The Strength of Weak Ties

The Strength of Weak Ties

Key Terms

  • Loosly Coupled Systems
  • Weak Ties
  • Strong Ties
  • Connections
  • Networks
  • Diffusion
  • Lockdown
  • Isolation
  • Quarantine
  • Separation
  • Preferences
  • Epidemiology
  • Tightly Coupled Systems
  • Slack
  • Buffer
  • Communities in Networks
  • Ties
  • Borders
  • Boundaries
  • Brokers
  • Boundary Spanners
  • Cooperation
  • Competition
  • Divisions
  • Risks
  • Contagion
  • Interconnectedness
  • Clusters

The Strength of Weak Ties is quite a relevant topic currently due to focus on

  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Spread of Diseases
  • Global Supply Chains
  • Community Formation in Networks
  • Communication in Networks
  • Relations between Groups
  • Resilience
  • Risks and Fragility
  • Contagion and Spillovers

The Strength of Weak Ties

Mark Granovetter

The Strength of Weak Ties – Continued

My Related Posts

Boundaries and Networks

Contagion in Financial (Balance sheets) Networks

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Boundaries and Distinctions

Boundary Spanning in Multinational and Transnational Corporations

FDI vs Outsourcing: Extending Boundaries or Extending Network Chains of Firms

Global Flow of Funds: Statistical Data Matrix across National Boundaries

Balance Sheets, Financial Interconnectedness, and Financial Stability – G20 Data Gaps Initiative

Micro Motives, Macro Behavior: Agent Based Modeling in Economics

Multiplex Financial Networks

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

On Holons and Holarchy

Networks and Hierarchies

Key Sources of Research

The Strength of Weak Ties

Mark Gronovetter

The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, No. 6. (May, 1973), pp. 1360-1380

Click to access granovetterTies.pdf



Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 36, Issue 3, FALL 1972, Pages 361–366,

Published: 01 January 1972

The Future of Weak Ties

Aral, Sinan. “The Future of Weak Ties.”

American Journal of Sociology 121, no. 6 (May 2016): 1931–1939.


Attention on Weak Ties in Social and Communication Networks

Lilian Weng, Ma ́rton Karsai, Nicola Perra, Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini


Algebraic Analysis of Social Networks: Models, Methods and Applications Using R

By J. Antonio R. Ostoic

A test of structural features of granovetter’s strength of weak ties theory

Noah Friedkin

Department of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, U.S.A.

Social Networks
Volume 2, Issue 4, 1980, Pages 411-422

Social network Analysis
Lecture 5–Strength of weak ties paradox

Donglei Du

Faculty of Business Administration, University of New Brunswick, NB Canada Fredericton E3B 9Y2 (

Click to access Lec5_weak_tie_handout.pdf


Mark Granovetter


Sociological Theory, Vol. 1 (1983), pp. 201-233
John Wiley & Sons .

Social Interactions and Well-Being: The Surprising Power of Weak Ties

Gillian M. Sandstrom, Elizabeth W. Dunn
First Published April 25, 2014

Information Flow Through Strong and Weak Ties in Intraorganizational Social Networks

Noah E Friedkin


Social Networks 3, 1982

Click to access SNIflow.PDF

Time varying networks and the weakness of strong ties

Márton KarsaiNicola PerraAlessandro Vespignani

Strong and Weak Ties

Web Science (VU) (707.000)

Elisabeth Lex
KTI, TU Graz
April 20, 2015

Click to access strongweakties.pdf

Communication boundaries in networks

Trusina, Ala 

Rosvall, Martin 

Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.

Sneppen, Kim 

2005 (English)

In: Physical Review Letters, ISSN 0031-9007, E-ISSN 1079-7114, Vol. 94, no 23, p. 238701-

Single, Double, and Triple Loop Organizational Learning

Single, Double, and Triple Loop Organizational Learning

Key Terms

  • Learning
  • Organizational Learning
  • Chris Argyris
  • David Schon
  • Peter Senge
  • Single Loop Learning
  • Double Loop Learning
  • Triple Loop Learning
  • Quadruple Loop Learning
  • Error Correction
  • Feedback Loop
  • Gregory Bateson
  • Action Learning
  • Cybernetic Loop
  • Reflexivity
  • Reflection and Learning
  • Systems Thinking
  • Cause and Effects
  • Organizational Adaptability
  • Organizational Culture
  • Theory In Use Models I and II
  • Action Science
  • Ed Schein
  • Levels of Learning
  • Planning as Learning
  • Cybernetics
  • Second Order Cybernetics
  • Third Order Cybernetics
  • Perceptual Flaws
  • Cognitive Learning
  • Hierarchical Planning
  • Management Control Systems
  • Management Planning and Control Systems
  • Planning and Control Systems
  • Manufacturing Planning and Control Systems
  • Advanced Planning Systems (APS)
  • Balanced Scorecards
  • Strategic Management
  • Social Learning
  • Learning to Plan, Planning to learn
  • Deutero Learning
  • Meta Learning
  • Explicit Knowledge
  • Tacit Knowledge

Single and Double Loop Learning

Source: Deradicalization through Double-Loop Learning? How the Egyptian Gamaa Islamiya Renounced Violence

Argyris and Schon thereby start with the assumption that “all deliberate action ha[s] a cognitive basis, that it reflect[s] norms, strategies, and assumptions or models of the world.”21 These mental models work as a “frame of reference” which determine expectations regarding cause and effect relationships between actions and outcomes.22 According to Argyris and Schon, organizational learning becomes necessary when there is an “error,” a mismatch between intended outcomes of strategies of action and actual results; consequently, they define learning as the “detection and correction of error.”23 This correction of errors happens through a continuous process of organizational inquiry of varying depth. Argyris and Schon distinguish two types of learning:24 In single-loop learning systems, the detection and correction of error connects the outcome in a single loop only to strategies of action whereas the governing variables remain unchanged. In double-loop learning systems, a double feedback loop “connects the detection of error not only to strategies and assumptions for effective performance, but to the very norms which define effective performance.”25 Hence, double-loop learning modifies the governing variables underlying objectives.

Single-loop learning to increase the effectiveness of actions is the dominant response to error and ingrained in routine procedures in any organization. Unfortunately, due to organizational inertia and a tendency to become defensive when confronted with failure, organizations have a tendency to produce learning systems that inhibit double-loop learning that would question their objectives and governing variables.26 Single-loop learning systems are characterized by attempts to increase effectiveness without questioning norms underlying objectives. When organizations initiate change to curb activities under existing norms, a conflict in the norms themselves can emerge. For example, requirements for change can come into conflict with the requirement of predictability.27 Argyris and Schon suggest that in order to double-loop learn, leaders must first recognize the conflict between conflicting requirements itself. They must become aware that they cannot correct the error by doing better what they already know how to do. They must engage in deep organizational inquiry: in this process the focus has to shift from learning concerned with improvement in the performance of organizational tasks to inquiry through which an organization explores and restructures the values and criteria through which it defines what it means by improved performance.28 This is often inherently conflictual. Double-loop learning can namely be inhibited when norms are undiscussable within organizations. That leaders may be unaware of the conflict between conflicting requirements may be one reason why norms become undiscussable within organizations, leading to a double-bind situation for individuals. If they expose an error, they question covert or unquestionable norms. If they do not expose an error, they perpetuate a process that inhibits organizational learning.29 Individuals thus face lose/losepage6image1381222848

STUDIES IN CONFLICT & TERRORISM 5 situations in which the rules of the game are not open to discussion.30 Commonly,

organizational norms also make the double binds themselves undiscussable:

Such procedure means that the very information needed to detect and correct errors becomes undiscussable. If one wanted to design a strategy to inhibit double-loop learning and to encourage error, a better one could not be found.31

Argyris and Schon conclude that organizations have a tendency to produce learning systems that inhibit double-loop learning as it would question their objective and norms.32 Double binds indicate such single-loop learning systems. Does the lack of cognitive abilities, as well as perceptual flaws, explain why individuals become locked in double binds, and why learning in organizations becomes inhibited? According to Argyris and Schon, the problem lies with organizational defenses that lead to a lack of error perception, rendering errors uncorrectable. Defensive organizational routines come into play when threatening or embarrassing issues arise, preventing lessons from being learned.33 Defensive routines – such as sending mixed messages or being overly diplomatic – are frequently activated when they are most counterproductive. Defensive routines can create binds:

On the one hand, […] [p]articipants are not supposed to bypass errors. Moreover, the bypass is undiscussable […] On the other hand, if the errors, their undiscussability, and the cover-ups surface, the participants are subject to criticism … 34

