We are all traveling along narrow paths, balancing between order and disorder, where to remain in balance - that is, to stay alive - we must walk on the ridge of the edge of chaos, careful not to fall into too much order (death by fossilization) or too much disorder (death by disintegration). Life is in an intermediate zone between order and disorder which is the area of complexity.
The essay collects the contributions of various authors who reflect on how we can navigate precisely in complexity and bring to port the ships of our enterprises. The red thread that binds the authors' contributions is complexity theory, that is an interconnected set of hypotheses, statements and propositions aimed at understanding systems characterized by properties such as emergence from below, self-organization, nonlinearity, variety, variability, interdependence, uncertainty and indeterminacy. These properties are typical of complex systems such as organizations, enterprises and markets. Complexity sciences applied to management can be metaphorically considered as the "baptism" of management, where the "original sin" of management can be ascribed to an original mechanistic conception of social and economic phenomena. The authors address the evolution of business and managerial models on three different conceptual levels: managerial, economic and symbolic/narrative. The first chapter of the book focuses on the meaning and implications of the brink of chaos in management, the second on the ambidextrous management of businesses, the third on how the role of managers is changing in complex organizations, the fourth on the use of the systems approach, the fifth on the light and dark sides of the ongoing digital revolution, and the sixth on narrative as a tool for communication and change management.
Dedicated to the wise men who know how to live on the edge of chaos.