ascribed rank privilege pre-arranged roles/users or high contribution ones 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
foreground item or background noticed Nisbet require noticing foreground items or background items to do work 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
individual or communitarian require/encourage individual work or group-produced work 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
universalist or particularist (vision vs. case details
are real)
require/encourage visionary users or exact/detailed users 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
inner or outer locus of control establish/confirm self as controlling or situation as controlling 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
environment: controllable or uncontrollable make environments of work controllable or uncontrollable 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
analysis or synthesis encourage making distinctions or combining differences 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
serial or parallel encourage sequential work or working in parallel 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
one chance or several chance lives allow full easy recovery from errors or punish/ruin work with error 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
causation: plural distributed or single local establish things from single causes or from cumulations of causes 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
friends over rightness or right over friends favor right ideas or right relationships the most 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
humans primary or equal to other life centralize humans or centralize all living beings 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
right vs. right or right vs. wrong encourage formulating ambiguous situations thoroughly or categorizing situations int
pre-set good and bad types
categories or relationships Nisbet interact entity to entity or person to person 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10





status or connection reward out-doing others or connecting well to others 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
exclusion or inclusion progress via more and more excluding or via more and more including 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
tell or listen provide info for others or obtain info from others 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
drive for individual: distinction or fitting in Nisbet encourage users to look distinct from others or fit in with others 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
feelling as: interesting or embarrassing respect and encourage expressing/using feelings or hinder it 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
mis-hearing as: relation or status threat make loneliness or feeling insulted the result of response failures 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
harshness as: personal rejection or sign of respect make personal rejection or respect the result of harsh reactions 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
backward reasoning or forward reasoning Nisbet extend aspects of present situation toward solutions needed or extend back from solu-
tions needed to pre-solution steps needed
info: mind to mind or relation: person to person link thought to thought or person to person 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
talk to solve or talk for empathy use interactions to solve or to emotionally understand others’ viewpoints and situations 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
exactitude or detail require or encourage precision or thorough coverage of details 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
preserve: save face or save truth Nisbet favor being true at a cost of being hated or being loved at a cost of being untrue 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
independent or dependent use interactions to make user more independent or to make them more dependent 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
contest or community establish competition or victories among users or shared feeling and community among
argumentative or apologetic encourage argumentative/challenging inputs or accomodating/apologetic ones 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
contradiction: tolerated or not tolerated Nisbet use and produce contradictions or avoid and fail when things contradict 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
Managing Complexity 62 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered






MYSTERY: why something?
people or institutions eternal
treat users as expendible and work as vital or treat works as expendible and users as vital 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
ARBITRARYNESS: why here, now?
ethnic group basis or function basis
require and reward users for the group/role they belong to or for the functions they per-
EMPTINESS: where is meaning?
found or made meaning
invite users to construct the meaning of their experiences and work or to find it 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
RELATIVITY: what is true?
life/groups are arrangements of: tasks or people Nis-
believe/value users because of who they are or because of what they do 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
FREEDOM: you can’t see me
role = i.d. or intent = i.d.
make users free to play any role they want or free to pursue any goal they want 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
LONELINESS: why love dies?
love the role or love the person
encourage users to love/depend on the roles others play or love the personalities others
INAUTHENTICITY: why does posessing make me
adaptors or revolutionaries
pull users beyond current views, habits, and goals or pull users more into current views,
habits, goals
RESPONSIBILITY: what/who am I?
the self is: unitary across situations or varies by situ-
ation Nisbet
require a different user persona in different application situation or require the same user
persona across all situations
MORTALITY: must I die?
death is most real or life is most real
pull users beyond living and earth or pull users more into living and earth 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
NAUSEA: why engage ugly life?
flaw: ingratitude or unfree
punish or react badly most to users who fail to depend on and trust others or who fail to
go beyond others and their own selves
CONTINGENCY: why can I not make my own
don’t bother others or self Nisbet
punish or react badly most to users who bother other users or who bother themselves 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
FUTILITY: will it/I make a difference?
preserve: peacefulness of exteriors or fairness of
exteriors Nisbet
reward most users who conform to tasks/others or who upset tasks/others 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
TRAGEDY: how could I have known?
deny consequences or deny possibilities
have consequences users discover by surprise later or have opportunities users discover
by surprise later
SIN: why I don’t do my own plans?
situation or self to blame
invite blaming the interface/technology for failure to reach goals or invite users blaming
NO ESCAPE: why is not choosing also choosing?
groups act or self acts
produces results when individuals input/act or when groups input/act 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
AUDIENCE: am I heard?seen?
life is a story of: my experiences or the group expe-
riences I play roles in Nisbet
expose others to my deeds as a story of possible value or expose me and other users to
the group’s deeds as a story of possible value





seniors: caring or competitive encourage seniors to help juniors or to hinder them 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
work: pleasant end or unpleasant means treat work as a pleasant end in life or as an unpleasant means in life 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
results: from effort or talent reward the most talent with good results or reward effort the most with good results 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
work to feel good about self or work to critique and
improve self Nisbet
encourage people to work to appreciate better them selves or to work to critique and
improve them selves
gods: immanent or transcendent provide value and meaning from immediate sources to immediate work or from distant
sources to distant work results
primacy: life or quality of life sacrifice quality of work life for results or sacrifice quality of results for quality of work
the world: is sacred or is fallen treat all steps of work as valued and meaning-filled or treat all steps of work as instru-
mental tools toward valued goals
substance or object seen Nisbet highlight what things are made of or highlight what things are made of substances 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
drive to center or drive to margins encourage people to leave how others are or to more deeply embed themselves in how
others are
self indulgent asceticism or moderation reward extremes of thought or behavior or moderation of them 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
focus from single project or from parallel projects focus users on single efforts/directions or on plural simultaneous efforts/directions 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
choice: one pole or other or blended middle Nisbet require choosing among polar opposites or blending differences into a moderate middle 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
gradual change or avalanches produce gradual improvements and results or sudden large leap improvements and
homogeniety or diversity reward/require greater diversity among users/a user or greater homogeneity 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
design or emergence produce results by step by step designing or results that self emerge from myriad interac-
world reality is: stable or in flux (contracts always
renegotiable) Nisbet
require/reward keeping promises more than changing them or require/reward changing
promises more than keeping them
Dimension of Culture
Feature Name___________________________Does this interface feature/ Does this
technology feature
Does this group feature
How exactly? Score
Managing Complexity 63 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Tool 4:
Social Process Balances
Social diversity of institutional forms is boring just like current technologies are for computers--within weeks or months they are outmoded and forgotten. Therefore, to make sense of
social diversity we need something more enduring and less changing than institutions. Social functions are a good bet. If we could get a set of abstract set of social functions found
in every society but emphasized and done differently in each then we might compare societies with respect to which of them they emphasize and how they emphasize them. Such a
model of shared social functions has been built repeatedly in history and a meta-model that coalesces them all into one consistent format has been recently made. That model is given
below. The important proviso is this--it is a model of functions not institutions. It is a model of processes in all societies not ways those processes are instititutionalized, funded,
staffed, and the like. This means any social unit--single individuals, girl scout troops, NASA, moon landing parties, entire civilizations--will have specific ways of doing each of the
functions/processes below as well as certain ones they emphasize and handle overtly while others they slight or are entirely oblivious to (though such slighted functions still operate
within them).
Instructions of Use. The social process model below is of function, as said above, found in every social unit. It is not a set of institutions--banks for economy, voters for politics,
museums for culture, and the like. It is a set of functions that go on in every social unit, whether big or small, in every society. Any society lacking entirely one of the 64 functioins
below, dies. How can this model be used to handle social forms of diversity?
Every social entity and person will emphasize some of these functions more than others and that pattern of emphasis will change of time. Therefore, if we measure relative funding,
reading time, written relevant comments, or the like by a social entity for each of the 64 functions below, at one point in time and at a later point in time, we can get a map of the blind
spots and over-emphases of that entity, and hence, a map of what to emphasize and what to de-emphasize if change in needed. That establishes the first use of the model below: pick
one institution or social entity having trouble today and answer the questions below for it, making 0 to 10 a score for how much emphasis each of the 64 functions receives now. Look
at the slighted, low score, functions and look at the high score functions. How would increasing the scores of the low score functions lead to a solution for present problems? Why are
not such changes of emphasis of social function being done today? How would decreasing the scores of the high score functions lead to a solution for present problems? Why are not
such changes of emphasis of social function being done today?
64 Social Processes



ing necessary
Natural resources, human ones, technology (knowledge resources some would say) are obvious. Time
resources are puzzling. Time resources are called “windows of opportunity” in business magazines. This
means time itself opens windows and closes windows. Being able to change goals fast and implement new
businesses fast, is a key to survival, as internet infrastructure lubricates and speeds communication and
cooperation. For a sculptor clay is a natural resource, his models or himself are human resources of his
work, and studies of different clays or metals and techniques for fashioning them are his technology
resources. His time resources are when a certain type of innovation by him will be new enough yet under-
standable enough to get positive reception by his field of fellow sculptors without diminishing his work’s
ultimate appeal to the history of sculpture.
Natural 1. how are necessary inputs found/created for this X in society? 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
Human 2. how are necessary humans and human traits found/created for this X in
Technology 3. how are necessary technical means found/created for this X in society? 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
Time 4. how are necessary amounts of time and timing between windows of
opportunity opening and closing found/created for this X in society
setting up
tion processes
Production tools, forces (people trained appropriately), systems, and quality are fairly obvious. A sculptor
has production tools and he is his own production force. His production system is his unique way of work.
The quality of his work is its conformity to his requirements as a primary customer of his finished work and
the requirements of the history of sculpture on any new work trying to join the pantheon of works remem-
bered and taught throughout history.
Tools 5. how are necessary tools and instruments found/created for this X in
Forces 6. how are necessary organizations of persons found/created/operated for
this X in society?
Systems 7. how are necessary organizations of tools, facilities, and other non-
human means found/created/operated for this X in society?
Quality 8. how is necessary quality of output, quality of production process, qual-
ity of intent, quality of imagination, quality of morale found/created/oper-
ated for this X in society?
tion: allocat-
ing across
abstract land-
Distribution involves property, markets, consumption, and incentives. This is distribution in a general
large-scale sense of distributing clay to sculpture, kissess to particular lovers, or whatever. Kisses occur in
a love market (other lovers possible, an intense reality when we were teenagers), with greater sexual partici-
pation sometimes the incentive (or formal marriage and financial security a different incentive for some). A
sculptor creates property that is valued in markets for sculptures and consumed by people who buy and dis-
play or commission sculptures. The sculptor operates in an environment of incentives with short term com-
mercial rewards often being ignored in favor of a unique artistic vision that promises someday to make his
work famous throughout history.
Property 9. how is necessary ownership and responsibility for care found/created
for this X in society?
Markets 10. how is necessary change of ownership and responsibility for care
found/created for this X in society?
Consumption 11. how are necessary uses and appreciations of owned things found/cre-
ated for this X in society?
Incentives 12. how are people rewarded enough to make “making an effort” and
“achieving quality of process and outcome” and other social goals grow
exponentially throughout all levels, layers, functions, and divisions of this
X in society?
ity: improving
outputs per
unit input
Productivity is a matter of resource productivity, variation producing productivity, measurement of produc-
tivity, and innovation productivity. Given time and clay a sculptor has a certain productivity level. The
work of the sculptor exhibits a productivity of variation production as well-- the number and quality of vari-
ations produced per work produced overall, for example. The sculptor has a metric of his own productivity
(of things, and of interesting variation in his things) whether conscious or unconscious. Finally the sculptor
has a productivity of his innovations--how innovative his variants are compared to his own past works and
competitor works or demands of his customers.
Resources 13. how is this X in society achieved using fewer or less expensive
Variation 14. how is variation in, this X in society and how it is used and produced,
tinkered with using small and risky large-scale variations so that better
forms and means of attaining it are discovered?
Measurement 15. how is measurement improved so gaming of systems and corruption
of goals and means continually reduced and minimized in achieving this
X in society?
Innovation 16. how are all aspects of this X in society replaced by newer and bolder
and more ambitious means and goals?

Peace: mak-
ing near
futures reli-
Polity refers to decision making by individuals or groups. It is divided into peace, justice, welfare, and
anticipation. Peace is the maintenance of structure and process (procedure) so that a society can “decide”
rather than chaos “deciding”. Justice is continual adaptations of that structure and process to account for
dissatisfied parts of society. Welfare is society being responsible for people left behind by what the society
chooses to emphasize and believe. Anticipation is society being responsible for people not yet born. Peace
is a sculptor maintaining enough order in his workplace, lifestyle, and schedule to produce. This means
defense--defending himself from taxes, administrative paperwork, family hassles, and the like. This
involves policing boundaries in his work and life--keeping the kids out of the work studio, keeping the old
college friends out of his summer intense work months. This involves the sculptor in enforcing behavior
laws for himself--when to wake up, when to work hard, when to relax, when to consult others. Inevitably
the sculptor develops norms about how to work as well as about what to create when working.
Defense 17. how are external threats to X in society thwarted? 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
Police 18. how are internal threats to X in society thwarted? 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
Laws 19. how are the external and internal environments that X operates in
made stable enough to invite improvement and investment?
Norms 20. how are social enforcement means established so that the costs of
achieving stable environments around X are not self defeatingly high?
Justice: stabi-
lizing social
support via
fixing fairness
Justice is the sculptor continually adapting his work structure and process to account for dissatisfaction of
important constituencies of his work, including himself. When critics are right about certain ruttednesses
appearing in his last three works, he legislates--makes a new law to himself, to change work materials in a
long contemplated innovative way, to surprise such critics by breaking out of any past ruts he fell in. When
a friend questions a work he is in the midst of, he juridicates--considering carefully his own motives and
means versus the friend’s comments’ possible value and makes a decision about whether to listen to what he
heard and implement it. When tiredness is threatening to overwhelm him he executes--pushing himself to
do what he today set out to do, regardless of temporary pains. When he disappoints himself with the quality
of work he produces yet each new effort does not seem to help, he mediates--he consults outsiders able to get
him outside his own past frameworks and habits.
Legislation 21. how are new laws involving this X in society invented and made
legitimate and populations informed of their fairness and goals and exist-
Juridication 22. how are conflicts, omissions, flaws, and unfairnesses in laws involv-
ing this X in society found and extirpated without continually redoing all
laws as everything changes?
Execution 23. how are laws agreed on about this X in society actualized and turned
into powerful realities?
Mediation 24. how are pre-laws, that is less formal specifications of agreements and
what futures will be like, created about this X in society that allow types
of agreement that laws would be too slow, costly, and punitive for?
for flaws in
your system
by caring for
those who
drop out of it
Welfare for a sculptor is the rest of the aesthetic values, other than those central innovations of any work,
that the work has to have for general acceptance and interest building in the field of sculpture as a whole.
The sculptor looks at values he might tend to slough entirely in his intensity and onrush to do something
innovative from his own personal vision. He sees what his onrush is tending wrongly to slight or leave
behind. This involves leaving space (physical, mental, schedule, or other) for values not central to his
vision. This involves the right of certain non-central values to stay in his sculpture. It involves checks he
implements to see that one value does not crush out other important values in his work. This involves
designing and evolving his work so that there is opportunity for various important values to get expressed in
Spaces 25. how are all people invited to perform before peers and other genera-
tions so that invisibility and anonymity does not lead people to forget or
harm this X in society?
Rights 26. how are all existing entities involved in this X in society protected
from unwitting or sneaky planned side-effects of new entities, laws,
events in society?
Checks 27. how are all the powers and interests in society involved in this X in
society kept separate and diverse and splintered enough so that none of
them and no one coalition of them can dominate and oppress all the oth-
Opportunity 28. how is this X in society exposed to all parts of society in ways that
maximize new possibility, growth, worth, and profit for all of society?
tion: selling
current sacri-
fices to avoid
future harms
Anticipation is the sculptor looking beyond present reputation and work to his future ultimate destiny. This
can involve assessing himself and his work relative to the powerful interests of others in his and related
fields. This can also involve adjustment plans he makes to evolve his work in directions better directed
toward ultimate fame or innovative reputation. This can also involve changing the entire purpose of his
work as a sculptor, for example, letting go of remaining concerns about fame and concentrating on a power-
ful internal unique vision that is worth more to him than judgements of others. This also involves opening
himself to inputs that hithertofore he ignored--taking a dance class, for example so his own sense of body
informs better the forms he sculpts.
Interests 29. how does this X in society make room for and respond to future
groupings and their interests in society that are just now emerging and not
yet powerful and represented in formal laws?
Plans 30. how does this X in society get onto plans for the future all over soci-
ety before it is big, famous, and powerful?
Purposes 31. how does this X in society create appropriate new purposes and goals
all over society before it is institutionalized and powerful?
Inputs 32. how does this X in society become an input to all important processes
in society it is relevant to before it is powerful and established and well
Managing Complexity 64 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered



knowing that
Culture is the process of creating meaning of things in society. Meaning is created by developing and exer-
cising: wisdom, style, symbol, and diversity. A sculptor develops wisdom by developing skills, knowledge,
meaning of his own to his work, and exercising all the above till a state of great mastery is achieved.
Skills 33. what skills, procedural knowledge, is involved with this X in society? 0..1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8..9..10
Knowledge 34. what knowledge, declarative knowledge, is involved with this X in
Meanings 35. what meaning gives rise to this X in society and what meanings does
it give rise to or change?
Exercises 36. what exercising of skills, knowledge, or meanings give rise to this X
in society and are spawned by the rise of this X in society?
Style: struc-
turing care
A sculptor develops style by recognizing and using his place in recent generations of sculptors, fashioning
an inspirational life from unique family arrangements, engaging the visions and stimulations of society via
particular social structures, and using his accomplishments and status as resources by helping others less
accomplished and respected (benevolence).
Generations 37. what impact does each generation in society have on this X arising
and what impact on each generation does this X have?
Families 38. how does this X in society impact families, their types and styles, and
how do they impact this X?
Structures 39. how does this X in society impact social structures and how do they
impact this X?
Benevolence 40. what benevolence is necessary to give rise to this X in society and
what benevolence towards the rest of society does this X give rise to?
A sculptor becomes a symbol by how he talks about himself and his work, the art he achieves via innova-
tions in his way or subjects of sculpting, the way his work uses and interprets the structured accumulated
meaning systems inherited by his society, and the impact of his work on popular imagination and values of
his time.
Language 41. what language aspects must be developed to give rise to this X in
society and what aspects of language does it give rise to?
Art 42. what art must be developed to give rise to this X in society and what
arts does it give rise to?
Religion 43. what religious ideas/symbols give rise to this X in society and what
such ideas/symbols does this X give rise to?
Secularity 44. what non-religious means of establishing the same ideas and mean-
ings as found in all parts of most religions give rise to this X in society
and does it give rise to in society?
A sculptor manages diversity by seeing how his successes generate unplanned side-effects that defeat him,
seeing how his intents, plans, and designs sometimes blind him to better results that just self-organize and
emerge, becoming aware of the non-linear dynamics in his work, and developing a process to manage such
dynamics by tuning system performance using certain general system-wide parameters like the degree of
connectedness of things in his sculpting production system, or the degree and types of diversity in that sys-
Succeeding that
45. how does the success of doing X in society threaten to cause X to
Tampering 46. how does establishing X in society involve tampering--intervening in
a system whose laws you are ignorant of--and how does using X in soci-
ety involve such tampering?
Social Automata 47. what interactions of what populations of entities give rise to X in
society and what such interaction populations with surprising emergent
results does this X give rise to in society?
Non-Linear Sys-
tem Dynamics
48. what non-linearities in society give rise to this X and what non-lin-
earities does this X give rise to?

Liberty: free-
dom from,
to change
Foundation is social change that produces permanent new institutions in the world. For a sculptor founda-
tion is the process of making personal slight (or large) changes that spawn permanent institutional changes in
the world of sculpting. This requires that the sculptor liberate himself from personal habits and the past
practices of his field. That he make promises to new people and images that result in entirely new forms of
sculpture self organizing in his work (freedom). This involves people worldwide getting excited about their
own new possibilities for creating based on the new features that self emerge in his work. Finally, this
involves the sculptor defending the novel content of his inventions from forces well established in his field
and society that try continually to erode that novel content, interpreting it from past frameworks and values.
Liberty is the miracle of breaking with the past yet still surviving with the profit of new promise to one’s
work and life by no longer being hindered by certain past practices. Liberty thrusts you into a no man’s land
without overt and familiar past supports where you have only your own initiative as support. A sculptor lib-
erates himself when he breaks with his field and its priorities and preferences, at a risk of never being
respected in it again.
Miracle 49. what last straw does this X in society become that liberates people
from somethiing and what last straw in society in necessary to create this
X in society?
Promise 50. what new power just from promises made among people sharing lib-
eration from some aspect of the pasty arises to give rise to X and does X
give rise to?
No man’s land 51. what no man’s land between the past yet not a fully done future gives
rise to this X in society and is spawned by this X in society?
Initiative 52. what break in stasis, equilibrium, and balances does this X in society
come from and by itself establish?
power inven-
tion from
nothing & dis-
covery of pub-
lic forms of
Freedom is the outbreak of public happiness in individual private work and lives. Public happiness comes
from finding yourself changing history rather than just sprucing up your private profits and works. People
discover public happiness. It breaks out in the midst of the pain and suffering of liberating yourself from the
tyrannies of your traditions, nations, and field. It breaks out when you discover new colleagues, you never
suspected before, who are with you as you innovate beyond past tolerances and preferences. The discovery
of these new colleagues and their mutual work and inspiring with you of truly innovative history-changing
works, becomes the action that unleashes the new kind of happiness of public happiness, changing private
profit into history change. These new colleagues covenant with you to together change the world. In doing
so all involved agree to leave behind personal profit for the greater good of changing the history of the field,
sculpting in the case of my example. A sculptor frees himself when he discovers such new colleagues as he
radically challenges past practices in sculpting.
Novelty 53. what utterly new thing in history and society does this X generate and
generated this X in society?
Covenant 54. what promises among liberated people created this X and are created
by it?
Happiness 55. what new more public form of happiness created this X in society and
is created by it?
Emergent Action 56. what action, beyond labor and work, whose meaning gradually
emerges from unpredictable consequences of it, give rise to this X in soci-
ety and are spawned by it?
changing oth-
ers then and
there by what
we do now
Historic dream happens when people unrelated to the sculptor take notice of his innovation and get inspired
to liberate themselves from the things he already liberated himself from. Some of them agree to covenant
with him to change history with him. Some of them are attracted enough to come to him to work under him
as disciples. The drama of watching from afar the sculptor’s liberation struggle, his loneliness and rejection
by the field, gives way to admiration as he shows the way to a totally new way to sculpt. In doing so he cre-
ates a haven, a safe place for radical accomplishments not welcome in the field as a whole that attracts immi-
grants and disciples. The result is fame--local actions here and now changing people’s destinies there and
then (in the future).
Drama 57. what drama of liberated ones together with each other fighting the
forces of the past to establish the utterly new in history does this X give
rise to and spawn this X in society?
Showing the way 58. what new way to be human gives rise to this X in society and is
spawned by it?
Haven 59. what others across the world come, attracted by the novelty engen-
dered by this X in society or attracted by something else that creates this
X in society?
Fame 60. what history-long fame emerges from those creating this X in society
or is generated by this X being in society?
Novelty: pro-
tecting the
new from the
Finally, innovations have to be protected from all those un-new things that have accumulated power and
prestige and political connections for years while the innovation was not around. Innovations are babies
attacked by adults. Conserving novelty means doing this defensive work. Particularly, for a sculptor, the
danger is re-interpretations of his work as consonant with abhorrent past practices, as the formerly most vis-
ible and famous people in sculpting try to say that his new innovation is just a simple extension of their own
“greater” past ideas. The pain in all innovation is by definition an innovation makes former innovations
look like past practice, non-innovations (as indeed they now are after a new innovation is offered up).
Those people who created those past innovations, become, automatically, no longer innovators but past
heroes. Many such people hate innovators, like themselves, because they become fat and complacent about
parading around as innovators themselves. In my interviews of creative people it was striking how unfairly
some of them evaluated other rising stars in their field. Some of them viciously attacked people troding
paths very similar to the paths they trod before. Note that liberty, freedom, the spontenous emergence of
public happiness, historic dreams, and conserving novelty represent the natural selection style creativity pro-
cess within social units on all scales from thoughts in minds to rising civilizations. For more on this connec-
tion see Greene, Journal, Sept. 1999.
Utter Novelty
61. what that is utterly new gave rise to this X in society and what that is
utterly newe did this X in society point out or draw attention to?
Preserving Nov-
62. what forces of the past were overcome to establish this X in society
or did this X overcome to establish something else new in history?
the Past
63. what version of the past did this X usher in or what change in inter-
pretation of the past ushered in this X in society?
Inventing New
64. what new novelty is now possible because X is in society and what
new novelty in society made this X possible?
Managing Complexity 65 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Source 3:
Variety of Types
of Computation
(Organization of
People and Data)
Managing Complexity 66 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Chapter 3
Complexity from Various Types of
Computational System:
How Machine, Biologic, and Social
Computers Interact to Spawn New Forms of
Computation and Organization
Towards A Theory of Such Computation, with Policy and Organizational Learning Implications
A Major Source of Complexity in Our Time: Diverse Types of Computation System
Computation has so invaded business and organizations in general that many people who used to lead people feel like they are leading machines, more and more. The tools are taking
over, it feels like. Indeed, one major work content of leaders of all sorts these days, it keeping organizations focussed on what tools are for, when tools distract people from their mis-
sions. One problem with keeping tools in their proper proportion and place is the way social arrangements use old tools for new purposes and the way new tools use social arrangements
for new purposes. The social blends into the technical and vice versa. What can help us all handle this? A map might help--some organized view of all the social and technical forms
of computation and all the ways they interact to generate new social and technical forms of work. That is what this chapter provides, a map allowing you to anticipate and manage new
eruptions of social capability spawned by technical tools and new eruptions of technologies spawned by particular social arrangements. This chapter will be a great relief to all manag-
ers suffering from invasion of their turf by technology and tools.
This chapter presents a categorical model showing how three forms of computational system--machine computers, (human) social computers, and biological computers--are interacting
to generate new forms of computation. The result is the beginnings of a theory of empirical computational systems--not a theory of abstract computational systems like well known the-
ories by Turing, Church, and others. The most general and abstract model of computation that we have--the Turing machine--includes (subsumes) but omits mention of: one, the hier-
archy of codes, and the recursive nature of “operations” within codes at any one level, that are the heart of “processing” of information. The input, output, and memory of computation
are less interesting when using computation to understand society and nature; than the “processing”. This chapter uses a hierarchy of codes model of processing to elucidate how
machine, social, and biological computers interact to find or create 18 types of computational system. The categorical model presented here can be used to predict new forms of compu-
tation to be achieved by machine computers, new types of computation to be recognized in biological and social systems, and to understand the dynamics of computational system evo-
lution. In particular, application to policy dilemmas and organizational learning is introduced.
Hidden within seeing more and more of the world as computation is the reality that “reality itself” may be just information--stuff of the universe formed and made distinct via informa-
tion embedding. The reality of this as a family of theories in physics today as physics tries to unite gravity with quantum physics, the macro with the micro, is too technical and mathe-
matically expressed to present here. Nevertheless, many different fields of knowledge are now re-thinking themselves and their most fundamental ideas from the vantage of seeing
everything as information embedded. That is the theoretical basis of seeing nearly everything as one form of computation or another.
Practically, seeing systems--biologic, mechanic, social--as computations, and seeing what their interactions produce--as new types or forms of computation--directs out attention to
places to intervene that others, lacking such a viewpoint, cannot see and would never use. There is real competitive power in being able to view things of our world computationally, as
this chapter does it. Even family relationship nets, viewed computationally, give rise to emotional solutions and conflict resolutions no other approach makes visible and possible.
Whenever we view reality with new frameworks, those frameworks, if interesting, point out aspects of situations not visible and hence not something we can act towards, from any other
viewpoint. Reality itself grows bigger, with more “places” in it to act on, when more frameworks, more diverse frameworks, more comprehensive and specific frameworks are applied.
Each of us is a theorist, filled with theories we unconsciously absorbed from the environments in which we grew up (or were socialized into some organization). Having nearly all our
“theories” operating inside us, unconscious to us, not available to conscious examination and control, makes most of our behavior beyond our control too, too fast, too unthinking, too
automatic, and too unexamined to help us. Being “educated” in a great part, means, as an adult, replacing all those un-consciously chosen theories inside us with better ones we con-
sciously prefer and choose. Being educated today requires that many, though certainly not all, of such new theories we inject into ourselves to replace happenstance ones absorbed
while growing up, have to do with computational models of aspects of ourselves and our world. This chapter of this book makes dozens of such computational models available for
enlarging the amount of “world” we actually live in, see, and take action towards. This chapter expands the amount of world we operate in by making a host of aspects of it visible using
computational frameworks that are themselves growing rapidly as biologic, machine, and social forms of computation interact in our societies, technologies, and minds.
Managing Complexity 67 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered

What is Empirical Computation?
Empirical computation is simply all the computational systems that actually exist. Machine computers got people thinking. As a result, they began to see “computers” already in exist-
ence that pre-dated machine computers by billions of years. Biological computers were found. For example eggs are computers that compute adult organisms by running programs
found in DNA strands. Also, human societies seemed to contain many computers. For example, human tribal communities compute kinship nets, social ranks, and hunting territories,
through ritualized conflict and taboos.
After this recognition that biology and human societies contained ancient computational systems, the three known types of computational system--machine, social, and biological--
began to interact and inspire each other.
If we had a categorical model of such computational systems, we might from it be able to order, and thereby interpolate and extrapolate new types of computational system not yet
invented or discovered in biological and social systems. Empirical research begins, in each scientific field, with categorization work, which, gives way, to causal modeling work in
later stages. The categorical model herein is not complete but is more complete than any other currently published such model. It reveals certain abstract operators possibly generating
forms of computation--in machines, human society, and nature.
A Somewhat Less Abstract Model of What Computation Is
The Turing Machine, with well-deserved renown for generality and abstractness, consists of input, on a paper tape, output onto that paper tape, memory of intermediate calculations on
that paper tape, and a processor that reads marks on the paper tape and puts new marks onto the paper tape.
Subsumed under this model is a computational system wherein the processor is further specified as a hierarchy of codes having several levels stretched between the poles of hardware
and algorithm. We can imagine 3 levels--hardware, software, algorithm--and we can imagine more levels--hardware, micro-code, machine language code, compiler code, high level
language code, object model specifier code, human process model, algorithm. For our purposes in this paper, nothing is to be gained from extending three levels to more.
Hardware, software, and algorithm are based on each other. Each algorithm operational step requires several software operation steps to implement it; each software operation step
requires several hardware operation steps to implement it. Hardware operations execute faster than software ones, and software ones faster than algorithm ones. Each operation (in
hardware, software, or algorithm) is a miniature computer--having input, output, memory, and processor (with hierarchy of codes). That makes the model recursive (potentially end-
lessly so).
Since input, output, and memory are often trivial to identify in biological and social systems, all the value, for understanding our world, usually comes from seeing the hierarchy of
codes (and execution speeds) and identifying the recursive computation that execution of any one operation is at any level of coding. Computation’s intellectual contribution comes
down to the question: does it help us understand biological, social, and machine systems to identify in them several levels of coding, organized so the operations of one level are com-
posite combinations of the operations of the lower level, and the operations are themselves computations having input, output, memory, and a hierarchy of codes. Stated this way, com-



















manage by movement
manage by events
global quality
social cellular
automata process
cellular automata
blackboard architectures
simulating societies
electronic democracy
virtual planetary
planetary open net
planetary real-time net
intelligent agents: robot societies
processware: self emerging org.n
social virtuality
PANs personal area nets


