FRANCES STORR & PETER FRYER,
Humberside Training and Enterprise Council (TEC)
This paper describes the way in which one organisation has applied concepts
of complexity without organisational members necessarily having to learn
the associated jargon. The approach involves a set of organisational design
principles which are based on various aspects of complexity and act as
reference points for all members of the organisation. These principles
are: 1 Make connections; 2 Learn continuously and 3 Make processes ongoing.
The links to complexity and the application of the principles are described.
The paper also explores the characteristics of phase transition and whether
Humberside TEC occupies this space for creativity.
The majority of people working in organisations are not interested in
understanding theories of complexity or the associated jargon. Yet, applying
these concepts requires people to apply an alternative frame of reference
and a different set of assumptions to those which most of us have learned
over a number of years working in organisations. Humberside Training and
Enterprise Council (TEC) has set out a framework for operationalising
the concepts of complexity. The framework consists of a number of organisational
design principles: make connections; learn continuously and make processes
ongoing. This framework is detailed below in terms of its links to complexity
and its application. It will be argued that such a framework allows organisation
members to utilise complexity theory in a language they understand. The
paper also explores the characteristics of phase transition or edge of
chaos and discusses how does one know when an organisation occupies this
space for creativity and whether Humberside TEC is at the edge of chaos.
2 THE ORGANISATIONAL
The organisational design principles are a way of conveying some key concepts
in a language that is meaningful to people. All new staff are introduced
to the principles as part of their induction and their relevance is reinforced
in various situations such as in MD Update which is a quarterly meeting
of all staff with the Managing Director. The principles are based on various
aspects of complexity and act as reference point for everyone in the organisation.
These principles are:
2.1 Make connections
Everyone can talk to everyone and should
Everyone is responsible
To survive and thrive the organisation needs to be highly interconnected
and this principle tells all staff that networking both internally and
externally is a part of their job. Rich interconnections enable knowledge
to flow around the organisation and this facilitates the emergence of
strategies and innovations which enable the system to continually adjust
its behaviour with reference to its environment. Interconnections also
facilitate the exploration of the possibility space and help to create
the requisite variety from which effective strategies can emerge. With
each new connection new knowledge is created, enabling the system to improve
its fitness level. Richness of connectivity is one of the five parameters
which must reach a critical point if the system is to operate at the edge
of chaos (Stacey 1996). Stacey considers them to be control parameters
as they determine the dynamics of the organisation, defining whether it
is operating at the edge of chaos or in the stable or unstable zone. In
section 4 this idea is explored in more detail to determine whether Humberside
TEC has achieved the critical level of interconnectivity to operate at
the edge of chaos.
2.2 Learn continuously
Love mistakes to death
Respond to the environment
Learn by doing
A key feature of a complex adaptive system is its capacity for both single
loop learning and double loop learning. In other words it can adapt its
behaviour to respond to its environment and it can also change its schema
or the rules by which it operates. This design principle communicates
the importance of learning to all members of the organisation and it is
central to building the organisations capacity to deal with the next unknown.
It also communicates the importance of responding to the environment,
on the assumption that we exist in a co-evolving and rapidly deforming
One of the characteristics
of non linear systems is that cause and effect are removed in both time
and space. The TEC has placed importance on its members having quite sophisticated
thinking skills to better enable them to learn and operate in a complex
environment. Examples of this will be described later.
2.3 Make processes
Learning, planning and evaluating are a continuous cycle
Processes and systems are based on:
· our best people
Structures and systems should follow not lead
Self organising teams
Many accepted practices in organisation are born out of a Newtonian frame
of reference where the emphasis is on things rather than the relations
between things. Plans and Budgets are based on the reductionist principle
that the whole is equal to the sum of the parts. They assume that one
controls the organisation from the top and many policies and practices
in organisations eg appraisal systems, HR policies, work procedures etc
are based on controlling the behaviour of individuals. This third design
principle works on the assumption that the organisation is a self organising
system and control is dispersed around the organisation even to the extent
of strategy being an emergent phenomenon rather than prescribed from the
top of the organisation. This principle attempts to reverse the practice
of reifying processes such as planning and evaluation. It is the process
of planning and evaluation which is important rather than the sophisticated
written plan or evaluation report. The long term future is unknowable
and the landscape is continually deforming so planning and evaluation
have to be iterative. The most challenging aspect of this principle is
that one has to trust others and to trust the system. The TEC's experience
of this is described in the next section.
