InterJournal Complex Systems, 232
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [232]
Submission Date: 981213
Dealing with Complex Human Systems From an Interpretive Systemic Perspective
Author(s): HernŠn Lůpez-Garay

Subject(s): CX.43

Category: Brief Article


At one level, systems complexity can be defined in terms of the amount of information required to describe the behavior of the system in a given environment (we call this organismic complexity). At another level, systems complexity, particularly in human systems, arises because of interpretive variety (i.e., the many varied ways of drawing a systemís boundary, depending upon the point of view of the observer). It is this second type of complexity (call it interpretive complexity) we purport to investigate in this paper. Managing interpretive variety requires both, a new way of understanding systems and complexity. This way involves a research process that brings forth different interpretations (i.e., different ways of drawing the systemís boundary), sets up a debate between them, searches for systemís unity, and in its light defines co-ordination strategies for future systemís actions. We will briefly illustrate this approach with a case study of the prison system in Venezuela. Since interpretive complexity is a more comprehensive concept than organismic complexity we think that the former could help to open new ways of dealing with complex human systems in general.

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