Defensive routines therefore prevent members of organizations from discovering the root causes of the problem and lead to paradoxes because individuals design inconsistencies of meaning and camouflage them by producing mixed messages: “to be consistent, act inconsistently, and act as if that is not the case.”35 A second consequence is that people start creating attributions to make sense of other peoples’ actions – attributions which are frequently wrong but remain unquestioned. As a result, reactions lead to unintended consequences. So why do people create consequences that contradict their intentions?36 Argyris and Schon consider that people are responsible for their actions, and that individuals who deny responsibility usually put the blame on others.37

In contrast, in double-loop learning systems productive reasoning takes place, following a logic that is not self-referential, where people take responsibility, acknowledge when there is a mismatch between intention and outcome, share awareness of organizational dilemmas, engage such conflicts through inquiry, and decrease double binds.38 In this second learning loop, the focus shifts from learning how to better accomplish tasks within a given frame of reference to learning what to do by questioning the frame of reference itself.39 In other words, while single-loop learning focuses on improving what an organization already does, or “doing the things right,” double-loop learning is concerned with what organizations ought to do, or “doing the right things.”40 However, Argyris and Schon find only limited empirical evidence for double-loop learning systems and remark that it depicts an ideal type that can be approached, making it possible to speak of organizations learning in a more or less double-loop way.41 The dynamics described above explain how double-loop systems become inhibited and how people hide their responsibility by blaming the environment for their inability to double-loop learn. Argyris and Schon also address intervention strategies that help organizations approach double-loop learning. One tool is the drawing of a diagnostic map describing how the organization learns. Such a map, they suggest, can help with predictions if certain changes were to be implemented,42 and can be used to depict alternative scenarios and their consequences.

Single Loop Learning

Source: Wikipedia

Double Loop Learning

Source: Wikipedia

Single and Double Loop Learning

Triple Loops of Learning

Source: The origins and conceptualizations of ‘triple-loop’ learning: A critical review

Many scholars have considered the concept of organizational learning as a dichotomy. In its basic, primary form they have described it as action oriented, routine and incremental, occurring within existing (mental) frameworks, norms, policies and rules. In the face of profound change in organizational environments, these scholars argue that a qualitatively distinct, secondary form of learning is necessary. This aims to change the (mental) frameworks, norms, policies and routines underlying day-to-day actions and routines (Cope, 2003).

This dichotomy has been expressed in a variety of terms: single-loop and double-loop (e.g. Argyris and Schön, 1974); lower-level and higher-level (Fiol and Lyles, 1985); first-order and second-order (Arthur and Aiman-Smith, 2001); exploitation and exploration (Levinthal and March, 1993; March, 1991); incremental and radical (Miner and Mezias, 1996); and adaptive and generative learning (Senge, 1990). Although these dichotomous terms stem from different perspectives on organizational learning, a reasonable consensus seems to have been established that they refer to comparable learning processes and outcomes (Argyris, 1996; Arthur and Aiman-Smith, 2001; Miner and Mezias, 1996). Thus, as defined by Argyris (1999: 68), single-loop learning occurs ‘whenever an error is detected and corrected without questioning or altering the underlying values of the system’, and double-loop learning occurs ‘when mismatches are corrected by first examining and altering the governing variables and then the actions’.

A number of authors have conceived of a further type of organizational learning, for which the most prominent term is ‘triple-loop’ learning (Flood and Romm, 1996; Isaacs, 1993; Romme and Van Witteloostuijn, 1999; Snell and Chak, 1998; Swieringa and Wierdsma, 1992; Yuthas et al., 2004). Typically, this is described as additional to, and metaphorically at a ‘higher’ or ‘deeper’ level than, primary and secondary forms of learning, the metaphor implying that this level has greater significance and profundity. Yet, in spite of its perceived importance, conceptualizations of this form of learning do not always make clear how it differs from, or relates to, primary or secondary forms. Scholars of organizational learning might look first to Argyris and Schön; significantly, though, we have established that whilst triple-loop learning has been inspired by Argyris and Schön, the term does not appear explicitly in their published work.

Within this we explore the original work of Argyris and Schön, and of the anthropologist and cybernetician Gregory Bateson, the major influences cited by authors who propose these conceptualizations. This enables us to make a theoretical contribution through identifying three distinct conceptualizations of triple-loop learning. These are:

A. a level beyond, and considered by proponents to be superior to, Argyris and Schön’s single-loop and double-loop learning;

B. an equivalent to Argyris and Schön’s (1978, 1996) concept of ‘deutero-learning’;

C. a proposed third level inspired by Bateson’s (1973)1 framework of levels of learning (specifically ‘Learning III’).

We discuss why these conceptualizations should be regarded as distinct from each other, and highlight some implications for practice.

Source: The origins and conceptualizations of ‘triple-loop’ learning: A critical review

Source: Levels of learning: hither and whither

Source: Coping with Uncertainty in River Management: Challenges and Ways Forward

Source: TOOL | Single, Double and Triple Loop Learning

Quadruple Loops of Learning

Source: Policy learning and crisis policy-making: quadruple-loop learning and COVID-19 responses in South Korea

Levels of Learning

Source: The origins and conceptualizations of ‘triple-loop’ learning: A critical review

Org. Culture, Learning, Performance

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture

Source:A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture



Source: Approaches for Organizational Learning: A Literature Review

Management Planning and Control Systems

Source: Performance management: a framework for management control systems research

Hierarchical Production Planning and Control

Source: A bibliography of Hierarchical Production Planning

Production Planning and Control Systems

Source: Google Images

Strategic, Tactical, and Operational Decisions

Source: Hierarchical Production Planning / Bitran/Tirupati/1989

My Related Posts

Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Recursive Vision of Gregory Bateson

Cybernetics, Autopoiesis, and Social Systems Theory

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

Second Order Cybernetics of Heinz Von Foerster

Feedback Thought in Economics and Finance

Third and Higher Order Cybernetics

Systems and Organizational Cybernetics

Hierarchical Planning: Integration of Strategy, Planning, Scheduling, and Execution

Hierarchy Theory in Biology, Ecology and Evolution

Jay W. Forrester and System Dynamics

Production and Distribution Planning : Strategic, Global, and Integrated

Key Sources of Research

Triple-loop learning : theoretical framework, methodology & illustration

(An example from the railway sector)

Guillaume BarbatPhilippe BoigeyIsabelle Jehan

Dans Projectics / Proyéctica / Projectique 2011/2-3 (n°8-9), pages 129 à 141

What is Social Learning?

Author(s): Mark S. Reed, Anna C. Evely, Georgina Cundill, Ioan Fazey, Jayne Glass, Adele Laing, Jens Newig, Brad Parrish, Christina Prell, Chris Raymond and Lindsay C. Stringer

Source: Ecology and Society , Dec 2010, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Dec 2010) Published by: Resilience Alliance Inc.

Stable URL:

The learning organization and the level of consciousness 

Ricardo Chiva

Policy learning and crisis policy-making: quadruple-loop learning and COVID-19 responses in South Korea

Sabinne Leea, Changho Hwangb and M. Jae Moonc

aAssociate Research Fellow, Korea Institute of Public Administration, Seoul, South Korea; 

bAssistant Professor, Dong-A University, Busan, South Korea; 

cCollege of Social Science, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

2020, VOL. 39, NO. 3, 363–381

“A systemic approach to processes of power in learning organizations: Part I – literature, theory, and methodology of triple loop learning”,

Robert L. Flood, Norma R.A. Romm, (2018)

The Learning Organization, Vol. 25 Issue: 4, pp.260-272,
Permanent link to this document:

“A systemic approach to processes of power in learning organizations: Part II – triple loop learning and a facilitative intervention in the “500 schools project””,

Robert L. Flood, Norma R.A. Romm, (2018)

The Learning Organization,
Permanent link to this document:

A Mighty Step: Critical Systemic Interpretation of the Learning Organization

Robert Louis Flood and Hanne Finnestrand

The Oxford Handbook of the Learning Organization Edited by Anders Ragnar Örtenblad

Print Publication Date: Dec 2019
Subject: Business and Management, Organizational Theory and Behaviour
Online Publication Date: Jan 2020 DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198832355.013.11

Click to access A-Mighty-Step-Critical-Systemic-Interpretation-of-the-Learning-Organization.pdf


“Guest editorial”,

Max Visser, Ricardo Chiva, Paul Tosey, (2018)

The Learning Organization, Vol. 25 Issue: 4, pp.218-223,
Permanent link to this document:

Learning from the future meets Bateson’s levels of learning

Alexander Kaiser

Institute for Information Business, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

The Learning Organization Vol. 25 No. 4, 2018 pp. 237-247

The origins and conceptualizations of ‘triple-loop’ learning: A critical review

Paul Tosey, Max Visser and Mark NK Saunders

Management Learning 2012 43: 291

originally published online 2 December 2011 DOI: 10.1177/1350507611426239

The online version of this article can be found at:

Click to access The-origins-and-conceptualizations-of-triple-loop-learning-A-critical-review.pdf

Why aren‟t we all working for Learning Organisations?