The focus in Humberside TEC is on removing policies and practices which
do not take account of the reality of organisations as non linear feedback
systems whilst simultaneously supporting people to cope with the world
as it really is. For each of the design principles there are a number
of illustrative mechanisms and two of these (360 degree appraisal and
self managing teams) are described in greater detail as they cut across
all of the design principles.
3.1 Make connections
This design principle indicates a responsibility to know ones role and
actions as part of an interconnected whole and to seek and disseminate
information accordingly. Where possible problem solving and implementation
are addressed in a way which will bring people from disparate parts of
the TEC into contact with each other. For example the process of moving
into new premises was planned by a cross TEC group, 360 degree appraisal
has been developed by an action research group of volunteers from across
the organisation and training people to use the email system was done
by volunteer users mentoring other users rather than the systems team
running training courses.
Two clear indications
of the priority given to connecting people are firstly that there is now
a role in the TEC which is about networking and capacity building. The
individual concerned has a remit to explore how networking can be developed
to increase the organisations capacity to deal with the next unknown.
Secondly, a TEC conference is held once a year for all staff. Although
it is called a conference the structure of the day is designed to encourage
experiential learning. The most recent one was on the subject of resourcefulness,
how people can be resourceful as individuals and also make use of the
resources around them such as other people. People set their own agenda
and it was described as playful, challenging, uncomfortable and unstructured.
New staff often comment
on the informality of the organisation and the accessibility of managers
at all levels especially the MD. They suggest that the principle of "everyone
can talk to everyone" does seem to be being enacted. Whilst these
activities focus on the number of connections across the organisation
there is also some work going on related to the nature of those connections.
A number of attempts have been made to explore the potential of dialogue
(Senge 1990; Dixon 1996 ) as a method of identifying and removing some
of what Argyris refers to as defensive routines (Argyris 1990). These
are the customary ways of acting in organisations which serve to avoid
conflict or embarrassment but also prevent learning. Bohm (1996) distinguishes
between discussion and dialogue. In discussion each person is usually
trying to have his or her arguments accepted by others. You might accept
part of another person's point of view if it helps to strengthen your
own view, but fundamentally you want your view to win. In dialogue different
views are presented and assumptions explored as a means to discovering
a new view. A number of groups have experimented with dialogue in the
TEC and found that it resulted in more active listening to each other
and a disruption of the usual patterns of communication in meetings and
the usual power relations.
So far this section
has described connections between people but connections also need to
be made between ideas, in other words learning.
3.2 Learn continuously
There are a number of ways in which people in the TEC are encouraged to
learn continuously. Some of these are about developing the skills of thinking
and learning, for example Thinking Skills Modules (teaching people to
use a number of thinking tools and apply them to real problems they have
in their team), Serious Thinking Workshops (lunchtime sessions run by
the Managing Director to help people find new ways of looking at TEC issues)
and How to be Brilliant at Learning modules. All staff are introduced
to the Hermann Whole Brain Model and the accompanying training focuses
on seeing multiple realities and the dynamic nature of behaviour. The
organisation invests in learning in a variety of contexts beyond conventional
training. For example team awaydays, cross TEC networking events, coaching
and mentoring and even mentoring young people who are underachieving at
school. The payback is not always immediate but looks towards the next
Other methods of encouraging
learning are about the way in which systems are designed. For example
management information systems exert a powerful influence on behaviour
in organisations on the basis of "what gets measured gets done"
and members generally believe that the organisation values what is measured.
In an attempt to measure what is valued, all staff are asked to complete
a monthly proforma on what they have learned during that period. These
are passed to the Managing Director who reads them and frequently follows
up on comments by talking to individuals.
Two frequently used
phrases in the organisation are "be comfortable with the uncomfortable"
and "think out of the box", indicating that it normal and expected
of people to stretch themselves and to feel uncertain about it but the
fact that they are learning is highly valuable.
3.3 Make processes
In an attempt to base systems and processes on our best people rather
than the one or two people who might abuse the system policies have now
been re written and simplified, placing the emphasis on trusting people
to use their judgement. For example the expenses policy is that any reasonable
expense incurred on TEC business will be reimbursed and the policy for
special leave eg in a case of a bereavement, is that the individual and
their team leader use their judgement about the amount of time required.
