Compare "Chpt. 7: chaos and the strange attractor of meaning" and "Chpt. 8: Change- The Capacity of Life" of leadership and the new science with the intuitive manager and on the profession of management books

| April 25, 2014

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Please compare chapters 7 and 8 of Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley
Chpt. 7: chaos and the strange attractor of meaning
•When the chaotic movements of a system form themselves into a shape, we call it a strange attractor (p. 116) Strange attractors: self portraits drawn by a chaotic system… Estimates are that there are only about two dozen different strange attractors.” (p. 123)
•“Chaos is the last state before a system plunges into random behavior where no order exists. Not all systems move into chaos, but if a system becomes unstable, it will move first into a period of oscillation, swinging back and forth between two different states. After this oscillating stage, the next state is chaos, where everything should fall apart, the strange attractor emerges, and we observe order, not chaos.” (p.117)
•“… scientists have developed new ways of observing the system’s wild and rich behavior. Its behavior is displayed in an abstract mathematical space called phase space. In phase space, scientists can track a system’s movement in many more dimensions than was previously possible. Shapes that could not be seen in only two dimensions now appear, dancing on the screen, luminous and enticing.” (p.188)
•“Chaos theory studies a particular variety of chaos, known as deterministic chaos… Is this a deterministic world where our lives are predetermined? But if this is true, what about free will?” (p. 120) Wheatley argues that the general shape of system is bounded, but the individual movements are unpredictable.
•“Fractals describe any object or form created rom repeating patterns evident at many levels of scale. There are an infinite number of fractals, both natural and man-made.” (p. 123)
•Fractal questions:
•How complex is the system? What are its distinguishing shapes? How do its patterns differ from other systems?
•By p. 129-130, she gets into applying fractals to social systems and organizations. This feels overly deterministic to my and I don’t buy it.
Chpt. 8: Change- The Capacity of Life
•“A system is composed of parts, but we cannot understand a system by looking only at its parts. We need to work with the whole of a system.” (p.139)
•“the organization of a living system bears no resemblance to organization charts. Life uses networks: we still rely on boxes. But even as we are drawing our boxes, people are ignoring them and organizing as life does, through networks of relationships.” (p.144)
•“Although we see change at the material level, it is caused by process that are immaterial. We must look for these invisible processes rather than the things they engender.” (p. 153)
to On the profession of management by Peter Drucker and the Intuitive Manager by Roy Rowan.
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