Professor John Seddon and Brendan O‟Donovan


Click to access why-arent-we-all-working-for-learning-organisations.pdf

The Culture of Learning Organizations: Understanding Argyris’s Theory through a Socio- Cognitive Systems Learning Model

Laura Friesenborg

University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

Thesis PhD 2013


Michael Mitchell, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania

Rural Society · June 2013

Shifting from Unilateral Control to Mutual Learning

By Fred Kofman

The executive mind and double-loop learning


Available online 6 February 2004.

Organizational Dynamics
Volume 11, Issue 2, Autumn 1982, Pages 5-22

Problem-Solving as a Double-Loop Learning System 

by Jeff Dooley
© 1999 Adaptive Learning Design

chris argyris: theories of action, double‐loop learning and organizational learning

Double Loop Learning in Organizations

Chris Argyris
Harvard Business Review
No. 77502

Harvard Business Review (September 1977)

Click to access Chris-Argyris-Double-Loop-Learning-in-Organisations.pdf

Single-Loop and Double-Loop Models in Research on Decision Making

Author(s): Chris Argyris

Source: Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Sep., 1976), pp. 363-375 Published by: Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University Stable URL:

A Primer on Organizational Learning

By Olivier Serrat


Modes of Organizational Learning

by Soren Eilertsen, Ph.D., with Kellan London, M.A.

Click to access single_and_double_loop_learning.pdf

The origins and conceptualizations of ‘triple-loop’ learning: A critical review

July 2012

Management Learning 43(3):291-307

Paul Tosey
Max Visser
Mark NK Saunders‘triple-loop’-Tosey-Visser/ea24da54380dc3cabdac74deb6cc57132a470c8a

TOOL | Single, Double and Triple Loop Learning

Good Communication That Blocks Learning

by Chris Argyris

Harvard Business Review 1994
Reprint 94401

Click to access Chris-Argyris-Good-Communication-that-Blocks-Learning.pdf

Double loop learning in organizations

By uncovering their own hidden theories of action, managers can detect and correct errors

Chris Argyris

Harvard Business Review September-October 1977;response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DDouble_loop_learning_in_organizations.pdfu0026amp;Expires=1627165288u0026amp;Signature=GOY4COga2LJKGnc3XAB5ge8ybpWvBBmeO779XhTzktEKTrIQREbkh9V8apE6z2QMCT2vufBoTq1NSSHNDJj0GGXu66VeCS8D37cTi-onZECbPUF5wXZ7Oa2U5Ih54fN-muWcED9BKEmV4G0e7kF3kDeAWrCs0jX5zC63JnOOvAyRL0ZjCcDGeF2~7T7WeNSnNZBKFJZW49tXy~LjhoRil2s7HBZxYI-Fjjp~fylKpDgDRZnfouPkCSnLU1rpeQBQOgrPnb8qmF0Bl6APCc-edECHKgsDYYBiqViUQ4epMm1yZbCSeUlYV6ODDm1dzWbfarwnOtRBnGWozuUbTYwIYg__u0026amp;Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA

Analyzing the loops and taking the steps on the journey toward a learning organization

Simon Reese

University of Maryland University College, Seoul, Korea

The Learning Organization Vol. 24 No. 3, 2017 pp. 194-197

DOI 10.1108/TLO-01-2017-0004

N-loop learning: part II – an empirical investigation

Bernard L. Simonin 

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

May 2017

N-loop learning: part I – of hedgehog, fox, dodo bird and sphinx

Bernard L. Simonin 

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 10 April 2017

Challenges of the levels of learning

Nataša Rupčić 

The Learning Organization

ISSN: 0969-6474

Article publication date: 14 May 2018

Deradicalization through Double-Loop Learning? How the Egyptian Gamaa Islamiya Renounced Violence

Carolin Goerzig

To cite this article: Carolin Goerzig (2019): Deradicalization through Double-Loop Learning? How the Egyptian Gamaa Islamiya Renounced Violence, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2019.1680193

To link to this article:

Systems Thinkers

  • Magnus Ramage
  • Karen Shipp


Reframing Conflict: Intercultural Conflict as Potential Transformation

Beth Fisher-Yoshida

Journal of Intercultural Communication No.8, 2005

Developing the Leader’s Strategic Mindset: Establishing the Measures

John Pisapia, Daniel Reyes-Guerra, and Eleni Coukos-Semmel,

Kravis Leadership Institute, Leadership Review, Spring 2005, Vol. 5, pp. 41-68

What is Social Learning?



Mark S. Reed

Anna Clair Evely

Georgina Cundill

Ioan Fazey

The social learning discourse: Trends, themes and interdisciplinary influences in current research.

Environmental Science and Policy, 25, 157-166.

Strategic Learning


University of Oxford
Saïd Business School, Room 30.015 Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
United Kingdom +44(0)1865 288844

The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management

David Teece and Mie Augier (eds.)

The Overview on Evolution of Learning Organization Theories

Sara. Ghaffari,1 Dr. Ishak. Mad Shah,2, and Jeveria Fazal3

Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia,

Modes of Knowing and Modes of Coming to Know Knowledge Creation and Co-Construction as Socio-Epistemological Engineering in Educational Processes

Markus F. Peschl

Constructivist Foundations

Volume 1 · Number 3 · Pages 111–123

Constructivist Foundations 1(3): 111–123.

Triple-loop learning as foundation for profound change, individual cultivation, and radical innovation: Construction processes beyond scientific and rational knowledge.

Peschl M. F. (2007)

Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 136–145.

A Configuration Model of Organizational Culture **

Daniel Dauber1, Gerhard Fink2, and Maurice Yolles

SAGE Open 1–16
DOI: 10.1177/2158244012441482

Exploring adaptability through learning layers and learning loops

Löf, Annette 

Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.


Kolb’s Model of Experiential Learning: A framework for Collaboration

Dr. Michael Manning

CAAHE Academics Conference October, 2011
Austin, TX

Click to access KolbsModelofExperientialLearning.pdf


Daniel Dauber, WU -Vienna University of Economics and Business (

Gerhard Fink, WU -Vienna University of Economics and Business (

Maurice Yolles, Centre for the Creation of Coherent Change & Knowledge (C4K) (

Cross-disciplinary collaboration and learning. 

Pennington, D. D. 2008.

Ecology and Society 13(2): 8. [online] URL:

Barriers to organizational learning: An integration of theory and research

Jan Schilling1 and Annette Kluge

International Journal of Management Reviews (2009)

doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2008.00242.x

Organizational learning in complex world

Agnieszka Dziubińska

Faculty of Management, University of Economics in Katowice, POLAND, Katowice, 1 Maja street 50,
E-mail: agnieszka.dziubiń

Click to access 87-246-249.pdf

Coming to a New Awareness of Organizational Culture ,

Schein, Edgar H., 

Sloan Management Review, 25:2 (1984:Winter) p.3

The Real Relationship Between Organizational Culture and Organizational Learning

Fumie ANDO

School of Business Administration, Nanzan University

Annals of Business Administrative Science Vol.1, No.2 (July 2002)

A Review of the Concept of Organisational Learning

By Catherine L Wang & Pervaiz K Ahmed

Working Paper Series 2002 Number WP004/02

ISSN Number ISSN 1363-6839

Catherine L Wang

Research Assistant
University of Wolverhampton, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1902 321651

Professor Pervaiz K Ahmed

Chair in Management
University of Wolverhampton, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1902 323921

Double-Loop Learning, Teaching, and Research


Chris Argyris

Performance management: a framework for management control systems research

David Otley􏰆

Management Accounting Research, 1999, 10, 363􏰀382

Article No. mare.1999.0115

Management Control Systems: A Historical Perspective

  • January 2010

Jordi Carenys


Peter Lorange

Michael S. Scott Morton

1974 MIT

Double-loop learning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Approaches for Organizational Learning: A Literature Review **

Dirk BastenThilo Haamann

First Published August 12, 2018

A bibliography of Hierarchical Production Planning

Click to access A_BIBLIOGRAPHY.PDF



Camille M. Libosvar

Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems 

January 7. 1988


Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge. Massachusetts



August 1977

Technical Report No. 135
Work Performed Under
Contract N00014—75—C—0556, Office of Naval Research
Multilevel Logistics Organization Models
NR 347—027
M.I.T. OSP 82491
Operations Research Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
cambridge , Massachusetts 02139

“Hierarchical Production Planning”

Gabriel R. Bitran*t Devanath Tirupati**

MIT Sloan School Working Paper #3017-89-MS

May 1989

*Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139

**Department of Management, The University of Texas at Austin

tThis research has been partially supported by the Leaders for Manufacturing Program.