When staff compare
the TEC with other places they have worked they note a stronger emphasis
on being trusted to use ones judgement and also on outcomes as opposed
to inputs. For example the number of hours that people work is less important
than the outcomes they produce. There are no fixed working hours and it
is the culture of the TEC for people to come and go as they please provided
the job gets done. Similarly a lot of work has been done with organisations
that the TEC contracts with to shift the emphasis from measuring and contracting
for inputs eg number of people trained to outcomes eg number of people
achieving a qualification or a job at the end of training. This is a complex
issue involving politics and history in the working relationships between
the TEC and the contracting organisations and Soft Systems Methodology
(Checkland and Scholes 1990) was used as a way of understanding such a
messy issue. The challenge has been to develop a shared understanding
with contractors about what is important so that there is a common aim.
Another policy of
the organisation which requires self responsibility is that anyone who
attends a meeting has the authority to commit the organisation there and
then and if people send a deputy on their behalf then they trust that
deputy to use their judgement.
Below are two further
examples which illustrate all three design principles: 360 degree appraisal
and self managing team.
3.4 360 Degree
Traditional appraisal systems have been developed within a paradigm that
essentially conceptualises behaviour as measurable, reducible and open
to monitoring, with the idea that long term plans can be made and people
can be objectively observed. Complexity theories (Wheatley 1993, Stacey
1996, Waldrop 1992) on the other hand suggest that organisational dynamics
are much more complex than this paradigm suggests and that behaviour is
contextual. Central to this way of thinking is the idea that organisational
development is based on learning, on reacting appropriately to ones environment
as new challenges arise and on influencing that environment. This can
only be achieved by systems which acknowledge the essential dynamism of
behaviour and thus in themselves are focused on the learning process and
on involving the people who are central to that process.
about the importance of hierarchy in organisations are being challenged
and empowerment is commonly spoken of in relation to modern management
style. At the same time most appraisal systems still place the power in
the hands of the manager who makes judgements about the behaviour and
performance of their team members and allocates ratings as a measure of
that behaviour. Upward appraisal and 360 degree appraisal, with their
emphasis on collecting multiple viewpoints as part of appraisal, are indicative
of a shift towards this new paradigm. The assumptions behind traditional
appraisal systems are: the organisation can describe what the ideal employee
is like or how they would behave; it is possible to mould employees into
this ideal by giving them feedback and setting them goals and managers
can objectively assess the performance/behaviour of an individual. One
of the assumptions behind 360 degree appraisal systems is that the same
behaviour can be perceived in different ways by different people therefore
it is impossible to objectively assess performance. However appraisals
are often used for purposes which, despite appearances, are intended to
gain more knowledge of the individual, impose expectations on them and
thus more effectively control them (Townley 1995).
Most 360 degree appraisal
systems involve a number of people allocating ratings on several behavioural
scales. An average rating for each behavioural scale is calculated and
fed back by an independent person to preserve the anonymity of the raters.
From the perspective of the new paradigm behaviour is contextual, so feedback
is only meaningful when one knows who has said it and can therefore put
it into context.
From the outset this
360 degree appraisal system was designed not as a way of monitoring people
but as a way of helping people to learn and thereby become more effective.
The following principles were defined as a way of ensuring that the appraisal
process would be consistent with the organisational design principles:
· As far as possible feedback should be given face to face. Appraisal
is a conversation rather than a form filling exercise (Henriques et all
1984). This clearly makes it impossible to preserve anonymity for the
people giving feedback and the issue of whether people would be honest
was debated repeatedly. It was believed that, in keeping with self responsibility,
people should be prepared to own the feedback they give to others. It
also helps to make the organisation more highly interconnected.
· The appraisal should be owned by the appraisee. The appraisee
is responsible therefore for initiating the process, deciding who to invite
to appraise them and co-ordinating it. The results of the appraisal are
the property of the appraisee and nobody else has any written record of
the results of the appraisal. This is consistent with the organisations
design principle of self responsibility. It is also indicative of a high
level of trust in the appraisee and is consistent with the principle of
"systems and processes are based on our best people".
· Paperwork should be minimal. The appraisal should be "skills
led rather than forms led" (Randall 1989) Again this is based on
the assumption that appraisal is essentially a conversation between people
and ratings on a number of scales cannot give the same depth of understanding
that comes from a conversation in which the participants develop a shared
understanding . This is also consistent with the design principle of systems
and processes should follow not lead.
