Chaos, Catastrophe, and Human Affairs: Applications of Nonlinear Dynamics to Work, Organizations, and Social Evolution

By Stephen J. Guastello | Go to book overview

Preface

Chaos theory, catastrophe theory, fractal geometry, and nonlinear dynamic systems theory all originated as mathematical ventures with their eyes pointed at problems in physics and engineering. Collectively, they grabbed the scientific community by the face with discoveries showing not only that their principles were all interrelated, but that the emerging theory portended to clarify a wide range of human issues and to untangle a logjam of theoretical problems in the social sciences.

This book is about some of my favorite logs that have to do with the psychology of people at work--with their machines, their management on both sides of the social hierarchy, their exposure to accidents and other health hazards, how they use their imaginations and forces that stifle them, and some of the radical shifts in the societies that they live and work in. The social theories suddenly become more organized and unified than ever before.

The topics covered in this book, apart from the core mathematical theories, are centered around my own work on catastrophe and chaos theory applications to human problems in industry since 1980. I have included mention of the work of other reseachers on the same or similar topics in hopes of pulling together a comprehensive and cohesive mosaic of theory and application. A substiantial number of the studies summarized here have been published in journals, and the descriptions of methods and details of results are available for inspection in the references cited.

As anyone might surmise, I have rethought many of my earlier ideas and I feel the same way that I initially did about most of them. In addition,

-ix-

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Chaos, Catastrophe, and Human Affairs: Applications of Nonlinear Dynamics to Work, Organizations, and Social Evolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments x
  • 1 - An Invitation to Chaos 1
  • Summary 10
  • 2 - Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Theory 11
  • Summary 57
  • 3 - Metaphors, Easter Bunnies, Modeling, and Verification 59
  • Summary 97
  • 4 - Nds, Human Decision Making, and Cognitive Processes 99
  • Summary 123
  • 5 - Dynamics of Motivation and Conflict 124
  • Summary 173
  • 6 - Stress and Human Performance 175
  • 7 - Accidents and Risk Analysis 205
  • Summary 231
  • 8 - Stress-Related Illness 232
  • Summary 256
  • 9 - The Evolution of Human Systems 257
  • Summary 298
  • 10 - Innovation, Creativity, and Complexity 301
  • Summary 328
  • 11 - The Dynamical Nature of Organizational Development 329
  • Summary 365
  • 12 - Chaos, Revolution, and War 367
  • Epilogue: Nothing Stops These Elephants 395
  • References 402
  • Author Index 426
  • Subject Index 435
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