A Categorical Model of General Empirical
Computational Systems















one group as 30 groups
simultaneous plural
leadership regimes





















Managing Complexity 68 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
putation’s intellectual contribution for modeling the world comes very close to language’s role in helping us model the world--the world seen as a hierarchy of grammars telling us
allowed combinations of lower level items to construct higher level items, whose grammar in turn tells us allowed combinations of them for composing still higher level items.
Complexity, Chaos, and Systems That Can Only Be Understood Computationally
Complexity theory as developed at the Santa Fe Institute and elsewhere, has identified systems whose shortest description is as complex as the system itself is (Cowan, 1994). That is,
these systems have no more compact description of themselves that “expands”. To understand these complex systems, you have to actually “run” them. From a practical standpoint
that means only simulations of such systems can give us understanding of their likely outcomes, processes of development, and dynamics. Since traffic flows in Los Angeles, the rise
of ancient civilizations, animal immune systems, World Bank development projects in 3rd world countries, and much of the rest of life that seriously interests us, all consist of complex
adaptive systems, simulation is moving from one way among others, to a principal way, to understand our world. The computation at simulation’s heart is thereby making the same
move. Like it or not, in the future, most of the most important parts of our world will have to be understood computationally. That makes a comprehensive categorical model of the
types of computations in our world more important than it otherwise would be.
This article presents a categorical model rather than a causal one because the domain at issue--empirical computational systems--has not been thoroughly mapped yet. To speculate
about causes without knowing what is in the domain, produces little or nothing. Categorical models may be built in a number of ways. One way is strictly empirical. You screen the
literature and extract types, necessarily on multiple levels. Then, usually, an estimate is made of the quality of lowest level items versus quality of higher level categories from the liter-
ature. The highest quality level is made dominant, and labels on other levels are adjusted to fit it. Where possible lowest level items are made dominant, resulting in the bottom up cre-
ation of categories inclusive of and discriminating well lowest level items.
Another way is theory-based categorization. Where you have a convincing theory or two that promise to encompass the entire breadth of the domain, this works well. In the case of
computational systems, their vast range and rapid change make theory-based categorization untenable.
I screened a large portion of the overall literature on computational systems of all sorts (see the extensive references at the end of this article), extracted items and categories, found low-
est level items were highest in quality and dependability, and performed a bottom up categorization--grouping similar lowest level items, naming those groups, grouping groups, naming
those supergroups, and so on. When the first such hierarchy of categories was complete, I examined names of items and categories on all levels and and renamed both to reflect most
obvious orderings on each level. This renaming and reordering on each level of the hierarchy produced insights that constitute the three poles--machine, biology, social--and the sub-
structure of the 18 computational systems--three pairs of similar items between each of the 3 poles. The rest of this article reports the insights gained from this categorization.
Recognizing Social, Biological, and Machine Computer Types
New forms of machine computation inspire us to recognize similar computational systems in nature and society. Vice versa, newly recognized computational systems in society and
nature inspire us to develop similar machine computational systems. Because we are gradually recognizing computational systems in society and nature as we invent and ponder new
types of machine computation, we are confident that we have not seen or imagined all the types of machine computation that will ever exist, and therefore, we have not recognized all the
computational systems that already exist in society and nature. We are partway along a great journey. The ways we change societies and nature, to reflect what we know about machine
computational systems, evolve as we invent new types of machine computers and, aided by them, recognize new types of computation going on in society and nature.
Recognizing Social Computers
The various types of groups that humans form from clubs to civilizations seem to all be computers with characteristic mappings they perform from inputs to outputs. The same inputs
to different groups produce typically different outputs, in many cases. The individual human psyche, similarly, seems to be a “society of mind” grouping of modular computer systems
that interact in some sort of social computation. The same inputs to different minds produce typically different outputs.
Conflict seems to be a basic computation type in human societies. Fights for mates, fights for rank and status, fights for territories are endemic in early human history with the form of
fighting evolving into more and more symbolic encounters as civilization develops. Physically proximate groups seem to be a basic computer type in human societies, programmed by
cultures at the algorithm level, and by agendas of challenges, opportunities, and problems at the software level.
Recognizing Biological Computers
The DNA and the egg are prototypical of what is involved in recognizing biological computers. Many observers at first thought of DNA as a computer that is the “master control pro-
gram” of the cell and at the same time computes responses, based on the codes in it, to exigencies in cell life. More careful analogy making, however, led people to see eggs as comput-
ers that used DNA as a software program to tell the egg how to compute an adult organism. Also, cell RNA cites serve as computers using DNA in cell nuclei as a software program
telling them how to compute responses to cell exigencies.
The computation process that leaps out at one, when considering biology as a whole is, of course, the natural selection process--the most creative process known in the universe (because
it is the process that invented human beings). Inputs to it are environments, genetic endowments of organisms, and rates/kinds of mutation and crossover combination between organ-
isms. Outputs are new environments created by the organisms and new organisms. The processing is survival competitions with the “fittest” surviving long enough to replicate them-
selves better than the unfittest.
Recognizing Machine Computers
Since all machine, social, and biological computers are Turing machines, that theory cannot easily become a way of distinguishing computational system types. The history of machine
computation gave us single, large, expensive central processors for several decades. The instructions contained in those processors and the types of memory, inputs, and outputs they
handled became the way of distinguishing different types of computational systems in this era. The personal computer revolution then gave us arrays of processors allowing different
message passing pathways among nodes in those arrays to define different types of computational system. The specialized processor revolution, underway as this paper is being written,
created neural net, genetic algorithm, statistical pattern matcher, and linguistic processor types. These types are distinguished by the types of message and messenger in arrays of proces-
sors. The intelligent agent revolution, underway also as this paper is being written, created societies of intelligent agents, organized as replicas of various aspects of human social inter-
action. In this progression, simplified as it is, we yet can see clearly how types of machine computers stem from our ability to perceive computational systems, first, in society and
nature. Thus inspired, we configure machine hardware and software to mimic and modify what we previously observed in society and nature.
The Six Interactions Among Machine, Social, and Biological Computers
First, a listing:
6. Getting machine computers to mimic social computers.
7. Seeing social computers as resembling machine computers. Getting social computers to mimic machine computers.
8. Getting machine computers to mimic biological computers.
9. Seeing biological computers as resembling machine computers. Getting biological computers to mimic machine computers.
10. Getting social computers to mimic biological computers.
11. Seeing biological computers as resembling social computers. Getting biological computers to mimic social computers.
These are listed in rough order of difficulty. The easiest ones to do are earliest in the list; the hardest are last. We are adept at programming machine computers to mimic things; we are
less adept at configuring societies of people and biological communities of molecules, organisms, or species.
Getting Machine Computers to Mimic Social Ones
As soon as machine computers became small, inexpensive, and personal, ways of making populations of central processing units, populations of software programs, and populations of
inter-connected users the basis of computation became feasible. Computing became social as soon as technology made it affordable. Machine computers copied social dynamics of
human societies--social computation below. Machine computers copied the one world we all actually inhabit and created alternate virtual worlds--virtual realities below. Machine com-
puters instead of becoming one place among many others in the human world became a coating over all places, persons, and things--ubiquitous computing below.
Managing Complexity 69 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Social computation
This is doing machine computation with components interacting in ways inspired by human society dynamics. It could be hardware components thus interacting, or software, or
abstract algorithms thus interacting. Since the key word in this definition is “inspired” by human society dynamics, it is possible that, years later when that source of inspiration is for-
gotten, the “social” aspect of social computation will be unrealized. Nevertheless, in blackboard architectures in mid-1970s artificial intelligence computation we saw rules, modules,
later objects, constraints and other program constructs interacting through a common board whereupon was posted the state of solution of some scheduling, math, or other problem.
This blackboard quickly evolved in the 1980s to become an agora, a forum, a market of bids and contracts, and other social constructs. The coordination of these variously more social
places took on more and more a political cast till principles and regimes from human political communities were imposed on the software to coordinate things. Once you had commu-
nities of things interacting in what were essentially humanlike political ways, it was a small step to coordinate, not fragmental computer entities but entities that took on more and more
the character of human thinking beings, resulting in simulating whole societies. This, in turn, was extrapolated by suggesting that, instead of human-like-nesses thus politically coordi-
nated we might as well replace the human replicas with real humans, electronically doing democracy. This electronic democracy, however, the instant it was thought up, evolved
beyond democracy in face-to-face media. Electronics allowed more involvement up front in defining issues and designing answers for the electorate. Voting evolved into various
more content-ful forms of participation.
Social Interaction: From social interaction to interacting societies
Blackboard architectures--social control of non-social units (McClelland, Rumelhart, 1986)
Democratic electronics--political regimes from human society coordinating machines(Winograd and Flores, 1990)
Simulating societies--electronic models of social units interacting in groups computer entities (Epstein and Axell, 1997; Conte, Hegselmann, Tema, 1997; Prietula et al,
Electronic democracy--human political work done via machine computer networks structured to support particular political capabilities (Zolo, 1992; Tsagarousianou et
al, 1998; Braman, 1990; Dahl, 1985)
Another strand of Social Computation exists. It had to do with growth in numbers rather than in stepful qualities of types of coordination of interaction. Very simplified things inter-
acting in very stilted rigid ways--cellular automata--evolved into whole populations of agents thrown into environments to interact. Population computation is not statistics on average
behaviors but throwing many agents together and letting patterns emerge from their myriad local interactions. Epstein and Axell’s oft-cited book on bottom up computation illustrates
population computing.
Massive Parallelism: From grid sociality to demographic sociality
Cellular automata--abstract neighborhood interactions among abstract units (Wolfram, 1992; Chopard, and Droz, 1998; Crutchfield and Hanson, 1998)
Population computation--massive numbers of abstract units interacting in abstract neighborhoods (Epstein and Axell, 1997).
Virtual realities
This is improving interfaces into machine computation to the point that whole worlds with new, invented physics, geometries, geographies, and socialities appear. At present, certain
databases become geographies and people querying those databases become flying persons over data landscapes or become persons spraying water on gardens of data vegetation, and
other metaphors. Groups of people taking on electronic alter egos in computer MUDS (multi-user displays) have long gamed across the internet’s predecessors and the internet itself.
Virtual persona, virtual communities, and the like resulted.
The history of robotics includes a period wherein companies made large, expensive, and complicated machines. Financially these lost out in the market to other companies making
small, inexpensive, and simple machines. Now a third phase of hosts of even simpler robots are being designed to do things any single robot would be too slow to do. From hardware
thus socially interacting we are slowly moving toward intelligent software agents, so-called softbots, thus interacting.
Sociable Units
robot societies--small, highly interactive robots, powerful because of cooperations among them (Forrest, 1991; Lund and Asada, 1998)
intelligent agents--software entities with built-in intelligent behaviors that interact socially with each other in pre-designed as well as emergent cooperation types (Brad-
shaw, 1997; Muhns and Singh, 1997)
Machine computation has replaced the prose message with multi-media prose-video-audio-data combined messages and those, in turn, have recently been replaced by working busi-
ness process fragments as message contents. Processware, the emailing of working business processes from one employee to another, freely, throughout an organization, made the
organization form, no longer designed, but self-emergent. Government research to standardize the representation of companies, employees, customers, and their interactions in the
internet has started recently producing agile organizations--these are organizations that are instantly assembled once customer requirements are obtained. The electronically assembled
components, once agreed on by the customers, then construct a company of themselves to serve a particular need of those customers. In this way a market composes companies from
company components, electronically.
Intelligent Message Contents:
multi-media and affective computing--extending prose messages to include canned and live audio/video (Picard, 1997; Boy and Gruber, 1990)
organizational computing--making explicit the dynamics of various types of human organization then devising computing support types for particular dynamics and
transformations of it (Papazoglou and Schlageter, 1997; Adair, 94; Adler, 90; Andrews, 94; Bailey, 88; Berztiss, 90; Champy, 94; Cross et al, 94; Currid, 94; Davenport,
93; Davenport and Short, 90; Donovan, 95; Hammar, 92; Hammer and Champy, 93; Hanna, 88; Johanson, 90; Johansen, 90; Lowenthal, 94; Miller, 94; Morris, 94; Mor-
ton, 91; Nadler, 90; Nadler et al, 93; Nadler and Tushman, 90; Petrozzo, 94; Pollak, 94; Roberts, 94; Sakamoto, 89; Tomasko, 90; Associative Design Technology, 92;
Apex Attainment Associates, 93; BBN, 91; Baskerville, 94; Beer, 1988; Bowman, 90; Carmel, 92; Chronos Staff, 91; Collaborative Technologies Corp., 93; Contractor,
93; Corporate Memory Systems, 92; Documentum, 92; DST Systems, 92; Elan Software Inc., 92; Filenet Corp., 93; the Forefront Group, 93; Futurus Corp., 92; Gerson
and Star, 86; Gery, 91; Gorry et al, 92; Greif, 88; Greenberg, 90; Growhowski and McGuft, 93; Group Technologies Inc., 93; Hansen, 90; IBM ImagePlus, 91; InfoImage
Solutions Inc., 92; King and Star, 90; Lotus Development Inc., 93; Martz et al, 93; Nanda, 86; Narasimhan, 88; Neal, 92; Office Express Pty., 93; On Technology, 93;
Option Technologies, 92; Pacer Staff, 93; Plexus Software, 91; Post, 92; Rousseau, 89; Crowston, 91; RTZ Software, 92; Schuck, 86; Simone, 93; SmartCnboice Tech-
nologies, 93; SoftSolutions Technology Corp., 93; Team Software, 93; Twin Sun Inc., 93, Ventana, 93; Xsoft, 95)
processware--extending messages beyond video/audio to include working fragments of business processes emailed among employees for self-emergent organization
form (Greene, 1993; Greene, 1997; Dimancescu, 1990)
self emerging organizations--self organizing workforces and company alliances enabled by processware (Eve, Horsfall, and Lee, 1997; Malik and Probst, 1984; Drazin
and Sandelands, 1992; Thaler, 1992; Tushman and Romanelli, 1985)
agile economies--standard characterizations of firms, employees, customer wants, scheduling and the like allowing instant just-in-time assembly of new companies and
industries in response to changes in customer wants and human capabilities (McGrath, 95)
The realization that machine computers, the data they stored, could be interacted with as if they were entire new worlds where the laws of physics, geometry, geography, and personal-
ity were invented, different, and better in some ways, resulted in deploying the power of machine computation into how people interact with machine computers and how machine
computers interact with people. Virtual persons are really databases that suffice to support being interacted with as persons are interacted with--natural language dialog, joking, ges-
ture, and relationship building. Virtual organizations are databases that suffice to support being interacted with as if they were entire communities, companies, and so forth. Cyber
things differ from virtual things. Cyber things change the laws of emotional relationship building, physics, geometry, and so forth. Virtual things keep close analogs of physical reality
in electronic reality.
Personable Fictive Interfaces (Benedikt, 1990; Kitchen, 1997; Oravec, 1990; Gelernter, 1990):
virtual persons--software persons as interfaces between people and machine computer systems
virtual organizations--organizations without physical location but assembled electronically across the internet or intranets (Sudweeks et al, 1998; Ishida, 1998)
cyberpersons--extensions of human-like functioning beyond human limitations to create new types of person in software and internet form (Wachsmuth and Frohlich,
cyberspaces--shared virtual organizations not based on analogs with our real physical universe but with changes of physics, emotions, geometry, and geology that con-
stitute new types of world for people of some sort to be in (Moser, MacLeod, 1997).
Managing Complexity 70 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Ubiquitous computing
The opposite of virtuality is ubiquity. Ubiquitous computing is a term invented in the early 1970s for a world in which computers were small enough and cheap enough to be put onto
everything and everywhere and everyone. As such small distributed computers became more powerful and intelligent, the entire world and all its locales, persons, and objects became
more interactive. Coating the entire world with computer “dust” is ubiquitous computing. Creating new kinds of world in electronic form is virtuality.
When people are identified so that machine computers know where they are at all times, then a host of new social functions can be supported by machine computers and can be embed-
ded in them. Knowing who is in a room allows machine computers to tailor the temperature, lighting, wall decorations, phone/fax/email services for who is there. Similarly personal-
ized wall displays appear when certain people pass them by. Personal area networks are worldwide webs of information and communication services that follow where you are and are
available cellularly or otherwise.
Preference Following (Leebaert, 1995; Metropolis, 1992):
badging--changing all ordinary computing software and systems based on devices allowing computers to know where everyone is and who everyone is at all times
personal locales, billboards, facilities--first response of computer software systems to badging by personalizing computer self-presentations to who is nearby accessing
them at the time
personal area networks--one’s personal electronic work environment following one around 24 hours a day in any locale
The obvious problem with personal badging is what to do when two or more people are present in one locale. Machine computers that have a political method for combining authority,
rank, status, need, interests and the like take over. Locales become politicized, procedures to do become politicized, and computing systems as entireties become designed to support
particular types of human organization.
Preference Combining (Galegher, 1990; Easterbrook, 1990):
politicized settings--ways to resolve conflicting preferences of people or systems sharing one physical or electronic setting
politicized procedures--ways to combine and resolve conflicts of preferences for how to do things among people or systems sharing physical or electronic settings
computed organization--software work environments that configure themselves automatically based on who is using them, connected to them, or a stakeholder in them;
the particular form of the software work facilities depends entirely on who currently connects to the network and volunteers to perform certain roles in processes of work.
Getting social computers to mimic machine ones
One of the most remarkable impacts of machine computing is the way it has become a model, image, and inspiration for re-seeing human phenomena. The first way this happened was
human intelligence. Many activities for thousands of years called intelligent when humans did them, suddenly were questioned when machine computers were devised that did them.
The boundary of “intelligent” was moved as machines proved capable of, for example, beating chess masters in the game of chess. Machine computers and humans both perform activ-
ities traditionally called “intelligent”. As machines did more and more things traditionally called “intelligent”, people began to see if how the human mind had done those things was
similar to how machine computers were doing them. In the mainframe era of machine computers they built mainframe-like images of the human mind--a central processor somewhere
in the mind getting data from various dispersed areas in the mind. In the personal computer era of machine computers the image was networks of personal computers. That gave rise to
an image of the mind as a conversation among modular separate types of small computers.
Recently this imaging of human phenomena on machine computing has extended so that we now design human community dynamics and social forms as if human beings were central
processing units in an array of other processing units. This is called computational sociality below. Cellular connections to anyone in the planet are evolving so that all space becomes
potentially group space--you are never alone. This is called virtual society below. New ways to organize people that never existed before that do in social form what the internet does
in electronic form have arisen. This is called social virtuality below--achieving 30 groups of work out of one group of people.
Computational sociality
A rough approximation of the steps in re-imaging humans from the images machine computers gave us are something like the following:
1. Central controller regimes--a genius at the center, dumbies on the periphery (machine computing: massive mainframe at center, dumb ter-
minals connected to it; human beings as computers: CEO at center, dumb employees connected to him)
2. Parallel layer regimes--a bureaucracy layer used as library of capabilities from which a movement layer emerges (machine computing:
social rank computation in social terms with information sharing computation in machine terms; human beings as computers: social hierarchy among
employees with electronic network horizontarchy among employees
3. Virtuality regimes--socializing horizontally in electronic communities and chat facilities with spontaneous emergence of business, charity,
and other movemental organizations among those thus socially connected (machine computing: work done by nearly everyone entirely on computer net-
works; human beings as computers: social hierarchies and horizontarchies among humans in electronic communities).
The above three steps are a transition from all work done physically to half of work done physically and half electronically to all work done electronically. As work moved from a phys-
ical basis, the locations, horizontal social relations, and vertical rank relations of the physical workplace received different treatments at different times. Computers first supported the
functional divisions of companies, breaking up functional interdependencies into incompatible databases and interfaces. This lowered productivity greatly while increasing data flows.
In the personal computer regimes, the beginnings of support for horizontal relations--among co-workers socially and among functions in the value chain serving final customers,
appeared. In the virtual regimes, new all-electronic forms of vertical rank, horizontal colleagueship, and functional inter-connection arose. Each of these steps of transition inspired
new forms of human interaction in face-to-face communities.
First, management became movemental--as people saw computations passing in patterns across massively parallel computer arrays of processors, they passed similar computations
among whole workforces and industries of firms. The internet made this even easier and cheaper. Second, as more and more work was done on the net, and as that turned into virtual
organizations on the net, management was done in face-to-face events that briefly brought together physically people otherwise distributed on the net. Managing functions traditionally
delivered via a social class of managers (a kind of static inventory that looked “managerial” even when management functioning was not needed) were delivered via workshop events.
These workshop events were highly structured with waves of procedures passed in patterns among arrays of workshop groups the way commutations are divided and dispersed across
arrays of machine computer processors. Eventually these face-to-face workshop events inspired electronic such workshop events, with asynchronous doing of functions done synchro-
nously in the face-to-face versions. Third, total quality evolved in three simultaneous directions--totalizing from 5 to 24 different approaches to achieving quality--method totalization,
totalizing from one nation to every nation world wide with particular nations/cultures enhancing quality method repertoires, totalizing from one type of quality, namely, quality of pro-
duction, to other types of quality, quality of the earth, quality of representation, and so on. The latter was called global quality or quality globalization. Fourth, the Santa Fe Institute set
about studying what was common to all complex adaptive systems (rising civilizations, animal immune systems, Los Angeles traffic, and so on). A new bottom up “generative” way to
study human societies emerged from their work, wherein arrays of local agents interacting caused emergence of complex patterns of behavior that no one agent intended, designed, or
planned. Emergence of banking, currency, interest rates among simulated hunter gatherers proved that no one human had to “invent” such institutions for them to “appear” in human
history, putting to rest 2000 years of “designer” and “rational planner” images of humankind in some ways. A social way to lead human beings that was similarly bottom up and foster-
ing of “emergent” phenomena was invented called the social automata process.
Social array processes are ways of organizing humans as arrays of intelligent processors with computations passing in certain patterns across those arrays of human processors. This is
one of the most profound and subtle new phenomena of our time. Total quality control started this in the 1950s when Dr. Juran went to Japan and got the Japanese to de-professional-
ize quality, removing it from one profession and making entire management and workforces instead responsible for it. He suggested organizing whole enterprises for achieving quality
the exact same way that enterprises organized themselves for attaining profits--financial control systems. This rapidly developed into a split level system of a bureaucracy of capabilities
used by the quality movement within each firm as a library from which particular capabilities were drawn by a movemental teaming layer. This was not inspired by machine computers
and may seem, therefore, irrelevant here, in this discussion. It is not. Total quality developed in this way, entirely independently of machine computation systems until the mid-1980s
when CEOs got the quality “process is key” message and suddenly saw why machine computation investments were not impacting productivity--they supported serving vertical bureaus
and their ranks, not horizontal processes and the firm’s external customers. Taking a process orientation not only achieved quality goals it also for the first time allowed machine com-
putation to impact business goals directly. Total quality, the first major world-wide business improvement implemented in social movement form within firms, among supply chain
firms, and across entire economies, was followed by 63 other such improvements--all implemented as social movements. Recently the internet has made supporting the social dynamics
of these business improvement movements even easier and cheaper. Below this is called management as movement building. Since the mid-1980s, total quality and subsequent such
movements have been understood and elaborated as computations passing across arrays of human processors. Some example processes involved include:
• catch-ball processes (for example: policy deployment and quality function deployment): goal setting processes cascaded up and down
organization ranks and left and right across organization functions (Greene, 1993, 1994; Deming, 1986; Imai, 1986; Lillrank and Kano, 1989)
Managing Complexity 71 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
• standard tool sets (for example: seven statistical tools, seven management tools, seven knowledge tools): standard “human processor”
instruction sets implemented in all teams = processors of the array = firm (Ichikawa, 1986; Iizuka, 1991; Ishikawa, 1985; Kurogane, 1987)
• distributed problem solving (for example: quality circles all using standard problem solving processes which in turn use standard cogni-
tive tool sets): not one executive or a few bright staff professionals but every work unit identifying local appearances of root problems and solving them
(Juran, 1988; Kano, 1993; Cole, 1989; Cole et al, 1993).
Each of these and other movemental aspects were repeated in the 63 subsequent business improvement movements: re-engineering, globalization, cycle time reduction, supply chain
virtualization, and so forth.
Social array processes (Read and Miller, 1997; Greene, 1997; Masuch, 1992):
Manage by movement building--leading by eliciting movements that volunteer to step out of bureaucratic organizations and mobilize to get certain tasks done, then dis-
perse (Arendt, 1965)
Micro institution development--Grameen Bank style institutionalization via basic unit interactions that grow (OECD, 1997)
Manage by events--getting key leadership/management functions done in mass workshop events by hundreds of people (Greene, 93; Pava, 86; Weisbord, 1992)
Global quality--inventing new practices that mesh the primary values of 10 different types of social movement so critical mass changes can take place (Greene, 97)
Social automata process of leadership--setting up social automata then governing via connectedness, diversity, and initiative parameters till correct forms self emerge
rather than designing correct forms directly (Greene, 97; Kawase, 1988; Schelling, 1978; Barber, 1984)
On a small size scale, within each person, a similar change of personal behaviors inspired by how computations pass among machine computer processors has taken place. We see this
in a geometric rationalization and multi-level ordering of parts of personal life and work that in the past were left disorganized if not shabby. First, the irregular geometry of ideas in
categorical and causal models has been replaced by regular geometries of patterns of ideas repeated on different size scales. Top level idea inter-relation patterns are repeated among
their subconcepts and sub-subconcepts. These are technically “fractal” patterns--invariance of pattern or inter-relation by changes of size scale. Second, this regularization trend has
also appeared in personal filing systems. People are ordering their personal files in fractal patterns with lead ideas in a pattern of inter-relation that is repeated on smaller size scales.
Third, computer interfaces are beginning to move in the direction of such regularization as discontent with irregular branch factors in internet home pages rises. Homepages with frac-
tal branches to other homepages are beginning to replace homepages with irregular branch patterns. The computer source of inspiration for this is subtle. People have re-thought
about parts of their behavior and life as they see and participate in ordering computer systems to support their work. The rationality applied to work systems, spasmodically gets
applied to personal things, resulting in incremental regularizations, accumulated till large scale order appears. Fourth, human relationship networks have similarly come to be regular-
ized. Chatrooms on the internet have led people to form social movements by rationally linking with relevant think-able groups to do what was spontaneously done for fun with inci-
dental initial groups. Word processor drawing packages and the internet have enabled this extension of rational ordering to personal domains of work.
Personal array processes (Clancey, Smoliar, Stefik, 1994; Flake, 1998 ):
Structural reading, listening--this amounts to making human readings as precise as machine computer readings, in terms of modeling the exact count, names, and order-
ing principles of main points (Kintsch and van Dijk, 1980; Meyer, 1983)
Fractal model building--this is a regularized categorical model of concepts that allows analogous ordering of concepts on several levels, it brings machine computing
precision to conceptual models people build and apply
Fractal filing--this is a regularized categorical system as the basis of personal filing systems
Fractal interfaces--these are computer database interfaces following fractal principles of regular geometry, repeated on several size scales with analogous ordering of
concepts on all levels
Chatroom movements--these are social movements created by or sustained by chatrooms on the internet that put mobilization of social forces under the same type of
rationalization processing that machine computers are famous for.
Virtual planetary society
New electronic infrastructures are appearing. One, cellular systems, promises to connect everyone with everyone, at any location on the planet. Another, open real-time networks,
promise to turn all space on the planet into public space through open communication lines allowing anyone to see any part of the planet’s space and what is going on there. Huge
social, emotional, personal, legal, and political implications lie in these emerging technical capabilities. Of course, these are emerging technologies, not fully funded and developed
ones, so, at present, we do not have everyone connected to everyone and every space connected to every space--we cannot afford that at present. The promise, however, of eventual
affordability, is there and each step towards connecting every person to every person all the time, has immense social, policy, and personal implications.
We have to go back to Teilliard de Chardin’s “noosphere” to get images of the kind of world that is thus emerging. Virtual society here differs from virtual realities mentioned earlier
in this essay. When everyone is connected to everyone in lines that are open 24 hours a day (potentially) a new public space appears that is global and always available. Crimes of cer-
tain sorts will evaporate, becoming no longer possible at all. Tyrannies of new sorts will become possible that are more horrific than past technologies enabled. Here we are consider-
ing a new type of public space among people. Virtual realities are facsimiles of our physical reality, redone in electronic guise. When many virtual spaces break from being facsimiles
of our physical world and invent new personae, geometries, geographies and the like, virtuality becomes cyber-ness. Cellularity makes ordinary physical space virtual, group space;
machine universes in software form make new electronic spaces available. That is the difference.
Cellularity (Bruer, 1998):
One planet-wide space connecting all people
All places on the planet connected 24-hours a day to each other
It is important to note that finite element analysis, neural net computing, and renormalization group theory all did to physics of mechanical design, pattern recognition elements, and
spin-glass physics earlier what cellularity is now doing to human relations (Lesne, 1998). Cellularity deploys to more people functions hithertofore centralized or left to face-to-face
meetings. Cellularity makes any time and any space a group space.
The internet is a step very similar to the cellularity step. It is a new infrastructure, created by a bottom up self organization process, that replaces geography with something much
faster, cheaper, more markable and searchable. The internetting of systems, places, organizations, and people amounts to a consistent process of transformation. First and most fun-
damental, the internet turns millions and billions of people, who, in other media are merely passive receivers, into broadcasters. We can all publish to the entire world without editors
rejecting our work. Democratized broadcasting of all to all is so new we hardly know or imagine what it will lead to. Of course, powerful organizations, getting onto the net now, are
laying ads everywhere on others’ homepages, so the average person’s homepage cannot be found as easily. However, search engine improvements fundamentally counteract the ad
advantage, allowing anyone to find anyone with similar keywords and other indexable contents of interest.
Internetting (Steffik, 1996; Sproull and Kiesler, 1991):
democratized broadcasting (the net as a 5 billion channel TV)
broadcaster of unique computational resource types (kinky types of computer anyone on the world can hook up to over the net at affordable, micro-priced, prices)
automated social movement building (workflow process repertoires anyone can employ to gather persons of similar interest and create new firms, markets, agencies,
charities with.
When people put various department functions into machine computer form, they had to make much more explicit things that humans did unthinkingly in their everyday routines of
work. Computerization of society inevitably, it seems, involves concomitant explicit-ization. People compile unconscious routine contents into explicit procedures for machine com-
puters to help or automate. This was almost immediately copied in artificial intelligence research. There people went after experts--people with immense amounts of unconscious,
masterful routine. They developed methods of making unconscious methods conscious and explicit (protocol analysis it is called in cognitive psychology books). However, this has
recently reflected back. People recently have gotten the image of making explicit all the parts of hithertofore respected or awesome social roles. When how “best leaders” do things
and how “best entrepreneurs” do things becomes explicit, examinable, improvable, then vastly more people can hope to attain “best practice” levels of performance. Again, almost eer-
ily, total quality emphasized the spotting of best practices using statistics on work outcomes and the explicit-ization of the basis of those practices in terms of process models, and the
wide dissemination of them through benchmarking visits, teams, conferences, and libraries. Total quality achieved in social face-to-face form much of computer explicitization
decades before computers achieved it.
First, people made explicit many of the most important functions of management. This made it possible to measure when and where exactly what amount of such functioning was
needed. The process emphasis of total quality as picked up as the heart of re-engineering enabled this. Thus specified, re-engineering movements discovered that most people called
“leaders” and “managers” were performing managing functions that manifestly were not needed. This was defined as a kind of tampering--injecting functions unneeded in order to fill
Managing Complexity 72 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
time or justify one’s role by “looking” managerial. These dysfunctions, in turn, were discovered in re-engineering campaigns to originate in using a social class of people called “man-
agers” and “leaders” to deliver management functions. This social class served as a kind of expensive inventory, always around in fixed amounts regardless of the amount of managerial
functioning needed in key steps of processes. Alternate means of delivering such managerial functions were devised--rescue squads of employees that came together when and where
particular such functions were needed and events wherein employees applied expert protocols for doing such functions.
Second, key processes for attaining certain outcomes have become a new way of bringing people together. These so-called protocol communities, come together on a face-to-face con-
ference or venture business basis or on an internet electronic virtual community, chat room, or virtual business basis. What unites them is willingness to play particular roles in particu-
lar protocol processes that get done outcomes all participants are interested in. Interest groups and clubs, in traditional face-to-face society, play this role. People, however, in them get
together around rather inchoate yearnings and interests. Here, people gather because particular protocols for getting things done are discovered and people want to play roles in those
protocols in order to get things done. Protocols for doing parts of expert computer programming were the first such protocols, published as workflow software. Recently protocols for
electronic democracy citizen-design of policy alternatives have appeared.
Function specification (Chi et al, 1998; Akiyama, 1991):
just-in-time managing--ways, other than a permanent inventory of managers/leaders, that is, other than a social class, of delivering the managing functions to situations
when, where, and in the type and amount needed
protocol communities--groups of people willing to play certain pre-determined roles in expert processes, electronically supported through workflow software on the inter-
Social virtuality
Machine computer virtuality allows a person to play roles in electronic worlds having different physics, geometries, geologies, and psychologies. Indeed, machine computer virtuality
allows one person to play dozens of such roles in dozens of such cyberworlds. Social virtuality is a copy of this in human face-to-face dynamics. It gets people used to playing roles at
work in one group at a tim, to play roles in dozens of groups asynchronously and simultaneously. Each person becomes “virtual” in that you must know the group they currently are
active in in order to know the role they are playing and how they will act and respond to stimuli. Each group becomes “virtual” in that you must know the larger group it is playing a
role in to know how it will act and respond to stimuli.
First, workgroups of 15 or so employees have been organized by allowing employees to form interest groups of 3 or 4 employees, with each of the 15 employees allowed to join more
than one such interest group. This turns one group of 15 into 10 groups, each of 3 or 4 persons. These interest groups, then, are allowed to cooperate with each other to form particular
events. Thus one group of 15 employees organized as 10 interest groups, turns into 15 or 20 events, each organized by two or three interest groups. This makes the overall group
“socially” virtual as well as each subgroup and event in it. Second, such virtual groups may divide into subgroups or events each specializing in one particular management function.
Thus, strategy is set by one event, personnel hiring/firing/evaluating is done by another such event, customer requirements gathering done by a subgroup, and so on. In this way man-
agement functions are all done without anyone being “a manager”. Third, markets are being brought, more and more into firms. Theatre troops wherein 8 or 10 communities of actors
compete to take all the roles of up-coming productions, businesses wherein 8 or 10 designs compete to go into production as new products, advertising accounts wherein 8 or 10 cam-
paign ideas compete to get customer endorsement, all display competitive markets performing functions that formerly were done by bureaucratic departments commanding work.
Virtual groups (Pava, 1986; Greene, 1996)
One group as 30 groups--managing one group as 30 virtual groups of various complex sorts of interaction
Simultaneous plural leadership regimes--leadership/management functions assigned to different people or event-types so that they can be delivered simultaneously,
instead of sequentially by one person designated as leader/manager
Marketization of bureaucratic functions--electronic networks allowing markets to decide and do things hithertofore done solely by bureaucratic hierarchies (Malone and
Rockart, 1991; Jennings and Wooldridge, 1998).
A related changing of human social forms of organization inspired by arrays of machine computer processors is the virtualization of organization. First, an inversion in workstyles
caused transportation means to become the places of work and the destinations of travel became events rather than places of work. Highly mobile workstyles combined with cellular
and mobile computing technologies, all this accelerated by internet computing, replaced places with transport locales. Second, instead of organizations creating internally a market for