· Appraisal is about learning rather than measurement. (Design
principle - Learn continuously)
· There is no such thing as the perfect system. This is based on
the design principle of Learn continuously in that people will learn about
the process and how to make it work effectively. It also relates to the
third design principle in that it is not the system itself that it is
important but the process of learning and systems should follow not lead.
In keeping with the
aim of making space for collaborative learning (Reason 1994) the initial
design was undertaken by a group of volunteers from across the organisation
who all committed to pilot the process on themselves and to carry it out
as an action research project. The group started with the principles stated
above and developed a number of approaches which they piloted. The pilots
have varied in relation to whether and how to use a facilitator, sizes
of groups, who to involve, how and whether to involve external customers,
whether a preparation meeting is needed or can one condense it into one
meeting. What they have in common is that they all involve a group of
people, chosen by the appraisee, having a conversation.
At the end of this
pilot it was clear that there were still some unanswered questions, the
key ones being: how does this process work for people who do administrative
jobs (there were no such volunteers in the first pilot) and what support
do people need throughout the process. Pilot phase 2 was launched therefore
with more volunteers, many of whom did administrative jobs. The sources
of support for these volunteers were: a 2 hour workshop explaining the
rationale of the process and answering their questions; a worksheet with
key questions for appraisees to consider such as What is the purpose of
the appraisal/what do they want out of it? Who should they invite ? What
are the possible problems ?; a buddy (someone else who was having a 360
degree appraisal) and a facilitator who would help them to plan the appraisal
to meet their needs and would facilitate the actual discussion;
Initial feedback suggests
that appraisees have found it to be a useful process that has given them
new insights into their working relationships. They believe it to be more
useful than an appraisal which gives them feedback from just one person
and they particularly liked the lack of form filling. The appraisal discussion
is frequently a process of making sense - the feedback is discussed and
clarified until a shared understanding is achieved. For some time the
TEC had placed importance on feedback skills and high level communication
skills. These are important skills in making these appraisals effective.
One of the implications of this process is the need to create a facilitator
resource and a number of volunteers are receiving coaching as in-house
facilitators. Benefits of this approach are the transferable skills that
these facilitators develop as well as increasing the interconnectivity
of the TEC
The aim is that giving
and receiving feedback should be a normal part of ones job and every job
holder will be expected to seek feedback on their performance. The process
of developing the system and the system itself are both based on a process
of learning together or collaborative inquiry. In fact some of the issues
which emerge in appraisal discussions are team or organisational issues
and learning is happening at a number of levels in these discussions.
3.5 Self managing
The second example which is described in more depth as it cuts across
all three of the design principles is the self managed team. Whilst self
responsibility had been encouraged for some time there is still a team
structure in place with team leaders. One particular team in the organisation
has taken a lead in working as a self managed team without any team leader.
So all team members are involved in defining the business plan for their
team and they are jointly responsible for managing the performance of
the team. The team in question has approximately thirty people. Many of
them do jobs which require them to operate as consultants and advisors
with local businesses and there is also a group who provide administrative
support. Eight months down the line team members suggest that one of the
advantages of this approach is that they are thinking more strategically.
Individuals now have more involvement in planning, they feel they have
wider horizons and they are more likely to consider the broader implications
of different courses of action. The team decide together what needs to
be done and who will do what. There is a much stronger sense of shared
responsibility and a possible down side for some is that there is "no
place to hide". Team members are positive about their new way of
operating in their team although they varied in the extent to which they
welcomed the change initially. On the one hand it is stimulating, has
led to them being involved in new areas of work and required them to develop
new skills. On the other hand the increased responsibility has also increased
their workload and this inevitable causes tensions.
The process of adjustment
over the eight month period has involved a high level of learning and
for many team members it has also provoked high levels of anxiety. For
example they have learned through experience that everyone cannot be involved
in making all decisions. Early attempts at decision making by consensus
resulted in some very long frustrating discussions and there is acceptance
now of the need to trust colleagues and the importance of cross team communication.
At first people were tentative about volunteering in case they should
be seen by colleagues as vying for a leadership role. As time progressed
though individuals have become more ready to offer their strengths to
the team and many leaders emerge for different subjects or contexts.
One cannot remove
structures without putting in place support mechanisms and the team has
explored a number of ways of ensuring that individuals get the support
they need. One approach is the use of mentors. Another has been the emergence
of substructures such as small geographical teams.
