• 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 should be available by Spring 2020.    Pre-orders can be made for printed copies here.

  • books,  design thinking,  Gary,  interviews,  news,  podcast,  systems

    Social Systems and Design (Springer Verlag, 2014) by Gary Metcalf

    In the opening chapter of his edited volume, Social Systems and Design, out from Springer in 2014, Gary Metcalf asks if it is possible to establish ethical “first principles” for the design of social systems. Inspired by his mentor, Bela Banathy (a giant of the systems field), and pondering the potential levels of influence we might actually have over the evolutionary development of the social systems in which we are all embedded, Metcalf provocatively asks what sorts of goals should we set for ourselves and what sorts of means should we use to achieve them. Book homepage (Individual chapters can be purchased) Read the book review

  • 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.…

  • Gary,  organizational resilience,  publications,  systems

    Dialogue and Ecological Engineering

    The ways in which we envision or understand systems determine much about the ways in which we attempt to affect them. The industrial era created a concept of organizations which mirrored the machines on which it was built. An efficient organization was to run like “ a well-oiled machine.” A clear division of labor improved efficiency and productivity. Frederick Taylor’s program of Scientific Management further optimized each task through isolation and measurement. In work with human organizations and institutions, it appeared that this debate might have been resolved with the shift from a mechanistic to an organismic metaphor view. In reality it only seems to have created additional confusion. Very…