InterJournal Complex Systems, 219
Status: Submitted
Manuscript Number: [219]
Submission Date: 981117
Application of Complexity Theory to Organization Design: Focused on the NK Model
Author(s): Anonymous

Subject(s): CX.43, CX.44

Category: Brief Article


The concept of complexity which has been dealt with until now has been defined as the degree of differentiation. One of the newly emerging New Science Movement is complexity theory. Complexity theory deals mainly withcomputational comlexity which has been neglected in organization studies. As early as in 1962, Simon had touched on the problem of computational complexity and bounded rationality in terms of needle search in haystack, and the resultant difficulty in finding global optima rather than satisficing at local suboptima on the fitness landscape. However he did not elaborate on how to solve this problem. Kauffman suggests NK model which can be applied to social system at large including organizations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of adaptive organization in terms of finding global optima across the many possible design spaces on the fitness landscape. In a structural contingency theory, the design alternatives would need to be evaluated for astronomical numbers. There's no way managers can handle such comp0lex choice situation. This paper is an endeaver to suggest how the insights and methods from complexity theory can b eapplied to better design organizations.

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