doing certain functions, they deployed internal functions to the external market, letting formerly internal functions be done by external firms. This reached the level, in some organiza-
tions, that socially virtual firms resulted--firms the entire functioning of which was outsourced, with only a handful of people “being the firm” that is, managing the host of outsourcing
Inversion virtuality:
Transport locales--inversion of destinations as work/play locales with transportation means becoming the locales for work/play instead (Greene, 1998)
Outsource virtuality--organizations that only manage functions outsourced entirely to vendor organizations (Nadler, 1990; Nadler et al, 1990, 1993).
Getting machine computers to mimic biological computers
A second source of inspiration for machine computer development, besides human society, has been nature. Biological computation systems abound. As machine computers devel-
oped, gradually, three things happened. One, people gradually perceived computation systems in nature they had never noticed before. Two, more mechanical computer power meant
gradually a few biological computation types could be mimicked, however elementarily, on machine computers. Three, the necessity, for a thousand years of simplifying the world by
linear models, evaporated. Non-linear models began to replace linear ones in field after field, turning static equilibria models into dynamic open-system models.
Natural Programming: Genetic, neural, fuzzy, logic, constraint, adaptive, learning, and
immune programming
The first part of nature that people emulated in computer form was human thinking. At first a rigid “logic” was tried in computers. That quickly gave way to more flexible aspects of
thought--fuzzy categories and qualitative reasoning (“if we make it too tight, it will break” for example). Later, a kind of inverse thinking--constraint satisfaction--was tried. As each
of these styles of computation showed great brittleness--within an extremely narrow area it worked well, even the tiniest bit outside that boundary it failed catastrophically--people gave
up on single types of thought, copied in computer systems. They turned to other processes in nature to put facsimiles of into machine computers.
Mind mimicry: artificial intelligence
logic programming--predicate calculi modified then made into programming languages for automatic problem solving
backward/forward reasoning--planning systems that develop goals and subgoals then strategies to fulfill goals
fuzzy and qualitative reasoning--new logics and maths based on imprecise human terms like “if we make X too fast, Y will break”
expert systems--mining experts for unconscious knowledge latent in their routines of expert performance using protocol analysis methods
constraint propagation--finding solutions by finding and inverting webs on inter-connected constraints that gradually further and further specify what a solution must be
like till one is found
machine sight, hearing, touch, smell--sensor technology hooked up with pattern finding and matching technology till something like human perceptual system functioning
is achieved.
The natural evolution process looked in biology like an abstract algorithm. You generated alternatives via more or less random mutation. You combined capabilities by more or less
random crossover between mom and dad DNA strands. You tested the resulting organisms in sometimes challenging and multi-faceted environments. Those that survived to reproduce
well dominated those that did not. Natural selection computed “well adapted” organisms. It looked like a computational process before machine computers were around; it looked
even more like one after they were around. It did not take long for people to get software to mimic natural selection--generating “well adapted” jet engine designs, and the like. A little
later software programs were themselves generated by letting program fragments compete genetically. At the same, time nervous systems inspired machine computation types. People
who had spent twenty years using concepts and logic as what to copy in machine computation form switched in the late 1970s to copying perceptual systems. After that people realized
that they did not have to copy natural selection as nature did it; they could modify it. The first such modification to attain widespread popularity was Lamarckian inheritance--the inher-
iting of things organisms learned during their individual existences. Later, populations of programs were not treated just to natural selection algorithms; instead, other ecosystem pro-
cesses--food webs, mass-energy flows, and like processes were applied to make software ecosystems.
Naturalist computing
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genetic algorithms--software that executes the basic steps of the natural selection process of variant production, test in challenging environments, replicating fittest off-
spring (Fogel, 1995; Mitchell, 1998)
neural nets--software and hardware inspired by animal nervous system components (neurons) especially overly simplified rendering of artificial neurons inter-connected
in layers as “nets” (that is complexity is in the connections rather than in the messaging between “neurons” in those nets)(Landau and Taylor, 1998; Bullinaria et al,
1997; Weisbuck, 1990)
evolving neural nets--genetic algorithms applied to evolve the “best” neural nets for some particular task (usually pattern recognition of some sort)
Lamarckian algorithms--genetic algorithms that allow learnings from experiences of an organism to affect the contents of the genetic code the organism passes on to off-
software ecosystems--computer program species interacting in a computer under some sort of natural selection algorithm to evolve new computer program capabilities
(Huberman, 1988)
adaptive and learning systems--computer programs that self-modify based on performance, perception, or environment (Rose and Lauder, 1996; Holland et al, 1986;
Holland, 1992).
Of all of naturality computing, immune computing is the most current and exciting. After all immune systems are recursive--natural selection created human beings and inside of
those human beings is another natural selection process set in motion when damage is detected or when foreign invaders are detected. There are two immune systems in humans--a
general inflammatory response attacking and cleaning up whatever is at a site of damage and a much more specific immune response of generating mutations in antibodies till one hav-
ing the right shape to latch onto a specific invader and carry it to a killing center appears. Some controversy exists in the research in that the dominant idea that the second immune sys-
tem responds to invaders is being challenged by convincing data that that immune system responds to damage like the first one does. The issue as of this writing was undecided.
Immune computing copies human immune system functions. This looks a bit more creative than it is. Once you have genetic algorithms, immune algorithms are largely specialization
of the basic genetic subprocesses of generating variants (via mutation, crossover, etc.), testing them in environments for fitness (ability to replicate), and replicating the survivors. The
immune system simply applied this natural selection process to detecting and killing damage or invaders in host animals.
Immune computing (Adami et al, 1998):
immunity via detecting damage
immunity via detecting invaders
immunity via ecosystem competition among antibody producers
immunity via accelerated natural selection of antibodies
immunity via natural selection among competing natural selection types.
It took quite a few years for people to discover that machine computers had obviated two thousand year old traditions of simplifying via linear models. In part the hardware for doing
this preceded the software for doing it; that explains much of the delay. When people found that linear simplifications were no longer necessary (non-linear models were just as easy
to set up and far more accurate), their disciplines, journals, mindsets, managements, and funders were not prepared. Hence, social supports had to be re-educated over a number of
years to develop tolerance of, interest in, and preference for non-linear models. First to go were equilibrium models in fields like physics and economics. Quickly disciplines discov-
ered that what had been absolute truth and commonsense for hundreds of years, turned out to be significant reductions of more pluriform realities they had never imagined. Economics
found decreasing returns to scale assumptions in every economics 101 text applied only to soybean markets not high technology markets, hence, Microsoft’s first mover advantages
defied econ 101 equation predictions. Second to go were models with a handful of variables operating on one modeled agent. Whole populations of agents interacting replaced them.
These populations of agents models found self-organizing phenomena replacing designed phenomena and self-emergent behaviors replacing planned behaviors. Suddenly individual
agents thinking up things, planning them, intending them were irrelevant to societies of agents actually doing them. Usual causality proved partial, not the whole story. The shock of
this is still propagating through the social sciences, twenty years after it propagated through the physical sciences as chaos theory. Third to go was learning by causal path covariance
models of traditional Lisrel/Equus statistics. Simulations replaced them. Such simulations allowed bottom up spontaneous emergence of social phenomena hithertofore assumed to
arise only from deliberate individual human invention. Suddenly, human interventions at upper levels of society, to affect patterns there while leaving in tact lower level unit interac-
tions that created spontaneous emergence of such patterns on higher levels, were seen as “tampering”, that hindered getting desired outcomes.
De-linearization of knowledge (Epstein and Axtell, 1997; Resnick, 1996):
from static equilibria to far from equilibrium dynamic models
from math models for fuzzy models
from solution searches to constraint aggregations
from few variables interacting to populations of agents interacting
from causal modeling to simulating modeling
Artificial life
This started out by people getting software to mimic particular animal behaviors like bird flocking. People realized, however, that in the 1940s, mathematicians such as van Neumann
created automata that self replicated. In fact, these self replicating automata met nearly all the criteria, then, for what “living” things are. This was troubling--if software could meet
all the criteria of “living”, then were we obligated to give the moral weight to such software that we gave to carbon based life. The phrase “silicon-based life” captured this possibility.
People began seriously attempting to create such silicon-based life.
As more serious dynamics of living systems were accomplished inside machine computers, researchers came closer and closer to an abstract general definition of living systems inde-
pendent of what material substrate--carbon or silicon or something else--they happened to be built upon. Sandpiles, strangely, are a good model for the essence of living systems.
They self-tune to critical points where slight perturbations can lead to avalanches of behavior change on all size scales. The study of self-organized criticality explores such connec-
tions. Percolation is a general dispersion process that is alike in sandpiles and living systems. Studying both as percolations reveals further, more detailed similarities. They both
have order parameters (what phase the system is in) and control parameters (at a particular value of which phases change) with feedbacks between them. Fitness landscapes represent
the portion of all potential combinations of genes currently represented by a population. How changes of environment, mutation rate, crossover sexual combination, and the like affect
portions of the landscapes achieved by the population reveals much about evolution processes in living systems. Co-evolving fitness landscapes are environments, that are living
beings, evolving in response to any one species they are an environment for, evolving. This represents competing businesses in industries as well.
Self replicating automata compute themselves. Their computation is replication. Self organized criticality computes itself back into a critical state in response to infinitesimal driving
forces. Percolation systems at their critical points are characterized by an absence of scales--behaviors there present occur simultaneously at all scales. They compute some kind of
scaleless phenomenon. Fitness landscapes are traversed by genomes that mutate and crossover. If adjacent sites on such a landscape are one mutation away then which peaks are
climbed by certain mutations can be seen. They compute the optimality of various types of living system. Coupled fitness landscapes explore how organisms that are the environment
of any one organism evolve in response to mutations in that organism. They compute how living systems explore fitness landscapes that change as the living systems evolve.
Replicating life (Langton, 1997, Kauffman, 1995):
self replicating automata
self organized criticality
fitness landscapes
coupled fitness landscapes
Another strand within artificial life is leaving behind the replication of what we observe about existing lifeforms and replacing it with developing lifeforms on a silicon basis without
regard to how existing carbon-based lifeforms work. Evolving software program ecosystems wherein the software monitors itself and reflects on its own development represents
human efforts to create living software that is conscious of itself. Without regard to how real living systems do this, researchers are attempting it.
Inventing life--growing software communities (Adami, 1998) :
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living software
self conscious software
Chemical computing
The immense power of eggs as computers running DNA programs, ultimately, among other things, creating us--people--has inspired people to use DNA as a computer. It turns out that
molecule size computational elements, with trillions of them operating simultaneously, in a cubic centimeter of liquid inside a test-tube, for example, are capable of computations the
largest current machine computers are not yet capable of. Soon people searched for other molecule types that could encode information in strings and recombine it. The result was seri-
ous development of DNA used for certain highly parallel computation types as well as development of polymer strings, encoding information and recombining in ways DNA cannot.
At a very different and larger size scale, the internet has allowed semi-automatic and automatic assembly of computer resources to solve problems no one computer can handel. In both
cases the key is assembly of immense populations of computational elements, simultaneously deployed.
Data populations (Lundh, Olsson, Narayanan, 1997)
DNA computers (Paun et al, 1998)
polymer information strings
internet-recruited computational networks
In general, machine computer researchers searched for new substrates, ever smaller in size scale, for conducting the most primitive computational operations of hardware. Quantum
level elements would obey the strange physics rules of the quantum state. By going below the level of current living system computation systems, new types of operation would become
available that only quantum physics makes possible. Similarly, scales larger than biological computation systems have been inspired to operate on a massively parallel DNA sort of way.
This has led to football stadium automata whose components are human beings in seat arrays.
Scale change computing (Forrest, 1991; Kelly, 1994):
Quantum computing
Football stadium computing.
Getting biological computers to mimic machine computers
People have control over all parts of mechanical computers that they long, also, to have also over biological and social ones. We wish to influence nature in directions positive to us.
Chronologically the first thing that happened is people, inspired by machine computing, learned to recognize biological computation systems they had never seen before. Next, people
wanted to intervene in biological computation systems to get certain outcomes. The result is such things as medical interventions to change, improve, speed up, or reduce immune sys-
tem activity. The whole gene cloning and gene agriculture industry are included here. The computers of nature existed before humans did. We are the result of their work. Interven-
tions now that we make to influence them are a peculiar type of “programming”. We are altering various parts of existing computers--altering their chemical hardware, their DNA
software, and their protein peripherals (inputs and outputs). In machine computing we invent new hardware, software, and algorithms, and we program new software, but we rarely take
all parts of a computer and simultaneously intervene to change them all.
Natural selection selections
The natural selection process calls out for improvement. Random mutations can be replaced by designed changes in particular genes. For eons humans have replaced random sexual
mating with specific breeding combinations. Random test environments have also been replaced by particular environments for resulting organisms to adapt well to. All these inter-
ventions speed up natural selection by focussing particular subprocesses that constitute it.
It is not just nature’s version of natural selection that has thus been improved. Humans have found that creativity in individuals and human societies can be understood as a natural selec-
tion process. Thomas Edison’s 99% perspiration 1% inspiration formula for creativity can be understood as random mutation 99% and inspired mutation 1%. Interventions to make
random mutations into focussed ones, random crossover gene combinations into focussed ones, random selection environments into focussed ones, limited darwinian inheritance
regimes into focussed new ones, and random replication into focussed replication have been made successfully.
Genetic engineering: altering natural selection (Gould, 1996; Dawkins, 1995 and 1987)
alternative generation operators
selection operators
test environment operators (failure indexes)
inheritance type operators
replication operators
Natural selection does not seem to be a one level process. That may be because genes are multi-level. Some genes are recursive--their role is controlling other genes--turning them on
and off or moderating what they produce. Still other genes seem to control the controlling genes themselves--both as a whole and particular ones. That produces three levels at which
mutations can occur, with mutations in the latter levels having broader impacts than mutation in the early levels. Humans are directly experimenting now to affect each level.
Levels of natural selection (Gould, 1987; Dawkins, 1995 and 1987):
changing genes that affect traits directly
changing gene-controlling genes
changing genes that control gene-controlling genes
A second strand within altering natural selection operates not on the subprocesses of the natural selection process but on entire ecosystems of organisms that are the environments for
each other. By altering the food chains, species variety, mass-energy flows we hope to compute different ecosystem contents. This has spread from altering natural communities of
plants and animals to altering human community systems, visualized as ecosystems. Evolutionary engineering is the name for this effort to replace design processes suited for mechan-
ical systems, and too often applied to self-conscious evolving human communities, with design processes especially tailored to handling the self-consciousness of human communities
and their evolutionary nature. Communities that self-consciously evolve cannot be designed the way watches and cars can. Yet, our policy interventions all too often apply design pro-
cesses suited for mechanical systems to human ones.
engineering ecosystems (Patten and Jorgensen, 1995; Ashworth, 95)
ecosystem engineering
evolutionary engineering
software program ecosystems (Carley and Prietula, 1994)
One of the most mysterious of nature’s computational systems is consciousness. Long thought a monopoly of humans, recent research has extended greatly the amount of self-con-
sciousness that animals exhibit. Whales, elephants, parrots have all exhibited guilt, shame, loyalty, and other feelings requiring some self-consciousness. The modularity of mind
hypothesis--that our minds are collections of many small highly specialized computers--makes consciousness not a binary on-off thing but a cumulation of interactions among compo-
nent computers in the mind. Severe brain injuries that people recover from have produced testimony that two or three years was required before people felt mentally “themselves”.
This is anecdotal evidence that consciousness may have many degrees with small, all but unnoticeable, differences between them. The evolutionary history of the brain as an organ in
primates indicates multiple use of facilities developed by evolution for one challenge in one environment. We seem, for example, to have a general sequencing facility, used for sequenc-
ing motions, sounds, thoughts, and other rather different mental contents. So phenomena we include under the term consciousness seem to come from this multiple use of facilities.
Managing Complexity 75 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Recursive modularity (Bermudez, 1998; Dennett, 1996):
Society of Mind--consciousness as socializing among mental component computers (Minsky, 1988; Parasuraman, 1998)
Natural Selection of Thoughts--individual thoughts as results of natural selection among thoughts competing for attention (Hameroff et al, 1998; Crawford and Krebs,
1997; Clavin, 1996)
Moving beyond recognition of the computations underneath consciousness, we find interventions to alter or heighten consciousness. First, scale invariance of consciousness has been
emphasized within traditional disciplines of meditation. Fractal meditation involves letting go of the human scale, coming from eyes, ears, and the other 3 senses, in favor of smaller
and larger than human scales of existence. Hobby professionalization is a sociological trend of turning hobbies from parts of life into entire worlds with career paths, training schools,
and the like. Consciousness loses its social placed-ness in this trend. Third, internet MUDs and cyberspaces allow males to take the role of females, the old the role of young people,
and the like. This ability to “be” anyone and anything drastically alters self-consciousness, exposing people to the remarkably different environments of personal treatment that differ-
ent social roles elicit. This is eye opening. It exposes an unconscious layer of placed-ness not broken down till recently.
Sequestration of experience (Edelman, 1992; Kotter, 1993; Giddens, 1987; Schon and Rein, 1994; Scribner, 1984):
Fractal meditation
Hobby professionalization
Net personae
Alternate biologies
Artificial life, treated above, deals with living software, ecosystems of programs, and the like. It is a type of machine computation. Some people extend it to include alternate biolo-
gies. However, in the present categorical framework, alternate biologies are placed here, in a different category than artificial life. Alternate biologies are categorized not as machine
computation (which makes sense) but as interventions in nature of an especially encompassing sort--doing nature all over again using different chemistries or non-chemical substrates.
When we alter nature’s parts--gene splicing, cloning, and the like, it differs only in amount from creating an alternate version of life. We intervene in nature and we imagine doing
what nature does on different substrates, using different means--different chemical bases replacing carbon and water, DNA and RNA, and different non-chemical forms of life--silicon
electronic “lifeforms”.
New life on same substrates (Langton, 1995):
Non-DNA/RNA gene systems
Non-protein metabolism systems
Artificial life, however, as the items below indicate, can be thought of in two contexts: as extension of machine computing to mimic or accomplish life-like functioning, or, as re-doing
life itself on a different electronic substrate. When the emphasis is on getting machine computing to do life-like functions, then artificial life should be categorized under machine
computing. When the emphasis is on getting anything other than carbon-water, DNA/RNA substrates to sustain life, then artificial life should be categorized under alternate biologies.
Life on new substrates (Langton, 1995)
Non-carbon-water life forms
Electronic life forms (artificial life)
Getting social computers to mimic biological computers
The tradition of seeing many phenomena in human society as identical to, derived from, or highly similar to phenomena in animals, particularly other primates, is long and rich. In
recent years the harm to thought done by religions who emphasized human superiority to animals and human “divine rights” to use animals or abuse them for human purposes has
given way to more ecological mindsets, seeing humans as needing to preserve the biological wealth that they sprang from. Seeing humans as a cumulation from other lifeforms is nat-
ural within this new ecological viewpoint (or better still, according to Gould seeing humans as an errant “outlier” of a one-tailed skewed distribution). The result is an “ecological”
understanding of various human social phenomena. The social computations performed by key human social computers are recognized by and inspired to be more like the biological
computers that we now believe gave rise to them.
There is a sequence among the items below. Selves are the components, as it were, of tribes, and tribes are the components, as it were, of civilizations. However, selves, tribes, and
civilizations are computed simultaneously in any real life situation, mutually limiting and supporting each other.
Self development
Computing a self is not easy. We all do it, but some do it better than others. Human life is written on thin paper over a giant abyss. Anxiety at any moment or occasion can break
through. Creating a self that can handle the anxiety from life’s abyss when it breaks through the cocoon of trust from our childhood is not easy. Emotions play a large role in our abil-
ity to compute such a self. Experiences play a large role. Generating images of life that we can trust when all other inherited forms of trust fail us plays a role. Seeing how our talents
necessarily have costs, neuroses that shrink the part of life’s experiences we are willing to face, plays a role.
Prof. Kegan has taken various evolutionary stages in self development by Kohlberg, Perry, Piaget, and others and formed a coherent systems theory of self development. In this theory
people--the selves of people--are formed when crisis events cannot be handled by over-generalized selves people already have. People have to “have” and thereby manage what hith-
ertofore they “were”. That is, self identity becomes split into a “be” part (what I am) and a “have” part (what I was but now manage as if foreign and objective outside “me”). We end
up “being” what we later have to “have” because we depend on something for trust and support that is larger than we actually need in order to function. Life’s crisis situations chal-
lenge us to compute what part of what we are--our identity--prevents us from handling the situation we face. We must, on the spot, make a distinction for the first time in our lives, so
that we choose to base our trust and confidence on something smaller, less generalized than we ever have before. This is a complicated computation among emotions, fears, confi-
dences, illusions, and images of self. It is such a big part of successful living that it dwarfs many of the other computations in this essay in size, scale, and import.
There is a similar computation involved in transforming myriad perceptions into models, abstractly in the mind, that then guide action and focus it on parts of the world not at all appar-
ent to perception, because specified by an abstract model. This percept-act loop requires simplifying away from our model incidentals in our perceptual stream (incidental based on
highly abstract criteria like physical cause, emotional cause, and like concepts). Like computing a self, something large and over-generalized must be split into smaller parts--one part
preserved in the model, and the other part dropped as unimportant.
Finally there is becoming “someone” in the sense of being a product of your own effort and design, replacing how parents, local community, and nationality of birth “program” you.
This computation requires de-mystifying parts of the world we unconsciously give power to over us. We make conscious such unwitting assumptions of authority and power. This
computation requires finding the origins of such unwitting assumptions. It requires seeing the self-interests behind people and places that “helped” us in the past. Finally, this com-
putation requires choosing values, habits, and beliefs to replace those discarded because they were blind inheritances from the people and places that raised us from babes to adults.
Introjection ejection (Smith, Thomas; 1992):
From “being” to “having” distinctions (Kegan, 1994)
From “perceiving” to “abstracting” to “applying”
From others-produced self to self-produced self
Neurosis is increasingly recognized as inherent in people. The talents that people have, many of them the result of years of focus, hence self narrowing, have costs. Those costs are
neuroses. Recently the multi-level nature of neurosis has been recognized. Selves, by being specific, hence focussed, have costs, those parts of life and personality left out in that
focussing process. Organizations, by being specific, similarly have costs, those routines, values, images and so forth left out in order to be the kind of organization that it is and have
the kind of self-image and identity that it has. Similarly, nationalities have costs. Most abstractly but nevertheless most practically, life itself has neuroses--costs of its focus points.
Life is short--mortal--the cost being an anxiety to do things and get things rapidly, before one dies, for one example. Neurosis, the cost of our talents (focal points) would be unimpor-
tant save for this--our talents tend to be things we display and are proud of. They distract us from the fact of the costs, each of them has. We notice our capabilities through them, not
our implicit incapabilities. The computation involved in handling human neurosis is making conscious and explicit costs of abilities and talents we tend to think of as pure positives.
This is a tricky computation. It involves being less confident and self-assured than we prefer to be in order to have the greater confidence that comes from accuracy and realistic
appraisal of our capabilities and situational opportunities.
Talent costing (Smith, Thomas; 1992):
Neurotic self
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Neurotic organization
Neurotic nation
Neurotic life
As our understanding of nature as computational processes has progressed we have understood society as natural and computational. This has led to ecological understanding and struc-
turing of human endeavors, from the personality to entire communities of organizations. Note ecological understanding of human selves, psyches, organizations, and communities is
not humans taking care of the natural environment. Human ecology as originally inspired had to do with seeing purely human phenomena in ecological guise, only later did distortions
develop of taking human ecology to mean how humankind interacts with nature.
Human ecology (Klar et el, 1992; Ashworth, 1995; Ferry, 1995):
political ecology--the issues and political processes of human individual and organizations understood as ecosystems (Bell, Fawcett, and Penz, 1998; Wildavsky, 1995)
ecologic psyches--the development of personality understood as ecologic actions
organizational ecologies--the development dynamics of entire economies and industries understood as ecologies
Tribal life
For many non-professionals, anthropology books disappoint. They buy them looking for stories about cultures and find instead stories about computations: of rank, of mates/kin, and of
territory. Ritual and combat are used for all three in many tribal communities. Even in industrial country workgroups, absolutely analogous rituals and combats (though to be sure
much less violent) take place for allocating rank, mates/kin, and territory. A tribal substrate runs through all human communities. The three computations--rank, mates/kin, and terri-
tory also run through them all. Finally, in primate communities we see many of the same calculations taking place, though chimpanzees and bonoboos differ utterly in combat’s role in
these calculations (chimpanzees evincing “male” violence where bonoboos evince “female” tolerance and care for others).
Community ordering (Sigmund, 1993; Kincaid, 1987; Kovacic, 1994; Zeleny, 1980; Allen and Sanglier, 1980):
determining rank
determining mates/kin
determining territories.
Story telling, the principal means of knowledge transmission in pre-industrial as well as post-industrial tribal communities, is a computation of a community’s past, present, or future.
One type of community--the traditional “myth of the eternal return” community--computes its past by how it integrates present crisis elements into accumulated past stories of the ori-
gins that determine things in the community. The opposite type of community is the mission community of religious monks, venture businesspersons, or the like who share no past but
tell stories about the future they are intent on building. Both traditional and missional communities tell stories about present crises, threatening either the past they worship or the future
they intend.
Time ordering (Giddens, 1987; Hampden-Turner, 1993):
traditional communities: determining shared story of the past
crisis communities: determining shared story of the present
mission communities: determining shared story of the future.
Emergence of civilization
One mystery is how civilization arises from tribal life. We see ruins and relicts of vast irrigation and sewage systems where once great civilizations flourished. We see tribal life going
on today without civilization’s monuments and accomplishments, among the very people who erected immense structures 1000 years earlier and built empires. Some very complicated
computation has to go on among tribes to create civilizations. At the very least immense infrastructures have to be assembled among tribes that formerly did little to cooperate.
Tribal self-transcendence (Giddens, 1987):
transport-communication infrastructure production
leisure class production
agricultural surplus production
transcendent value production
Changes of commonsense precede changes of civilization. Recently, the industrial age’s commonsense worshipping things mechanical, the world as a giant clockworks has been
replaced by worshipping things biological, the world as giant ecosystem. In field after field humans, empowered by new technologies--nano, biotech, quantum, machine computing--
can now aspire to emulate living systems instead of mechanical ones. Bone now looks more admirable than steel, because of its strength to weight ratio, because it grows where it expe-
riences stress, and because it repairs itself when broken, all of these things beyond steel’s capability. Ant colonies decide to relocate and manage the sudden change in structure, func-
tion, and logistics of making that move--all without boards of directors, leaders, or commanders that humans find essential in order to relocate human organizations. Why do humans
need to do by central command things that insects do by local inter-ant consultation?
Biosense replacing mechanosense (Resnick ,1996; Maryulis and Sagen, 1986; Mullen and Geotyhals, 1987; Pines, 1988)
emergence replacing design
flexibility not rigidity as strength
bottom-up social automata leadership replacing top-down command
horizontal ranking by contribution replacing vertical ranking by authority.
Getting biological computers to mimic social computers
We want to intervene in nature and bring about results we envision. Social computations are familiar to us and we already socially sustain and change their programs, memories, and
processors. There is no doubt that humans are now lusting after major new forms of intervention in nature’s computational systems. Disease and death itself come from nature’s current
regimes; both may bend or break under systematic assault by human re-programming efforts. Seeing social computational systems inspires us with new ways to intervene in biological
computational systems, as indicated below.
Ontogenesis inventions
The bedrock of social style computational systems in nature is the creation of basic units of natural societies--individual organisms. One of the most complex computations made in the
universe as we know it is this computing of adult animal form from egg and DNA. Three related sub-computations are involved. Fractal growth is growth that takes place at the bound-
ary where last growth occurred. Self organization is the tendency of living systems to self-organize around critical points such that tiny changes in initial conditions can lead to large
scale multi-scale changes in overall system state and behavior. Cell types in living things can be understood as system dynamics “attractors”. The number of tissue types in animals
may result from the degree of connectedness between genes in DNA strands. Overall properties of how many genes control behaviors of other genes may determine how many types of
cells and tissues there are as animals develop.
Organism development (Goodwin, 1994; Mittenthal and Baskin, 1992):
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fractal growth
self organization
cell types as attractors.
Influencing how organisms are computed by eggs from DNA programs is now an active part of agriculture and medicine. Influencing how organisms behave is part of ecology and
human ecology. On a short time scale is how organisms calculate where to direct their attention. On an intermediate time scale is how organisms select which behavior to take given
several competing ones possible or relevant. On a longer time scale is how genes use organisms to propagate themselves, sometimes at a high cost to the organisms themselves.
Organism behavior (Kelso, 1995; Smith and Thelen, 1993; Meinhardt, 1982; Mullen and Geotyhals, 1987):
directing attention
natural selection of behaviors
selfish gene behaviors.
Animal sociality
There are social animals, like bees, termites, and ants, and there are animals that live in societies--elephants, whales, and primates. The computations of animal sociality involve rank,
mates/kin, and territories, just as human tribes compute these things. There are, however, other computations made in animal socializing.
First, animal societies have to maintain themselves. This involves boundaries--who belongs, who does not. This involves identifying individuals. This involves emotional care and
closeness establishment. Roles that particular individuals evolve into playing gradually become depended on by communities.
Society maintenance (Arbib and Robinson, 1990; Cowan et al, 1994; Ashworth, 1995; Loye and Eisler, 1987)
identity maintenance activities
closeness maintenance and mutual grooming activities
role salience dependency activities
Second, animal communities make decisions. To be sure they appear not to use boards of directors, presidents, leaders, or dictators. Nevertheless, appropriate and large scale decisions
do get made. Bottom up “emergent” decisions appear as the result of subtle coordinations among changes by individual society members. Herd following conformance behaviors
allow a few early or sensitive leaders to set trends in motion rapidly followed by the rest of communities. Ambiguities whole communities face, also, tend to get resolved by early
moves by a few pioneers, empowered by conformist tendencies in the rest of the community.
Social decisions (Arbib and Robinson, 1990; Cowan et al, 1994; Ashworth, 1995; Batten et al, 1995; Bellman and Roosia, 1987)
ant hill “move” decisions
bird migration decisions
tribal fight/flight decisions
Evolutionary ecosystem engineering
Ecology has uncovered a great number of computations made by ecological communities and systems.
The standard ecosystem dynamics involve succession--a natural progression of species replacing other species as early ones generate conditions optimal for different species than are
currently present. Niches exist such that elimination of species occupying particular niches often results in much the same type of organism evolving to fill the empty niche or
migrants, highly similar, moving into it from outside the system. Avalanche events regularly unbalance ecological communities, making the idea of “balance of nature” old hat, out-
dated, and largely irrelevant to real ecosystem operation. Symbiosis, parasitism, and similar relations among organisms in an ecosystem deepen the inter-dependencies and enhance
niche strength.
Succession is the computing of new ecosystem contents. Niche evolution is the computing of new organisms to fulfill roles deeply specified in the niches. Avalanche events compute
whole ecosystem changes implicit in far from equilibrium points the ecosystem occupies. Symbiosis, parasitism, etc. compute inter-niche dependencies that strengthen the power of
niches to replace errant role players.
Ecosystems adapting (Pimm, 1991; Pahl-Wostl, 1995):
niche evolution
avalanche events
symbiosis, parasitism, etc.
From the perspective of individual organisms, ecosystems are adventures. They are filled with opportunities that organisms may not perceive. The organisms that do perceive such
opportunities find themselves empowered by concrete advantages afforded by the environment that all other ecosystem members are to any one member.
Ecosystems compute affordances for their members. Members compute attunements to some or all of the affordances offered by their ecosystems. Ecosystems along with their mem-
bers compute effectivities when members perceive and take advantage of affordances offered.
Adapting to ecosystems (Klar et al, 1992; Hoffmann and Parsons, 1993; Gierer, 1980; Grossman and Mayer-Kress, 1989;Huber and Glick, 1990):
affordances--opportunities for one’s current capabilities in new environments
attunements--noticing affordances objectively there
effectivities--new capabilities that happen when one attunes to affordances
Towards A Theory of Empirical Computation Categories
Mirroring and Other Substructure Within the Categorical Model
The poles--machine, biology, society--split types of computational system into pairs that deeply resemble each other. Forms of biological computation resemble certain forms of
machine computation. Forms of machine computation have been inspired by forms of biological computation. Forms of social computation resemble forms of machine computation
and forms of machine computation have been inspired by forms of social computation. Finally, forms of biological computation resemble forms of social computation and forms of
social computation have been inspired by forms of biological computation.
The above mirroring relationships amount to and underlying logic creating new forms of machine, social, and man-created biological computation.
TABLE 29. Mirroring Relations Among 18 Computational Systems
First pole: Second Pole: Relation between Poles:
Computational system type: Machines mimicing nature Nature mimicing machines
Managing Complexity 78 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Computational Process Types
The categorical model specifies 39 types of computation. It is supposed that distinguishing these 39 types is meaningful in two senses: one, that a hierarchy of codes and recursive
operations perspective finds interesting distinctions among them; and two, that the distinctions among them will make important differences to people trying to see phenomena compu-
tationally and influence them.
The table below identifies general computational process types--39 of them--generalizing across the 150 actual computation approaches categorized in the model. That is four or five
items in the fourth column are generalized when the following columns specify unique points of each of the 39 computational process types.
Between Machine Computers and Bio-
logical Computers
genetic, neural, immune programming consciousness modern theories of consciousness imply genetic and neural processes constitute it
artificial life natural selection artificial life is humans doing by their own minds accelerations of natural selection what nature’s natural
selection has done
chemical computers alternate biologies getting chemicals to compute is like getting alternate chemistries to form life
Computational system type: Machines mimicing society Society mimicing machines
Between Machine Computers and
Social Computers
social computation computational sociality getting machines/software interacting socially resembles getting humans interacting machine-ly
virtual realities virtual planetary society virtual realities are electronic alternatives for our one physical reality while virtual society is the new kind
of space when everyone and every place on the planet are cellularly connected 24 hours a day
ubiquitous computing social virtuality computers becoming so small and omnipresent they become a dust coating everything in the world resem-
bles virtuality becoming a social process within ordinary organizations and groups, plurifying them
Computational system type: Society mimicing nature Nature mimicing society
Between Social Computers and Biolog-
ical Computers
self development ontogenesis selves develop like the physical organisms they inhabit develop
tribal life animal sociality human tribal life is nearly identical to animal sociality
civilization ecosystem evolution civilization is to humans what ecosystems are to animal and plant life
TABLE 30. General Empirical Computational Processes
6 Com-putation-
18 Com-puta-
39 Com-putation
150 Computation Approaches
What gets computed from what:
Representative Hierarchy of Codes:
Machine Computers
Mimicking Social
Social computation Social interaction blackboards, democratic electronics, simulated soci-
eties, electronic democracy
social decisions from individual preferences preferences, coalitions, votes
Massive parallelism cellular automata, population computations self emergent overall patterns from local agent
unit states, neighborhoods, interactions
Virtual and cyber real-
Sociable units robot societies, intelligent agents (softbots) self emergent patterns of work and task
accomplishment from individual unit assign-
cooperations, relationships, communities
Intelligent message
multi-media, organizational computing, process-
ware, self emerging organizations, agile economies
self emergent organization form from work
process/capability agglomeration
tasks, roles, processes
Personal fictive inter-
virtual persons, virtual organizations, cyber persons,
cyber spaces
task accomplishment from personal relation-
physics, geometry, geology
Ubiquitous computing Preference following badging, personal locales, personal area networks personal information from locations locations, preferences, facilities settings
Preference combining politicized settings, politicized procedures, computed
