Resources (Information) Page


Complex Systems Research Centre at Cranfield

Complexity Science for the Real World

Complexity group at the LSE

Agile actors on complex terrains Presentations by Professor Graham Room, University of Bath

Geoff Hodgson Evolutionary economist, University of Hertfordshire

Complexity and Management at the University of Hertfordshire

Duncan Green’s blog at Oxfam (linked to items on complexity)

Synthesis Complexity economics, Greg Fisher and Paul Ormerod

Aid on the Edge of Chaos

Keri Phillips (long standing colleague, specialises in coaching)

Phil Lowe (long standing colleague, specialises in leadership development)


Recommended Reading

Not all these books and articles refer explicitly to complexity (eg Tipping Point, the Innovators Dilemma) but I have included them as I think they do illustrate complexity principles such as the dynamics of collapse (eg Collapse, the Upside of Down) – even if the author does not use complexity language. And some focus on the problems of the so-called mechanical paradigm – assuming predictability, or assuming ideas of ‘rational economic man’ (Veblen) or assuming working to rules leads to expert behaviour (Flyvbjerg) and why we ever came to think the world behaved like a machine (Return to Reason).

Books to explore the ideas

Ball,P. (2004) Critical Mass FSG

Briggs, J. and F. D. Peat (1999). Seven Life Lessons of Chaos, Harper Perennial.

Diamond, J. M. (2005). Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. US, Viking Press.

Gladwell, M. (2000). The Tipping Point, Little Brown.

Homer-Dixon (2006). The Upside of Down, Souvenir Press.

Pratt, J., P. Gordon, et al. (2005). Working Whole Systems: putting theory into practice in organisations, Radcliffe Publishing.

Complexity texts

Allen, P. (2011). Editorial. Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management P. Allen, S Maguire and Bill McKelvey, Sage.

Allen, P. and J. Boulton (2011). Complexity and limits to knowledge: the importance of uncertainty. The Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management. P. Allen, S. Maquire and B. McKelvey, Sage.

Allen, P. and L. Varga (2007). Complexity; the co-evolution of epistemology, axiology and ontology Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences 11(1): 19-50.

Cilliers, P. (1998). Complexity and Postmodernism. London and New York, Routledge.

Richardson, K. A. and P. Cilliers (2001). What is complexity science? A view from different directions. Emergence 3(1): 5-22.

Scheffer, M. (2009). Critical Transitions in Nature and Society. Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press.

Stacey, R. (2001). Complex Responsive Processes in Organizations: Learning and Knowledge Creation, Routledge.

von Bertalanffy, L. (1969). General Systems Theory, George Brazillier.

Westley, Zimmerman, et al. (2006). Getting to Maybe: How the world is changed, Random House, Canada.

Complexity and Economics

Beinhocker, E. D. (2007). The Origin of Wealth, Random House.

Boulton, J. (2010). Complexity Theory and Implications for Policy DevelopmentEmergence: Complexity and Organisation 12(2): 31-41.

Boulton, J (2010) Why is economics not an evolutionary science?Emergence: Complexity and Organisation Volume 12, Number 2

Bronk, R. (2009). The Romantic Economist, Cambridge University Press.

Lawson, T. (2004). Modern Economics: the problem and a solution. A Guide to What’s Wrong with Economics. E. Fulbrook, Anthem Press.

Complexity, Strategy and Organisations

Boulton, J. and P. Allen (2007). Complexity PerspectiveAdvanced Strategic Management: A Multi-perspective approach. M. Jenkins and V. Ambrosini, Palgrave Macmillan.

Boulton, J. (2012). Strategy for a Complex World. The New Strategic Landscape: Innovative Perspectives on Strategy. J. Verity, Palgrave Macmillan.

Geels, F. (2005). The Dynamics of Transitions in Socio-technical Systems: A Multi-level Analysis of the Transition Pathway from Horse-drawn Carriages to Automobiles (1860-1930). Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 17 (4): 445-476.

Christensen, C. (1997). The Innovator’s Dilemma, Harvard Business School Press.

Simpson, P. (2011). Complexity and Change Management: Analyzing Church Leaders’ Narratives. 4th conference on rhetoric and narrative in management research, JOCM.

Suchman, A. (2002). An Introduction to Complex Responsive Process: Theory and Implications for Organizational Change Initiatives, University of Hertfordshire.

Complexity and Social Science

Burns, D. (2007). Systemic Action Research, Policy Press.

Byrne, D. (1998). Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences, Routledge.

Byrne, D. (2011). Exploring Organizational Effectiveness: The Value of Complex Realism as a Frame of Reference and Systematic Comparison as a Method. The SAGE Handbook of Complexity and Management. P. Allen, S. Maquire and B. McKelvey, SAGE: 131-141.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making Social Science Matter, Cambridge University Press.

Room, G. (2011). Complexity, Institutions and Public Policy, Edward Elgar.

Zimmerman, B., C. Lindberg, et al. (1998). Lessons from Complexity Science for Health Care Leaders. Dallas, Edware.

Complexity and Development

Bevan, P. (2009). Working with cases in development contexts; some insights from an outlier. The Sage Handbook of Case-based Methods. D. B. a. C. Ragin. London, SAGE.

Johnson, S. (2011). Understanding Kenya’s Financial Landscape: the missing social dimension. FSD Kenya(17).

Guilt, I. (2007). Assessing and Learning for Social Change: A Discussion Paper. Institute. of Development Studies.

Jones, H. (2011). Taking Responsibility for complexity; how implementation can achieve results in the face of complex problems. ODI Working Papers(330).

Jones, H. (2011). Taking Responsibility for Complexity – when is a policy problem complexODI Working Paper(68).

Patton, M. Q. (2010). Developmental Evaluation, Guildford Press.

Ramalingen, B. and H. Jones (2008). Exploring the science of complexity: ideas and implications for development and humanitarian efforts. ODI Working Paper(285).

Roetman, E. (2011). Working paper 11. International Initiative for Impact Evaluation.

Complexity and Worldviews

Brockman, M. (1997). A New Science of Qualities:: A Talk with Brian Goodwin.

Kauffman, S. A. (2008). Reinventing the Sacred, Basic Books.

Loy, D. (2003). The Great Awakening: a Buddhist Social Theory, Wisdom.

Reason, P. (1998). Towards a Participatory Worldview Resurgence 168: 42-50.

Reason, P. and H. Bradbury, Eds. (2001). Handbook of Action Research, Sage. Introduction

Toulmin, S. (2001). Return to Reason, Harvard University Press.

Classic texts

Allen, P. (1976). Evolution, population dynamics and stability. Proc. Nat. Acad Sci USA 73(3): 665-668.

Allen, P. and W. Ebeling (1983). Evolution and the Stochastic Description of Simple Ecosystems. Biosystems 16: 113-126.

Hodgson, G. (1998). On the evolution of Thorstein Veblen’s evolutionary economics Cambridge Journal of Economics 22: 415-431.

Prigogine, I. (1996). Science, reason and passion Leonardo 29(1): 39-42.

Smuts, J. (1999). Holism and Evolution, Sierra Sunrise Publishing. (first written in 1926)

Veblen, T. (1898). Why is economics not an evolutionary science? The Quarterly Journal of Economics.