Coping with emergence in teams and organisations

Fraser Bruce, Seaton Baxter, Sean Kingsley

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper draws on two independent research studies. In the first study, Bruce examined the informal networks of a small to medium-sized medical device organisation. By applying the technique of Social Network Analysis (SNA), a diagnostic tool for visually mapping and measuring human relationships, important insights were derived relevant to the relationships likely to facilitate or restrict cohesion. Equipped with accurate representations of the informal organisational structures (or working networks), it was found that those aspects of the networks, which would be conducive to convergence and novelty, were weak. In the second study, Kingsley experimented with two small groups in a design problem-solving activity. He explored the possibility of different effects on group cohesion that result from alternative prototyping situations. It was found that the prototyping environment influenced the cohesion of the groups. The paper discusses these two studies in relation to theoretical aspects of complexity and emergence and the role of convergence in design organisations. It considers emergence as the origin of combinatorial or radical novelty and considers the idea of convergence and its role in coping with emergent situations. The importance of cohesion in systems is noted. The paper concludes with recommendations. Evidence: Published conference proceedings containing paper
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    Eventdesign2business - 1st International Design Management Symposium - Shanghai, China
    Duration: 17 Mar 200619 Mar 2006


    Conferencedesign2business - 1st International Design Management Symposium
    Abbreviated titleD2B
    Internet address


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