Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/91144
Type: Thesis
Title: Creating and leading adaptive organisations: the nature and practice of emergent logic.
Author: Kerr, Fiona
Issue Date: 2014
School/Discipline: Business School
Abstract: This study examines how leaders enable their organisations to adapt and succeed in complex environments. Through the joint lenses of complexity theory and the cognition and social neuroscience of leadership it focuses on how leadership directly influences the creation and ongoing function of an adaptive organisation. The study includes the comparison of four leaders through embedded case studies as an abductive approach to initial theory building, and the follow up of two of them as a comparative method of analysis, and it generates a substantive theory of leadership cognition called emergent logic. This leadership approach is especially relevant to leading complex human systems in emergent environments, the scenario for the majority of organisations in the present day. This thesis addresses two questions: How do leaders of adaptive organisations think? And what do leaders of adaptive organisations do? Among the major findings the study reveals that a critical success factor is the leader’s capacity to create and guide a complex human system by establishing and maintaining a shared mental model of its collective purpose, guided by deeply held and articulated values. The cognitive constructs of complexity and emergent logic have a direct and indirect effect on individuals and the organisation, and facilitate the creation of an adaptive operational culture and organisational mind, and the complementary enabling structures that allow for ongoing evolution through emergence, transformation and diffusion as required. Thus the organisation and its people can progressively build more complex emergent mental models and solutions in the face of increasingly common unpredictable situations, leading to the capability for organisational adaption and evolution over time. In contributing to the theory of creating and leading adaptive organisations, supported by empirical research, this study has improved our understanding of the effect of the leader’s cognitive capacity on organisational adaptability and the level of entanglement; revealed the links between the creation of adaptive organisational structures and their culture; examined the growth of individual and collective capability to manage the increasing complexity and emergence created by successful adaption and evolution; identified the common elements of various types of complex systems that are relevant to adaptive change; presented a model of emergent logic and described the empirical use of that model over time.
Advisor: Wells, Sam
Finegan, Andrew
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Business School, 2014
Keywords: adaptive organisations; chaordic systems; emergent logic; complex decision making; neurogenesis; cognitive complexity; complex problem solving; intuition and emotion; enabling structures; panarchic systems; systems intelligence; social neuroscience; cognition of leadership; shared mental models; complex human systems; leader skill maturation; enabling structures; requisite complexity; raplexity
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
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