Complexity Theory and Knowledge Management Application


  • Zoë Dann
  • Ian Barclay


Complexity theory, complexity theories, complexity representation and application, knowledge, learning


This article traces the development of complexity theories and proposes a Complexity Representation Model (CRM) for management processes. The purpose here was to translate key elements of complexities theories (e.g. self organisation, adaption, co‑evolution, chaos) into a recognisable form and relate these to management practice (particu‑ larly knowledge management and learning). A further Complexity Application Model (CAM) is offered that shows the relationship between the formal and informal aspects of the management environment and the CRM. It models an active environment that should learn and adapt to minor perturbations and major schisms. It is a conceptual guide as to the "ideal" management system, one that self‑ organises, learns, adapts and evolves with its environment. The application of the CAM is discussed in terms of practical methods and processes that can be used to manage and encourage managers to feel they are in control of a complex adaptive management system.



1 Jan 2006