Detail and Dynamic Complexity

Week 4 Discussion

Shared Practice: Detail and Dynamic Complexity

Are you overwhelmed by complexity? If so, you are not alone. Senge notes that people are now able to “create far more information that anyone can absorb,” and he continues to say that the “scale of complexity is without precedent” (2006, p. 69). This “detail” complexity can make managing a business and making informed decisions particularly difficult.

As you review Senge’s Chapter 5, “A Shift of Mind,” consider his descriptions of detail complexity and dynamic complexity. Because organizations do not operate in a vacuum, they are invariably dealing with dynamic complexity. A company that attracts new customers with an innovative product will likely find itself facing many competitors with a similar offering. The market changes as a result of the new product, and the competitive response further changes the market. These shifting dynamics constitute the world in which most managers operate.

Consider organizations where you have worked or with which you are familiar. The organization could be a business, non-profit, or a government agency. Think about examples of detail complexity and dynamic complexity at these organizations.

By Day 3

Post your Shared Practice that includes the following:

  • A comparison of detail complexity to dynamic complexity from a systems thinking viewpoint
  • Two or more examples from organizations with which you are familiar that illustrate important elements of complexity within the system and that explains the negative impacts of such complexity
By Day 5

Read through your colleagues’ posts and by Day 5, respond to two or more of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

  • Provide a different or expanded perspective by offering an insight that you gained by reading your colleague’s conclusions.
  • Ask a question that will help your colleague think about his or her comparisons and conclusions more deeply or broadly. Make sure you provide context and/or references based from the class readings, your own investigation, or your experience.

OR:

  • Provide an example that further illuminates complexity in organizations and compare it to what your colleague presented.
  • Offer other lessons you learned and suggest ways your colleague could manage complexity.