The learning of this
team has provided some challenges for the organisation as a whole. For
example there are things that managers commonly do in the TEC and this
team has had to rethink every one of them. This process has questioned
the value of some usual procedures such as obtaining ones managers signature
for expenses claims and annual leave forms. Before they could decide what
the alternative practise would be they had to ask the question Why ? ie
what was the purpose of the signature. At times it was difficult to conclude
anything other than the job holder was not trusted and therefore needed
the sanction of the manager. The conclusion was that team members are
now trusted to act responsibly and they do not require the signature of
a team leader on these forms. The implications of removing such controls
means that people have to develop their own judgement and this is by no
means a soft option.
4 THEORY TO PRACTISE
Interesting examples of alternative ways of working these may be but does
that mean that the TEC is at the edge of chaos or not ? Stacey suggests
there are five control parameters which must reach a critical point if
the organisation is to operate at the edge of chaos. They are:
(a) Information flow. This parameter is considered to reach a critical
point when it becomes impossible for formal systems in the organisation
to retain the necessary information about changes in the fitness landscape.
The shadow system then comes into play as its informality can retain faster
flows of information. Past the critical point of information flow even
the shadow system will be unable to retain enough information to cope
with competitors moves and the organisation can tip into the unstable
(b) Degree of diversity. A defensive shadow system characterised by conforming
members produces stable organisational dynamics. Increasing the degree
of diversity among agents can rise to a point at which the organisation
falls into anarchy. At some critical point between these extremes the
organisation has enough diversity to provoke learning and creativity but
not enough to cause anarchy.
(c) Richness of connectivity. Few connections bring stability and many
bring instability. Between these extremes there is a critical point where
connections are rich enough to produce endless variety in behaviour. The
other important dimension is the strength of those connections. Strong
ties bind people together making it more likely that behaviour will become
repetitive and uniform. Weak ties on the other hand provide bridges to
other parts of a network through which variety may be imported. This parameter
reaches a critical level at some intermediate point between weak and strong
and many and few connections.
(d) Level of contained anxiety. When anxiety is so firmly contained that
it is avoided altogether, for example, by strict adherence to the requirements
of hierarchy, then an organisations shadow system operates in the stable
zone. The critical point of this parameter is when anxiety levels are
contained at a relatively high level and members are able to be creative.
When the anxiety level becomes too high it is disabling.
(e) Degree of power differential. In the spectrum ranging from concentrated
power exercised in an authoritarian manner to equally distributed power
hardly exercised at all, a critical point is reached where one can find
both containment of anxiety through clear hierarchical structures and
directing forms of leadership, on the one hand, and freedom to express
opinions and risk subversive, creative activity without fear on the other.
Is Humberside TEC
at the critical point of these control parameters and how would one know
? It is by no means black and white but here are some indicators relating
to each of the parameters.
(a) Information flow. Organisational members exist in an informational
deluge. The TEC is part of a fast changing environment and there is too
much information for any one member to be able to hold it. The question
of what is the formal system and what is the shadow system is not in itself
clear however as the TEC has given legitimacy to what would generally
be considered the informal system. The operating assumption is that it
is not just managers who have important information. Networking is an
explicit part of peoples jobs and systems are set up to support this.
For example there is an electronic bulletin board to facilitate cross
TEC conversations and this has the facility, in places, to post messages
anonymously. Making the conversation so public (all staff can read it)
brings elements of the shadow system into the light. The dimension which
is missing from Stacey's description of these five parameters is skill.
TEC staff report that they become skilled at scanning information and
filtering the bits to pay attention to. They are also becoming more skilled
(b) Degree of diversity. Does the TEC have the requisite variety for innovative
solutions to continue to flow ? This really depends on which lens is looked
through. In some ways the population of staff is very diverse eg they
are from a variety of backgrounds in terms of previous employment and
socio-economic status. They are not diverse in terms of ethnic origin
but this is representative of the local population. The culture of an
organisation is often reflected in its vocabulary and following a TEC
conference for all staff two years ago the phrase "valuing the difference"
is now firmly embedded in peoples vocabulary. The focus was on peoples
thinking styles and the Hermann Whole Brain model (Hermann 1996) was the
basis of identifying them. Differences are commonly acknowledged as valuable
but observation suggests that in day to day activities this is still a
difficult thing to do.