group interfaces from individual preferences persons present, preferences present, facilities
Getting social com-
puters to mimic
machine ones
Computational social-
Social array processes manage by movement building, micro institution
development, manage by events, global quality,
social automata leadership
emergent outcomes from basic unit interac-
basic unit states, neighborhoods, interactions
Personal array pro-
structural reading diagrams, fractal model building,
fractal filing, fractal interfaces, chatroom movement
models from variety topic names, topic count, topic orderings
Virtual planetary soci-
Cellularity all people in one cellular space, all places 24 hour
group space from individual space interests, communities, events
Internetting democratized broadcasting, broadcasting unique
computational resources, automated social movement
building routine libraries
decentralized systems from centralized sys-
homepages, gateways, search engines
Function specification just-in-time managing, participatory art, protocol
function type, amount, and time needed from
regular polling
polling, protocols, social delivery means
Social virtuality Virtual groups one group as 30, plural leadership regimes, marketi-
zation of functions
population of intelligent agents from single
teams, teams of teams (superteams), teams of
Inversion virtuality transport locales, outsource virtuality the presence of a function from the absence of
the function
function, opportunity broadcast, market bids
Getting machine
computers to mimic
biological comput-
Natural programming
Artificial intelligence logic, forward/backward reasoning, qualitative and
fuzzy reasoning, expert systems, constraint satisfac-
tion, machine senses
Naturalist computing artificial intelligence, genetic algorithms, neural nets,
evolving neural nets, Lamarckian algorithms, soft-
ware ecosystems
new thoughts/recognitions from evolving mes-
sage/interaction patterns
nodes states, connectedness structure, interac-
tion types per connection type
Immune computing damage detecting immunity, invader detecting immu-
nity, antibody producer ecosystem immunity, acceler-
ated natural selection of antibodies immunity, natural
selection among natural selection algorithms immu-
natural selection system from myriad invader/
damage encounters
recognition event, variant generation, fittest
De-linearization of
equilibria to critical systems, key variables to popula-
tions of agents, causal models to simulations
dynamic understanding from static under-
populations of intelligent agents, connected-
ness/diversity/patchings parameters, wanted
Artificial life Replicating life self replicating automata, self organized criticality,
percolation systems, fitness landscapes, coupled fit-
ness landscapes
abstract principles of life sufficient to re-create
it in new guises from natural selection of
one species evolving, other evolving species
as environment for that one species, adaptation
to evolving environment
Inventing software life living software, self conscious software silicon based lifeforms from interacting soft-
ware programs
software genes, natural selection among those
genes, evolved software species
Chemical computing Data populations DNA computers, polymer information string comput-
ers, internet recruitment computer networks
computational processes from chemical pro-
code bearing population of chemicals, chemi-
cal reactions representing semantic combina-
tions, calculation outcomes
Scale change comput-
quantum substrate computing, football stadium com-
improved types of computing from changes of
computational limits, scale change of com-
puter components, new computational limits
TABLE 29. Mirroring Relations Among 18 Computational Systems
First pole: Second Pole: Relation between Poles:
Managing Complexity 79 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Virtualizing-gaming-simulating-workflowing continuum
Between machine computing and social computing I have put virtualization theory in the categorical model. Between machine computing and biological computing I have put simula-
tion theory. Between social computing and biological computing I have put gaming theory (not to be confused with a part of mathematics called game theory; gaming theory is a the-
ory of what games people get motivated to do and how people approach doing them--not how in theory they should approach them). Virtualization theory is arising as machine
computing and social computing interact. It tells us the limits and possibilities of cyber and virtual worlds. Simulation theory is arising as machine computing and biological comput-
ing interact. Gaming theory arises these days from interactions between biological computing and social computing. In truth virtualization, simulation, and gaming theory all derive
something from machine, biological, and social computing, though the primary contributions are as I have just laid them out.
There is a sequence relation among them as well. Games, if a little more reality is added to them can become simulations. If still more reality is added to them the simulations become
workflow systems (enabling ordinary work processes). If a little more reality is subtracted from games, the become virtual realities. If a little more reality is subtracted from those
virtual realities, they become cyber worlds. This is best seen as the list below:
Cyber world
Virtual world
Evolution from workflow through game to cyberworld can occur. Evolution from cyberworld through game to workflow can occur. This sequence allows a system that starts out, for
example, as a game to evolve bi-directionally out one way till it becomes a cyber world and out the other way till it becomes a workflow system via which real work gets done. Gam-
ing theory--the theory of how people actually fallibly play games and why they play the games they do--simulation theory--the theory of how and when to use bottom up population
style simulations, automata style simulations, system dynamics style simulations--and virtualization theory--the theory of why and when to virtualize or cyber-ize a situation--arise
from the interaction of machine, biological, and social computing.
Conclusions--From Categorical Model to Theory
Categorical models, traditionally, in the history of science, preceded qualitative research to define variables, and quantitative research to measure variables and relations among them.
Traditionally, some categories become variables in later models and others do not. But that hides the more general utility of categorical models for theory.
Categorical models help us envision relations among categories. They suggest forces at play at a level of detail dependent on how complete and detailed the model is. What has the
model developed above in this article contributed?
First, a perusal of the 150 computation approaches in the model impresses us with the wealth of ideas generated by computation as a whole in our age. For theory building, this wealth
of computation approaches means computation, whatever its theoretical basis, cannot be wholly understood without modeling how it develops in response to interaction with parts of
the world. This amounts to saying an image of computation as emerging from dialogs between machines, societies, and nature is essential to understanding its origins and destiny.
Getting biological
computers to mimic
machine ones
Altered natural selec-
Genetic engineering altering variant generation, altering selecting fitness
tests, altering reproduction, altering inheritance
improvements in nature from improvements in
natural selection processes
changes in them competing, evolved forms of
natural selection
Levels of selection altering genes, altering gene-controller genes, altering
gene-controller gene controller genes
changes of scale of biologic innovation from
changes of scale of genome acted on
genes, gene-controller genes, genes control-
ling gene-controller genes
Engineering ecosys-
ecosystem engineering, evolutionary engineering interventions in evolving self conscious sys-
tems that work from changes in design pro-
interventions, reactions (thinking and unthink-
ing), community evolutionary process changes
Consciousness Recursive modularity society of mind, natural selection of thoughts thoughts from natural selection process among
possibly relevant thoughts
a situation description, potentially relevant
thoughts, variants generated from potentially
relevant thoughts
Experience sequestra-
fractal meditation, hobby professionalization, net per-
microcosms of all of life’s dynamics from
functional components of life
socially partial roles and places, disciplined
import of all of life’s meanings, re-seen partic-
ulars of the partial roles and places
Alternate biologies New life, same sub-
Non-DNA/RNA gene systems, Non-protein metabo-
lism systems
alternate lifeforms from same substrates as
present lifeforms
code strings, natural selection process, metab-
olism process
Life on new substrates Non-carbon-water lifeforms, electronic lifeforms
(artificial life)
alternate lifeforms on substrates other than
present lifeforms
code strings, natural selection process, metab-
olism process
Getting social com-
puters to mimic bio-
logical computers
Self development Introjection, ejection from being to having, from perceiving to modeling to
acting, from others-produced self to self-produced
smaller more focussed self or model from
variety of diffuse experience
unconscious production of a self, de-mystifi-
cation of that production process, self-deter-
mined self
Talent costing neurotic selves, neurotic organizations, neurotic
nationalities, neurotic lives
costs of talents from unconscious unwanted
side-effects of talents
talent, consciously known side-effects of
them, unconsciously known side-effects
Human ecology political ecology, psychic ecology, organizational
community species structure from web flow
nd niche dependencies
species interactions, niches, communities
Tribal life Community ordering Determining rank, determining mates/kin, determin-
ing territories
ordered community from individual ambitions taboos, ritual combat, rank/status/kin/territory
Time ordering traditional community, crisis community, mission
time design from source of community confi-
sacred time, ritual time, secular time
Civilization Tribal self-transcen-
transport-communication infrastructure production,
leisure class production, agricultural surplus produc-
tion, transcendent value production
immense infrastructures and surpluses from
aggregating local communities
local community aggregations, infrastructures,
Biosense replacing
emergence replacing design, flexibility replacing
rigidity, bottom up social automata replacing top
down command, horizontal ranking by contribution
replacing vertical ranking by authority
emergence from design basic unit states, neighborhoods, interactions
Getting biological
computers to mimic
social ones
Ontogenesis Organism develop-
fractal growth, self organization, cell types as attrac-
structures from self organizing processes populations of agents interacting, self-orga-
nized criticality, avalanche events
Organism behavior directing attention, natural selection of behaviors,
selfish gene use of organisms
decisions from natural selection processes attention alternatives, fitness contests, atten-
tion decisions
Animal societies Social maintenance identity maintenance activities, mutual grooming,
role salience dependency activities
relationships from local behaviors interacting local behaviors, interactions, relationships
Social decisions ant hill move decisions, bird migration decisions,
community fight/flight decisions
group actions from basic unit interactions basic unit states, neighborhoods, interactions
Ecosystem evolution Ecosystems adapting succession, niche evolution, avalanche events, symbi-
osis, parasitism
community structure/function changes from
interacting natural selection processes
natural selection processes, species evolution-
ary streams, community structures
Adapting to ecosys-
affordances, attunements, effectivities adaptation to an environment from exploration exploration actions, attunements to affor-
dances, effectivities
TABLE 30. General Empirical Computational Processes
6 Com-putation-
18 Com-puta-
39 Com-putation
150 Computation Approaches
What gets computed from what:
Representative Hierarchy of Codes:
Managing Complexity 80 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Second, the interactions between the three types of computational system--machine computers, biologic computers, and social computers--produce interesting phenomena and seem to
explain some of the evolution in computational system types so evident today. For theory building, it is important to identify what interacts with what in what order in the development
of new forms of computation. The categorical model in this article is a good beginning.
In particular, the social side of the social-machine relationship, interests. A great number of new social ways of organizing people are gradually being inspired by machine computation
types. For theory, this is one of the surprises. That purely social ways of distributing computation across arrays of human groups as processors grew up at the same time as machine
computation invented ways of distributing computations across arrays of machine processors, attests to some common cause, perhaps, operating underneath new social forms and
machine computers.
Third, the categorical model itself is open-ended and recursive. Seeing new machine computation types, that perhaps are inspired by human social organizations or biological compu-
tation systems of some sort, humans invent new social organization computations, which, in turn, inspire still further development of new machine computing types.
Fourth, the granularity with which we map all the biological computational systems and social computational systems that are there, will, in significant part, determine the rate and
direction of evolution of machine computing types. The better and more particularly we see computational systems in nature and society, the faster and more specifically we develop
machine computations inspired by them.
Fifth, the re-imaging and re-doing of social organization types, in response to new machine computation types, lubricated by the internet and planet-wide cellularity, may accelerate so
that a race of sorts occurs between faster and faster development of new forms of social order and faster and faster development of new forms of machine computation.
Sixth, the categorical model portrayed in this article seems to already be partly known and thought about in several parts of society involved with the 3 domains of machine, nature, and
society. Biosense, for one example, illustrates a general change from aspiring to mechanical-like performance to biologic-like performance in field after field. But that is just the nature
pole on the categorical model inspiring systems in human society and machine computation.
Seventh, new algorithms, invented in one of the three computational domains--nature, society, machine--tend to spread widely, within the domain, and among all three domains. Wit-
ness natural selection processes in human social organization and social automata processes mimicing machine automata processes. Types of computation in the categorical model can
become algorithms via spreading to many different contexts in all 3 domains. What may appear in one domain as laboriously achieve awkward functioning, when metamorphosed to
highly different other contexts, is seen as algorithmic.
Uses of the Categorical Model of General Empirical Computation
Seeing the future
The relations among categories made evident by a categorical model, can help us predict the future. Predicting the future of machine computing is important, even if only a part of that
future is correctly predicted. Predicting what computational processes will, in the future, be recognized for the first time in nature and human society is also important.
Interpolating New Types
One interpolates by perceiving the ordering principle among several ordered categories and injecting a new item in between existing ones. For example, the categories: self develop-
ment, tribal life, and civilization allow easy interpolation of new categories such as “coalition development” between self and tribe. What is gained, in some cases of interpolation, is a
category seen to be as fundamental and encompassing as its peer categories; what is lost in most interpolations, is addition of new categories not as fundamental and not needed to
encompass all categorized items below. Nevertheless, interpolating produces new technologies at times. For example, the series of categories--social virtuality, virtual societies, and
computational sociality--invites interpolations like the following--”social computations” between social virtuality and virtual societies, and “computational individuals” between virtual
societies and computational sociality. Indeed, readings in recent issues of Fast Company, the technology magazine, seem to offer specific items categorizable under these two new cat-
Extrapolating New Types
One extrapolates by perceiving the ordering principle among several ordered categories and adding a new item at either end of the order. For example, the series--alternate biologies,
natural selection, consciousness--can be extrapolated to--alternate physics, alternate chemistries, alternate biologies, alternate natural selection types, natural selection selections, natural
selection, consciousness, super-consciousness. This supposes the foundations of biology--physics and chemistry--can be re-invented, that alternate natural selection types and natural
selection among types of natural selection can be invented, and finally, that consciousness from current human modular mental computers will give way to something more intense when
current human mental facilities are augmented by genetic engineering or when multiple minds are linked across planetary cellular spaces.
Reflecting New Hybrid Types
I mentioned in earlier in this article that we can expect new forms of human social organization to inspire new forms of machine computing and vice versa. This is a third way to use
the categorical model to see the future. For example, reflect ontogenesis onto the natural selection, artificial life axis. This means adding to artificial life machine computing the auto-
matic birth of new forms from eggs/genes. This might be machine computing that has an ontogenesis process for growing new facilities. Personal network information systems that
mated and grew offspring such networks, for example, might result. This might be how networks segment themselves to reconfigure loads and message traffic.
Reconstituting existing disciplines
When we take our categorical model into some existing discipline and see what it offers we find a number of opportunities. First, the GEC model (general empirical computation
model) takes static models and replaces them with dynamic ones. Second, the GEC model identifies computations going on that were not modeled before as computations. If (and only
if) understanding something in the domain as input/output/memory, hierarchy of codes, and recursive computation nature of operators in code layers, makes a contribution will this iden-
tification effort be worthwhile. Third, the GEC model provides gaming theory, virtualization theory, and simulation theory as tools for modeling the domain to replace linear, statistical,
corelational tools. Fourth, the GEC suggests 39 computation types for distinguishing processes in the domain from each other based on hierarchy of codes and recursivity of operations
in each code layer.
An example of policy studies is given in a section below of this article.
Non-linear models
Computational systems handle linear cases and nonlinear cases with nearly equal ease. This extension of modeling from linear ones to non-linear without increase in work content is
allowing nearly all academic disciplines to switch from static equilibrium models to dynamic processural far-from-equilibrium models.
Biological commonsense
Physicists will tell you these days that biology is the hot science and physics is rebuilding a new foundation on string theory that is yet some years from major discoveries or practical
implications. Biology is “hot” largely because of computational systems. The far-from-equilibrium and processural nature of biological systems lends itself to non-linear models and
computational simulation style study. The linear tools we were restricted to till computation came along, were so apparently inadequate for handling biological systems that biology as
a whole languished while we were restricted to those tools.
Policy Understood Using the Categorical Model of General Empirical Computation
This article is not the place to fully develop applications of the categorical model presented herein. However, it is useful to close this article by looking at the basis of such application-
-identifying computation types that underlie well known policy phenomena. Readers interested in policy can readily imagine new avenues of research, new hypotheses, new variables
and relations among variables implicit in the identifications of computation type furnished immediately below.
Let us examine the four basic policy processes, looking at the GEC model and its possible contributions: social goal formation, policy alternative generation, policy alternative selection,
policy implementation. Below I identify types of computation that elucidate particular policy dynamics. I identify the points in policy studies where understanding policy processes as
computations can possibly make a good contribution.
From ecosystem evolution computation = Policy ecologies
That food web, mass transport, niche evolution, succession, parasitism, symbiosis, and other ecological processes occur among each of the following--possible social goals, actual social
goals, policy alternatives, selected policies, and implemented policies--has been recognized without being systematically researched and applied.
From ecosystem evolution computation = Evolutionary engineering of policies
That design processes, now applied to policy domains, come from mechanical design regimes and are unsuited for the design of self conscious systems that continuously evolve has been
recognized without being systematically researched and applied.
From computational sociality computation = Self emerging policies (social automata processes)
The power of mechnical commonsense is so strong that few researchers or policy leaders have recognized the way policies self organize and self emerge from stakeholder and policy
ecology interactions. A bottom up way of evolving policy emergence by tinkering with the same connectedness, diversity, and patchings parameters used to handle ecosystems, is only
now being mentioned, much less researched and applied.
Managing Complexity 81 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
From computational sociality computation = Policy tampering
That social automata leadership processes work because they prevent what in the past was pervasive policy tampering (interventions on higher levels of a systems to stop patterns that
are generated and sustained by interactions of lower level units in the system) is generally unrecognized and unresearched as yet, much less applied.
From social computation (complexity theory) = Surprise theory in policy implementation (Senge, 1990)
Study of complex systems has found 22 types of surprise likely when non-linear phenomena are viewed through simplified linear models. The implications of these surprise types for
policy formation processes and implementation processes have not been worked out in detail yet.
From virtual realities and virtual society computation = Policy spaces
That citizens through the internet, workflow software, and chatroom consultations might design policies hithertofore designed for them by remote and self interested experts is an excit-
ing frontier in extending and enriching democracy from once every four years voting thin-style democracy to every week chat up and design alternatives style rich democracy.
Organization Learning Understood via the Categorical Model of General Empirical Computation
As I mentioned above in relation to policy, this article is not the place to present in full application of a categorical model of computational systems to organizational learning. Here,
however, I restrict myself to providing tantalizing identifications of computational systems types associated with major sets of well known organizational learning dynamics.
Previously I summarized existing literature on the distinct processes involved in organizational learning (Greene, 1996 summarizing: Cohen and Sproull, 1996; Brown and Duguid,19
92; Brown and Duguid, 1989; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1990; Gruber and Russell, 1990; Herbst, 1980; Martel and Ward, 1991). It is instructive to take that summary and identify com-
putation types relevant to its major dynamics and possible contributions to understanding of viewing each organization learning dynamic as a type of computation.
Formulate Experience
1. Simulate near experiences and vicarious experiences
Simulate near experiences by elaborating what might have happened had things been even slightly different;
Simulate vicarious experiences by elaborating how what happened to others might happen to you save for certain small differences
2. Examine work-arounds
gaps between how things are supposed to work and how things actually work,
gaps between how leaders say things are and how employees say things are,
gaps between what the company tells its customers, and what the customers tell the company,
gaps between what people espouse and what they actually do;
from the above gaps learn how the computational social organization differs from the formal social organization;
change structures and processes to reduces these gaps
3. Capture improvisation
Locate where improvisation occurs and learn how to use it to improve structures and processes
Locate why improvisation occurs there and learn how to use it to improve structures and processes
4. Make it legitimate for people to peripherally participate in “communities of practice” new to them
Establish a system of observers of all important meetings and events so that new and low status employees can observe the highest status goings-on in the organization
Relevant computation types: Genetic, neural, immune systems. People in a workforce as well as their ideas and proposals, and their knowledge of an
organization’s environment can be understood as species in a natural selection process (genetic computation), nodes in neural networks (neural computation), or
natural selection types competing in a natural selection process (immune computation).
Violate Borders
5. Violate separations between different departments and managers
Encourage people to associate outside their own departments and with managers and leaders other than their own
6. Violate separations between different fields of knowledge
Encourage people having different professional fields, training, and responsibilities to collaborate and learn each other’s viewpoints and methods
7. Violate separations between different companies
Encourage employees to work for several companies at the same time
Encourage employees to work in customer firms and supplier firms
Encourage employees to invent venture businesses
8. Violate separations between different status ranks
Form teams of executives with each lower rank of employee on the team
Relevant computation types: Computational sociality and virtual societies. Mixing and bringing together separated things is being excellently done by
social ways of treating people as a large array of human processors (computational sociality) and by using an infrastructure that makes all space group space (vir-
tual societies).
Establish Feedbacks
9. Figure out what people and groups learn simply by being in the organization that is dysfunctional; target such things for unlearning
10. Develop systems for detecting the unplanned second order side-effects of intended actions and make leaders responsible for both planned and unplanned effects of what
they do
11. Structure parts of the business as valid statistical experiments; test commonly believed keys to effective functioning with real data.
12. Establish social and internet virtual events that index the organization’s skills, persons, events, actions, needs, in different creative ways.
Relevant computation types: Simulation theory and computational sociality are relevant here. Simulation is the only way that surprises inherent in non-
linear complex organization functioning can be estimated and anticipated, and, management by events (computational sociality) furnishes excellent means of
indexing people, issues, and knowledge socially.
Invent and Deploy New Combinations
13. Combine old teams with newly forming teams to exchange information on how key processes, methods, and structures work
14. Combine sets of processes and methods that together handle a significant set of issues into a cognitive platform that entire workforces and managements are trained in
and incented to master
Managing Complexity 82 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
15. Combine people who seldom work together or cross-paths in the organization; Combine organizations and companies that seldom work or think together
16. Put particular types of people in charge of important projects so a different and focussed imagination improves outputs--for example have women, people over 50 years
old, people younger than 30, people from mountain area--as the leadership of particular product development projects
Relevant computation types: Computational sociality is what these four items are about. Management by event and management by movement building
do the combining and shifts of leadership type that are required for organizations to learn in the above ways.
Balancing Learning Types
17. Balance exploration learning with exploitation learning
Exploration learning searches for new problems, solutions, means
Exploitation learning applies what exploration learning finds
18. Balance self-invention learning with graft learning
Self-invention learning is where you invent something on your own
Graft learning is where you merge with or buy an organization already masters of some knowledge or technique
19. Balance forward reasoning with backward reasoning
Forward reasoning is starting with present circumstances and suggesting myriad small improvements in them
Backward reasoning is starting with where we want to be, what we want to have accomplished in ten years or so, and then figuring out what we have to have done 8
years from now, 5 years from now, 3 years from now, next year, and this year.
20. Balance creation with best practice copying
Creation is inventing some new thing ourselves
Best practice copying is learning, often by benchmarking, how someone else in some other organization does something better than we do it, then copying their method
or improving on it while copying it.
Relevant computation types: Computational sociality applies here. In social automata leadership, leaders, instead of ordering states of affairs (outcome
achievements) set system behavior parameters that allow the system to self organize to accomplish objectives (connectedness , diversity, and patchings parameters).
This simple, short look at computation types applied to understand organizational learning dynamics shows how lopsided the result is--computational sociality wins the day. Indeed,
organizational learning is a social process within social institutions. We would expect computational sociality to have the most to offer in this domain.
The references below, that are not mentioned in the main body of the article, were the basis of the formation of the categorical model itself.
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Adair, C & M.; Breakthrough Process Redesign; Rather and Strong; Lexington, KY; 1994
Adami, Introduction to Artificial Life, Springer, 1998
Adami, Belew, Kitano, editors; Artificial Life Six: Proceedings of the Sixth Internationa Conference on Artificial Life, MIT Press, 1998.
Adler, P., Technology and the Future of Work, Oxford University Press, New York, 1990.
Akiyama, K., Function Analysis, Productivity Press, Conneticut, 1990.
Alavi, M. and Keen, P.; “Business Teams in an Information Age”; The Information Society; London, England; 1989
Allen, P. and Sanglier, M., Order by fluctuation and the urban system. In Autopoiesis, dissipative structures and spontaneous social orders, Zeleny, M. editor. Boulder, CO:
Westview Press, 1980.
Andrews, D.; Street Smarts for Business Reengineers; Business Reengineering Resources Inc.; Washington, D.C., 1994
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Weisbord. M., Discovering common ground. San Francisco, CA: Barrett-Koehler, 1992.
Weisbuch, G.; Complex Systems Dynamics, Lecture Notes; Addison-Wesley Studies in the Sciences of Complexity; Reading, Mass., 1990
Wildavsky, A., But Is it True? A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.
Winograd and Flores, Understanding Computers and Cognition, Academic Press, 1990.
Woodman, R.; “Organizational Change and Development: New Arenas for Inquiry and Action”, Journal of Management, NYC, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1989
Wolfram, S.; Cellular Automata, MIT Press, 1992.
Xerox, Manual for Middle Managers Serminar. Stamford, CN: Xerox Corporation, 1990.
Xsoft Staff; InConcert: Technical Specifications Manual; Xerox, Palo Alto, CA, 1993
Zeleny, M., Autopoiesis: A paradigm lost? In Autopoiesis, dissipative structures and spontaneous social orders, Zeleny, M. editor. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1980.
Zolo, D., Democracy and Complexity. University Park, PE: the Pennsylvania University Pre, 1992.
Tool 5:
Interactions and
The 39 computation types and 150 computation approaches below are all continually interacting. As you read magazines and watch new product introductions, fund venture proposals,
and read stimulating books, they all interact inside your own mind and imagination. Having a map of them all, however, changes things. It allows more things to interact and allows
you more places to locate and specify what is nascent and incipient in your own thinking and mind. Getting oriented on an orderly structure of interacting ideas makes you more com-
prehensive, more thorough, more specific, and more diverse and pluriform. It, in short, makes you more productive.
Instructions for Use. Each of the 39 computation types and 150 computation approaches listed below are potential changes of infrastructure for processes you are involved with. I like
to ask clients and students to list the most important work processes in their life right now and for each of those processes find computation types (of 39 below) and computation
approaches (of 150 below) that are now appearing in such processes by others and that they would like to have appear in their versions of such processes. What benefits and troubles can
be expected if these changes of process infrastructure are done?
Managing Complexity 87 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
General Empirical Computational Processes
6 Computa-
tional System
18 Computa-
tional Systems
39 Computation
150 Computation Approaches What gets computed from what: Representative Hierarchy of
Machine Com-
puters Mimick-
ing Social Ones
Social computa-
Social interaction blackboards, democratic electronics, simulated
societies, electronic democracy
social decisions from individual preferences preferences, coalitions, votes
Massive parallelism cellular automata, population computations self emergent overall patterns from local agent
unit states, neighborhoods, interac-
Virtual and cyber
Sociable units robot societies, intelligent agents (softbots) self emergent patterns of work and task accom-
plishment from individual unit assignments
cooperations, relationships, com-
Intelligent message
multi-media, organizational computing, process-
ware, self emerging organizations, agile econo-
self emergent organization form from work pro-
cess/capability agglomeration
tasks, roles, processes
Personal fictive inter-
virtual persons, virtual organizations, cyber per-
sons, cyber spaces
task accomplishment from personal relationships physics, geometry, geology
Ubiquitous com-
Preference following badging, personal locales, personal area networks personal information from locations locations, preferences, facilities set-
Preference combining politicized settings, politicized procedures, com-
puted organizations
group interfaces from individual preferences persons present, preferences
present, facilities settings
Getting social
computers to
mimic machine
Social array processes manage by movement building, micro institution
development, manage by events, global quality,
social automata leadership
emergent outcomes from basic unit interactions basic unit states, neighborhoods,
Personal array pro-
structural reading diagrams, fractal model build-
ing, fractal filing, fractal interfaces, chatroom
movement building
models from variety topic names, topic count, topic
Virtual planetary
Cellularity all people in one cellular space, all places 24 hour
group space from individual space interests, communities, events
Internetting democratized broadcasting, broadcasting unique
computational resources, automated social move-
ment building routine libraries
decentralized systems from centralized systems homepages, gateways, search
Function specification just-in-time managing, participatory art, protocol
function type, amount, and time needed from
regular polling
polling, protocols, social delivery
Social virtuality Virtual groups one group as 30, plural leadership regimes, mar-
ketization of functions
population of intelligent agents from single
teams, teams of teams
(superteams), teams of superteams
Inversion virtuality transport locales, outsource virtuality the presence of a function from the absence of
the function
function, opportunity broadcast,
market bids
machine com-
puters to mimic
biological com-
Natural program-
Artificial intelligence logic, forward/backward reasoning, qualitative
and fuzzy reasoning, expert systems, constraint
satisfaction, machine senses
Naturalist computing artificial intelligence, genetic algorithms, neural
nets, evolving neural nets, Lamarckian algo-
rithms, software ecosystems
new thoughts/recognitions from evolving mes-
sage/interaction patterns
nodes states, connectedness struc-
ture, interaction types per connec-
tion type
Immune computing damage detecting immunity, invader detecting
immunity, antibody producer ecosystem immu-
nity, accelerated natural selection of antibodies
immunity, natural selection among natural selec-
tion algorithms immunity
natural selection system from myriad invader/
damage encounters
recognition event, variant genera-
tion, fittest competition
De-linearization of
equilibria to critical systems, key variables to
populations of agents, causal models to simula-
dynamic understanding from static understand-
populations of intelligent agents,
parameters, wanted outcomes
Artificial life Replicating life self replicating automata, self organized critical-
ity, percolation systems, fitness landscapes, cou-
pled fitness landscapes
abstract principles of life sufficient to re-create it
in new guises from natural selection of codes
one species evolving, other evolv-
ing species as environment for that
one species, adaptation to evolving
Inventing software life living software, self conscious software silicon based lifeforms from interacting software
software genes, natural selection
among those genes, evolved soft-
ware species
Chemical com-
Data populations DNA computers, polymer information string
computers, internet recruitment computer net-
computational processes from chemical pro-
code bearing population of chemi-
cals, chemical reactions represent-
ing semantic combinations,
calculation outcomes
Scale change comput-
quantum substrate computing, football stadium
improved types of computing from changes of
computational limits, scale change
of computer components, new com-
putational limits
Getting biologi-
cal computers to
mimic machine
Altered natural
Genetic engineering altering variant generation, altering selecting fit-
ness tests, altering reproduction, altering inherit-
improvements in nature from improvements in
natural selection processes
inheritance, changes in them com-
peting, evolved forms of natural
Levels of selection altering genes, altering gene-controller genes,
altering gene-controller gene controller genes
changes of scale of biologic innovation from
changes of scale of genome acted on
genes, gene-controller genes, genes
controlling gene-controller genes
Engineering ecosys-
ecosystem engineering, evolutionary engineering interventions in evolving self conscious systems
that work from changes in design processes
interventions, reactions (thinking
and unthinking), community evolu-
tionary process changes
Consciousness Recursive modularity society of mind, natural selection of thoughts thoughts from natural selection process among
possibly relevant thoughts
a situation description, potentially
relevant thoughts, variants gener-
ated from potentially relevant
Experience sequestra-
fractal meditation, hobby professionalization, net
microcosms of all of life’s dynamics from func-
tional components of life
socially partial roles and places,
disciplined import of all of life’s
meanings, re-seen particulars of the
partial roles and places
Alternate biolo-
New life, same sub-
Non-DNA/RNA gene systems, Non-protein
metabolism systems
alternate lifeforms from same substrates as
present lifeforms
code strings, natural selection pro-
cess, metabolism process
Life on new substrates Non-carbon-water lifeforms, electronic lifeforms
(artificial life)
alternate lifeforms on substrates other than
present lifeforms
code strings, natural selection pro-
cess, metabolism process
Managing Complexity 88 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Tool 6:
The dimensions of biologic in the table below are 83 entities, each a form of computation, interacting in the 21st century to form new fields of knowledge, new forms of engineering,
new ideas, and new types of computation. For example we have found that proteins, all by themselves, form an immense computer, with each protein of linearly encoded amino acids
folding into shapes that interact so as to transmit instructions and information throughout cells and organisms. We can learn how information is encoded and what information is thusly
encoded in proteins and we can learn to encode different information in them or encode the same information differently in them. We can get them to interact on nano-circuit electron-
ics with other more traditional human-invented forms of computation. This is but one example of the myriad interactions going on between the myriad new forms of computation being
invented and/or discovered today. Whereas the model in Tool 5 above looked at machine, social, and biologic computation forms interacting, the model of dimensions of biologic
below looks at nine types of computation interacting: biologic, machine, social, mental, medical/management, creativity, natural computing, learning, and blend forms of computation.
The model above in Tool 5 is complicated enough for many applications. Only the bold and courageous may need or want the model below of 83 forms of computation interacting.
Instructions for Use: I like to get research and development managers, executives, and researchers to list the ten best ideas in their field of the past decade, their own personal ten best
ideas of the past decade, the ten best ideas their part of their company is now working on, and the forty best ideas in a set of journals and magazines and professional newsletters that we
all peruse together in two hours of work. These 70 “best ideas” are then grouped into 20 groups that are precisely defined and carefully named. The resulting 20 best idea groups are
plotted on the 83 dimensions of the table below. Once this plot is made (and it takes time to do it well, hours), we all together see where the 20 congregate and where the blank areas
are, trying to explain these two patterns. Inevitably discussion of the congregation and blank areas leads to fundamental recognitions about omissions or biases in their work and
entirely new approaches to problems stymying them.
Getting social
computers to
mimic biologi-
cal computers
Self development Introjection, ejection from being to having, from perceiving to model-
ing to acting, from others-produced self to self-
produced self
smaller more focussed self or model from variety
of diffuse experience
unconscious production of a self,
de-mystification of that production
process, self-determined self
Talent costing neurotic selves, neurotic organizations, neurotic
nationalities, neurotic lives
costs of talents from unconscious unwanted side-
effects of talents
talent, consciously known side-
effects of them, unconsciously
known side-effects
Human ecology political ecology, psychic ecology, organizational
community species structure from web flow nd
niche dependencies
species interactions, niches, com-
Tribal life Community ordering Determining rank, determining mates/kin, deter-
mining territories
ordered community from individual ambitions taboos, ritual combat, rank/status/
Time ordering traditional community, crisis community, mis-
sion community
time design from source of community confi-
sacred time, ritual time, secular
Civilization Tribal self-transcen-
transport-communication infrastructure produc-
tion, leisure class production, agricultural surplus
production, transcendent value production
immense infrastructures and surpluses from
aggregating local communities
local community aggregations,
infrastructures, surplus
Biosense replacing
emergence replacing design, flexibility replacing
rigidity, bottom up social automata replacing top
down command, horizontal ranking by contribu-
tion replacing vertical ranking by authority
emergence from design basic unit states, neighborhoods,
Getting biologi-
cal computers to
mimic social
Ontogenesis Organism develop-
fractal growth, self organization, cell types as
structures from self organizing processes populations of agents interacting,
self-organized criticality, ava-
lanche events
Organism behavior directing attention, natural selection of behaviors,
selfish gene use of organisms
decisions from natural selection processes attention alternatives, fitness con-
tests, attention decisions
Animal societies Social maintenance identity maintenance activities, mutual grooming,
role salience dependency activities
relationships from local behaviors interacting local behaviors, interactions, rela-
Social decisions ant hill move decisions, bird migration decisions,
community fight/flight decisions
group actions from basic unit interactions basic unit states, neighborhoods,
Ecosystem evolu-
Ecosystems adapting succession, niche evolution, avalanche events,
symbiosis, parasitism
community structure/function changes from
interacting natural selection processes
natural selection processes, species
evolutionary streams, community
Adapting to ecosys-
affordances, attunements, effectivities adaptation to an environment from exploration exploration actions, attunements to
affordances, effectivities
General Empirical Computational Processes
6 Computa-
tional System
18 Computa-
tional Systems
39 Computation
150 Computation Approaches What gets computed from what: Representative Hierarchy of
Managing Complexity 89 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
78 Operators Applied
on 20 Levels
New Form of Engineering Primary Source Books

