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Systems, Volume 1, Issue 4 (December 2013), Pages 50-84

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Research

Open AccessArticle Emergence as Mesoscopic Coherence
Systems 2013, 1(4), 50-65; doi:10.3390/systems1040050
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 15 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 27 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose here a formal approach to study collective behaviors intended as coherent sequences of spatial configurations, adopted by agents through various corresponding structures over time. Multiple, simultaneous structures over time and their sequences are called Meta-Structures and establish sequences of
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We propose here a formal approach to study collective behaviors intended as coherent sequences of spatial configurations, adopted by agents through various corresponding structures over time. Multiple, simultaneous structures over time and their sequences are called Meta-Structures and establish sequences of spatial configurations considered as emergent on the basis of coherent criteria chosen and detected by an observer. This coherence is represented by patterns of values of the proper mesoscopic variables adopted, i.e., meta-structural properties. We introduce a formal tool, i.e., the family of mesoscopic general vectors, defined by the observer, able to detect coherent behaviors like ergodic or quasi-ergodic ones. Such approach aims to provide a general framework to study intrinsically stochastic processes where the “universal evolution laws” fail. However, at the same, the system is structured enough to show significant clusters of collective behaviors “invisible to” simple statistics. Full article
Open AccessArticle One Way Forward to Beat the Newtonian Habit with a Complexity Perspective on Organisational Change
Systems 2013, 1(4), 66-84; doi:10.3390/systems1040066
Received: 11 September 2013 / Revised: 14 October 2013 / Accepted: 16 October 2013 / Published: 23 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We face a global crisis of un-sustainability—we need to change trajectory, but have so far displayed a collective inability to do so. This article suggests that one reason for this is our entrenched approach to change, which has inappropriately applied mechanistic Newtonian assumptions
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We face a global crisis of un-sustainability—we need to change trajectory, but have so far displayed a collective inability to do so. This article suggests that one reason for this is our entrenched approach to change, which has inappropriately applied mechanistic Newtonian assumptions to “living” systems. Applying what has been learned about the behaviour of complex adaptive systems, we develop a pragmatic model for students of sustainability, who want to facilitate profound organizational and community change towards sustainability on the ground. Our model, “one way forward”, does not purport to be the only way but one possibility, grounded in a different understanding of the nature and dynamic of change as seen through the lens of complexity. In this way, it challenges more conventional change management practices. One way forward is a model facilitating evolutionary change in a social ecology—one possible expression of a “culture of community self-design” as expressed by Banathy. Its theoretical foundations and its practical application (it is designed for practice) both have their source in a systemic view and in the principles that reflect the paradigm of complexity. Four central components of this new model—envisioning, core messages (values), indicators of progress, and experimentation—are explored in more detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Education for a Sustainable Planet)
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