Why do policies and strategies often fail, and what can be done about it? How can complexity be managed in cases where it cannot be reduced? The answers to these questions are anything but trivial, and can only be found by combining insights from complexity science, system dynamics, system theory and systems thinking. Rooted in the seminal works of Gregory Bateson, Jay Forrester, Donella Meadows, Peter Senge, W. Brian Arthur, John Sterman and Thomas Schelling, this book bridges the gap between rigorous science and real-life experience to explore the potential and limitations of leverage points in implementing policies and strategies. It also presents diagnostic tools to help recognize system archetypes, as well as the powerful language of stock and flow diagrams, which allows us to think in terms of circular causality. These tools are subsequently employed to thoroughly analyze particularly thorny problems such as global climate change, the tragedy of the commons, path dependence, diffusion of innovations, and exponential growth of inequality.
Christoph E. Mandl, PhD in Operations Research at the ETH Zurich; Senior Lecturer at the Department of Business, Economics and Statistics, University of Vienna; Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna; founding member of the Global Association of Society for Organizational Learning Communities; founding member of the Austrian Society of Operations Research; former member in the Management and Technology Area, IIASA - International Institute of Applied System Analysis; Chair of the Panel "Monitoring 2004 - Implementation of Activities under the EC and Euratom Framework and Corresponding Specific Programmes".
Prelude: Scientific Journey into a Strange Paradigm.- Part I From Logic to Circular Causality.- Chapter 1 Perceiving Events, Patterns, and Structure.- Chapter 2 Homeostasis, Complexity, Emergence and Purposeful Behavior.- Chapter 3 Decision and Forecast: The Cassandra Paradox.- Part II Describing and Understanding Dynamics of Social Systems.- Chapter 4 Language, Syntax and Semantics for Describing Dynamics of Systems.- Confusing Stocks with Flows: The Carbon Credit Fallacy.- Chapter 6 Leverage Points as Technology to Change Problematic Dynamics.- Chapter 7 Sensitivity and Uncertainty: Locust Plagues and Price Dynamics of Commodities.- Chapter 8 Generic Structures, Systems Archetypes and Theories.- Part III Managing Intra-Organizational Phenomena.- Chapter 9 Shifting the Burden: When Organizations Become Addicted.- Chapter 10 Accidental Adversaries: The Enigma of Sustained Cooperation.- Chapter 11 Adaptation: Drifting Goals, Invisible Hand and Breastfeeding.- Chapter 12 Limits to Growth: Network Effect and Attractiveness Principle.- Chapter 13 Growth and Underinvestment: Aligning Performance and Resources.- Part IV Managing Trans-Organizational Phenomena.- Chapter 14 Policy Resistance: Rebound Effect and Other Paradoxes.- Chapter 15 Escalation: The Strength of Fear.- Chapter 16 Diffusion of Innovations: The Much Sought After Tipping Point.- Chapter 17 Market for Lemons: When Dishonesty Prevails.- Chapter 18 The Commons: A Tragedy?.- Chapter 19 Path Dependence: Segregation, Increasing Returns, Success to the Successful.- Coda: Managing Complexity - The Sense of Possibility.