Tensions, Spaces of Self-Organization and Resilience

Mika Nieminen, Heli Talja

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleScientificpeer-review


    It has recently become evident that the traditional management principles do not work in the current turbulent and unpredictable business environment anymore. In this kind of environment, it is fruitful to approach organizations as complex adaptive systems (CAS). CAS is composed of diverse agents whose interaction with each other and co-evolvement with the environment create continuously changing systems. An essential character of CAS is the self-organization of actors, which enhance change and development in the system. This creates tensions between operational options within organizations. In this chapter, we claim that resilient organizations are able to find optimal situational balances between various operational options and related tensions. Partially, this adaptation may be intentional, steered by organizational strategies and plans; partially, the adaptation is dependent on non-intentional emergent patterns of action. Due to the complexity of organizations and their environments, self-organization is a more agile and flexible way to seek solutions and adapt to new challenges. Thus, we suggest that organization leaders and managers should trust more in their organizations’ ability to self-organize and create sensible solutions. In a complex environment, top-down management can be a clumsy and slow instrument for organizations seeking resilience.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNavigating Through Changing Times
    Subtitle of host publicationKnowledge Work in Complex Environment
    EditorsAnne Eskola
    Place of PublicationNew York
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-31-516466-3
    ISBN (Print)978-1-13-804846-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


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