A major challenge of our times is to understand and manage the increasing complexity of socio-economic reality. This has immediate relevance for sustainable development. The impact of recent contributions from systems and complexity sciences in addressing this issue has not filtered down into effective practice - notably, there remain problems caused by the legacy of competing paradigms and the application of their associated methodologies. This book argues the urgency for the application of analytical tools that embody the principles of complexity management. The authors describe a theoretical framework based on complexity science with a focus on organisational and second order cybernetics, one that presents a powerful new insight into the concept of sustainability. The book also describes actual applications of the ideas in the area of organisational, societal and environmental management, and reflects upon the impact of such an approach on current practice.
Introduction: Sustainability and Complexity; The Viable System Model: A Recursive Model of Viable Organizations; Societies as Viable Systems: Viability and Sustainability; Environmental Management Revisited; Re-Thinking Sustainable Development; Envisioning Solutions for the Required Societal Transition.