1) Following a tweet from John Hagel, this post on Forbes entitled Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence and Entropy delineates the management of complexity as a tension between three processes: 1) design process, 2) emergent process, and 3) entropic process.
The more open the organisation is to external sources of energy, the easier it is to harness the forces of emergence rather than entropy.
2) Following a comment at the bottom of the aforementioned post, here’s another one entitled Managing Complexity, in which the author points out that the management of complexity requires leadership that goes beyond simply being able to execute well, but moreover must be able to develop adaptivity to that which is beyond prediction or control.
Simply getting a promotion does not make you a manager. Until you are ready to take responsibility for that which you cannot control, you are just someone with a title, not a leader.
3) Finally, a post from Steven Strogatz, Dangerous Intersection, which I discovered thanks to a newsletter link from Ed Yong, gives a mathematical exposition of how thresholds are crossed and what occurs when the straw that broke the camel’s back is placed.
. . . the stage is set for catastrophe whenever a line intersects a folded curve tangentially.
Birkinshaw, J. (2013). Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence and Entropy, Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lbsbusinessstrategyreview/2013/11/28/managing-complexity-the-battle-between-emergence-and-entropy/
Satell, G. (2013). Managing Complexity, Digital Tonto. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltonto.com/2013/managing-complexity/
Strogatz, S. (2013). Dangerous Intersection, NY Times Opinionator. Retrieved from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/dangerous-intersection
- Business Complexity and Entropy (venitism.blogspot.com)
- Peter Drucker Forum 2013: “The Two Faces of Complexity” by Julian Birkinshaw (globaleduc.wordpress.com)
- Entropy outside Science (freyasthought.wordpress.com)