Arnoldo C. Hax and Harlan C. Meal

May 1973


Hierarchical Production Planning: A Single Stage System

Gabriel R. Bitran, Elizabeth A. Haas and Arnoldo C. Hax

Operations Research
Vol. 29, No. 4, Operations Management (Jul. – Aug., 1981), pp. 717-743 (27 pages)
Published By: INFORMS
Operations Research

Hierarchical planning systems — a production application

Hax A.C., Bitran G.R. (1979)

In: Ritzman L.P., Krajewski L.J., Berry W.L., Goodman S.H., Hardy S.T., Vitt L.D. (eds) Disaggregation. Springer, Dordrecht.

  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • Print ISBN 978-94-015-7638-3
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-7636-9

Hierarchical Production Planning: A Two Stage System


Gabriel R. Bitran

Elizabeth A. Haas

Arnoldo C. Hax

Analytical Evaluation of Hierarchical Planning Systems


Balliol College, Oxford, England


University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

L. JANSEN, 8. J. LAGEWEG, J. K. LENSTRA Mathematisch Centrum, AmsterdamThe Netherlands


Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

(Received December 1979; accepted March 1981)

Click to access RR-84-04.pdf

Deutero-Learning in Organizations: A Review and a Reformulation


Max Visser

Additional References

Argyris C. & Schön, D. A. (1996) Organizational learning II: Theory, method, and practice. Addison-Wesley: Redwood City CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

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Scenarios: Frames of Possibilities and Plausibilities

Scenarios: Frames of Possibilities and Plausibilities

Key Terms

  • Scenarios
  • Scenario Planning
  • Futures
  • Intuitive Logics method
  • Shell
  • GBN
  • Oxford Scenarios Program
  • Predetermined Elements
  • Critical Uncertainty
  • Weak Signals
  • SRI International (Stanford Research Institute)
  • RAND Corporation
  • Hudson Institute
  • DNI US MoD
  • UK MoD
  • Scenario Quadrant
  • Multiple Scenarios
  • Bounded Rationality
  • Cognitive Biases
  • Frames
  • Availability Bias
  • Overconfidence
  • Anchoring
  • Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA)

Key Concepts


Black swans

Rare and discontinuous events that are unprecedented, unexpected and have major effects. They are often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight, but this tendency to see coherence can obscure future threats.

Cognitive bias

A pattern of deviation in judgment that influences the way information is received, processed, retained or called. Cognitive biases influence how inferences, judgements and predictions are drawn.

Cognitive dissonance

The mental stress or discomfort one experiences when confronted with new information or views that contradicts existing values or beliefs. Because humans strive for internal consistency, individuals tend to reduce cognitive dissonance by denying or devaluing new information and views, or rationalising their own values and beliefs.


Complex systems are non-linear and diverse networks made up of multiple interconnected elements. Cause and effect relationships within the system are not easily discernable or predictable. Historical extrapolation is futile for predicting emergence (new patterns and behaviours) in complex systems.

Cross-‐cutting issues

Issues or challenges that affect more than a single interest area, institution or stakeholder, and that need to be addressed from all points of view. A Whole-of-Government or Networked approach is useful for addressing cross-cutting issues.

Design thinking

An end-user centred approach to problem-solving that places the final experience at the heart of developing solutions. Following an iterative approach, the rapid prototyping component of design thinking allows for quick adaptation in uncertain environments and continual improvement.

Experimentation and prototyping

Experimentation is a process that seeks to test and validate competing hypotheses. Prototyping refers to creating models or sketches to test ideas and spot problems. Experimentation and prototyping are effective ways to navigate and test hypotheses and ideas in complex or rapidly changing environments.


A relationship of mutual reliance between two or more factors within a system such that changes in one area affect the other(s). 

Path dependency

Describes the inclination to stick to past practice despite the availability of newer, more efficient practices as a result of cognitive biases such as risk aversion, or concerns over sunk costs. Designing contingency plans with ample space for flexibility can reduce the constraints of path dependency.


A system’s ability to cope with and recover from shocks or disruptions, either by returning to the status quo or by transforming itself to adapt to the new reality. Resilient systems view change as inevitable and failure as opportunities to learn from. Social cohesion, trust in government and national pride can be indicators of resilience.

Retrospective coherence

The act of assigning coherence in hindsight in order to make sense of what is happening. Practicing retrospective coherence presents the danger of making decisions for the future based on the lessons of history that may not apply in similar situations.


Milestone markers between a given future and the present day that aid visualisation by breaking up the path to the future into manageable blocks of time. They can help to gauge the extent to which a particular scenario has materialised, and can be events, thresholds or trends and patterns.

Systems thinking

An analytical problem solving approach that looks at a system as a whole rather than in isolation, and that considers the interactions between various elements. The big-picture overview helps decision makers see linkages across different sections within the system and can foster collaboration and shared understanding within an organisation. Systems thinking also helps policymakers identify cause-effect relationships and how they might manifest in the larger system.

Unknown unknowns

Issues and situations in organisations that have yet to surface and which are blind spots for planners who are unaware that they do not know about them.

Whole-‐of-‐Government (WG)

A ‘joined-up’ or networked approach to governance that represents a shift from vertical to horizontal decision-making, and which is built on inter-agency collaboration and collective problem-solving. Whole-of-government involves a process of identifying, analysing and managing wide-ranging and cross-cutting issues.

Wicked problems

Large and intractable issues and challenges that have no immediate or obvious solutions and whose causes and influencing factors are not easily determined. Wicked problems are characterised by many agents interacting with each other in often mystifying ways, and involve multiple stakeholders operating with different perspectives and goals. 

Purpose of Scenarios

Source: Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios?

Van der Heijden [15] argues that there is a confusing assortment of reasons as to why one should engage in scenarios. He advocates the importance of clearly identifying the purpose of undertaking scenario work — in order to make the appropriate selection of scenario methodology. Van der Heijden argues that “purpose” can be divided along two dimensions; the first dimension is to establish the extent of the scenario work i.e. whether the scenario work is to be a one-off project, or part of on an on-going scenario-based planning process. The second dimension is that of the primary aim of the scenario work, this being either to raise questions, or to answer them — and thus aid decision making.

The combination of these two dimensions results in four purposes of scenario work, namely:

• Sense-making: a one-off ‘exploratory question-raising scenario project’;
• Developing strategy: a one-off ‘decision-making scenario project’;
• Anticipation: an ‘on-going exploratory scenario activity’; and
• Action-based organizational learning: an ‘on-going decision-making activity’.

Van der Heijden continues by suggesting that these four purposes represent a hierarchy of interconnected aims serving the ultimate goal of “strategic success” in which organizational learning is the “overarching broad organisational skill” achieved when the scenario work is an on-going decision-making activity [15, page 162].

Benefits of Scenarios

Source: Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios?

The (mainly practitioner-based) literature contains many testimonials as to the use and organizational benefits of scenarios, which we group under the following headings:

3.1. Enhanced perception

Scenario techniques reportedly enhance corporate and individual perception as they provide a framework for managers to understand and evaluate trends and events as they happen [16], and managers involved in scenario exercises supposedly become better observers of the business environment, more attuned to discerning changes [17]. Porter [18] suggests that scenarios help managers to make explicit their implicit assumptions about the future, and to think beyond the confines of conventional wisdom. This, combined with the fact that scenarios often challenge conventional wisdom and complacency by shifting the “perceptual anchors” from which people view the future, reduces the likelihood of managers and organizations making big mistakes in the future and/or of being caught unaware [19,20].

3.2. A structure for dealing with uncertainty

Scenarios provide a structure for thinking aimed at attacking complexity by allowing managers to deal more openly and explicitly with acknowledged uncertainty [21,16], to arrive at a deeper understanding of what is significant, and to identify what needs to be dealt with – and what is transient and can be ignored [11,22]. Bunn and Salo [23] suggest that, by emphasizing that there are a range of possible futures rather than a single-point future, scenarios reduce the bias for underestimating uncertainties. This is echoed by Docherty and McKiernan [24] who state that “the greatest contribution of scenario planning lies in its active engagement of actors in its process and its power to enable them to think about complexity and uncertainty in external contexts, and then how they might shape the external environment to their own strategic ends” (p. 10).

3.3. Integration of corporate planning functions

Scenario techniques provide a good middle ground between relying on informal and intuitive techniques, and being bound by the methodological constraints of more formal, quantitative techniques. As a result, a greater variety of information and wider company participation can be incorporated into the forecasting and planning process when scenario planning is used [16]. Other authors [25,26] add that scenarios are also able to combine topical intelligence and structure seemingly disparate environmental factors into a useful framework for decision making in a way that no other planning models can.