development of life alternate biologic lifetypes invention 1) Smith: the Major Transitions in Evolution; 2) Baum: What is
Thought; 3) Smith: Origins of Life;
2 the gene computer human programmed genetic biologic sys-
4) Landweber: Evolution as Computation; Hull: the Philosophy of
Biology; Sterelny and Griffiths: Sex and Death;
3 ontogenesis, morphogenesis, self repair, stem
bio-molecular self assembly; embryonic
hardware; self repairing systems
5) Mittenthal: Principles of Organization in Organisms; 6) Good-
win: How the Leopard Got its Spots; 7) Segel: Design Principles for
Immune ...; 8) Stein: Thinking about Biology; Schlosser: Modular-
ity in Development & Evolution; Kumar & Bentley: On Growth,
Form, & Computers;

metabolism: phenotype self regulation cir-
biologic behavior hijacking; supa-molecu-
lar self assembly; synthetic biology; parts
shops for humans
West-Eberhard: Developmental Plasticity in Evolution; Stein:
Thinking about Biology; Mittenthal: Principles of Organization in
5 behavior: development & regulation experience capture systems; memory com-
pilation systems; environment sensing sys-
tems; reflex evolution systems
Smith&Thelen: Dynamic Systems Approach to Development; Daw-
son: Minds & Machines; Belew: Adaptive Individuals in Evolving
Populations; Kelso: Dynamic Patterns; Clark: Natural-Born
6 ecology non-biologic ecosystems Gurney: Ecological Dynamics; Gunderson: Panarchy; Pimm: Bal-
ance of Nature; Patten: Complex Ecology; West-Eberhard: Dev.
Plas. in Evoln.;
niche evolution ecology linkage; rich get richer
exponential growth take-offs of technolo-
gies, ideas
Odling-Smee: Niche Construction; Chase: Ecological Niches: West-
Eberhard: DPinEvoln.;
8 evolution natural selection evolving of wanted
human designs; evo-art, evo-music
Rice: Evolutionary Theory; Michod: Darwinian Dynamics; Keller: Levels
of Selection in Evolution; West-Eberhard: Developmental Plasticity and
Evolution; Crutchfield: Evolutionary Dynamics; Aldrich: Organizations
Evolving; Belew: Adaptive Indls. in Evolvg Poplns.; West-Eberhard:
DPinEvln.; Schlosser: Modularity in Development & Evolution; Rose:
Hull: the Philosophy of Biology; Sterelny and Griffiths: Sex and Death;
Schlosser and Wagner: Modularity in Development and Evolution;
9 synthetic biology (engineered new parts of
biologic systems) & directed evolution (evo-
lution engineering)
humans invent/design new evolution sys-
tems; evolvable electronic hardware
Landweber: Evolution as Computation; Michod: Darwinian
Dynamics; Belew: Adaptive Individuals in Evolving Populations;
Rose: Adaptation;


biologic, social, mental, creativity phenom-
ena as computations
biology programmed by humans; tissue
engineering; replaceable human body
Mittenthal: Principles of Organization in Organisms; Crutchfield:
Evolutionary Dynamics; Foddy: Resolving Social Dilemmas;
Calvin: How Brains Think; Ballard: Intro to Natural Computation;
11 alife and alternate: biologies, societies,
minds, creativities
reverse bio-engineering; non-carbon life;
silicon life; alternate chemistries
Langton: Alife; Langton: Santa Fe Alife; Adachi: Alife; Proceed-
ings: Alife 8 & 9; Schlosser and Wagner: Modularity in Development
and Evolution;
12 computations done: biologically, socially,
mentally, creatively
biocomputing: DNA, membrane, protein,
etc. computing regimes; social cellular
Forbes: Imitation of Life: Landweber: Evolution as Computation;
Calude: Computing with Cells and Atoms; Sipper: Evolution of
Parallel Cellular Machines; Paun: DNA Computing;

sbasic machine computation regimes biomolecular electronics; self reconfigur-
ing and programming hardware
Bergeron: Bioinformatics Computing; Floridi: Blackwell Guide to
Philosophy of Computing & Info; Copeland: Essential Turing;
Jones et al: Bioinformatics Algorithms;
14 natural
natural hardwares; natural software; nat-
ural netware; digital immune systems
Ballard: an Intro to Natural Computation; Back: Evolutionary Computation 2;
Forbes: Imitation of Life; Landweber: Evolution as Computation; Segel: Design
Principles for Immune Systems...; Dasgupta: Artificial Immune Systems...; de
Castro: Artificial Immune Systems; Sipper: Machine Nature; Bentley: Digital
15 robotics: sensor, motor, reflex, planning sys-
distributed sensor-actor nets; distributed
experience embedding; engineered
cybords; lifeform biobots
Brooks: Flesh & Machines; Brooks: Natural Robotics--Subsump-
tion Architecture; Rose: Adaptation; Langton, Alife III; Steels in
Langton’s ALife;
biologic aspects of computer/software sys-
tems: evolutionary development of computer pro-
grams; program ecosystems
computational evolving ecosystems of
niches; self evolving software invention
Koza: Genetic Programming I & II; Huberman: Ecology of Com-
putation; Schlosser and Wagner: Modularity in Development and Evo-
Langdon & Poli: Foundations of Genetic Programming;
17 evolutionary algorithms new evolutionary regime inventions Landweber: Evolution as Computation;
Belew: Adaptive Individuals in Evolving Populations; Fogel: Evo-
lutionary Computation; Mitchell: Intro to Genetic Algorithms;
Corne: Creative Evolutionary Systems; 2nd Int. Confce: Evolvable
Systems: from Bio to H/W;
18 complex adaptive systems dynamics self emerging design; whistle and tipping
point finding
Cowan: Complexity; Bak: How Nature Works; Schelling: Micro-
motives and Macrobehaviors; Epstein: Growing Artificial Societies;
morowitz&Singer: Mind, Brain,& CAS; Belew et al: Adaptive
Individuals in Evolving Populations;


sculture, economy, technology evolution directed evolution of cultures, technolo-
gies, economies
Richerson: Not by Genes Alone; Arthur: Increasing Returns;
Anderson: Economy as Complex Adaptive System; Rose: Adapta-
tion; Sterelny: Thought in a Hostile World, the Evolution of Human
Cognition; Powel: God in the Equation; Odling-Smee et al: Niche
Construction; Chase & Liebold: Ecological Niches; Seebright:
Company of Strangers;
20 rise & fall of civilizations/organizations error science; founding robust venture
Roehner: Pattern&Repertoire in History; Foddy: Resolving Social
Dilemmas; Brown: Social Life of Info; Swedberg: Entrepreneur-
ship the Social Science View; Bernstein: the Birth of Plenty;
Seabright: the Company of Strangers;
21 social computation (social style computing) organizational computing; social simula-
tion; robot societies
Huberman: Organizational Computing; Dorigo: Ant Colony Opti-
mization; Bonabeau: Swarm Intelligence;


scomputational sociality (using social forms
to compute)
social cellular automatons; viral growth
regimes; micro institution development
Yunnus: Grameen Bank homepage; Greene: Are You Creative? 60
Models; Arthur et al: Economy as an Evolving Complex System II;
23 game & gaming theory game programmed social and computer
Sigmund: Games of Life; Eigen: Laws of the Game; Smith: Evolu-
tion and the Theory of Games; Rasmusen: Readings in
Games&Info; Camerer: Behavior Game Theory; Hofbauer and
Sigmund: Evolutionary Games & Population Dynamics;
24 system effects surprise/disaster option pricing; robust
systems theory and practices
Jervis: System Effects; Thompson: Culture Theory; Belew: Adap-
tive Individuals in Evolving Populations;
system globalizations practice transplants; attention mainte-
nance; message stickyness design; educa-
tion systems; diversity science
Greene: 21st Century Human Capabilities; Nisbet: Geography of
Thought; Diener & Suh: Culture & Subjective Well Being Bern-
stein: the Birth of Plenty;
26 policy ecologies & evolutionary engineering
(design of self consciously evolving entities)
social simulations; niche networks re-engi-
neering; robust computing; bio-architec-
Epstein: Growing Artificial Societies; Gunderson: Panarchy;
Mitsch: Ecological Engineering;
27 virtuality, ubiquity, agility (social & techni-
amorphous computing coatings/lawns; self
founding net ventures; socially virtual
Greene: Are You Creative? 60 Models; Greene: Managing Complex
Managing Complexity 90 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered


influence & social cognition self directedness recovery systems;
designed social micro-environments; trend
design; self implementing policy designs
Kunda: Social Cognition; Kahneman:
Well Being; Knowles&Lynn: Resistance & Persuasion; Dillard: the
Persuasion Handbook; Cialdini: Influence;
29 memory, language, & other mind extensions cognitive: architecture, furniture, apparel,
friend nets, files, libraries
Hawkins: Evolution of Human Languages; Jackendoff: Founda-
tions of Language, brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution; Belew:
Adaptive Individuals and Evolving Populations; Rowe: Machine
Musicianship; Rogers & McClelland: Semantic Cognition;
30 consciousness sentient materials science; organizational
consciousness systems
Morowitz: Mind, Brain, & Complex Adaptive Systems; edelman:
Universe of Consciousness; Marcus: Birth of the Mind; Baars et al:
Essential Sources in the Scientific Study of Consciousness; Koch:
the Quest for Consciousness; Edelman: Wider than the Sky

neural hardware neuro-morphic engineering; silicon neuro-
Dawson: Minds & Machines; Pinker: Blank Slate; Ramachandran:
Phantoms in the Brain; Nadel: 1992-3 Lectures in Complex Sys-
tems; Bechtel & Abrahamsen: Connectionism &the Mind; Arbib,
Handbook of Brain Theory & Neural Nets; Galaburda et al: Lan-
guages of the Brain;
32 emotion,
percept, impression
affective computing; system personaliza-
tion learning systems; reality specialized
social module assemblies
Booker: the 7 Basic Plots; Lewis: Emotion, Development, & Self
Organization; Ramachandran: Phantoms in the Brain; Man-
stead: Feelings & Emotions;
33 concepts, reasoning, & learning computational learning theory; learn-by-
experience; commonsense self develop-
ment systems; hemispheric flaw correc-
Ballard: Intro to Natural Computation; Rogers: Semantic Cogni-
tion; Thornton: Truth from Trash; Wolpert: Math of Generaliza-
tion; margolis; Concepts Core Readings; Murphy: the Big Book of
Concepts; Sterelny: Thought in a Hostile World, the Evolution of
Human Cognition;

smeaning & judgement robust interfaces; emotion and concept
flaw correctives; science as the new global,
ecumenic, ecologic religion of all;
Rappaport: Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity; Arkes
& Hammond: Judgement and Decision Making; Hogan: the Mind
and its Stories; Arendt: the Human Condition; Arendt: On Revolu-
tion; Hacking: Scientific Revolutions;
35 structures & indexing structural cognition; macro diagrams; reg-
ularized fractal concept targets of mental
operations; biologic info retrieval;
quantum retrieval;
Kintsch&Dijk: Macrostructures; Kintsch: Comprehension;
Svenonius: The Intellectual Foundation of Info Organization; Rijs-
bergen: the Geometry of Info Retrieval;
Bowker & Star: Sorting Things Out;
36 thoughts as natural selection processes in
productivity routes to creativity; insight
Baum: What is Thought; Calvin: How Brains Think; Simonton:
Origins of Genius;









= Strategy and Focus
diagnostic event assembly over inter-net-
works; standard evolving solving pro-
disease maps; manage by balancing; whis-
tle point finding;
McGee: Evidence Based Physical Diagnosis; Tierney et al: CMDT; Jen-
ick: Foundations of Evidence-Based Medicine; Spece et al: Conflicts of
Interest in Clinical Practice and Research; Keagy and Thomas: Essen-
tials of Physician Practice Management; Cummings & Wilson: Images of
Strategy; Mintzberg et al: Strategy Safari; Coyle: Practical Strategy,
Structured Tools & Techniques: Volberda & Elfring: Rethinking Strategy;

38 treating & prescribing:
trials, tools,
= Solution, Product, and Implementation
evidence based policy & treatment; theory
optimal practices; practice optimal styles;
standard leading function repertoires;
alternate leadership delivery modes; JIT
Berwick: Escape Fire, Designs for the Future of Health Care; Spece et al:
Conflicts of Interest in Clinical Practice & Research; Berwick et al: Cur-
ing Health Care; Atkinson et al: Prnciples of Clinical Pharmacology; the
Arbinger Institute: Leadership & Self Deception; Christensen et al: See-
ing what’s next;
Whetten & Cameron: Developing Management Skills, 5th; Van de Ven:
Innovation; Greene: Global Quality

39 practice
(own career & profession’s standards/basis)
= Career & Market
client self resource mobilization routines;
biologic/behavior tipping points “tippers”;
attention engineering; institutional inter-
face theory;
Albert: A Physician’s Guide to Health Care Management; Spece et al:
Conflicts of Interest in Clinical Practice and Research; Keagy and Tho-
mas: Essentials of Physician Practice Management; Longest: Managng
Health Programs and Projects; March: A Primer on Decision Making;
Kotler: Kotler on Marketing; Citrin & Smith: The Five Patterns of
Extraordinary Careers; Bardwick: The Plateauing Trap & how to avoid it
in your career; Super & Sverko: Life roles, values, & careers; Feldman:
work careers, a developmental perspective; Collin & Young: the future of
career; Arthur et al: handbook of career theory;






personal health maintenance
= Person to Self Leadership
optimize ideal energy flow; optimize signal
to noise ratio; optimize to tunable line of
values not single optima; quality totaliza-
tion & globalization; whistle point finding
Phaedke: Robust Engineering; Greene: Global Quality; Spece et al: Con-
flicts of Interest in Clinical Practice and Research; Kegan: In Over Our
Heads; Arthur & Rousseau: The Boundaryless Career; Cannon: Sartre
and Psychoanalysis; Klar et al: Self Change; Gladwell: the Tipping Point;
Brown & Lent: Career Development & Counseling;

41 public health maintenance
= Person to Person Leadership
surveillance: cognitive/organizational/
political flaws; error transmission mode
Chapman & Sonnenberg: Decision Making in Health Care; Spece et al:
Conflicts of Interest in Clinical Practice & Research; Hammar et al:
Uncertain Times, Kenneth Arrow & the Changing Economics of Health
Care; Grint, The Arts of Leadership; Chemers: An Integrative Theory of
Leadership; van Maurik, Writers on Leadership; Vaill: Managing as a
Performing Art;

42 ecosystem health
(economy, nation, trade-block, globe)
= Person to System Leadership
non-linearity of effects flagging; visual self
management; manage by events;
Lee et al: Health Policy in a Globalizing World; Gurney: Ecological
Dynamics; Gunderson: Panarchy; Pimm: Balance of Nature; Patten:
Complex Ecology; West-Eberhard: Dev. Plas. in Evoln.; Jervis: System
Effects; Thompson: Culture Theory; Belew: Adaptive Individuals in
Evolving Populations; Ulrich et al: the GE work-out;

preventative personal health:
personal fitness
(self change to robust routines)
ecology of self maintenance and self
change; stages of psychic development;
bridge community dynamics
Gerteis et al: Through the Patient’s Eyes;
Berwick et al: Curing Health Care; Klar et al: Self Change; Palombo:
The Emergent Ego; Kegan & Lahey: How the Way We Talk Can Change
the Way We Work; Bruch, Learning Psychotherapy; Brandtstadter &
Lerner: Action & Development, Theory & Research thru Life Span; Tho-
mas: Recent Theories of Human Development; Sternberg: Love is a
Story; Arthur & Rousseau, The Boundaryless Career;

44 preventative public health:
public & policy fitness
(societal change to robust routines)
emulation disciplines: generationality &
educativity of change; ecology of public
DiClemente et al: Emerging theories in Health Promotion Practice &
Research; Glanz et al: Health Behavior & Health Education;
Dewar: the Second Tree: Stem Cells, Clones, etc.; Cialdini Influence;
Cialdini: Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion; Levine: the power of
persuasion, how we’re bought & sold; Knowles & Linn: resistance & per-
Dillard & Pfau; the persuasion handbook; Hatfield et al: Emotional Con-
tagion; Keller & Berry: The Influentials;

45 preventative medical system & organization
fitness (knowledge change & demystifica-
tions for robust routines)
continual compilation of inventions to lay-
ers of semi-profession hierarchy; clien t fit-
ness measures; manage by balancing;
automatic knowledge deployment cascade
Albert: A Physician’s Guide to Health Care Management; Berwick et al:
Curing Health Care; Lee et al: Health Policy in a Globalizing World;
Hammer et al: Uncertain Times, Kenneth Arrow & the Changing Eco-
nomics of Health Care; Keagy & Thomas: Essentials of Physician Practice
Management; Illych: Medical Nemesis; Beldstein: Culture of Profession-
alism; Myers: Intuition, Its Powers & Perils; Sternberg: Why Smart Peo-
ple Can Be So Stupid; Easterby-Smith: Blackwell Handbook on Org
Learning & Knowdge Mngt; Kidd: Knowledge Acquisition for Expert
Systems; Dierkes, et al; Handbook of Organizational Learning & Knowl-
edge Management

