As a new construct spanning natural science and social science, complexity emphasizes the core ideas of anti-reductionism, dynamic evolution, non-linearity, emergence and self-organization. The complex system perspective（CSP）emphasizes the implications of the complexity theory to delineate and analyze organizational phenomena, involving technological change, business model innovation and institutional evolution. In terms of theoretical contribution, the CSP integrates multidisciplinary meta-assumptions and proffers a general framework for individual behavior, collective action and institutional change. In terms of practice, the governance mechanism derived from the CSP requires managers to go beyond the ordinary practice of management and process control. Instead, it inspires management to notice the importance of multi-collaborative governance mechanisms working together to make the system stable, efficient and able to adapt to shocks from the external environment. Based on a review of the existing literature and classic studies of the organizational theory, this paper discusses the history and development of theories concerning complex organization, in which various different concepts are adopted to enrich the CSP. The perspective of the rational system brought the concepts of rational working process and bureaucratic controls into organization management. The perspective of the natural system proposes the importance of influence, informal groups and leadership. Simon integrates these two system perspectives and open access to open system studies. The approach of the open rational system introduces us the concepts of transaction cost, organizational design, and governance mechanisms, while the open natural system introduces institutional forces and organization isomorphism. These theories together help to develop the growth of CSP, and Granovetter, in his famous book " Society and Economy”, builds a theoretical framework integrating Rational and Natural System models in an open system perspective. Thus, this paper constructs a framework of organizational research employing the CSP, in which micro-level behaviors, social ties among entities, small group dynamics, larger network structures and system evolution are integrated to explain the emergence of macro-level forces. This research not only involves the frontier achievements of complex organization research, but also provides a new theoretical perspective and empirical orientation for organization and management research in China.
Organization Studies Based on a Complex System Perspective
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 41, Issue 12, pp. 112 - 134 (2019) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2019.12.006
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Cite this article
Luo Jiade, Zeng Fengyou. Organization Studies Based on a Complex System Perspective[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2019, 41(12): 112-134.
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