3.4. A communications tool

According to Allen [21], the communications qualities of scenarios are overwhelming as they provide a rational and non-threatening framework for discussion, even with those outside of the organization [27]. Durance and Godet [28] state that scenarios are also an effective means of rallying employees and communicating strategy across the organization. Bezhold [29] suggests that the scenarios can be used as a marketing and educational campaign throughout the organization. Ringland [25] adds that, by sharing its scenarios with the outside world, an organization can provide the context for dialog with its stakeholders — enabling it to influence its external environment. An added benefit [30] is that the collegiality which usually emerges in a scenario planning exercise does not evaporate once the scenario exercise is complete. Van der Heijden [15,31] reports that Royal Dutch Shell’s scenarios emerged as a powerful management tool by which senior management was able to influence decision-making at all levels throughout the organization, without becoming directly involved in the process or minutiae of the subsequent, scenario-based, evaluation of decisions. This was achieved by making the scenarios the context for key strategic decisions — thus uniting the geographically dispersed, disparate, and decentralized business units in developing a common strategy [28].

3.5. Organizational learning

Although scenario planning was initially understood as a tool for “thinking the unthinkable” [32], a body of literature has subsequently developed around the value of scenarios in terms of individual and organizational learning [11]. This is because scenario exercises ostensibly provide a politically-safe team learning environment and a rich learning process that stimulates creativity [11,15,33–37]. As models of future business environments, scenarios provide a vehicle for pseudo-experimentation in terms of formulating strategic options and then examining the consequences of these options in a range of future environments [15,30,31,38]. By having to articulate their assumptions in a scenario exercise, managers can identify inconsistencies in their own thinking and that of their colleagues in a non-threatening environment [25,37]. At the same time, the necessity in scenario work to undertake detailed analysis of environmental driving forces and their causal relationships, forces individuals to examine their perceptions, stretch their mental models and to develop a shared view of uncertainty [15,31]. All of the foregoing leads to an increased confidence in decision-making [16] and moves the organization towards becoming, what has been termed, a “learning organization” [15].

Based upon our consideration of the above purposes and benefits of the use of scenario methods, we distil from the literature three main objectives of the application of scenario approaches, as follows:

1) Enhancing understanding: of the causal processes, connections and logical sequences underlying events — thus uncovering how a future state of the world may unfold;

2) Challenging conventional thinking: to reframe perceptions and change the mindsets of those within organizations; and

3) Improving decision making: to inform strategy development.

Support for this conclusion also comes from the work of Varum and Melo who, after undertaking a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of the literature on scenario planning, argued that there is a consensus in the literature on three benefits of using scenarios, namely an “improvement of the learning process, improvement of the decision-making process, and identification of new issues and problems” [2, page.362].

Our three objectives are interlinked in that: firstly, understanding the connections, causal processes and logical sequences which determine how events may unfold to create different futures, will challenge conventional thinking and will also prove of benefit in improving organizational decision making and strategy; secondly, challenging conventional thinking, reframing perceptions and changing mind-sets should result in collective organizational learning; and, thirdly, collective organization learning should enhance organizational decision making and strategy — which in turn should enhance collective organizational learning.

Types of Scenarios

Source: An uncertain future, deep uncertainty, scenarios, robustness and adaptation: How do they fit together?

  • Predictive
    • Trend
    • Whatif
  • Explorative
    • Framed
    • Unframed
  • Normative
    • Preserving
    • Transformational

Types of Uncertainty

Source: Nine lives of uncertainty in decision-making: strategies for dealing with uncertainty in environmental governance

Source: A Scenario-based Approach to Strategic Planning – Integrating Planning and Process Perspective of Strategy

Multiple Frames of Changes in Contextual Environment on the Transcational Environment

Source: Using Scenario Planning to Reshape Strategy

Source: Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation

Source: Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation

Source: Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation

Institutions and Methods of Scenario Planning

  • Shell/GBN Intuitive Logics Method
  • Oxford Scenario Planning Approach
  • La Prospective / M Godet
  • Rand Corporation
  • SRI International
  • GBN/Monitor/Deloitte/Center for Long View/Market Sensing and Scenario Planning

Source: Plausibility and probability in scenario planning

Source: The current state of scenario development: an overview of techniques

Research Journals and Authors on Scenario Planning





Scenarios Application

  • Business
  • Non Profit Org
  • Philanthropic
  • Public Sector
  • Arts and Culture
  • Governance
  • National Security
  • Transnational Issues

My Related Posts

Shell Oil’s Scenarios: Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning for the Future

Water | Food | Energy | Nexus: Mega Trends and Scenarios for the Future

Global Trends, Scenarios, and Futures: For Foresight and Strategic Management

On Anticipation: Going Beyond Forecasts and Scenarios

Art of Long View: Future, Uncertainty and Scenario Planning

Narrative, Rhetoric and Possible Worlds

What are Problem Structuring Methods?

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

Frames in Interaction

Frames, Communication, and Public Policymaking

Frames, Framing and Reframing

Dialogs and Dialectics

Strategy | Strategic Management | Strategic Planning | Strategic Thinking

Key Sources of Research:

Augmenting the intuitive logics scenario planning method for a more comprehensive analysis of causation

James Derbyshire a,∗, George Wright b

a Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research, Middlesex University, UK 

b Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, UK

International Journal of Forecasting 33 (2017) 254–266

Does the intuitive logics method – and its recent enhancements – produce “effective” scenarios?




Warwick Business School, Scarman Road, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

bStrathclyde Business School, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

cSchool of Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia

Received 30 August 2012, Accepted 2 September 2012, Available online 29 September 2012.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 80, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 631-642

The origins and evolution of scenario techniques in long range business planning





KeesVan Der Heijdena4

aUniversity of Strathclyde, Graduate School of Business, 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 0QU, UK

bUniversity of Durham, Durham Business School, Mill Hill Lane, Durham DH1 3LB, UK

Available online 24 May 2005.

Volume 37, Issue 8, October 2005, Pages 795-812

How plausibility-based scenario practices are grappling with complexity to appreciate and address 21st century challenges




aFutures Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, Hayes House, 75 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BQ, UK

bTHNK, Haarlemmerweg 8a, 1014 BE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

cSmith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, UK

dReims Management School, Reims, France

eSmith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, Hayes House, 75 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BQ, UK

Received 19 December 2011, Revised 28 September 2012, Accepted 1 October 2012, Available online 27 December 2012.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 80, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 699-710

Scenarios and early warnings as dynamic capabilities to frame managerial attention




aSaïd Business School, University of Oxford, Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1HP, UK

bItäpaja Ltd., Urakkatie 10-12 A 2, 00680 Helsinki, Finland

cNormannPartners AB, Engelbrektsgatan 9-11, SE-114 32 Stockholm, Sweden

Received 4 November 2011, Revised 21 October 2012, Accepted 24 October 2012, Available online 19 November 2012.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 80, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 825-838

Rethinking the 2 × 2 scenario method: Grid or frames?



aSaid Business School, Oxford, UK

bSmith School of Enterprise and Environment, Oxford, UK

Received 19 March 2013, Revised 9 October 2013, Accepted 17 October 2013, Available online 22 November 2013.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 86, July 2014, Pages 254-264

Integrating organizational networks, weak signals, strategic radars and scenario planning

Paul J.H.Schoemaker

George S.Day

Scott A.Snyder

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Received 18 December 2011, Revised 7 October 2012, Accepted 9 October 2012, Available online 20 December 2012.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 80, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 815-824

Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: the conjunctive fallacy in probability judgment.

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1983).

Psychological Review, 90, 293–315.

Scenarios and Forecasting: Two Perspectives

KeesVan Der Heijden

Received 1 December 1998, Accepted 1 January 1999, Available online 6 October 2000.

Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume 65, Issue 1, September 2000, Pages 31-36

Directions in scenario planning literature – A review of the past decades

Celeste Amorim


Department of Economics, Management and Industrial Engineering, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal

Available online 18 November 2009.

Volume 42, Issue 4, May 2010, Pages 355-369

Decision making and planning under low levels of predictability: Enhancing the scenario method



aDurham Business School, University of Durham, Mill Hill lane, Durham City, DH1 3lB, United Kingdom

bSchool of Management, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom

Available online 5 June 2009.

International Journal of Forecasting
Volume 25, Issue 4, October–December 2009, Pages 813-825

Living in the Futures

Harvard Business Review May 2013

Strategic reframing : the Oxford scenario planning approach

Rafael RamírezAngela Wilkinson

Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press, 2016.

Strategic Foresight Primer

Angela Wilkinson

Evolving practices in environmental scenarios: a new scenario typology

Angela Wilkinson and Esther Eidinow

James Martin Institute, Said Business School, University of Oxford, Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HP, UK

Received 10 March 2008
Accepted for publication 20 August 2008 Published 15 December 2008
Online at

2008 Environ. Res. Lett. 045017


Bretton Fosbrook

A Dissertation submitted to
The Faculty of Graduate Studies
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies York University
Toronto, Ontario

December 2017

Uncertainty, Decision Science, and Policy Making: A Manifesto for a Research Agenda.

