Generative Complexity

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Bonnita Roy:

"We can think of many people working together as co-composing a natural power matrix.

People automatically, spontaneously, subconsciously and naturally are always negotiating their relationships between themselves and others within this matrix. This is the basic principle that drives all life and results in the exchange of energies that generates complexity. Without asymmetry, there would be no life, no change. The world would be static, dead, non-existent. Consider the fox and the rabbit — each has their own needs/wants and skills/resources. The eventual outcome of their interaction will emerge from this asymmetric interplay. In the same way, the outcome of people coming together is not predetermined, but plays out depending upon the way that the asymmetry in needs/wants and skills/resources gets negotiated. This is what we might call the “prime directive” in organizational life.

The kind of generative complexity that occurs as a result of this interplay is different than the kinds of escalating complexity that we call “playing politics” in the office. Generative complexity creates new structures which are themselves generative of new emergent capacities." (