(c) Richness of connectivity. If the TEC is at the critical point on any
of these parameters it should be this one as it is discussed explicitly
and a considerable degree of energy has been invested in it. The message
to all staff is that networking is an important part of their role, there
is a job in the TEC which is specifically about networking and once a
year all staff spend the day together on a conference which is structured
(whatever the theme of the day) to facilitate contacts between people
who do not meet normally. These and many other approaches and activities
serve to continually bring people into contact and encourage them to network
with teach other. In the last year the organisation has increased in size
to almost 200 people. People experience seeing faces around the organisation
whose names they do not know and a number of measures are being introduced
in response such as an intranet with a photograph of each member of staff.
This raises the question of whether there is a critical size, above which
it is not possible to be highly interconnected ? How does this parameter
relate to very large organisations such as multi nationals ? Another challenge
for the TEC is maintaining connections when more and more people are becoming
remote workers. For example a number of consultants are beginning to work
(d) Level of contained anxiety. In a recent discussion with a group of
staff from across the organisation people were listing some of the characteristic
vocabulary of the TEC ie words or phrases that are used a lot in the TEC.
Many of these were indicative of learning to live with a degree of anxiety,
for example "comfortable with the uncomfortable", "thinking
outside of the box", "love mistakes to death". The Managing
Director talks about this explicitly in various forums including the MD
update which all staff attend quarterly. A number of people described
the anxiety that comes with the freedom they experience at the TEC. They
perceive that they have the freedom and the responsibility to do their
job in the way they believe best but when one is used to being told what
to do and how to do it this is initially quite frightening. The approach
of the TEC has been to take out unnecessary structures, rules and procedures,
put in lots of support and trust people to use their judgement and act
responsibly. Comments from staff suggest that peoples level of anxiety
decreases over time as their capacity to deal with it increases. So in
a sense the edge of chaos moves away as ones ability to cope increases
and anxiety level falls.
(e) Degree of power differential. There is a hierarchy in place and at
the same time a lot of emphasis is placed on giving people freedom to
act and "Self responsibility" is one of the design principles.
People generally set their own targets and budget authority is dispersed
to the people doing the activity and these are at various different levels
in the organisation not just management. Working groups form for particular
projects and they do not need any senior sanction to do so.
Overall the MD role
is vital and plays a key role in pushing the organisation to the edge
of chaos. He describes his own role as: Explore the environment; Share
feedback; Clear pathways; Support people and Bugger things up ! In other
words, to push the organisation into far from equilibrium. He is uniquely
placed to set the tone and help people to work with multiple realities.
He gives clear messages that mess and confusion are inevitable, even functional
and thus helps people to contain the anxiety that can accompany the situation.
The method employed
here of answering the question is Humberside TEC at the edge of chaos
has been to select evidence which might support the answer "yes".
This approach clearly has some inadequacies and the culture of the TEC
is not uniform throughout. Maybe a balanced response would require feedback
from every member of the TEC. At the same time multiple realities and
paradox are present and visible and openly acknowledged in the TEC. There
is a mix of stability and instability. Perhaps it is a mistake to only
view this in relation to the organisation as a whole. At any one time
some parts of the organisation are very chaotic whilst others are relatively
stable. These subcultures are themselves a source of tension as people
observe other teams and how they operate. Over time the organisation has
become accustomed to parts of its whole falling into chaos and re emerging
and this is less anxiety provoking than it used to be. The whole is robust
enough to tolerate this in its subsystems.
It is important to understand that this has not been a planned or linear
journey for Humberside TEC. Various initiatives were introduced because
they intuitively felt right and those that worked provided a challenge
to other aspects of how the TEC works. Simultaneously a few organisational
members came across theory which helped them to understand what had been
done, led to reflection and in turn affected subsequently action. Complexity
theories do not provide business process solutions in the way that Total
Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering and other popular approaches
do. It is simply a means of seeing the organisation as a system. It provides
a lens through which to view the organisation and, as a metaphor, the
authors believe it explains more of reality as they observe it than many
Whilst at one time the TEC was viewed by other organisations as odd, unusual
or even zany now it is still viewed as such but there is a clearer rationale
for it. The key insight was that outside of work TEC employees are agents
in many different complex adaptive systems which do not require them to
be managed by someone else or to have written objectives or a formal appraisal,
yet they operate effectively. Indeed they live their lives in a number
of complex adaptive systems and are blissfully unaware of it.
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