David Tucket, Antoine Mandel, Diana Mangalagiu, Allen Abramson, Jochen Hinkel, et al..

Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society, Taylor and Francis 2015, 27 (2), pp.213 – 242.

10.1080/08913811.2015.1037078 . hal-02057279

Scenarios Practices: In Search of Theory

Angela Wilkinson University of Oxford UK

Journal of Futures Studies, February 2009, 13(3): 107 – 114

Towards a relational concept of uncertainty: Incorporating the human dimension

Brugnach, M.1; A. Dewulf 2; C. Pahl-Wostl 1 and T. Taillieu 3

1. Universität Osnabrück, Germany
2. Wageningen University, The Netherlands
3. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Contact author: Marcela Brugnach,

Ambiguity: the challenge of knowing and deciding together

M. Brugnach a,*, H. Ingram b,c

a Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands 

b Southwest Center, University of Arizona, United States
c School of Social Ecology, University of California Irvine, United States

environmental science & policy 15 (2012) 60–71

Toward a relational concept of uncertainty: about knowing too little, knowing too differently, and accepting not to know. 

Brugnach, M., A. Dewulf, C. Pahl-Wostl, and T. Taillieu.


Ecology and Society13(2): 30. [online]


Policy Analysis: A Systematic Approach to Supporting Policymaking in the Public Sector

a RAND Europe, Leiden, Netherlands
b Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands


 JMultiCritDecisAnal9: 11–27 (2000)

Integrated management of natural resources: dealing with ambiguous issues, multiple actors and diverging frames

A. Dewulf*, M. Craps*, R. Bouwen*, T. Taillieu* and C. Pahl-Wostl**

*Center for Organizational and Personnel Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium (E-mail:,,,
**Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabru ̈ck, Albrechtstrasse 28, Osnabru ̈ck, Germany (E-mail:

More is not always better: Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management

M. Brugnach a, b, *, A. Dewulf c, H.J. Henriksen d, P. van der Keur d

a Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands
b Institute for Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Germany c Public Administration and Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands d Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark

Journal of Environmental Management xxx (2010) 1e7


LOTTE S. LU ̈ SCHER Clavis Consultancy

MARIANNE W. LEWIS University of Cincinnati

Academy of Management Journal 2008, Vol. 51, No. 2, 221–240.

Sustainable Development: Mapping Different Approaches

Bill Hopwood, Mary Mellor, Geoff O’Brien Sustainable Cities Research Institute
6 North Street East,
University of Northumbria,

Newcastle on Tyne, NE1 8ST
Tel: 0191 227-3500 Fax: 0191 227-3066

Bill Hopwood:

Sustainable Development, 13. pp. 38-52. ISSN 0968-0802

Published by: Wiley-Blackwell
URL: <;

Click to access Mapping_Sustainable_Development.pdf

The Environmental Goffman: Toward an Environmental Sociology of Everyday Life


Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA


Department of Community & Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Society and Natural Resources, 23:45–57 Copyright # 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 0894-1920 print=1521-0723 online
DOI: 10.1080/08941920802653505

An uncertain future, deep uncertainty, scenarios, robustness and adaptation: How do they fit together?

H.R. Maier a, *, J.H.A. Guillaume b, H. van Delden a, c, G.A. Riddell a, M. Haasnoot d, e, J.H. Kwakkel e

a School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia b Water & Development Research Group (WDRG), Aalto University, Tietotie 1E, Espoo 02150, Finland
c Research Institute for Knowledge Systems, Hertogsingel 11B, 6211 NC Maastricht, The Netherlands
d Deltares, Fresh Water Department, Delft, The Netherlands

e Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Technology Policy and Management, Delft, The Netherlands

Environmental Modelling & Software

Towards a user’s guide to scenarios – a report on scenario types and scenario techniques

Lena Borjeson1, Mattias Hojer1, Karl-Henrik Dreborg1,3, Tomas Ekvall2, Goran Finnveden1,3

Environmental strategies research – fms, Department of Urban studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg.

Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), Stockholm

The current state of scenario development: an overview of techniques

Peter Bishop, Andy Hines and Terry Collins

foresight, Vol. 9 Iss: 1 pp. 5 – 25 2007

Identification and classification of uncertainties in the application of environmental models

J.J. Warmink a, *, J.A.E.B. Janssen a, b, M.J. Booij a, M.S. Krol a

a Department of Water Engineering and Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands b Waterboard Rijn and IJssel, P.O. Box 148, 7000 AC Doetinchem, the Netherlands

Environmental Modelling & Software 25 (2010) 1518e1527

Wicked Problems: Implications for Public Policy and Management

Brian W. Head1 and John Alford2,3

Administration & Society 2015, Vol. 47(6) 711–739

DOI: 10.1177/0095399713481601


MATSALVESSON Universityof Gothenburg

Journal of Management Studies: 30:6 November 1993 0022-2380

Forty years of wicked problems literature: forging closer links to policy studies,

Brian W. Head (2019)

Policy and Society, 38:2, 180-197, DOI: 10.1080/14494035.2018.1488797

Uncovering the origin of ambiguity in nature-inclusive flood infrastructure projects

Ronald E. van den Hoek 1Marcela Brugnach 1Jan P. M. Mulder 1,2 and Arjen Y. Hoekstra 1

Ecology and Society 19(2): 51.

Coping with Complexity, Uncertainty and Ambiguity in Risk Governance: A Synthesis

Ortwin Renn, Andreas Klinke, Marjolein van Asselt

AMBIO (2011) 40:231–246
DOI 10.1007/s13280-010-0134-0

Risk frames and multiple ways of knowing: Coping with ambiguity in oil spill risk governance in the Norwegian Barents Sea

Tuuli Parviainena,⁎, Annukka Lehikoinenb, Sakari Kuikkaa, P.ivi Haapasaaria

a University of Helsinki, Finland, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, P.O Box 65, Viikinkaari 1, FI-

00014 Helsinki Finland

b University of Helsinki, Finland, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Kotka Maritime Research Center,

Keskuskatu 10, FI-48100 Kotka, Finland

Environmental Science & Policy

Volume 98, August 2019, Pages 95-111

Nine lives of uncertainty in decision-making: strategies for dealing with uncertainty in environmental governance

Art Dewulf and Robbert Biesbroek

Public Administration and Policy group, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands

2018, VOL. 37, NO. 4, 441–458

Coping with Uncertainty in River Management: Challenges and Ways Forward

J. J. Warmink1 & M. Brugnach1 & J. Vinke-de Kruijf2 & R. M. J. Schielen1,3 & D. C. M. Augustijn1

Received: 1 March 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 /

Water Resour Manage (2017) 31:4587–4600 DOI 10.1007/s11269-017-1767-6

The Implications of Complexity for Integrated Resources Management

C. Pahl-Wostl

Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Germany

Click to access Keynote_Pahl.pdf

A relational approach to deal with ambiguity in multi-actor governance for sustainability

M. Craps1 & M. F. Brugnach2

1Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability,
KU Leuven, Belgium
2Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands

WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, Vol 199, © 2015 WIT Press, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)

Futures Studies: Theories and Methods

Sohail Inayatullah

Scenario thinking and usage among development actors

William Robert Avis

University of Birmingham 18 October 2017

Methods of Future and Scenario Analysis

Overview, assessment, and selection criteria

Hannah Kosow Robert Gaßner

DIE Research Project “Development Policy: Questions for the Future”

Bonn 2008

German Development Institute


Christopher Zegras1, Joseph Sussman2, Christopher Conklin3 Forthcoming (March 2004) in

ASCE Journal of Urban Planning and Development

How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions

A recent study sheds light on how the use of scenario planning affects executives’ strategic choices.

Shardul Phadnis, Chris Caplice, and Yossi Sheffi

May 27, 2016 MIT Sloan Management Review

How to Make Sense of Weak Signals

There’s no sense in denying it: interpreting weak signals into useful decision making takes time and focus. These three stages can help you see the periphery—and act on it—much more clearly.

Paul J.H. Schoemaker and George S. Day

April 01, 2009

A Review of Scenario Planning Literature

T Chermack et al

Using Scenario Planning to Reshape Strategy

Rather than trying to predict the future, organizations need to strengthen their abilities to cope with uncertainty. A new approach to scenario planning can help companies reframe their long-term strategies by developing several plausible scenarios.