78 Operators Applied
on 20 Levels
New Form of Engineering Primary Source Books
Managing Complexity 91 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered



scatalog, blend, social and group models of
creativity: combinatorial creating across
idea/person/resource islanding; dimen-
sions of difference analysis
Becker: Art Worlds; Green: Mountain of Truth; John-Steiner: Cre-
ative Collaboration; Miller: Einstein & Picallo; Florida: the Rise of
the Creative Class; Shrage: Serious Play; Segel: Turn of the Cen-
tury Cabaret; Farrell: Collaborative Circles;
47 knowledge evolution, experiment, and sys-
tem models of creativity; knowledge opera-
tors that create
idea schaffolding Brown: Social Life of Info; Brown: Seeing Differently; Chris-
tiensen: Seeing What’s Next; Bazerman: Predictable Surprises;
Schon: Frame Reflection; Kauffman: Investigations; Johnson: Fire
in the Mind; Wolfram: New Kind of Science;
48 purity, self, and mind models of creativity;
personal operators that create
individuation engineering; self inventions Sternberg: Handbook of Creativity; Amabile: Creativity in Con-
text: Runco: Encyclopedia of Creativity vol I & II; Simonton: Ori-
gins of Genius; Root-Bernstein: Sparks of Genius; [accelerated
learning & culture penetration models]


what X created; for biology, machine com-
puters, society, and mind: what & how--
biology, computers, societies, minds--create
reducing actions to codes; reducing codes
to more compact codes; stochastic
requireements extensions; syntax/seman-
tics/pragmatics inter-compilations
Cowan: Complexity; Wolfram: New Kind of Science; Mandelbrot:
the Misbehavior of Markets; Rose: Adaptation; Crutchfield: Evolu-
tionary Dynamics; Epstein: Growing Artificial Societies; Hull: the
Philosophy of Biology; Sterelny and Griffiths: Sex and Death;
50 what X we create: for biology, machine
computers, society, and mind: how we create
new--biologies, computers, societies, mental-
substrate translation: abstract operators/
results from substrates then try new sub-
Casti: Art and Complexity; Kelly: Out of Order; Brown: Social
Life of Info; Burt: Structural Holes; Arthur: Increasing Returns;
Nonaka: Managing Industrial Knowledge; Florida: the Rise of the
Creative Class; Christensen: Seeing What’s Next; Van de Ven:
Managing Innovation; Rowe: Machine Musicianship;
51 what created X for biology, machine com-
puters, society, and mind: biologic, com-
puter, societal, mental creativity operators
science as the new ecumenic global ecologic
relition: what to safely believe, where
authority to live is found,
Arendt: On Revolution; Davis: Genetic Algorithms&Simulated
Annealing; Bonabeau: Swarm Intelligence; Holland: Hidden
Order; Watts: Small Worlds; Cambell: Hero with 1000 Faces;
Keith: Arts of Leadership; Martindale: the Clockwork Muse; Bar-
row: the Artful Universe;


sall fields of knowledge and practice as stan-
dard creativity operators applied to differ-
ent parts of the world
creativity engineering: 60 creativity opera-
tors appliable to all parts of the world
Root-Bernstein: Sparks of Genius; Simonton: Origins of Genius;
Sternberg: Intuition; Dumont: Essays on Individualism; Palombo:
Emergent Ego; Kegan: In Over Our Heads; Brockman: Curious
Minds; Goldstein: Incompleteness, Godel
53 all creativity as the same paradox generators
applied to different parts of the world, so
paradox doorways to creation appear every-
measurement and observational revolu-
tions: of means, of scale, of relevance, of
Clark: Paradoxes from A to Z; Fletcher: Paradoxical Thinking;
Farson: Management of the Absurd; Eisenstadt: Paradoxes of
Democracy; Smith: Paradoxes of Group Life; Thaler: the Winner’s
Curse; Lewis: Exploring Paradox; Poundstone: Lambrynths of
Reason; Skousen: Puzzles&Paradoxes of Economics; Foddy:
Resolving Social Dilemmas;
54 all creativity as bootstrapping of further
pattern and complexity from prior pattern
and complexity
complex adaptive systems engineering Gladwell: the Tipping Point; Cilliers: Complexity & Postmodern-
ism; Scfhelling: Micromotives & Macrobehaviors; Strevens: Under-
standing Complexity thru Probability; Zureck: Complexity,
Entropy, & the Physics of Info; Kauffman: Investigations; Cowan:
Complexity; Corne: Creative Evolutionary Systems;





finite element analysis, simulated annealing,
renormalization groups
cellular telecommunications; cellular com-
puting; cellular ubiquity;
Laughlin: A Different Universe, Reinventing Physics from the Bot-
tom Up; Wolfram: A New Kind of Science; Barrow et al: Science
and Ultimate Reality; Penrose: the Road to Reality; Bruce: Schrod-
inger’s Rabbits; Yougrau: a World Without Time;
56 cellular automata social
Wolfram: A New Kind of Science; Pollack et al: Artificial Life 9;
Standish et al: Artificial Life 8;
57 ant algorithms terrain/internet/interface marking sys-
Dorigo: Ant Colony Optimization; Pollack et al: Artificial Life 9;
Standish et al: Artificial Life 8;

swarms local optima emergenetics; Kennedy: Swarm Intelligence; Bonabeau: Swarm Intelligence; Pol-
lack et al: Artificial Life 9; Standish et al: Artificial Life 8;
59 populations of intelligent agents learned coordination mechanisms; learned
JIT organization form; socially virtual
Sipper: Machine Nature; Bentley: Digital Biology; Pollack et al:
Artificial Life 9; Standish et al: Artificial Life 8;
60 simulated societies inventor-less inventions; societal reper-
Ilgen&Hulin, Computational Modeling of Behavior in Organizatns; Prietula et
al: Simulating Organizations; Gilbert & Troitzsch: Simulation for the Social Sci-
entist; Carley & Prietula: Computational Organization Theory; Gilbert &Conte:
Artificial Societies, computer simulation of social life; Epstein&Axtell, Growing
Artificial Societies, social science from the bottom up; Durlauf and Young, Social
Dynamics; Lomi &Larsen, Dynamics of Organizations:Computational Model-
ing&Organizatn Theories;Casti, Complexification, Explaining a Paradoxical
World Through the Science of Surprise;Casti, Would-BeWorlds, How Simulation
is Changing the Frontiers of Science;Carley & Prietula, Computational Organi-
zation Theory; Foddy, et al, Resolving Social Dilemmas;



gneural nets non-representational memories; social
neural nets;
Eliasmith and Anderson: Neural Engineering; Ballard: an Intro to
Natural Computation; Forbes: Imitation of Life; Sipper: Machine
Nature; Bentley: Digital Biology; Arbib: Handbook of Brain The-
ory & Neural Nets
62 evolutionary & genetic algorithms alternate biologies; recapitulated bio-
Langdon & Poli: Foundations of Genetic Programming; Tanaka et
al: Evolvable Systems, from Biology to Hardware, 4th Internl.
Confce.; Fogel & Corne: Evolutionary Computation in Bioinfor-
matics; Sipper et al: Evolvable Systems, from Biology to Hardware,
2nd Internt. Conferece;
Tyrrell et al: Evolvable Sysgtems, from Biology to Hardware, 5th
Internl. Confc.; Back et al: Evolutionary Computation 1; Back:
Evolutionary Computation 2; Landweber: Evolution as Computa-
63 immune
identity engineering: self/non-self marking
systems; dynamic identity marking sys-
deCastro: Artificial Immune Systems; Dasgupta: Artificial Immune
Systems; Segel: Design Principles for Immune Systems...;
78 Operators Applied
on 20 Levels
New Form of Engineering Primary Source Books
Managing Complexity 92 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered



machine learning theory automation; alternate sciences; Thornton: Truth from Trash; Weiss et al: Computer Systems that Learn;
Fisher et al: Concept Formation; Ballard, An Intro to Natural Computa-
tion; Klosgen & Zytkow: Handbook of Data Mining and Knowledge Dis-
covery; Weiss: Distributed AI Meets Machine Learning;
65 human
structural cognition; mental operator rep-
ertoires; cognitive furniture, cognitive
architecture, cognitive apparel;
Granott & Parziale: Microdevelopment; Arendt: the Life of the Mind;
Cilliers: Complexity & Postmodernism; Baum: What is Thought?; Elman
et al: Rethinking Innateness; Vallacher&Nowak, Dynamical Systems in
Social Psych; Brown &Gaertner: Blackwell Handbk of Inter-group Social
Psychology; Tesser&Schwarz: Blackwell Handbk of Intra-indvl Social
Psychology; Fletcher & Clark: Blackwell Handbk of Interpersonal Social
Psych,; Hogg & Tindale: Blackwell Handbk of Group Process Social
Psych; Kunda: Social Cognition;

66 organization learning idea rooms; phone research events;
research assemblies; cognitive process
deployment cascades;
Jacoby: FreeThinkers, a History of American Secularism; Brown
and Duguid: The Social Life of Info; Cohen & Sproul: Organiza-
tional Learning; Damasio: Unity of Knowledge; Mokyr: the Gifts of

selection as learning
idea-niche-environment tri-partite explo-
ration engineering; Lamarcian evolution
genetic organization forms;
genetic markets;
Mayr: What Makes Biology Unique; Dawkins: the Ancestor’s Tale; Land-
weber: Evolution as Computation;
Belew: Adaptive Individuals in Evolving Populations; Schlosser and
Wagner: Modularity in Development and Evolution; Rice: Evolutionary
Theory; Michod: Darwinian Dynamics; Keller: Levels of Selection in
Evolution; West-Eberhard: Developmental Plasticity and Evolution;
Crutchfield: Evolutionary Dynamics; Aldrich: Organizations Evolving;
68 lifeform learning behavior experience indexing; stratified responding; Dawkins: the Ancestor’s Tale; Smith&Thelen: Dynamic Systems
Approach to Development; Dawson: Minds & Machines; Belew:
Adaptive Individuals in Evolving Populations; Kelso: Dynamic Pat-
69 culture as learning unlearning learning; culture as high per-
formances & vice versa; “culturing”
wanted capabilities;
Nisbett: Geography of Thought; Tannen: You Just Don’t Under-
stand; Kahneman et al: Well-Being; Diener & Suh: Culture & Sub-
jective Well-Being; Vinken et al: Comparing cultures; Greene:
Defining 21st Century Human Capabilities

automation of research & invention discovery automation; idea farms; venture
Rosenberg et al: Technology&the Wealth of Nations; Janszen, The
Age of Innovation; Mayes, Sources of Productivity Growth; Hessel-
bein et al: Leading for Innovation; Rogers: Diffusion of Innova-
tions; Scherer: Innovation & Growth, Schumpeterian Perspectives;
Nelson: National Innovation Systems, a comparative analysis;
Christensen et al: Seeing what’s next; Wind et al: the Power of
Impossible Thinking; Shekerjian: Uncommon Genius, how great
ideas are born; Brown: Seeing Differently, insights on innovation;
Iansiti & Levien: the keystone advantage, business ecosystem

71 knowledge factories (venture clusters) idea combinatorics; dimensions of differ-
ence designing;
Brown & Duguid: The Social Life of Info; Mokyr: the Gifts of Athena;
Swedberg: Entrepreneurship, the Social Science Perspective; Lee: the Sil-
icon Valley Edge; Illych: Medical Nemesis; Beldstein: Culture of Profes-
sionalism; Myers: Intuition, Its Powers & Perils; Sternberg: Why Smart
People Can Be So Stupid; Easterby-Smith: Blackwell Handbook on Org
Learning & Knowdge Mngt; Kidd: Knowledge Acquisition for Expert
Systems; Dierkes, et al; Handbook of Organizational Learning & Knowl-
edge Management

72 orthogonal disciplines auxiliary universities; orthogonal universi-
ties; colleges of orthogonals;
Greene: Defining 21st Century Human Capabilities; Damasio:
Unity of Knowledge; Mokyr: the Gifts of Athena;



self applying recursion and embedding:
example--evolving of natural selection algorithms, or natu-
ral selection subsystems within organisms
immuno-tronics Forbes: Imitation of Life; Landweber: Evolution as Computation;
Charnow: LifeHistory Invariants;

mixed applying, recursion, embedding:
example--evolving morphogenesis systems
biologic device invention agriculture Forbes: Imitation of Life; Landweber: Evolution as Computation;


game-simulation-work, software-firmware-hardware-wet-
ware, gene-genecontroller-geneswitch
learning as culture/world penetration and
Bower: Computational Modeling of Genetic & Biochemical Net-
works; Casti: Would-be Worlds; Prietula: Social Simulation;
Epstein: Growing Artificial Societies;




error, noise, event tolerant robustness robustness engineering: optimizing for
reliability and survival
Rappaport: Ritual and religion in the Making of Humanity;
Phaedke: Robust Engineering; Greene: Global Quality; Jen:
Robust Design
gmodeling regimes for complex biologic, com-
puter, societal, mind, creativity systems
representation engineering: abstracting
across implementation substrates
Mittenthal: Principles of Organization in Organisms;
Nadel: 1991 Lectures in Complex Systems; Auyand: Foundations of
Complex System Theories; Mandelbrot: the Misbehavior of Mar-
elimination of death de-aging treatments; aging cessation; life
extension treatments; genetic/cytoplasm/
metabolism level death cause eliminations;
Dewar: the Second Tree, Stem Cells, Clones, etc.; Hall: Merchants
of Immortality; Kirkwood: Time of Our Lives, sciende of human
aging; Kurzweil & Grossman: Fantastic Voyage:


81 modules
82 selves
83 science as the new religion
78 Operators Applied
on 20 Levels
New Form of Engineering Primary Source Books
Managing Complexity 93 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Paradox One:
Leadership versus
How Organization Undermines Leading,
How Leading Undermines Organizing
Managing Complexity 94 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Chapter 4
The Social Automaton Process--
Reduce Complexity by
Managing Social Automata Processes
Applying Complexity Theory to Improve the Movement Building
Aspects of Management
What This Chapter Presents
How do we reduce complexity from systems surprises, types of social diversity, and types of computational system we encounter? One hint is the way fixed forms and structures are dis-
solving. In all areas of thought and action, fixed forms are being forced into more fluid arrangements. Instead of “one right way” we are devising a set of components and grammars
of how to combine and recombine them as situations change and dictate. This chapter introduces a major form of this--managing by successive social movements that penetrate all parts
of organizations and society, deploying one new approach or technique after another, endlessly. We, in our individual locales, experience wave after wave of new ideas, methods, goals,
and linkages to others washing over us, as these movements pass by or involve us and those around us. Our lives, organizations, goals, and ways of work are simply, nearly everywhere,
becoming more movemental. However, it is not the old elite-governed style movements of a sneaky Karl Marx pretending to help spontaneously demonstrating workers in France (after
months or secretly funding elite cadres of the “party” to provoke laborers there into revolt) that we face, but actual self organizing self emerging movements, that no one planned or
installed. This chapter elaborates two fundamental transitions helping us handle the complexities we face--the liquefication of forms (dissolving of fixed forms into movement forms),
and the replacement of elite-controlled pre-planned movements with spontaneously self emerging self organizing ones. These two transitions are becoming the “social vehicle” (Kano’s
expression in Japan) by which more and more innovation and action are being delivered to the world.
This chapter examines how more and more of what managers do has become the building of movements within and among organizations. Indeed, re-engineering and 63 other recent
business innovations have all been implemented by movement building. This is somewhat ironic when we remember how activists of various sorts in the past accused managers of
being stodgy and conservative. First I show how management is becoming movement building, how mediate structures between businesses foster movement building, how some of the
changes management implements are themselves ongoing movements rather than simple static states of affairs, and how marketing, as a part of what managers and leaders do, has
always had a movemental interpretation. Next I present 64 business innovations of the recent past—downsizing, re-engineering, total quality, globalization, client-server computing,
and others—showing how they all were implemented by building movements within and among companies. I show how the types of movement used to implement them evolved in the US
as experience built up. Implementors evolved from designed movements to emergent movements, from elite top down movements to self-organizing workforces.
Having established the key relation between managing and movement building, I then explore what activists and movement builders can learn from managers about building movements
well and vice versa, what managers can learn from them about building movements well. This necessarily involves making clear the differences between the highly constrained kinds of
movements that managers build and the less constrained kinds activists build. This also necessarily involves examining how organizations change, for its relation to building move-
ments, and how movements fit into existing organizational structures. Research on innovation is then used to highlight movemental aspects of innovative activity in businesses, and
improvements in innovation that result from emphasizing movement building excellence.
The above points set the context for the core of this chapter. In the core I build a model of 4 social change processes that capture very different types of movement that people build. I
also build a model of 4 ways to improve business processes that capture most of the contents of the 64 business innovations mentioned earlier, especially re-engineering, globalization,
and quality. These two models allow me to show in detail the differences between top down elite-led movements of our past and the newly appearing self-emergent movements of our
present and future. I build a detailed model of how to transform business bureaucracies into old style elite-led movements and then how to transform such old style movements into new
self-emerging movements. I then show how self-emergent movements improve implementation of the 64 recent business innovations.
Four cases are presented: self-emergent movement implementation of a re-engineering effort in a major corporation, transformation of the re-election campaigns of Newt Gingrich
(former and much reviled Speaker of the House of Representatives in the US) into a self-emerging movement form, creation of a Global Quality movement by uniting into one self-
emergent movement 5 separate quality-related movements (quality of the earth via the environment movement, quality of worklife via the QWL movement, quality of life via the con-
sumer movement, quality of mind via the spirit movement, and quality of production via the total quality movement), and finally, implementation of an advanced software technology at
General Motors using self-emerging movement forms.
This chapter is practical enough to help managers in all sorts of corporations, as well as politicians, policy makers, and social activists.
What US Results Mean for Europe and Japan
Cross cultural studies have long shown Japan and Europe share many business values and styles, while the United States is substantially different. When, as in this chapter, a person pre-
sents implementation approaches that work well in the United States, the types of modifications likely to be needed in order for them to work in Europe and Japan can be predicted.
Relax the short time horizons of the US, switch from US finance drivers to European technology drivers, relax US competitiveness to allow resolve to replace opportunism, relax US
distrust of public agencies to allow cooperative standards development, replace US sloughing of employees as a cost of empowerment with European involvement of and consultation
with employees (Steger, 1995). If management has become movement building, in the US, as this chapter shows, Japan and Europe will find direct copying of US movement building
tactics surprisingly easy, for a special reason this chapter presents--namely, implementation in the US evolves from old style top-down movements to self-emerging movements and that
involves evolving from US business styles to more European styles as listed above. In other words, implementation evolves in the US in a direction whose final endpoint is easier for
Europeans to copy directly. This chapter presents this evolution and endpoint in detail.
Managing Complexity 95 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
The Threat of Management-as-Movement-Building to European and Japanese Businesses
Stability was not the fundamental principle underneath the value set, organization designs, and economic institutions of the US. Flexibility and growth were more fundamental. The
US combines values, institutions, laws, and personal characters that allow corporations to fire 40,000 employees at one time, close down factories in weeks, shift production overseas
with minimal notice to employees and the like. As international economic competition heats up, the US has begun exercising its capabilities more self-consciously. Internet com-
merce, being first developed in the US economy, lubricates these changes and accelerates them. Increase in the movement building content of managing is an aspect of this exercising
of capabilities. Europe and Japan have to reckon with the inherent capabilities of US business (which make speed of change especially fast there) and management as movement build-
ing (which increases the speed of change in US businesses) and the new internet commerce lubricant (which accelerates the US’s increase in speed).
In the past, greater European and Japanese quality and technical perfection worked well as bulwarks against US speed advantages. At present, however, information technologies have
transformed the dependence of nearly all industries on knowledge development and dissemination speed. This has made nearly all industries more vulnerable to speed advantages,
working toward US competitive advantage. This chapter shows a way for Europeans to match US speeds of change without some of the harsh dog-eat-dog accoutrements of US mar-
ket emphasis.
Management Has Become Movement Building
Any comprehensive survey of business publications and news produces the impression that getting organizations to change is a growing part of overall management work. Perhaps it
is accelerating change in customer wants, market structures, global penetration of competitors that drive this. Perhaps it is information technologies and new telecommunications
means that drive this. Perhaps the rise in educational level of consumers in industrial economies drives this. Scholars have concluded that work is becoming continual learning, lead-
ing change is becoming management’s primary content, and assembly just-in-time of the right capabilities for a particular window of business opportunity is becoming a corporation’s
primary skill. Routine execution of existing work functions at high levels of mastery is shrinking as a viable component of many businesses. Some examples will help here.

Total quality is implemented by executives building a movement among whole workforces. Indeed, the movement expands to include all major suppliers and organized customers of
the business. Total quality is not alone in this, other major business innovations also are implemented by building movements: re-engineering, downsizing, agile manufacturing, cli-
ent-server computing, globalization, diversity and others. Not only is the means that management uses to implement change becoming movement building but what management
implements, the ends of management, are becoming movements. Total quality is not a static state of affairs but a kind of on-going self-organizing movement among employee circles,
cross-functional teams, and supply chain task forces. Similarly, re-engineering produces not some static “right” stable organization design as outcome but a series of self-organizing
dynamics with which workforces and customers of a company self-design evolution of business contents and systems on an on-going basis. The ends of management are becoming
Furthermore, inter-industry mediate structures exist that foster movements among different industries, sectors of society, and within industries. In the US it is the general consulting
companies, in Japan it is the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers and related groups, in Europe it is banking combines and elite school organizations. These mediate structures
orchestrate publicity, demonstrations, technique assembly, training, quality control, and standards emergence. Re-engineering and other complex organization changes have been visi-
bly and heavily promoted by such organizations.
The Obvious First Implications If Managing is Movement Building
If managing is increasingly becoming movement building, then many managers, by not realizing that that is what they are increasingly doing, fail to perfect a growing key to their suc-
cess. By acknowledging the movement building aspects of their role, they can improve themselves, their careers, their organizations, and their economic destiny.
If management is movement building in large part, then managers can break down much of what they need to do into separate movements to launch, broaden, deepen, and wrap up. For
example Jack Welch’s much admired re-doing of General Electric involved four movements: a measure movement of getting executives to use more strenuous measures of success, a
focus movement of fixing/selling-off/killing existing businesses, a mode of work movement of getting employees to operate in a boundary-less manner, and a walk-the-talk movement
of disallowing promotion of managers who achieve targets by violating the new mode of work.
Is Movement Building a Wholly New Part of Managing?
A large marketing function has long been acknowledged as a part of managing and leading. Leaders market the results of their organizations to customers while marketing particular
challenges and changes to the workforces of their organizations. Marketing has been characterized two ways--as a purely analytic exercise by some authors and as movement building
among customers by others. As movement building, marketing involves spotting/selecting/analyzing business opportunities, finding channels for reaching customers, sending appro-
priate messages over those channels, and building community between the company, its products, its brands, and its customers. These constitute the building of a movement of sorts
among customers of the company’s products. So there has always been a movemental part of managing. What is happening now is the amount and variety of it has increased greatly.
What Movements are Managers Now Expected to Build?
The table below organizes 64 business innovations that managers in the mid-1990s were involved in building in the leading 15 industrial countries. It is important to see the common-
ality underneath how so many innovations were implemented; if we are not careful the difference in contents of the innovations hides commonalities of implementation. But, remem-
ber, this chapter will show that implementation, though common across all 64 innovations, evolved over time from designed to self-emergent style.
Table 31: 64 Innovations that Managers are Implementing in the 1990s
Workgroup Level Department & Process Level Organization Level Inter-organization Level
Downsizing value engineering outsourcing firm break up supplier qualification
Just-in-Time open book management process management horizontal management supplier-company co-location
Quality circles kaizen (continuous improvement) quality and policy deployment supply chain management
Cycle time A delta T workouts mass customization alliance management
Self management visual management manage by signal and control
autonomous workteams industrial district networks
Team management fool proofing problem solving teams cross functional teams supplier-customer co-design
Information integration workflow groupware client-server systems data dictionary standards electronic data interchange
Re-engineering assumption breaking new materials for work functions organizational architecture strategic partnering
Procedural justice 360 degree evaluation open door management peer review of manager decisions customer review of manager deci-
Diversity culture sensitization multi-protocol teaming management set switches multi-company career pathing
Entrepreneuring workgroup design competitions best practice commercializa-tion intrapreneuring technoparks
Globalization workgroup protocol repertoires world product sourcing transnational operations regional trade investment blocks
Organizational learning best practice sharing benchmarking knowledge deposition layer project knowledge depositories
Systems gaming micro-worlds gaming process simulations social info network simulations virtual business gaming
Virtualization virtual workgroups emailable software agents self-assembling workforces just-in-time multi-firm project
Managing Complexity 96 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
All 64 innovations shared certain implementation characteristics that cause me to categorize them as implemented by movement building: 1) entire workforces and sets of companies
were targeted to adopt these innovations or major portions of entire workforces 2) existing ways of doing things were highlighted early on as clearly inadequate and in need of drastic
improvement 3) that portion of existing leadership showing interest and initiative were molded into a unified leadership of the spread of the innovations 4) something like local chapters
of persons interested in each innovation emerged or were found and connected with each other through conferencing, email, and other means 5) a conversion in values, habits of work,
or ways of treating people was involved in order to successfully adopt each innovation.
The innovations listed above meet Hannah Arendt’s (1965) definition of revolutionary movements, that is they create power out of nothing, by getting people to make promises to other
people, that they work to keep. They create a new public sphere, wherein people appear before each other in word and deed, inspiring mutual excellence. All the above innovations elic-
ited widespread workforce participation, including conferences among interested or involved parties, trips to early appliers elsewhere for benchmarking, and so forth. These activities
constituted the new public sphere Arendt mentioned.
What Movement Builders are Beginning to Learn from Managers Who Build Movements
Activists and leaders of various sorts from politicians running for electoral office to policy makers to builders of social movements have not been subjected to the techniques that man-
agers use to improve work processes, for the most part. Recently, however, politicians, policy makers, and even social movements have begun in a small way to examine what business
can teach them about improving how they perform the movement building aspects of their work. Businesses have developed methods of improving any arbitrary work process. These
can be applied quite easily to movement building processes with good results. Later in this chapter, pioneering such applications by politicians and policy makers are presented.
How Social Movement Building Differs from Business Movement Building
Review of literature and interviews with leading social (civil rights, environmentalists, anti-nuclear activists) and business movement builders revealed the following major differences.
1) Managers command where activists elicit (though not as much as one might suppose). 2) Managers work through already structured management hierarchies where activists organize
unaffiliated persons. 3) Managers themselves are organized and report to various stakeholders and boards where activists are much more loosely held accountable. 4) Managers are
required by the markets they are in to achieve certain cost, quality, and productivity targets where activists are less concerned with cost, quality, and productivity. 5) Managers are less
vocal and violent in challenging existing ways of doing things, where activists are comfortable demonstrating, challenging in courts, and engaging in civil disobedience to laws. 6) Man-
agers informally spot those who come forth to engage well in new movements at work where activists establish self-governing chapter structures among volunteers as their movements
progress. 7) Managers have something to lose--a current organization with operating profits--where activists often do not consider the costs to the society they disrupt in order to get
their message across.
How Implementation of the 64 Innovations Evolved
If we put aside theories about how organizations change and look at actual changes, we find that total quality started out with gurus initiating top down whole workforce change cam-
paigns. Similarly, we find re-engineering, downsizing, globalization, and other innovations starting out with gurus initiating top down campaigns. If we examine not early appliers of
these innovations but middle appliers, we find much less enthusiasm and trust of guru approaches to change. There is a general recognition, often published in the popular business press
as articles critical of guru change approaches, that top down implementation produced much failure. There is a shift (Davenport, 1992) toward an alternative change approach--incre-
mental expansion of the design team and process to include all those who eventually will have to live with the new arrangements of work. This is almost a hand-off between two incom-
patible paradigms of doing business--the executive commander who orders people by authority to change in certain ways, replaced by the executive enabler, who entices and resources
people to self-organize to reinvent an innovation in ways appropriate to local conditions. Elite leadership is replaced by self-organizing activity of employees; top down authority is
replaced by engaged local interests; the work of elites is replaced by the work of masses of people. In fact, the role of executives is reduced to launching a coalition symbolically and
behind the scenes personal handling of obstructive efforts by high level middle managers (Hout and Carter, 1995).
The Fight Between Design and Emergence in Society
The above discussion, on evolution in how various business innovations were implemented, introduces a more widespread phenomenon--the tendency, of people, usually elite groups, to
rationally design and mold social processes and institutions, ends up conflicting with other structures, dynamics, and forms that emerge as components of society interact. The evolu-
tion of implementation from top-down design to self-emergent systems, mentioned in the section above and detailed later in this article, may be caused by the conflict between rational
designs and forces of self-emergence in implementation efforts. Up until the recent study of complex adaptive systems and the role of self-organizing processes that generate overall pat-
terns that no one designs in them, it was assumed that recalcitrant reality was simply that, recalcitrant, refusing stubbornly, human rational aims and means. Now, there arises a different
view, much expanded in later sections of this chapter. That recalcitrance of reality to human design of social systems may be a powerful self-organizing force at work, generated by the
interactions among behavior sets of lower level units in society, such as individual psyches, families, or workgroups. Attempts to adjust higher level patterns, such as urban crime or
department level business productivities, may be futile if lower level unit behaviors, when such units interact, generate powerful emergent patterns at higher organization levels that
resist rational management intervention at those higher levels. It also appears that such higher level design interventions more often than not, if they succeed in imposing a pattern on
that higher level, destroy the vitality at lower levels, eventually killing the vitality of the organization as a whole. This is technically called "tampering" and dealt with near the end of
this chapter. This chapter introduces an alternative form of intervention (leadership and management), based on intervening at the lower "generative" level, the causative level, rather
than at the higher "emergent" phenomenon level. Explicit steps for this style of intervention, leadership, and management are presented as a new "social automata leadership" paradigm,
emerging in internet commerce, industrial districts, and silicon valleys around the world.
Is All of Any Business, Movements? or What Part of Organization Structure is Movemental?
Several models of the part of overall organization that movements end up amounting to have been offered. Lillrank (Lillrank, 1988), examining total quality, noticed a parallel organiza-
tion of task teams, created by quality, whether circle programs, process management teams, cross-functional teams, or policy deployment teams. The more static bureaucratic structure
handled routine work while the quality task team layer handled investigating routine work, and continuous improvement of it.
Nonaka (Nonaka, 1995), examining organizational learning, noticed a parallel organization of task teams, created by various organization change efforts and product projects. The more
static structure handled routine work while the task team layer handled project work and deposited learnings from each project into a third, knowledge deposition layer, that new teams
were required to consult in order to learn from past team experiences.
Kogut and Zander (Kogut and Zander, 1992), examining why firms persist in spite of market efficiency at doing things, found task teams were essentially recombinations of various
capabilities found in the static structure of organizations. Firms excelled, compared to markets, at recombining capabilities (skills and knowledge) for new areas of application. The task
team layer, then, is a parallel organization that essentially recombines capabilities.
A social movement, the Institute of Cultural Affairs, developed a formal model of movement building. One part of this model contrasted the historical institution (bureaucratic for most
businesses), with the movemental layer (task forces working beyond static structure capability), and with an order (elite groups inventing new disciplines and visions of work and elicit-
ing movements (made up of task teams) to change the historical institution part of the organization). Another part of this model is the external movemental aspect of any organization:
awakening markets to possibilities, formulating interested customers into kinds of action, and demonstrating the benefits of customers who thus act (ICA, 1976).
Huber (Huber, 1984) proposed collateral organizations--one set of people participating in two organizations simultaneously, a mechanistic one for routine work and an experimental one
for changing work.
In sum, we have a parallel, simultaneous set of two organizations of the same people--one organization mechanistic to handle routine work, and the other, more fluid and task-opportu-
nity responsive, to improve mechanistic routines, deposit learnings, recombine capabilities, awaken/formulate/demonstrate, and experiment.
What Theory Can Tell Us About Management as Movement Building
Innovation and change have been studied by scholars for years but they have produced few results of interest to practicing managers and workers. An exception is this discovery: inno-
vations have been found to be largely illegitimate, they violate organization rules and norms, hence are hard to implement. Eight types of illegitimacy problem have been found (Dough-
erty and Heller, 1994): no creativity allowed in product design, inappropriate product evaluation, departmental barriers, departmental clashes of value, problems maintaining teams and
commitment to innovate, no structural fit of innovation to organization, no strategic fit of innovation to organization, no fit of innovation team to organization climate. Hence, innova-
tion and change must take place in something like an organization parallel to the mechanistic one where they are illegitimate. The Minnesota Innovation Research Program (Van de Ven,
1993) found actual innovation processes violated common opinions: where one invention was assumed, plural re-inventions, discardings, and rediscoveries were found; where one
entrepreneur or champion was expected, plural entrepreneurs fluidly flowing in and out of engagement were found; where a fixed organization or project was assumed, a fluidly expand-
Agile SWAT organization SWAT workgroup assembly self emergent process design self emergent organization assem-
self emergent organization alli-
Table 31: 64 Innovations that Managers are Implementing in the 1990s
Managing Complexity 97 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
ing and contracting set of organizations was found; and so forth. Hence, innovation and change proceed as fluid coalitions not serial projects. Karl Weick suggested loosely coupled
systems as models of organizations (Weick, 1990) wherein change occurred via coalitions among loosely coupled elements assembled by initiative takers and leaders. Recently, he has
amplified this model (Weick, 1993) suggesting: 1) auto-catalytic processes (“self fulfilling commitments”) that create interpretations, structures, and designs around them; 2) improvi-
sation and bricolage by many actors creating overall structures of the organization that no one designs; 3) large repertoires of organization capabilities (mastered by leaders or initiative
takers) result in better assemblages for momentary opportunity chasing, resulting in better organization performance. This is close to the newer self-emerging form of movement this
chapter presents later, and it at least shows innovation chooses organization forms appropriate for the opportunity of the moment, by assembling capabilities from throughout an orga-
nization, rather than depending on proper location of a bureau in a rigid organizational structure. James March, (March, 1962; Astley and Zajac, 1991) created a coalition theory of
organizations as contractual agreements among self-interested actors. Organizations are only, in this view, abstractly rigid bureaucracies; they think of themselves that bureaucracy
serves only as a kind of library from which capabilities are combined to do actual work, through building coalitions or “quasifirms”. Innovation and change, indeed, in this view, all
work, is assembly of coalitions of capabilities from a rigid “library” structure. Technology champions have been studied and the data supports a self-organizing coalition that the cham-
pion meets and supports rather than a brilliant champion who creates himself a coalition from scratch (Lawless and Price, 1992). This too is in the direction of the new self-emerging
form of movement building this chapter portrays below. In sum, innovation is illegitimate, in principle and always when above a certain threshold in “newness”, and it gets imple-
mented by parallel, shifting, coalitions that emerge from the transient combination of loosely coupled organization elements selected from the library that accumulated organization
parts becomes.
Similarities Among 4 Types of Social Change Movement
Many years ago I took a course at Xerox Corporation on coalition building, which was presented as the principal role of middle managers. I applied the method and succeeded in cre-
ating Xerox’s High Performance Work Center, which used a total quality software specification process to create groupware systems to automate business processes of Xerox employ-
ees and customers. At about the same time my best friend in high school invited me to apply total quality and groupware techniques to improve Newt Gingrich’s (current Speaker of
the US House of Representatives) 1984 and 1986 re-election campaigns. During a seven year stay in Japan I applied participatory management techniques to improve policy making
in city and prefectural governments, assisting the creation of Citizen Listening Meetings and creating 42 Participatory Town Meetings in Japanese towns, social clubs, and corpora-
tions. Recently, I debated environment problems with a member of Japan’s national diet, and applied quality methods to improve the environment movement in Japan. In sum, I
learned that innovation in business, political re-elections, policy making, and social movements all build coalitions as the core part of their work.
Similarities Among 4 Ways to Improve Systems
20 years ago I studied artificial intelligence computing at MIT. The complex applications that we developed replaced slow sequential algorithms of mainframe computers with fast par-
allel execution of rules. When computers became cheap, creating the personal computer revolution, people everywhere re-thought calculations and algorithms, from the viewpoint of
getting hundreds or thousands of simple processors to do in parallel what formerly was done by one complex processor serially.
At the same time de-massification of businesses was announced by Alvin Toffler, de-regulation of society was announced by Ronald Reagan, localization of perceptual processing in
the human body was announced by Marvin Minsky, modular systems were announced replacing central controllers in the mind by Rumelhart--in field after field small, local, simple
parallel things were now doing what formerly was done by big, central, complicated sequential things.
Another effect computers had was making the dynamic behavior of systems through time seeable for the first time in simulated computer form. Catastrophe theory, self-organizing
systems, evolutionary computation, and genetic algorithms became popular. This led to the foundation of a new university--the Santa Fe Institute--that studied what was similar in the
way various complex systems operated, immune systems, the rise of civilizations, turbulent flow of fluids, the origin of life, and others (Pines, 1988). It noticed that complex adaptive
systems were never designed, if design of them was attempted, sterility and poor performance resulted. This created gradually a growing critique of design rationality and suggested its
replacement by self-emergence as how to foster complex adaptive behavior in systems. Just how to do this remained, however, vague, hindering practical application of this work.
Recently Chris Langton’s artificial life research (Langton, 1995) offered more specific steps for building self-emergent systems. Also, Stuart Kaufman (Kaufman, 1995) looking at
how species co-evolve in particular areas, applied landscape ecology “patches” to simulate what size of decentralizing of systems helped the overall population of species find the
mutually best overall fittest ecosystem. This provides us with the beginnings of a theory of decentralization, which, when combined with Langton’s self-emergent system steps
becomes almost a recipe for building self-emergent systems from scratch.
In the 1980s Japanese competition hit the US and Europe, producing at first copying of Japanese management, then later, application of more abstract principles of total quality man-
agement. Total quality involved making business process based, deploying executive functions to ordinary employees and employee circles, valuing line work over staff work, making
the customer the final authority, and replacing management by rank and opinion with management by valid statistical knowledge of work processes and outcomes. Total quality made
work more parallel (circles simultaneously improving many work processes) and self-emergent (the “catchball” of goal setting activity among organizational levels of policy deploy-
ment for example). Quality added, beyond that however, the customer priority idea.
I noticed that political election campaigns, policy making processes, and social movement building activities had just as much waste, inventory, slop, and management by opinion as
the worst business processes. In fact, my work in quality campaigns for two Deming award winning companies in Japan--Matsushita Electric Industrial and Sekisui Chemical Co.--
many years ago, involved using quality methods to study and improve the processes of managing the total quality movement itself in those companies, preparing me for quality appli-
cation to election and policy making processes in the US.
Recently the internet has spawned a great deal of visionary experience, people seeing virtual businesses, virtual markets, virtual workforces, and so forth. Only a very few companies
are conducting any important functions in a virtual manner, however. “Virtual” here refers to people joined purely by software and telecommunications, rather than by face-to-face pro-
pinquity. Geography-less, travel-less world-wide collaboration is exciting because work can go wherever education makes workers competent. Education boundaries replace geo-
graphic ones (clever readers note, however, that geography and education boundaries correlate highly). By advertising work across the world volunteers can be readily assembled into
just-in-time workforces, that gather for one project then disperse. There is no longer a technical need for one person to work for only one company at a time. Coalitions in companies,
political election campaigns, policy making coalitions, and social movements are already using the internet, groupware software, and, increasingly a few virtuality functions.
What About Re-engineering?
Perspicacious readers will notice that parallelizing work functions, making them self-organizing, putting them on a process and customer first basis, and virtualizing them with infor-
mation systems--that is the four process improvement approaches portrayed immediately above--cover ALL of the content of re-engineering efforts. Indeed, most of the content of the
64 business innovations listed earlier in this chapter is encompassed by these four change types. The process of re-engineering is simple: large-scale organization change used to
implement two analytical steps--assumption breaking and application of new social and technical materials for doing work functions whose assumptions about how to do them have
been broken. The means of large-scale organization change that is used is movement building, the primary topic of this chapter. The assumptions to break and new materials to use are
covered in the four process improvement approaches this chapter presents.
A Model Uniting the 4 Social Change Processes
Recent work on making policy making effective (Schon and Rein, 1994) struggles to modify policy design so as to make it flexible at handling the issues that emerge during the policy
making process. This effort to soften design rationality so as to handle emergent phenomena is probably doomed--it is stretching a paradigm that is finally incompatible with the real-
ity of emergence in systems. Later in this chapter I demonstrate that.
Innovation coalitions in business, political election campaigns, policy making, and social movement building are all coalition building activities. As such they share six steps: 1)
ground preparation, 2) problem analysis, 3) mobilization and alignment via challenging current ways of doing things, seeing who responds, and supporting them self-organizing into
chapters, 4) private dialog, 5) public dialog, 6) institutionalization of emergent phenomena. Ground preparation involves selecting where, whom, and when to fight--good strategy can
win by wise selection of these three. Problem analysis involves selecting themes to build the coalitions around and moves/countermoves for opponent handling. Mobilization and
alignment involve fund raising, vote turnout, support gathering and like activities for each coalition type. The private dialog is very important and it alternates with the public dialog.
In private, pressures, threats, and so forth are employed; in public, announcements, press releases, and endorsements take place. Institutionalizing emergence refers to the way winners
respond to the coalition that emerges rather than insisting on initial plans.
It is instructive for business persons to see the types of movements that fit this model of coalition building. The table below summarizes some of the movement types included in this
Table 32:
Social Process Type Type of Movement Self Movements Other Movements Business Uses and Examples
Managing Complexity 98 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered

An examination of each of the above will confirm that the six steps of coalition building just presented do a reasonably good job of capturing the principal dynamics involved in them all.
In the table below I summarize the unique contributions of each of the 4 types of social change process and what they offer to managers as movement builders as well as present activists.
The surprising thing in the table is the uniformity across coalition types. All share a few core concepts, listed in the table. Managers who take these core concepts seriously achieve
implementations far better than managers who are unaware that they are builders of movements. Jack Welch, at GE for example, made everyone clear he was watching as results of each
movement came in. He used each movement to let people hop on board or refuse to hop on board, and dealt harshly with managers who did not hop. Clearly his movements were suc-
cessive recruitments of people and successive inducements for personal change in those previously recruited.
liberty--freedom from
oppression; self organiz-
ing for separation
liberation movement;
Liberation of India; Civil,
human, gender rights; Solidar-
Animal, Abortion, Human rights STOP certain measures, bad/old
ex: GE’s more stringent measures of
success movement
freedom--freedom for
realizing a dream; self-
organizing new practices
or institutions
technique movements;
Raves; Personal Computing;
Total Quality etc.
Hermaneutics; Principal Agent
Theory; LISREL
PARTICIPATE IN: particular analy-
sis or relation;
ex: Hammer’s re-engineering
assumption breaking
historical dream--chang-
ing human possibilities
everywhere by what we do
now, here
value movements;
Organic farming; communes;
Environment; Anti-nuclear; Con-
TRANSFORM STYLE: change eco-
nomics, politics, sociology, and psy-
chology to accommodate change; ex:
capitalizing natural resources
foundation--planting the
utterly new in history;
conserving newness
historical movements;
The Republican South of USA;
Demographic shifts; Islamic
Rise of science; Spread of reli-
gions; Spread of nation-states;
Public education; End of slavery;
Vote for all adults; Marxism;
Socialism; Fascism
switch from social class of managers
to other means of delivering the man-
aging function; ex: managing by
Table 33:
Prepare ground Problem analysis Mobilize & align;
Challenge & chapterize
Private dialog Public dialog Institution-alize emer-
Innovation Coa-
select needed
resources; package ini-
tiative; position prod-
uct in strategy of
organization; expand
discoverers; vision
determine customer
wants; find scroung-
able resources; expand
founders; vision build-
scrounge resources; cre-
ate informal design &
work process; expand
creators; resourcing
make pilot products;
deliver pilot services;
iterate design with cus-
tomers; delivering
demonstrate pilots;
demo what audience
wants not what you
want; build application
coalition; selling
definition of product
emerges; definition of
market emerges
Political election
select or change dis-
trict; select and set up
determine voter wants;
initial polling; infor-
mal party events
cascade of party mobi-
lization; funds, candi-
date appearances, press
coverage mobilized
pork, pressure, threat,
influence applied and
traded; private refram-
news events, media
attacks, reframing
moves, support
real issue priority
emerges; campaign
quality emerges
Policy making select or change juris-
diction; select and set
up opponent
determine stakeholder
wants; policy analysis;
position papers; simu-
late policy alternatives
& consequences
find, elicit, and engage
interested parties;
model their viewpoints,
priorities, interests, and
policy proposal alterna-
tives; redo problem
pork, pressure, threat,
influence applied and
traded; private refram-
ing to create common
ground; make trade offs
with principle oppo-
nents; redo problem
new events, media
attacks, reframing
moves, support
announcement; redo
problem analysis
a policy design coali-
tion emerges; a policy
consensus emerges
Social movement
Design values and
viewpoints; select pro-
cesses to challenge
Determine average per-
son’s interests in the
viewpoint; determine
how to challenge the
process; find local
manifestation to chal-
lenge; design new poli-
tics, psychology,
sociology, and econom-
ics to announce at chal-
lenge event
challenge the process
in an educative media
event; elicit volun-
teers; invite volunteers
to self organize into
chapter organizations
create value meshing
practices; create new
commonsense about
what “productive”,
“”excellent”, “right”
and so forth are
attempt formal institu-
tional power; allow
values and methods to
be co-opted and copied
by powers that be
emergence of your
issue as a faction with
all major established
power blocks and insti-
Shared core con-
cepts of the 4
above coalition
choose, setup, and
package your issue,
locale, and opponent
assemble your team,
customer profile, and
challenge something,
create solution culture
and community of vol-
apply pressure, horse
trade, and reframe
demonstrate, sell, and
defend your benefits
respond to what
emerges instead of
insisting on initial posi-
Table 32:
Managing Complexity 423 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Tool 28:
Professionals De-
Professionals are the centers of resistance to quality all over the world but especially in the US where professions became hiding places for class superiority feelings still present in
Europe as social classes of dress and talk. Professionals naturally hoard knowledge and total quality naturally disseminates it--conflicting goals afterall. Professionals do not like
working cross-functionally, that is, cross-professionally. The refined hypotheses in the model below explain the specifics of professional resistance to total quality as well as a few
specific synergies between professionals and quality.
Instructions for Use. I like to ask clients and students to find a set of professionals harming the world or particular groups or missions because of the way they naturally treat knowl-
edge (hoarding, etc.). I then ask them to apply each hypothesis below to build a model of how to get such professionals to stop the harm they now do via professional treatment they
naturally give to their respective body of knowledge.
Managing Complexity 424 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Data-Derived Hypotheses Literature-Derived Refined Hypotheses
• leadership, nearly equal men-
tion as enabler and barrier; more
mention as barrier to guru mode
of change--6
• mission, more mention as bar-
rier (by 10%)--7
• polity, nearly equal mention as
enabler and barrier (by 10%)--8
• professionalism, nearly equal
mention as enabler and barrier
(by 10%)--9
• method, nearly equal mention
as enabler and barrier (by 10%)-
• mode of work, more mention as
barrier (by 10%)--11
• items mentioned more as barrier
(by 10%) are ones conceptual
model shows undergo more
• faculty will mention both reac-
tion to mode of change and to
TQ operation of academia--4
• to the extent threat of imposed
change mentioned, support for
TQM in going home question-
naire is seen--5
• to the extent crisis mentioned
often, acceptance of guru mode
of change mentioned--12
• if more non-academic function
application mentions than aca-
demic, then more resistance to
TQM than support in going
home questionnaire--13
• if more mention of short term
reasons for change than long
term, then more support for
guru mode of change than other
• if no mention of resistance to
mode of change, then more
mention of non-guru mode of
• many more mentions of assimi-
lating TQM to academia or vice
versa, not nearly equal men-
• to extent crisis is mentioned,
support for TQM implementa-
tion shows up in going home
• Six factors--polity, mode of work, and leadership are barriers to
TQM; method is enabler; professionalism and mission are mixed--
18; when asked barriers/enablers to TQM on campus faculty men-
tion all six factors of the conceptual model, 17; individualism,
undefinedness of processes, factlessness of faculty resist TQM’s
team, process, and manage by fact mode of work, 19; faculty see
segmentations, diversities, decentralization as barriers to TQM and
interdisciplinarity, diversities, and decentralization as enablers to
TQM, 20; academia/TQM sharing of scientific method outweighs
use to generate knowledge/use to satisfy customers difference, 23;
faculty do not see TQM extending professionalism of faculty to all
employee types, 24; faculty professionalism’s high capability
counteracted by splintering into disciplines for doing TQM, 25;
faculty split for/against their leadership results in its commitment
seen enabling, its poorness seen resisting TQM, 26; leadership,
professionalism, method, mode of work, mission are barriers, pol-
ity is enabler of TQM, 28.
• Academia’s m ission frustrates society--little change needed, 8;
not assisting society, research unlinked, 12; cost-benefit perception
gap caused by unlinked research, 13; agree on competing, not on
satisfying all customers so hinders/enables TQM, 21; professional-
ize/de-professionalize conflict not seen, 22; conservatism and
leave alone feeling cause assimilation of TQM to academia’s para-
digm, 45.
• Need for TQM--only crisis customers doubt research value only,
11; no external imposed change threat so little support for TQM,
15; many more barriers than enablers seen so little support for
TQM, 16, 27; moderate support for TQM among those biased for
it, 29; where academia is more like big business support for TQM
will be more, 42.
• Change reasons--faculty want to better specify and deliver what
students require, 4; faculty see institutional reasons for change not
disciplinary ones, 10.
• Academia’s current polity frustrates academia--preference for
individual mode of work resists TQM's teamwork focus, 3; faculty
see need to operate more cross-functionally because their polity
slows reaction to society, 5; faculty see need for method and mode
of work that TQM offers, 6; faculty see their need to respond to
resource instability hindered by their polity, 7; faculty see univer-
sity as customer driven without TQM, 9; faculty see need for
cross-functioning within and partnering without, 14; faculty doubt
their staying power for cross-functioning and doubt unitariness of
their institution for it, 37; not one overall program but departmen-
tal ones will succeed, 2.
• Sources of resistance to TQM--industry terminology will fail in
academia TQ application, 1, 41; TQM’s application, org learning,
institution goals biases seen hindering faculty creativity, innova-
tion, and individual research attainment, 30; some faculty resist
TQM because it threatens to do some good by harming already
excellent aspects of academia, 31, 32; some faculty resist TQM
because it threatens necessary detachment of university role in
society, 33, 38; some faculty resist TQM because it threatens to
undo the one-discipline focus they have achieved, 34; some fac-
ulty resist TQM because they do not desire the kind of work it
involves compared to their current kinds of work, 35; discipline
priority over institution causes faculty to resist TQM, 36; faculty
see guru mode of change inappropriate, 39.
• TQM helps--some faculty see TQM helping balance goals on cam-
pus, 40; faculty see TQM methods improving committee work but
too simple for individual faculty use, 43; some faculty see general
society TQM movement but await proven results before research-
ing it, 44.
Results of This Study Organized by Hypothesis Source
Six Factors:
Mode of Change
Paradigm & Support
Figure 5.4
• Faculty leadership is barrier
to TQM due to remoteness
and, lack of training, and
inability to empower others
• Faculty professionalism is
barrier to TQM due to seg-
mentation of values, alle-
giance, and autonomy
• Faculty polity is a barrier to
TQM due to segmentations,
decentralization, diversity,
conflict among segments
• Faculty mode of work is bar-
rier to TQM due to general
resistance to change, lack of
time for group work, little
interest or incentives for pro-
cess work, informality of
method compared to TQM’s
formality, individualism and
lack of facts to manage by
• Faculty mission is barrier to
TQM due to lack of agree-
ment to fully satisfy all cus-
tomers, priority of research
customers and is enabler due
to fostering learning
• Faculty method is barrier due
to generating not applying
knowledge and propounding
mode of discourse and
enabler due to use of scien-
tific method
• Expansion of university mis-
sion to “teaching” organiza-
tions is implicit in forces for
linking university research
better to societal needs
• Overall societal knowledge
handling process will be sub-
jected to TQM style process
modeling and improvement
• Institutions around research
universities or new category
of faculty within them will
foster de-professionalizing
bodies of knowledge that
other faculty professionalize
• TQM will be more success-
fully promoted through disci-
plinary than institutional
(university) channels
• Faculty polity’s crippling
effect on coherent faculty
response to challenges will
be mitigated or eliminated by
using TQM as inter-profes-
sion language
• TQM is becoming a new
common sense and faculty
will be the last social institu-
tional type to learn and apply
this new common sense
• The failure of faculty
research to anticipate and
protect society from compet-
itor society economic con-
quest has created a lasting
weakening of the clout of
faculty and their research in
society and replacement of
their mode of common sense
Six Factors
Mode of Change
Paradigm & Support
Managing Complexity 425 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
Chapter 15
Self Emergent Re-Engineering
Reduce Complexity by Designing Social Automata
That Evolve into Needed Organization and
From Designed to Emergent Forms of Work
Not an Ordinary Look at Re-engineering
When people started out re-doing all their work processes, told by quality what processes were all about and encouraged by internet computing to stretch processes across all bound-
aries and organizations, they though about design and they did design of processes, in social and software form. However, in few cases if any, did these designs end up being what was
produced and actually used. What worked and what was of value was what appeared, in the midst of doing the work of implementing one’s designs. Emergent solutions and process
formats appeared that were better than what was designed. The entire idea and process of design itself was unsatisfactory and incapable, people discovered. The discovery of a more
flexible, dialogic, powerful form of emergent re-engineering to replace top down or consultative design re-engineering also changed the imagination of what endpoints to achieve when
one re-engineered any process. Before the “designers” designed excellent processes for doing traditional top down design work, but the discovery of emergent re-engineering, showed
them that they should be designing processes that self organize and self emerge instead.
In a way this chapter is the culmination of this book--it combines and illustrates absolutely every idea in the book in a coherent story and framework. Emergent re-engineering, how it
re-did design re-engineering and how it changed what to design for, was non-linear system complexity, social diversity complexity, and computational system complexity bursting old
thought styles and assumptions about work and pointing to entirely new forms of organization for doing work, that, ironically, handled such forms of complexity better than older
forms. This chapter shows how reality re-did how we did re-engineering and how reality taught us a new endpoint of re-engineering and a new process of doing it that handled the
three kinds of complexity this book is dedicated to--systems effects, social diversity types, and computational system types.
Did You Think Re-engineering Would Stop or Go Away? Well It Didn’t!
If you are like me, you expected the big consulting firms to promote re-engineering for about 8 years like they promoted total quality and artificial intelligence computing earlier.
Indeed, the big consulting firms are not bally-hooing re-engineering very much these days; it has become a normal part of their business. We all still read, every month about some big
company or another getting the same work done with 5,000 to 10,000 fewer employees. We all still read every month about dozens of new companies springing up with wild amounts
of venture capital being thrown at them. Re-engineering did not die, it became a normal part of how business is conducted, world-wide. The Germans and the Japanese, reluctantly,
have begun to embrace it, the Germans by merging with US firms and the Japanese by letting firms linger ineffectively fat till financial ruin frees up their employees to seek jobs. This
book examines the past 15 years of re-engineering and picks out the best practices that enable it to endure, and the acceleration it received from the rise of the internet in the late 1990s
and early 2000s and the opening later of India and China as global outsourcing centers.
The Structure of This Part of the Book
The first part of this book presents a comparison and analysis of all the variety that is out there in terms of the actual practice of re-engineering. It analyzes the ambiguities, processes,
errors, and outcomes of doing re-engineering. In presenting the variety in these aspects of re-engineering, I note certain patterns and draw conclusions from them--how the substitution
of emergence for design underlies many of re-engineering’s ambiguities, how a combination of current re-engineering processes is both possible and commendable, how culture gener-
ates many of re-engineering’s errors, and how the great uniformity in current re-engineering outcomes masks a subset of more authentic and powerful outcomes possible (and being
achieved by some organizations).
The second part of this book presents my recommendation of a best way to approach the core of the various re-engineering processes. How to break assumptions in existing work
arrangements and which such assumptions to break are covered along with all the new materials, social and technical, available for executing work functions these days. In addition,
using function and effects modeling to start the core of re-engineering processes and using emergent measure system creation to conclude that core is presented in the closing chapter
of this book.
Readers wanting variety had best direct their attention to the first part and readers wanting one “best practice” way to go had best direct theirs to the second part of this book. Re-engi-
neering is an adolescent discipline--wonder at its perfection wildly gyrating in the popular business press with pronouncements of its imminent doom. It has yet to reach maturity, so
this book and all others on it, are merely way stations on a longer journey. This book attempts to capture the rich variety in current practice while focussing readers on parts of that vari-
ety that appear to be working best and have prospects for working best in the intermediate future. More than that, this book reflects on that variety and focus point and discovers inter-
esting, if not infallible, principles and forces at work in this re-engineering effort. Some of these have the potential to change re-engineering’s technique and destiny, I and my editors
Managing Complexity 426 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
The Survey and Santa Fe Institute Work This Book is Based On
Thirteen years ago, after serious study of Santa Fe Institute research on complex adaptive systems, I decided to survey vendors of re-engineering services and clients of them. It was just
beginning then. Twelve years later I surveyed it again.
The Santa Fe Institute was created by perspicacious scholars and Nobel laureates who felt intuitively that complex adaptive systems from immune systems to ancient civilizations, from
venture software firms to industry oligarchies, shared certain common principles of operation and development. Variety played a key role in them all. In the evolution of life on earth,
variety succeeds, in ways not yet totally understood, in creating systems that are more and more complex in a world whose second law of thermodynamics says complex patterns should
ultimately decrease not increase. In immune systems the body maps its own variety of tissues in early months of thymus-based generation of self-identification chemicals, then spends a
life-time mapping the variety of foreign invader substances. In the rise of civilizations, forms of coherence that tolerate large amounts of variety seem to outperform forms of coherence
that are achieved by driving out variety. The centralized religio-dictatorship image of Mesopotamian civilizations has recently been shown to be largely a projection of 19th century
European political problems. Venture businesses are the form that variety takes in mature industries, who spin off centers of new initiative and vision. Industry oligarchies maintain their
power while declining by driving out variety from their industries. My experience with redesigning business processes for Policy Deployment campaigns in companies with total quality
programs 30 or more years old (in Japan) and in helping groupware vendors of workflow software figure out how to support business process re-engineering with their products led me
to believe that the power and destiny in re-engineering would somehow reside in the variety of approaches and outcomes it became capable of over time. This book, unlike many others
already published on re-engineering, reports on the variety in re-engineering assumptions, processes, errors, and outcomes.
Believing variety to be a clue to power in re-engineering, it is natural that I surveyed re-engineering vendors and clients to seek out, amid the dominant copy-cat nature of re-engineering
methods and processes, those few vendors and clients with new wrinkles. I ended up surveying 62 vendors and 114 client companies. In addition, some six years ago I began teaching re-
engineering at the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, after having written a book on both total quality and re-engineering. In each class, students did phone research on
particular re-engineering related topics. Some compared all the different models of how to do re-engineering of all the vendors. Others compared those vendor models with models that
clients of re-engineering services built of the process they experienced (little overlap was found). Still other students phoned leading re-engineering failures and asked for the root causes
of those failures. This book includes both the survey results and my experience in class directing student phone research on re-engineering.
However, I do not like surveys. I especially do not like reading a whole book on someone else’s survey, and I suppose you do not like that either. Hence, I have not structured this book
to be merely the reporting of a survey and its results. Rather, this book is primarily my conclusions from the survey work, from my students’ phone research, from my work as manager
of re-engineering teams in a few leading companies, and from my current consulting to re-engineering teams in industry. I refer to survey results from time to time where they are
counter-intuitive or hard to believe, to support my points, but wherever my survey work turned up what you and I probably already know, I omit mention of it in this book.
What does this book present, if not the survey results, you may well ask? Over two hundred and thirty books on re-engineering were published while I wrote this book. I read them all,
bought most of them, and carefully crafted this book to present precisely what was missing in them all.
On the one hand, those books repeat each other too much. Nearly all books on re-engineering that are currently in bookstores spend a great number of pages on the basics of large-scale
organization change. I do not include that material herein because a number of books covering that topic well have already been published the last 20 years (my favorites are books by
Tichy and Huberman among others). On the other hand current re-engineering books leave out the very core of doing re-engineering--how to go beyond past process capabilities with
new arrangements of work. Of course they have chapters on brainstorming new arrangements and lists of a dozen new information systems types, but that is about all. This book, unlike
them, includes the core of doing re-engineering: function-effects modeling, theories for selecting which assumptions to break in old work arrangements, event analysis, new social and
technical materials out of which work functions can now be built, and measure analysis, to name a few. This book avoids the periphery of doing re-engineering in favor of concentrating
on the core of doing it. I believe you will find nothing like it currently published, in spite of the great number of re-engineering books now on store shelves.
The Allure of Re-Engineering
The American route to business productivity at times involves sloughing layers of middle managers and cohorts of workers when the going gets tough. CEOs who move slowly get the
boot too. We do not generally know and practice productivity by better employing those we already have. In general, we know how to get the same out of less, not more out of the same.
Another way of saying the same thing--these days we invest in capital equipment not people because the equipment’s costs are decreasing per unit functionality where the cost of people
is not and the equipment does not have benefit costs, driven by health care, rising far faster than inflation. We do not know how to so better employ the people we have that the return
from these new uses of them is greater than the rise in health care benefits costs of having them.
Re-engineering could not be more popular. It meets this need (Hammer, and Champy, 1993; Donovan, 1994). It is a way to get the same out of less. CEOs with boards breathing down
their necks like the idea of re-engineering. Workers seeing lay offs all about them, and middle managers examining their job titles for signs of essentialness, all fear re-engineering while
being made to do it oftimes. I and my students found very very few re-engineering projects structured as getting more out of the same inputs.
Re-engineering comes to us from the consulting community. The big 6 consulting companies are finding it is much easier to sell re-engineering than total quality. Re-engineering lends
itself to elite outsider consultants, fast making of big bucks, and easy top down implementation where total quality required that whole workforces do the work, with big bucks coming
after four or more years of effort, with a culture change from top-down command to bottom-up self management. They have dropped total quality like a hot potato and hoist re-engineer-
ing as a “better” “faster” “cheaper” alternative.
Fortunes are already being made promoting re-engineering to its ready audience. You can lose status points at work simply by not being for it (Davenport, 1993). It is the thing to do, the
thing to know, the fad of our moment. Surveys show many but not all CEOs are whole-heartedly for it, as are CFOs (Chief Financial Officers), while CIOs (Chief Information Officers)
are major proponents of it. It is a way to lead--hire a consultant, have him lead a team of your own people in completely redoing some essential process, implement those plans, praise/
promote or blame/fire the team leader if there is trouble. That is a fairly safe way to lead.
Even better, re-engineering is the new euphemism for firing people, a function that continually needs fresh euphemisms (Morris and Brandon, 1994). Corporate vice presidents hire re-
engineering consultants to “empower the organization”. They explain re-engineering projects to those employees involved as “empowering you”. They wait a while, then one way or
another make it clear to the leader of the re-engineering engagement that the bottom line is how many fewer “heads” will be needed to get the same outputs when the process is “re-engi-
The typical re-engineering engagement involves heavy bandying about of words like “empowerment”, “autonomous teams”, “self managing work teams”, “human centered enterprise”,
and the like. Hundreds get involved in it thinking this means them. It often means, to the client company hiring the re-engineering consultant, those left after re-engineering makes most
of the “heads” superfluous.
You might be surprised how many re-engineering consultants rather quickly owned up to this reality during my research (Nadler et al, 1993). They hated this reality but they admitted it
dominated the actual engagements they obtained. To the extent that this is true, re-engineering is potentially self-destructive--it will generate over time its own demise. When it comes to
a potential client company, whole workforces may anticipatorily undermine it before it really even gets underway. To the extent it is what I said earlier--getting more out of the same--it
has a future. This book helps you avoid consultants unwilling to stand up for the integrity of re-engineering in the face of clients whose only route to productivity is doing the same with
less, they being incapable of doing more with the same. This book also encourages you not to become the kind of client whose primary ambitions are merely getting the same out of less.
There are two uses of re-engineering then: one, to produce much more from the same people so rising health costs do not dent our competitiveness; two, to produce the same from much
fewer people so that our productivity numbers get us bonuses at the long term cost of everyone in the business constantly looking for more secure employment elsewhere. Wisdom, as is
usual, is not a matter of inventing ideas so much as seeing the obvious, for what it is, and acting on it.
In a world where quality consultants promote decade long ways to improve every process, and where the rising yen and bad management of their economy has got the Japanese, for the
moment, off our backs, re-engineering looks better. It is simpler, faster, and more powerful than total quality. It is not Japanese. It is a lot more fun to think about and talk about than
quality was. We Americans are good at throwing stuff out! It’s one of our talents! We are also good at re-doing things. Throw the old process out, let’s re-do it! That is as much a patriotic
cry as a re-engineering cry! Down with incremental kaizen stuff--back to the basics--green-field wholly new invention! What could be more American?! Finally, we love re-organizing.
Managers and executives not able to get any current organizational arrangement to work better, more confident controlling the cutting of costs not the development of new revenues,
throw the stuff out, and re-organize everything. Middle managers love the chance continual re-organization gives them to move ahead of their competitors. When you throw stuff out
during re-engineering, when you re-do things completely, when you re-organize during re-engineering, the images of the Alamo, crossing the Hudson, Valley Forge, and Gettysburg
come to mind. You re-live the American dream--dream, not reality, not our authentic future.
There is a strange paradox within the idea of re-engineering processes (Pava, 1983; Roberts, 1994). People who incompetently implemented the old familiar process, or competently
implemented the incompetent old process, are entrusted with: one, competently implementing an unfamiliar, untried, greenfield, bold, transition process to new work arrangements; two,
competently implementing an unfamiliar, untried, greenfield, bold, radically changed, new work process. People who failed to execute one old familiar process competitively are asked
to execute two radically new processes competitively at the same time! Talk about improvement! Our Japanese friends up until very recently have been comfortable with American
enthusiasm for re-engineering. Recently, however, competition from leaner American companies, who have re-engineered key processes, has caused skeptical Japanese firms to re-engi-
neer key processes too, in spite of the double difficulty (and risk) of asking people who implemented a past process poorly to implement two radically new processes well.
It is worth noting that there usually was no initial “engineering” of processes to be later “re-”engineered. Our old processes come to us as coral reefs, the irregular accumulations of thou-
sands of local actions. Though individual pieces may have been designed, the processes overall were not, they accumulated.
Some other admissions of re-engineering consultants concern a lack of value-added in re-engineering consulting itself. Over a dozen of the re-engineering consultants that I interviewed
spontaneously offered, without prompting on my part, remarks to the effect that mostly they just model business processes for the first time, which processes have never been modeled
before. Productivity gains occur from even the most simple perusal of these first time models. I asked them, what value is their consulting role adding to these clients. They said that they
pushed at the beginning of the engagement to widen the definition of the processes to be looked at so as to cover several departments and functions, where the clients usually were trying
to offer up smaller and more limited, often departmental, processes. In other words, the client could get the same gains by modeling without consultants the processes of interest. The
risk in replacing the consultant was pretty much limited to the risk of taking a too narrow process as target of the effort (Johanson et al, 1993). When I pressed these consultants for some
other value added by their role, they scratched their heads and came up with the specialized software tools their companies had developed for representing processes and defining new
information entities needed for the new process designs (as input to CASE computer aided software engineering systems). Several consultants, however, laughed when mentioning this
Managing Complexity 427 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
and admitted that the software served mostly a psychological function of making their role look more professional and worth the cost of the fees charged. They said that the software
specification was trivial once the hard decisions about major design parameters were fixed. In other words, the software was a convenience in the early stages, was irrelevant during the
middle phases of making key design decisions, and was heavily used after the hard stuff was already done. We can expect to see a struggle among re-engineering consultants these next
three or four years as they struggle to come up with more value added by their role in re-engineering engagements.
What is Re-Engineering?
What were all those improvements we all made in business for decades before re-engineering came along? First, some of those improvements had the same input-output characteristics
as re-engineering--inputs: team, leader, mission, budget, area to radically improve, deadline; outputs: same output with far fewer inputs or much more output with the same inputs. Sec-
ond, we did not operate in a cross-functional context in those past improvement efforts. At most we operated between two divisions, departments, or organizations, not between several.
Third, we did not base our improving on having “new material” to construct processes out of. This aspect of re-engineering is presented immediately below.
Architecture Approaches to Re-Engineering
There are a number of leading approaches to re-engineering. All of them take an organizational architecture approach (Nadler et al, 1993). That is they each assume that there are new
materials out of which we can build organizations. That is why they promise vastly better productivity than from current arrangements. Re-engineering is not just improving processes,
it is building them out of new materials. Total quality improved processes too, and it did not forbid you using new materials, but it showed none of the elan and enthusiasm for new stuff
that re-engineering shows.
When materials changed in the architecture of buildings, new sizes, shapes, and functions of structures became possible. Simply having a new material allowed some of the constraints
that all previous building had lived with to be violated. The result was new kinds of building, better capable of handling certain human functions for buildings.
By analogy, when organizations can be built out of new materials, new kinds of organizing emerge that allow certain human functions to be met for the first time and others to be better
met than ever before. See the table below.

