Strategic Management in an Era of Paradigmatic Chaos: Lessons for Managers

By Taneja, Sonia; Pryor, Mildred Golden et al. | International Journal of Management, March 2013 | Go to article overview

Strategic Management in an Era of Paradigmatic Chaos: Lessons for Managers


Taneja, Sonia, Pryor, Mildred Golden, Humphreys, John H., Singleton, Lisa Pryor, International Journal of Management


This article discusses strategic management from the perspectives of chaos theory, systems theory, organizational culture, internal/external turbulence, strategic leadership, and the authors 'model for Strategic Management in Turbulent, Chaotic Environments (Figure 1). Managing chaos is a strategic and tactical leadership imperative which can positively or negatively impact an organization's competitive capability and potential for long-term success and survival. Strategic thinkers should use a strategic management process which is capable of being consistent and improving organizational processes as well. Particular emphasis is given to strategic management in eras of paradigmatic chaos, i.e., in eras that are defined by chaotic, disruptive change.

Introduction

The expected enables stability and helps us live comfortably

The unexpected changes our lives and the lives of organizations.

As strategic leaders, we can build a positive future out of chaos.

Whether it is abrupt and disruptive or a continuing, long-term process, change brings ambiguity and uncertainty and a question relating to management of the uncertainty. Various authors answer this question in different ways. Dolan, Garcia and Auerbach (2003) say that management of uncertainty is important because "uncertainty causes a discomfort, insecurity, and feeling of powerlessness" (p. 26). Kim and Mauborgne (2005) state that "The presence or absence of fair process can make or break a company's best execution efforts" (p. 172). When disruptive and chaotic change becomes an integral part of the fabric of society, it can be referred to as paradigmatic chaos. "A key feature of paradigmatic chaos is what Warren Bennis (1967) calls "temporary society," Peter Drucker (1969) calls the "age of discontinuity," and Charles Handy (1997, 1998) calls the "the age of unreason and beyond certainty" (as cited in Farazmand, 2003: 340). Theories relating to chaos provide a theoretical framework for understanding dynamic environments.

According to Levy (1 994), "Chaos theory is the study of nonlinear dynamic systems in a conceptual framework that reconciles the essential and unpredictability of industries with the emergence of distinctive patterns" (p. 1 67). "The field (Chaos theory) was pioneered by Lorenz (1963 as cited in Levy, 1994: 168) when he studied the dynamics of turbulent flow in fluids." Levy (1 994) also noted that the study of chaos theory is important because it leads to unpredictable outcomes. Burns (2002) suggested that "Chaos has always been the organizing building block of the universe" (44). Therefore, it is a challenge for management scholars to relate the chaos theory with the management theory.

It is important to appreciate the parameters for using chaos theory for evolutionary development in organizations. The question is whether it is possible that chaos strengthens the strategic management of organizations. To answer this question, we must understand systems theory and its relevance in organizations (Sullivan, 2004).

Systems Theory

"Chaos theory searches for structural stability when the precise state of a system becomes utterly unpredictable" (Priesmeyerand & Davis, 1991: 22). "Chaos theory is perhaps better seen as an extension of systems theory" (Katz and Kahn, 1966; Thompson, 1967 as cited in Levy, 1994: 169). Fitzgerald (1999) cautions that "It is this incompleteness of systems theory rather than any glaring errors in principle or practice that consequently thwarts our efforts to facilitate the magnitude of change mandated by the increasingly turbulent marketplace" (p. 231). An organization can change if engaged in a strategic process. The first task is to determine what and where the organization is and where the organization can go from there. Organizational leaders must identify the needs that the organization is attempting to satisfy, whose needs they are, and the value of satisfying those needs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Strategic Management in an Era of Paradigmatic Chaos: Lessons for Managers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.