Rafael Ramírez, Steve Churchhouse, Alejandra Palermo, and Jonas Hoffmann

June 13, 2017

Sloan Management Review

Scenario Planning: A Tool for Strategic Thinking

Paul J.H. Schoemaker


Chapter 10
The Learning Dimension of Adaptive Capacity: Untangling the Multi-level Connections

Alan Diduck

Adaptive Capacity and Environmental Governance

Derek Armitage l Ryan Plummer Editors

Using Trends and Scenarios as Tools for Strategy Development

Shaping the Future of Your Enterprise

by Ulf Pillkahn

ISBN 978-3-89578-304-3

Risk frames and multiple ways of knowing: Coping with ambiguity in oil spill risk governance in the Norwegian Barents Sea

Tuuli Parviainena,⁎, Annukka Lehikoinenb, Sakari Kuikkaa, P.ivi Haapasaaria

a University of Helsinki, Finland, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, P.O Box 65, Viikinkaari 1, FI-00014 Helsinki Finland

b University of Helsinki, Finland, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Kotka Maritime Research Center, Keskuskatu 10, FI-48100 Kotka, Finland

Environmental Science and Policy 98 (2019) 95–111

How Issues Get Framed and Reframed When Different Communities Meet: A Multi-level Analysis of a Collaborative Soil Conservation Initiative in the Ecuadorian Andes


1Centre for Organizational and Personnel Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium

2International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibidan, Nigeria

Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

J. Community Appl. Soc. Psychol., 14: 177–192 (2004)

Defining Uncertainty

A Conceptual Basis for Uncertainty Management in Model-Based Decision Support


1Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands,

2Environment & Resources DTU, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark,

3International Centre for Integrative Studies (ICIS), Maastricht University, The Netherlands,

4Faculty of Arts and Culture, Maastricht University, The Netherlands,

5Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovations, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and

6Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), The Netherlands

Integrated Assessment

2003, Vol. 00, No. 0, pp. 000–000


A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

Reducing errors in judgment requires a disciplined process.

Daniel Kahneman, Dan Lovallo, and Olivier Sibony

MIT Sloan Management Review

March 04, 2019

A move toward scenario analysis

William R.Huss

Chronotopes of foresight: Models of time‐space in probabilistic, possibilistic and constructivist futures

Ilkka Tuomi

1Meaning Processing Ltd, Helsinki, Finland

2Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Wallenberg Research Centre at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Received:21November2018 |  Revised:15January2019 |  Accepted:15January2019

DOI: 10.1002/ffo2.11

A Scenario-based Approach to Strategic Planning
– Integrating Planning and Process Perspective of Strategy

Prof. Dr. Torsten Wulf, Philip Meißner and Dr. Stephan Stubner


Click to access ap-no-6-scenario-based-approach-to-strategic-planning.pdf

The 4 Whys of Scenario Thinking

M Brain

About the Kearney-Oxford Scenarios Programme

AT Kearney

Scenarios in the strategy process: a framework of affordances and constraints

Victor Tiberius

Tiberius European Journal of Futures Research (2019) 7:7

Objectivity and a comparison of methodological scenario approaches for climate change research

Elisabeth A. Lloyd · Vanessa J. Schweizer

Synthese (2014) 191:2049–2088 DOI 10.1007/s11229-013-0353-6

Cross-impact balances:
A system-theoretical approach to cross-impact analysis

Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle T,1
University of Stuttgart, Institute for Social Sciences V, Research Unit Risk and Sustainability, Seidenstr. 36,

70174 Stuttgart, Germany

Technological Forecasting & Social Change 73 (2006) 334–361

ScenarioWizard 4.3. Constructing Consistent Scenarios Using Cross-Impact Balance Analysis.


Wolfgang Weimer-Jehle

Improving environmental change research with systematic techniques for qualitative scenarios

Vanessa Jine Schweizer and Elmar Kriegler

2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 044011

Systematic construction of global socioeconomic pathways using internally consistent element combinations


Vanessa Jine Schweizer

Brian C. O’Neill

The current state of scenario development: An overview of techniques


Peter Bishop

Andy Hines

Terry Collins

Should Probabilities Be Used with Scenarios?

Stephen M. Millett Futuring Associates LLC USA

Plausibility and probability in scenario planning


Rafael Ramirez

Cynthia Selin

Click to access ACCEPTED_Plausibility_and_Probability_in_Scenario_Planning_March_24_2013.pdf

Scenario development without probabilities — focusing on the most important scenario

Volker Grienitz & Michael Hausicke & André-Marcel Schmidt

Eur J Futures Res (2014) 15:27

DOI 10.1007/s40309-013-0027-0

Foundations of Scenario Planning: The Story of Pierre Wack

By Thomas J Chermack



Helena GASPARS-WIELOCH page1image38230256*

Department of Operations Research, Faculty of Informatics and Electronic Economy, Poznan University of Economics and Business, Al. Niepodleglosci 10, 61-875, Poznań, Poland


Overcoming obstacles to effective scenario planning

McKinsey on Finance Number 55, Summer 2015

Increasing the effectiveness of participatory scenario development through codesign

Marissa F. McBride 1Kathleen F. Lambert 2Emily S. Huff 3Kathleen A. Theoharides 4Patrick Field 5 and Jonathan R. Thompson 1

1Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, Massachusetts, 2Harvard Forest, Harvard University and Science Policy Exchange, Petersham, Massachusetts, 3Michigan State University, Department of Forestry, East Lansing, Michigan, 4Climate and Global Warming Solutions, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Boston, Massachusetts, 5Consensus Building Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts

 E&S HOME > VOL. 22, NO. 3 > Art. 16

Scenarios in business and management: The current stock and research opportunities

Victor Tiberius a,⁎, Caroline Siglow a, Javier Sendra-García b

a University of Potsdam, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Potsdam, Germany

b Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Plotting Your Scenarios

Jay Ogilvy and Peter Schwartz



Click to access probabilistic.pdf

Navigating Uncertain Times
A Scenario Planning Toolkit for the Arts & Culture Sector

Literature Review

Multiple Scenario Development: Its Conceptual and Behavioral Foundation


Paul Schoemaker



UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) 

Foresight as a Strategic Long-Term Planning Tool for Developing Countries


UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE)

Plausibility indications in future scenarios

Wiek, A., Withycombe Keeler, L., Schweizer, V. and Lang, D.J. (2013)

Int. J. Foresight and Innovation Policy, Vol. 9, Nos. 2/3/4, 2013

Plausibility and probability in scenario planning

Rafael Ramirez and Cynthia Selin

Foresight · March 2014

DOI: 10.1108/FS-08-2012-0061

Integrating organizational networks, weak signals, strategic radars and scenario planning

Paul J.H. Schoemaker ⁎, George S. Day, Scott A. Snyder Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Technological Forecasting & Social Change 80 (2013) 815–824

The current state of scenario development: an overview of techniques

Peter Bishop, Andy Hines and Terry Collins

Foresight · February 2007

DOI: 10.1108/14636680710727516

Chronotopes of foresight: Models of time‐space in probabilistic, possibilistic and constructivist futures

Ilkka Tuomi1,2

Futures Foresight Sci. 2019;1:e11.

Using Trends and Scenarios as Tools for Strategy Development

Shaping the Future of Your Enterprise

by Ulf Pillkahn


An Analysis and Categorization of Scenario Planning Scholarship from 1995-2016

Thomas J. Chermack Colorado State University USA


Journal of Futures Studies, June 2018, 22(4): 45–60

A review of scenario planning

Scenario analysis to support decision making in addressing wicked problems: pitfalls and potential

Innovation, Dynamic Capabilities and Leadership

Paul J.H. Schoemaker, Sohvi Leih, David J. Teece March 23, 2018

Scenario planning with a sociological eye: Augmenting the intuitive logics approach to understanding the Future of Scotland and the UK

Professor R. Bradley MacKay a,⁎, Dr. Veselina Stoyanova b

a The Gateway, North Haugh, School of Management, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland KY16 9RJ, UK

b Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, Scotland G4 0QU, UK

Technological Forecasting & Social Change 124 (2017) 88–100

Scenarios in business and management: The current stock and research opportunities

Victor Tiberius a,⁎, Caroline Siglow a, Javier Sendra-García b 

University of Potsdam, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Potsdam, Germany

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Journal of Business Research 121 (2020) 235–242

How plausibility-based scenario practices are grappling with complexity to appreciate and address 21st century challenges




aFutures Programme, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, Hayes House, 75 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BQ, UK

bTHNK, Haarlemmerweg 8a, 1014 BE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

cSmith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, UK

dReims Management School, Reims, France

eSmith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, Hayes House, 75 George Street, Oxford OX1 2BQ, UK

Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Volume 80, Issue 4, May 2013, Pages 699-710

Special Issue: Scenario Method: Current developments in theory and practice

Edited by George Wright, George Cairns, Ron Bradfield

Volume 80, Issue 4, 

Pages 561-838 (May 2013)

Scenario methodology: New developments in theory and practice Introduction to the Special Issue

George Wright a,⁎, George Cairns b, Ron Bradfield c

a Warwick Business School, Coventry, UK
b RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
c Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, UK

Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2013) xxx–xxx

Scanning the Periphery


HBR 2005

Scenario Planning Literature

Recent Articles

Bouhalleb, Arafet and Ali Smida, “Scenario Planning: An investigation of the construct and its measurements,” Wiley Online Library, February 9, 2018