All current re-engineering consultants depend on new materials out of which they help you build new processes.They apply a three step process, in general: one, surface assumptions
common to all your present process arrangements, reverse or otherwise radically break those assumptions, take the key steps in the resulting new process designs and substitute for the
materials out of which such steps are presently built new materials, peculiar to re-engineering. We could not compete using old familiar process materials; let’s get competitive using
completely new materials!
Though, having been a Coopers & Lybrand and an Electronic Data Systems consultant myself, I am sympathetic to consultants and their work, I know that many in the re-engineering
consultant community deny their spots on the above table. They are driven by industry competitive forces to insist either that their approach encompasses all the other approaches
(while implying that they, in their wisdom, have known about all these other approaches for years, decades) or that all the other approaches are flawed and they have designed the one
approach without those known flaws.
I do not make such claims for this book you are reading. I have studied the re-engineering providers, more importantly, I have studied their most impressive unadmitted failures (as well
as successes), and I report to you my results. I desire to summarize the surprising variety already out there in the re-engineering consulting community and make sense of that to me,
and to you, the end-user of re-engineering services.
TABLE 24. Architecture Approaches to Re-Engineering
The New Organizational Material It is Based On
The New Outcome Made Possible Exam-ple Propo-
social and groupware forms of computing especially on the internet: cellular workspaces, workflow
systems, electronic meeting mediation, shared workspaces
employees belonging to more than one
company at the same time; jobs as bids
for service by multiple firms
Michael Hammer
Index Corp.
social systems optimized to perform task process designs that are based on analysis of variances in old
process form of the work, autonomous workteams, action research networks
elimination of supervisors and manag-
ers as social class; management
becomes function people perform on
Systems Design
social and groupware forms of computing combined with autonomous workteams from socio-techni-
cal systems, action research networks
structure for focus on customers (not
integration), processes for integration
(not for focus)
Delta Consulting
in booms with too few employees: invent process automation, temporarily hire retirees, shift employ-
ees among cross-unit companies; in busts with too many employees: invent new lines of business,
shift employees among cross-unit companies, invent cost reductions to save market share
energy from economic cycle used to
reshape company structure, process,
and founding on regular basis; every-
one’s way of work is different after
each cycle
Japan’s top 10,000
Total Qual-
de-buffering processes, visual self management, statistical process control, kaizen continual process
improvement, function deployment, line centered organization, cross-functional management, inter-
organizational unit of competition, process alignment, process transparency, competitive cognition
processes, organizationa Taguchi experiments, the firm as statistical experiment
continual self improvement of inter-
organizational processes of customer
understanding and capability develop-
ment over all time periods; SWAT
Dr. Makabe
Dr. Kano
Dr. Taguchi
invisible assets accounting, cognitive balance sheet, cognitive health balancing of jobs, job as curricu-
lum, customer as teacher/professor, university workgroups
continual self re-engineering work-
force over long time periods
University of
Michi-gan Labor
Studies Center
simulating near events, supporting the structure of computation among people, fitting the social orga-
nization to the computational one, employee interpolations between espoused and actual processes,
process improvisation, legitimating peripheral joining of communities of practice, balancing explora-
tion/exploitation learning, organizational experiments, vicarious learning, experienced based perfor-
mance, graft learning, search learning, social indexing events, second order effects, channel distortion,
unlearning learning, organizational memory
entire workforce multi-skilled in all
the skills of venture business, self
assign themselves to organization
form suited for intermediate term task
of the moment
Innova-tion Asso-
ciates; Harvard
School of Educa-
management by events, meta-processes, process deployment, inter-process topology, cascade and
weave processes, enabling processes, work processes, protocols, computational sociality, fractal soci-
ality, organization production unit of one, process transparency, email to process points, email of
working processes, conversion of conversations to working processes, process empowerment rooms,
social process balancing
organization form re-invented by
entire workforce incrementally per
change in customer need or process
capability detected
Suru Systems Chi-
Managing Complexity 428 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
What Re-engineering Offers to Higher Education, An Example for Businesses
The primary approaches to re-engineering (I count 15 overall) all work with organizational architecture, as I mentioned above. Think of the Chicago skyline. At first buildings were
built of stone and could reach at most six or eight stories with thick bulky walls. Then re-enforced concrete became available. Suddenly buildings became taller and leaner: ten stories
with thin walls. Then elevators appeared and skyscrapers were built, 80 and 100 stories tall. With each new material or technology, old well-known human needs could better met, and
new human needs appeared, some of which were met and some not.
In the same way, we can examine a process for its key functions and suggest ways of doing those functions, that is ways of building them out of new materials, that produce new organi-
zational designs. This is what I call the "organizational architecture approach" to doing re-engineering. Before new materials are suggested, however, re-engineering systematically
breaks past assumptions about how and for what processes are done. Earlier in this essay I described briefly this "assumption breaking". The idea is simple: list the assumptions of the
current form of a process and systematically break them, coming up with new designs of the organization for each assumption broken. Let's examine how this idea might apply to the re-
engineering of three higher education processes: software education, business education of MBAs, and getting doctorates in business. I choose higher education examples here, instead
of business examples, so readers in different industries can see, using examples neutral to any one industry, yet detailed enough for all to roughly understand. Also, higher education is
one of the least progressive areas of society in terms of organization and technical change so seeing the re-engineering assumption breaking and material-substitution processes at work
in that area helps us all break the spell that "universities cannot be vastly better than they are now".
Software Education Re-engineered
Here are some assumptions and ways in which they might be broken, replaced by new approaches. One common assumption is that higher education is non-profit. As a new approach
we might design the combined homework/classwork of courses so it is sellable products and include marketing those products as valid course content of all software courses. Another
common assumption is that software creation is an art. A new approach would structure each software class as a software factory of 20 teams of two students each, using a total quality
software construction process. Another assumption is that work and talent are individual. A new approach might assign students to software factory teams specializing in aspects of the
final product such as interface, object library, and data/knowledge base. Teams would then be the basic unit of doing work and developing talent. IT is commonly assumed that software
construction is a separate domain from marketing, finance, and other traditional business areas.This might be changed by using a total quality process for software production, including
total quality methods of specification development, software production, and application delivery. Universities commonly assume that classrooms are physical entities. If we designed
an electronic and video-enabled classroom that supports students at remote sites who electronically share a single class, with simultaneous video/audio, the same instruction could
engage more students. Thus, for example, local government offices, corporation labs, and university classrooms could participate in a single class. A more radical alternative would be
a University of Phoenix-type course performed by video-conferencing across the internet, with no actual classroom gathering of people, though addition of Management by Events
would improve both this idea and the University of Phoenix. People usually assume that syllabi and teaching plans are paper documents. Instead, we could develop software syllabi, that
is, software that coaches students in class through particular analysis procedures and that coordinates between-class subgroup work by students; finally sell this software after it is per-
fected by use in a number of courses. In other words, as processes are invented and tried out successively in the flow of work that classes become, sell them as products.
The instructional process in software, as found in computer science departments, treats software in a narrow technical way that cripples student business abilities and ignores customer
requirements for actual software functioning, in favor of abstract technical developments in software. As with re- enforced concrete and elevators, we have new materials and technol-
ogy to draw upon.
One of the new materials out of which we can build course processes is the workflow software from groupware. It can be used to coordinate many student teams working on one overall
project/product, including coordination of subgroup meetings outside of class, research visits off-site at companies, and library work. This allows all the students to work on different
assignments while staying tightly coordinated. And, for the most part, there is no need for intervention by the professor. This was not possible in the past without heavy professorial
involvements that were not forthcoming.
MBA Education Re-engineered
MBA education suffers from unexamined old assumptions. One such assumption is that any particular course must be taught in one particular city at any one time. What if one course
were taught simultaneously in six cities around the globe, so that the course is within two hours plane travel of all company locations around the world, something no university can now
do. We usually assume faculty members teach courses in their own individual ways. We might create an international team of faculty who co-design courses for simultaneous teaching
around the world in six cities using common measures of course process and output quality. It is assumed that companies send employees to a university for training. What if we sent
teams of faculty around the world to handle commonly all of a company’s education needs. We all blithely assume that normally, people go to college in the decade following high
school graduation.This is neither necessary nor optimal. Instead we need the "decade college concept of education", the equivalent of a full master's degree of education every decade (at
the boundary between decades, ages 18-22, 28-32, 38-42, and so on) throughout one's career, with curricula tailored to the career needs of each decade.
The global internet is a new technology out of which processes of course construction can be co-designed by a distributed faculty without the need for much face-to-face meeting.
Motorola University has a vision of such a global faculty, offered by Motorola, putting the universities of the world gradually out of business because of the refusal of universities to
respond to corporate customer requirements for globally delivered, consistent education.
Getting Doctorates in Business Re-engineered
There are a number of unthinking assumptions in doctoral work that we think about below. For example, it is normally assumed that doctoral students can research only problems small
enough for individuals to tackle. The Japanese and the French are already experimenting with group doctorates in which groups large enough to tackle major problems do one disserta-
tion on a major problem together, combining people from several departments and universities. Related closely to this above assumption is one that individuals do scientific research.
What if we organized groups combining students from several different fields and universities do one dissertation together. A major assumption of higher education is that research
results are judged by peer review. A new approach might be dissertations examined by two committees, one of academics, and one of practitioners. We assume doctoral research is
funded largely by universities and government grants.What if the committee of practitioners, just mentioned above, funded the dissertations it approves, through contributions of the cor-
porations of its members. Current practice assumes that each doctoral student gets a doctorate in one field or discipline at a time. In an increasingly inter-related world this creates prob-
lems. What is dissertation co-authors were examined on the contribution of their own field to the group dissertation, but also on the contributions of the other fields involved. One new
material for coordinating group doctoral projects is workflow software from groupware. This allows people at five or more sites to work as if together at one site, if a few actual face-to-
face meetings are included.
This little exercise, looking at higher education processes and assumptions in them worth changing, arouses in nearly all of us sympathy with re-engineering’s aims. We have all suffered
in processes whose design assumptions long ago became outmoded. Re-engineering has this feel of justice to it. The issue is, can it be done, and can it be done well, and can it be done
in a leap fashion better than it can be done in a continuous incremental improvement fashion.
The Organization Levels of Re-engineering
The three examples above provide simple applications of a few re-engineering principles to higher education. They emphasize the importance of articulating the working assumptions
that lie behind current education practice. When the assumption is out in the open, new approaches -- a few of which will turn out to be useful -- spring into view. Many possible inno-
vations in education can result when the full panoply of re-engineering materials and technology and of assumption-breaking exercises are applied.
Re-engineering in business as well as in higher education must be clear about the organizational level at which processes are to be worked on and redesigned. Each re-engineering
project has a target organizational level or two that it redesigns. I like to distinguish seven such levels for re- engineering of higher education. First, there is the overall societal process
for handling knowledge; for example, the school-to-work transition program of the US Department of Labor. Second, there is the process of tertiary education; for example, Motorola
University creating a global faculty and university structure to replace traditional universities. Third, there is the core processes of our universities; for example, just- in-time textbook
composition of custom textbooks by professors from their desktop computers with software automatically charging out copyright fees and permissions through e-mail. Fourth, there are
the core processes of our disciplines of knowledge; for example, electronic journals on the internet replacing slow- to-compose paper journals. Fifth, the processes of getting a Ph.D. are
how people enter the academic community; for example, group doctorates supported by workflow software across multiple disciplines and universities. Sixth, there are the processes of
going to undergraduate school; for example, teaching Ph.D.-level research skills to college freshmen and developing publishable undergraduate theses. Seventh, there are the processes
that go on in classes, in their management and development; for example, groupware sharing of one class by remote sites in government, industry, and academia. At each of these levels
waste reduction, root cause analysis, assumption breaking, and new material replacement analysis can be done.
Actual re-engineering engagements create cascade processes--analyses or design and implementation work cascaded across the levels of organization listed above from overall societal
processes for handling knowledge to class processes, or vice versa from class processes to overall societal ones. This is the vertical type of cascade of analysis work, there is a horizontal
cascade type, from one class to another, from one undergraduate school to another, from one discipline to another, and so forth across units at any one organizational level.
Although it may not at first appear obvious, higher education has some advantages for doing re-engineering. Many of the drivers of change in delivery of education are being developed
and researched in universities. Scholars who switch to electronic development and delivery of research put competitive pressure on traditional scholars. Scholars dislike the bureau-
cracy that they have, but the new materials of re- engineering promise even less bureaucracy in the future. Scholars are beginning to study re-engineering of other societal institutions. A
few pioneer universities have applied total quality to improving research, teaching, community service, and administration, thereby preparing the way for re-engineering. The collabora-
tive nature of scholarly work across national and institutional boundaries, united by disciplinary concerns, fits well the emerging groupware collaborative technologies.
In sum, re-engineering is not so much hard for academia to do as it is hard for academia to imagine. Data shows that grades do not correlate with career outcomes, data shows cognitive
psych bases of long term lecture material retention that nearly no professors worldwide use to enhance lecture structure and content, data shows student performance suffers from the
splintered subdisciplines they are exposed to in university department structures. These contradictions are not unlike the paradoxes of ineffective business processes: for example, pur-
Managing Complexity 429 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
chasing operations that insure highest prices from suppliers through low nominal prices accompanied by quality defects that vastly increase costs of using the supplies. Academia's
need for re-engineering is urgent.
That is, however, not the same as saying that current consultants in re-engineering services will actually help if they are hired by academia. With a self-announced 80 percent failure
rate, re-engineering consultant vendors are hardly a sure bet. Learning is going on, however, so we can expect that failure rate to fall.
Having a Model of What in Re-engineering Reacts with What in Your Institution
I interviewed for this book consultants in 62 firms and found that fewer than two percent of them could name the major steps in their own company's announced re-engineering pro-
cess. Fewer than five percent of company employees on re-engineering teams could agree very roughly on names for the major steps of the re- engineering process they had just been
through. Few consulting firms had a method of getting beyond past process capabilities other than to break assumptions, and only 13 firms out of 62 had serious methods for devel-
opment of new materials and technology. In sum, what re-engineering is remains vague and ill-defined by current vendors.
It is not just re-engineering that remains vague and ill-defined. What it is, in companies, that re-engineering interacts with is ill-defined by most vendors. In a doctoral dissertation
(Greene, 1994), I found seven factors that predict faculty reaction (support or resistance) to total quality and re-engineering: faculty leadership, faculty mission, faculty polity, faculty
professionalism, faculty method, and faculty mode of work. All of these served as barriers to implementation of quality and re-engineering and only two of them served as enablers.
Any attempt to implement total quality or re-engineering on campus that does not articulate and plan for their interaction with these factors will either marginalize by omitting faculty
concerns or produce revolts by directly attacking key faculty values.
The point being made here is not that those particular seven factors are so very important but that factors like them must be found for each company and institutional type that attempts
to implement re-engineering. Without a roadmap of what key aspects of an organization’s culture, structure, and environment will strongly interact--positively or negatively--with re-
engineering’s culture, structure, and environment, companies implement in the dark. This book presents the beginnings of such a roadmap. In my survey of 62 vendors, I found a few
startling re-engineering successes. In one company seven employees saved $100 million a year in one process by making one fundamental change--inserting one new material at a key
step, at a total cost of less than $1.5 million and one year of work. In all but one of the re-engineering successes I found, solid definition of the re-engineering process and the aspects
of the company culture, structure, and workforce that strongly determined re-engineering process outcomes was present. This book defines re-engineering’s process, outcomes, and
core value-adding steps with enough specificity to help you succeed.
The Self Emerging Systems Theme in This Book
Twenty years ago I majored in cognitive science and artificial intelligence at MIT. For many years those fields of knowledge interested me. In the early 1980s, however, deep frustra-
tion set in. Artificial intelligence, especially expert systems, seemed bureaucratic, top down, full of central controls, and complicated efforts to model the global properties of systems
using rules and software objects even more complicated than the behaviors we were trying to model.
As a graduate student at the University of Michigan a few years ago I met John Holland who was replacing artificial intelligence and its central controls with something vastly simpler
and more lifelike, called artificial life. Artificial life systems achieved great global complexity of behavior by combining small local units that had simple rules of behavior. By combin-
ing simple units these systems achieved more complicated global behavior than the best artificial intelligence systems. The complexity emerged (from the unit interactions) rather than
being designed by someone ahead of time. Now he and others have gone on to found the Santa Fe Institute, dedicated to studying complex adaptive systems of any sort, from the rise
of civilizations, to immune systems, seeking common principles, like emergence replacing design (Cowan et al, 1994; Langton, 1988; Weisbuch, 1990).
This book approaches re-engineering from an artificial life perspective not an artificial intelligence perspective. That means this book seeks local units, that follow simple rules of inter-
action that lead to complex global behaviors that no one plans or designs. A few workgroups that send software versions of working business processes to each other, using current
workflow software, can result in enormously complex organizational behavior that no one needs to design ahead of time. This is the approach to re-engineering this book takes.
The Two Key Virtues of This Book: Not “One Way” but Many, Not Repetition of the Already Published but
Unique Points
I solemnly promise the reader this:
This book DOES NOT REPEAT what any other book presents on re-engineering.
That is important. There are more than 230 books on re-engineering already published; I have reviewed nearly all of them and you have perused many yourself. They are incredibly
repetitious, I find. I was determined to go beyond that stuff in my own work. This book you are now reading does not cover already covered ground, it moves beyond. It presents not
one “right” approach but it compares 15 approaches; it presents not the easy certainties of re-engineering but the hard surprising ambiguities that lead many efforts astray; it presents
not pat answer “right” designs to shoot for but an emerging systems perspective where complex behaviors emerge from combining many local, simple workgroup forms. More impor-
tantly, this book presses the envelop on your behalf; it presents more assumptions to break and more new materials to use for building processes than any other book currently pub-
lished. The power in re-engineering comes from assumptions broken and new materials used; this book gives you re-engineering power. I think it’s more more fun to read challenging
ideas and new methods. That is what this book presents.
Towards Total Quality Doing of Re-engineering: Some Positive Guidelines
Below I offer some guidelines for successful re- engineering and a set of criteria for measuring the quality with which an organization does re-engineering. These give you the reader
an immediate feel for the rest of this book. If any of the guidelines catch your interest here, you will like the rest of this book.
Establish a total quality culture before attempting re-engineering or re-engineering will almost surely fail. Kim Cameron is one of the first academics to do serious research of re-engi-
neering, downsizing, and total quality. He found that only companies that established a total quality culture well before downsizing or re-engineering succeeded with their downsizing
or re-engineering projects (Cameron in Huber and Glick, 1993). In one sentence: only total-quality re-engineering is likely to succeed.
Establish a total quality process of doing re-engineering including metrics of the quality with which you do each of the six subprocesses of re-engineering (introduced in later chapters
of this book). When launching re-engineering, measure and counteract specific national neuroses pandered to by the re-engineering idea. In doing re-engineering counteract the turfism
that makes departments harmful rather than depending blindly on processes as a right answer. Replace departments with processes and processes with events wherever possible. Base
the process and outcome of doing re-engineering on getting right interactions among local units that cause powerful complex organizational behavior patterns to simply emerge rather
than having to be designed in.
Put experienced product development team leaders as heads of the re-engineering effort. Apply product development phase gates to the re- engineering "product" design process. Prod-
uct development bounds risks by requiring that particular criteria be met before moving from concept phase to design phase to pilot phase, and so forth. This prevents the mindset that
any problem that crops up can be handled later in the process, a disaster for both product development and re-engineering. Survey the literature on what causes long cycle times, poor
pre-launch reliability problems, and escalated delayed decisions on "specs and techs", and home run rather than continuous improvement emphasis in product development processes;
then, make sure your process of doing re-engineering has countermeasures for each of them.
Use the design subprocess and transition subprocess to incrementally embody the values and tools of the new process design (while expanding team membership to include many
future employees of the new process being designed). The whole idea of elites planning a new work way for the masses may be an error; the masses planning a new work way for
themselves is easily possible using two new materials of re-engineering itself: management by events design workshops and workflow computing.
Survey all quality improvement teams and get their root cause analyses of the past years, then make sure each re-engineering design counteracts the root causes shared across most such
Hire experienced companies or consultants to teach you how to precisely measure the amount of managing any process or event needs, when it needs it and what kind of managing it
needs at those times; then, check your re-engineering designs to make sure each workgroup in them has available such just-in-time managing-as-function measures.
The above guidelines, with just a little work, become metrics you can use to measure the quality of your re-engineering effort. It is important to measure the quality with which you are
doing re-engineering--that will show you whether it was the particular approach you used, the quality with which you implemented it, or your organizational change tactics that caused
any particular re-engineering effort to fail. It turns out that not only are re-engineering’s principal outcomes drenched with total quality principles of operation, but there are profound
benefits from applying total quality’s process management principles to doing the process of re-engineering. This book can be viewed from this new perspective--how to do re-engi-
neering in a total quality manner. Now for the metrics. Are all six subprocesses of the re-engineering process designed on total quality grounds with good process management applied
to them during re-engineering? Are there formal approaches to six key decisions (see Chapter 3) of re-engineering? Are the new types of material for building businesses -- I present
eight of them in the Preface and 16 in Chapter 6-- examined for each key process step? Are total quality ways of improving processes being applied before assumption breaking is
applied? Are the design and transition subprocesses of re-engineering managed so as to create incrementally the new tools and culture of the new version of the process? Is the design
Managing Complexity 430 Copyright 2006 by Richard Tabor Greene, All Rights Reserved, US Government Registered
process structured so that the design team becomes the future workforce of the re-engineered entity (and vice versa)? Are total quality principles of good process management followed
in the management (design was mentioned in an item above) of each of the six subprocesses of re-engineering? Is emergence trusted to produce complex organizational behavior capa-
bilities rather than prior design?
Satisfying these metrics would provide a good start in moving from an 80 percent failure rate to an 80 percent success rate for re-engineering. Just exactly how you satify metrics such
as these is what the rest of this book makes clear.
the Ambiguities, Processes, Errors, and Outcomes of Current Re-
engineering Vendors and Clients
This first subsection of this part of this book examines reality--how re-engineering is now being practiced. It takes no partic-
ular viewpoint, directly, but it highlights certain aspects of re-engineering practice based on values and perspectives intro-
duced in the previous chapter (emerging systems, interest in varieties of re-engineering practice, organizational architecture
approaches, and so forth). Unlike most of the great many books now published on re-engineering, this book does not present
only one way to do re-engineering. This part of the book is interested in the variety actually out there in re-engineering prac-
tice. The second part of this book leaves variety, and recommends one particular way to do the core steps of re-engineering’s
Some Ambiguities in Doing Re-engineering That You Must Handle Before
Starting It
The clients of re-engineering consultants that I surveyed suffered, while doing re-engineering, from numerous questions that they did not answer up front. They felt they had paid large
prices for that delay. Their advice to me and my students was--handle the ambiguities up front, as soon as they appear. Delay only makes things worse. This chapter presents the ambigu-
ities they suffered from, so you can go into re-engineering knowing them ahead of time.
The Primary Ambiguity of Re-engineering--the Success of Failure
Press observations about re-engineering produce a paradoxical picture. The following observations were all made in the June 20, 1994 issue of Information Week: nearly 2/3s of re-engi-
neering efforts will fail; only 16 percent of those doing re-engineering say at the end they are satisfied with their efforts; 68 percent of executives reported that re-engineering created
new problems instead of solving old ones; total US spending on re-engineering will grow 20 percent a year for the next 3 years; of the $50 billion spent on re-engineering in the next 3
years, $40 billion will be spent on information systems; 42 percent of companies claiming to be doing re-engineering are actually tweaking existing processes; in spite of all this failure
and risk, re-engineering will grow yearly for the next 3 years.
The obvious question is why a method that fails the majority of the time, as does re-engineering, is increasing in popularity? One explanation is the goal is worth the risk, businesses
that must reduce costs, and the speed loss caused by bureaucracy, are willing to fail twice if there is a good chance the third try will succeed. Another factor is the self interest of two
consulting industries.
Management consultants have found re-engineering easier to market and implement than total quality was; it fits American biases better (more on this below). System houses have found
re-engineering an excellent way to get companies to pay for major new information systems without seeing that that is what they are paying for. Some consulting companies may even
make money when techniques they promote fail. Their marketing power apparently suffices to sell products with an 80 percent failure rate.
How are you to avoid this 80% failure rate? Fortunately, much has been learned, even in as short a time as the last two years, about how to do this re-engineering thing well. The rest of
this book shows you what has been learned about the various processes, sources of error, and outcomes of re-engineering (in Part One) and how to perform the core of all re-engineering
processes: assumption breaking, new material selection, function analysis, and measure system creation (in Part Two).
Is Re-engineering the Same or Different than Total Quality and Downsizing?
Total quality, re-engineering, and downsizing are three bodies of knowledge that claim attention in business today. Unfortunately, it is hard to say precisely what each embraces (Huber
and Glick, 1993). They share many principles. But it is not clear where total quality ends and re-engineering begins, or whether re-engineering is anything other than a euphemism for
downsizing. We have here a question of definition and boundaries.
Since re-engineering, quality, and downsizing all emphasize certain common themes--process orientation, customer satisfaction, horizontal cross-functional teaming, cycle time reduc-
tion, continuous improvement--it is very important both conceptually and practically to identify clearly what each offers that the others do not offer. Hammer and Champy’s book, for
example, states that "process management" is the core of re-engineering. It is pretty nearly the core of total quality too and it figures