• books,  design thinking,  Gary

    A Dark Matter of Memory: Adding fiction novel to our repertoire

    I’ve recently published a novel, A Dark Matter of Memory.  It explores the possibility that dark matter (which is a placeholder for unknown parts of the universe) might retain patterns of history.  Not only was it a great deal of fun to write, it’s also a different way of approaching social systems design.  What possibilities can we imagine, which might then shape the work that creates them? “A Dark Matter of Memory is a love story set in a future beyond nation-states. Alfred Medupe, a young scientist from the African Region, is exploring the possibility of finding memory in dark matter. Then a tragedy makes his search more personal. Is…

  • books,  Gary,  publications,  systems

    Handbook of Systems Sciences

    The Handbook of Systems Sciences in nearing completion.  It is published by Springer in their reference series.  The book consists of 49 chapters covering a range of theories and applications related to systems, cybernetics and complexity.  The online / living edition can be found here , where individual chapters can be purchased and downloaded.  The print version will be available by July 2021.    Pre-orders can be made for printed copies here.

  • climate change,  Gary,  publications

    The complexity of climate change and the need for policies of resilience

    Forthcoming in the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems *** Abstract:  The challenges presented by climate change may be the most complex issues humans have faced.  It is critical to capture that complexity in ways that can be understood across disciplines.  Equally daunting is the task of developing policies which can translate into actions.  Scientifically, humans need to cease all use of fossil fuels as soon as possible.  Feasibly, that could wreak havoc on global economies.  This paper explores the design of policies which could move human societies towards resilient and biophysically sustainable systems.  The petrochemical industry is considered as an example for change. Introduction There is arguably no more…

  • climate change,  Gary,  publications

    Complex systems science whitepaper (excerpts)

    There are numerous, in-depth reports about climate change from scientific communities and governmental committees.  Some of the most prominent are listed at the end of this paper.  Many reports detail the causes and outcomes of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and rising atmospheric temperatures.  Others, such as the 2018 special report by the IPCC, provide detailed scenarios for potential mitigation (slowing or ceasing CO2 emissions within given timeframes) and interventions (such as removing CO2 from the atmosphere.)  Due to the extent of existing climate science, this paper will focus on issues related to next steps, particularly with respect to human use of energy.  What would it mean to cease use of fossil…

  • executive coaching,  Gary,  publications,  Teresa,  toxic workplace

    Toxic Leadership in Context

    A sizeable body of research and other literature has been developing about toxic leadership and workplace bullying. Our earlier work found distinctions between tough bosses and true bullies in the workplace. A later study showed that military officers were able to clearly identify differences between tough but effective leaders, and toxic leaders. That work was extended into the organizational climates which seem to promote toxic leaders and bullies. Other colleagues have explored potentials for changes in bullying behavior through executive coaching interventions, noting that some executives simply lack awareness of their behaviors, or the effects on those around them. The focus of this paper is the synthesis of earlier findings,…

  • executive coaching,  HR Investigations,  publications,  toxic workplace

    Are You a Toxic Leader or Just a Tough Boss?

    By Teresa A. Daniel, JD, PhD and Gary S. Metcalf, PhD As scholar-practitioners, this question has consumed our research agenda for the past several years. In an attempt to find answers, we have completed studies both in the corporate sector [i] and in a military environment (in this case, the U.S. Army). [ii] But what is it that toxic leaders do and why, you might be asking, should anyone care? Isn’t this just the newest buzzword in a long line of “hot” topics? Toxic Leaders—Who They Are and What They Do Whether they are labeled as toxic leaders (in a military context) or workplace bullies (in a corporate environment), they…

  • Gary,  organizational resilience,  publications,  systems

    Adaptive Capacity in Project Teams (Edson & Metcalf)

    Organizational resilience has become critical in today’s environment. According to Engelhardt and Simmons (2002): “The need for organizational flexibility to accommodate a changing world is well understood. Today’s high-velocity and competitive markets apply added pressure to adapt rapidly and perform at high levels. Technology is opening up new ways to compete while making old ways obsolete. These trends are recognized in strategic management theories that focus on constant change and speed” (p. 113). Some project teams were adept at overcoming adversity, while others were not. The project teams that adapted to environmental constraints were able to modify their behaviors to meet goals without losing their function, while others were not.…

  • executive coaching,  Gary,  HR consulting,  publications,  Teresa

    Taming the Beast

    Although their approach is widely criticized, it is fair to say that bullies represent a functional part of many organizations. They come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and both genders. Bullying is targeted and abusive behavior. It is personally destructive and should have nothing to do with advancing legitimate organizational goals. Despite its negative connotations, though, anyone who works in an American corporation can easily see that arrogant and abusive leaders are frequently rewarded with promotions, increased pay and bonuses, as well as more power and influence. In a nutshell—bullying pays off. This paper will examine the ways American corporations unwittingly conspire to make workplace bullying a rational…

  • Gary,  HR consulting,  news,  publications,  research,  Teresa

    Executive Perceptions about the Effectiveness of HR

    In 2012, a study was initiated to examine how senior leaders in organizations throughout North America perceive the effectiveness of human resources professionals. The overarching objective of the study was to identify the issues most responsible for creating conflict between executives and HR practitioners in an effort to improve the working relationship going forward. The study utilized a mixed-methods approach based on research conducted across three strategies of inquiry: (1) semi-structured interviews, typically lasting between 60 to 90 minutes, with 18 corporate executives located throughout North America; (2) surveys of 171 HR professionals conducted in two separate groups; and (3) a comprehensive review of the relevant literature. Six strategies emerged…