Organizations and Chaos: Defining the Methods of Nonlinear Management

Organizations and Chaos: Defining the Methods of Nonlinear Management

Organizations and Chaos: Defining the Methods of Nonlinear Management

Organizations and Chaos: Defining the Methods of Nonlinear Management

Synopsis

This unique book brings chaos theory out of the physics laboratory and into the business boardroom; it demonstrates how chaos theory can be applied to the practical world of business. Priesmeyer takes a fresh look at management in organizations using a unique method of displaying nonlinearity in common business data. He shares a simple procedure for displaying chaotic systems with the reader and the result is an entirely new perspective on marketing, finance, production, and human resource issues. The book is unique because it avoids any difficult mathematics and still delivers very practical applications for managers of all types. In some cases the implications for specific jobs such as that of a retail store manager, a sales manager, and a counselor are discussed in detail.

Excerpt

Organizations are nonlinear systems and they should be managed using the tools provided by chaos theory. That is the central theme of this book. Here is an explanation of how chaos theory can be made practical for managers in boardrooms, marketing departments, and production. Here is a discussion of chaos theory that directly relates its implications to business. It answers the question "How can you apply chaos theory to business?"

There seems to be at least three fundamental approaches to the study of chaos. The most common one is to take some mathematical equation and use it to generate interesting fractal patterns. A second approach is to explore the purely mathematical questions chaos theory provides. A third approach, and the one taken in this book, is a practical one--it takes real corporate performance data and reveals the underlying chaotic behavior. The images offered in the text provide the substance necessary for meaningful discussions on chaos in organizations.

The text is divided into three parts. Three chapters in Part I provide an introduction to chaos theory, a discussion of the methodology used throughout the book, and a discussion on interpreting phase planes and marginal history charts--the products of this analysis. Part II takes a functional approach to business applications. There are chapters of marketing, finance, production, and human resources. In each of these functional chapters you will find examples on how chaos theory can be applied to common ideas in the field. For example, the chapter on marketing applies chaos theory to product life cycles, distribution, and market share analysis. The chapter on production shows how chaos theory can be used to improve quality.

Part III applies chaos theory to decision-making in an organization. A chapter on forecasting introduces the reader to a concept called visioning . . .

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