Favato, Giampiero, “Embedding real options in scenario planning: A new methodological approach,” June 17, 2016

Gray, Jane, “Ofgem targets “flexible” scenario planning,” Network, October 12, 2016

Gray, Michael, “Scottish business scenario planning’ for independence over Brexit, minister confirms,” October 14, 2016

Hartung, Adam “The No. 1 Lesson from Hurricane Matthew and Brexit: Scenario Planning is Crucial,” October 7, 2016

Lang, Trudi, and Rafael Ramirez, “Building new social capital with scenario planning,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Science Direct, July 8, 2017

Phadnis, Shardul, “How Scenario Planning Influences Strategic Decisions,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2016

Powch, Andrew, “Overcoming Uncertainty with the Aid of Scenario Planning,” Industry Week, October 17, 2017

Raford, Noah, “Online foresight platforms: Evidence for their impact on scenario planning and strategic foresight,” Elsevier, August 2015

Ramírez, R., & Selin, C., “Plausibility and probability in scenario planning,” Foresight, 16(1), 54-74, March 4, 2014

Ramirez, Rafael, Sheve Churchhouse, Alejandra Palermo, and Jonas Hoffman, Using Scenario Planning to Reshape StrategyMIT Sloan Management Review, June 13, 2017

Ramirez, Rafael, “How scenario planning makes strategy more robust,” Oxford Answers, January 28, 2020

Schoemaker, PJH, Scenario planning: A Tool for Strategic Thinking, MIT Sloan Management Review, 1995

Schwarze, Margaret and Lauren J. Taylor, “Managing Uncertainty—Harnessing the Power of Scenario Planning,” The New England Journal of Medicine, July 20, 2017  

Wilkinson, A. and Kupers, R. “Living in the Futures,” Harvard Business Review, May 2013

Wilkinson, A. and Ramirez, R. “2010 Canaries in the Mind,” Journal of Future Studies


Cairns, George and George Wright, Scenario Thinking: Preparing Your Organization for the Future in an Unpredictable World, Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd ed., 2018 

Harris, Jared D. and Michael J. Lenox, The Strategist’s Toolkit, Darden Business Publishing, 2013

Laudicina, Paul, World Out of Balance: Navigating Global Risks to Seize Competitive Advantage, McGraw Hill, 2005

Ramirez, Rafael and Angela Wilkinson, Strategic Reframing: The Oxford Scenario Planning Approach, Oxford University Press, May 24, 2016

Ramirez, Rafael, John W. Selsky and Kees van der Heijden, Business Planning for Turbulent Times: New Methods for Applying Scenarios, earthscan, 2010

Schwartz, Peter, The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, Crown Business Publishing, 1996

Van Der Heijden, Kees, Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation, John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 2010

Wade, Woody, Scenario Planning: A Field Guide to the Future, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2012

Have question or additional suggestions? Please contact Terry Toland

Paradoxes, Contradictions, and Dialectics in Organizations

Paradoxes, Contradictions, and Dialectics in Organizations

Source: The role of paradox theory in decision making and management research

In our increasingly complex, global and fast-paced world, competing demands on individuals and teams continually surface in the context of organizational life. Individuals face challenges between work and family, learning and performing, collaborating and competing. Teams grapple with tensions between individual and collective accomplishments, specializing and coordination, and meeting creativity and efficiency goals. Leaders need to maintain both distance and closeness, treat subordinates uniformly while allowing individualism, and ensure decision control while allowing autonomy. Moreover, in an increasingly global environment, individuals and leaders must increasingly act globally, while dealing with local demands or nuances. Perhaps as an even greater challenge, they may value nationalistic concerns, while simultaneously embracing multiculturalism and a global mindset.

Key Words

  • Paradox
  • Conflicts
  • Contradictions
  • Dialectics
  • Process
  • Disequilibria
  • Disruption
  • Opposition
  • Synthesis
  • Competing Poles
  • Dilemmas
  • Trade-offs
  • Dualities
  • Polarities
  • Virtuous Cycles
  • Vicious Cycles
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Oxymora
  • This and That
  • This or That
  • Either/ Or
  • Both/And
  • Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Networks and Boundaries
  • Outside and Inside
  • Before and After
  • Japanese Zen Koans
  • Chinese Yin Yang
  • Aristotle Logic
  • Hegel Dialectics
  • Tensions
  • Ambidexerity
  • Paradox Theory
  • Ambivalence
  • Double Bind
  • Contingency Theory
  • African Ubuntu
  • Trialectics
  • Verbs: working with (through), addressing, resolving, combining, embracing, mediating, simultaneously achieving, managing contradictions, achieving balance, dealing with, coexisting, aligning, reconciling, solving the struggle between, enabling multiple interests, negotiating tensions, facing, synthesizing opposites, mastering the paradox, overcoming;
  • Nouns: coping strategies, emerging strategies, resolutions, solutions, tactics, compromises (trade-offs), framework, mediator
  • Coping strategies : the presence or absence of coping strategies in the paper and the type of coping strategies (splitting, specializing, suppressing, opposing and synthesizing).
  • Key concept (paradox, dilemma, duality, polarity, dialectic or ambidexterity)

Organizational Paradox


Organizational paradox offers a theory of the nature and management of competing demands. Historically, the dominant paradigm in organizational theory depicted competing demands as trade-offs or dilemmas that could be resolved by choosing one option. In the late 1960s, scholars such as Joan Woodward, Paul Lawrence, and Jay Lorsch introduced contingency theory, suggesting that individuals resolve these tensions by taking the context and environment into account. Paradox theory offers an alternative approach, suggesting that these tensions cannot be resolved. By depicting competing demands as tensions that are not only contradictory, but also interdependent and persistent, paradox theory argues that actors need to accept, engage, and navigate tensions rather than resolve them. Foundational work on paradox in organizations emerged starting in the late 1970s and 1980s. This work drew from rich insights across a variety of disciplines, including Eastern philosophy (Taoism, Confucianism), Western philosophies (Hegel, Heraclitus), psychodynamics (Jung, Adler, Frankel), psychology (Schneider, Watzlawick), political science (Marx, Engel), communications and sociology (Taylor, Bateson), and negotiations and conflict resolution (Follett). More recent work has advanced foundational building blocks toward a theory of paradox. Underlying the theory of paradox is ontologies of dualism—two opposing elements that together form an integrated unity—and dynamism— ongoing change. Scholars have defined paradox as tensions that are contradictory, interdependent, and persistent, noting their dynamic, everchanging, cyclical nature. Some scholars describe the origins of paradox as inherent within systems, while others highlight their social construction through cognition, dialogue, and rationality. Still others explore the relationship between the inherent and socially constructed nature of tensions, depicting tensions as latent within a system, becoming salient through social construction and external conditions. Moreover, some scholars focus more on understanding the poles of paradox, while others depict the ongoing dynamic interaction and evolution. As paradox theory continues to grow and expand, scholars have also added complexity to our understanding, emphasizing paradoxes as nested across levels and as knotted and interwoven across various tensions, while also taking into account the power dynamics, uncertainty, plurality, and scarcity of systems within which paradoxes emerge. This article identifies scholarship that depicts these varied approaches and ideas, providing the foundations of paradox theory for scholars new to this field and in-depth analysis for those seeking to expand their understanding. Section 1 offers foundational work. Section 2 introduces early scholarship that launched the field. Section 3 includes work describing foundational building blocks toward a theory of paradox. Section 4 highlights research that recognizes the nested nature of paradox and describes how this theory has been applied across different levels. Section 5 includes papers that address the meta-theoretical and multi-paradigmatic aspect of paradox theory, noting how these ideas have been applied across phenomena and across theoretical lenses. Section 6 describes papers that draw on the varied methodological traditions associated with paradox. Finally, section 7 identifies several handbooks and special issues that offer an introduction to or integration of paradox theory.

The Pillars of the Paradox: Foundational Papers

The early foundational work in organizational paradox dates back to the late 1970s and 1980s, and it established paradox as a core lens through which to understand organizational phenomena. These different insights emerged out of multiple traditions. One of the earliest pieces, Benson 1977 draws on the work of Hegel, Marx, and Engels to introduce the idea of dialectics in organizations. Discussion continues to this day about the distinctions and synergies between dialectical and paradoxical perspectives (see, e.g., Hargrave and van de Ven 2017, cited under Different Traditions and Influences). Putnam 1986, a foundational work, draws its roots from communication and sociology from writers such as Taylor, Bateson, and Watzlewick, while the core insight of Smith and Berg 1987 grew out of work on psychodynamics from scholars such as Jung, Adler, Frankel, and Freud. In 2000, Marianne Lewis wrote her AMR paper, “Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide” (Lewis 2000), which brings together these traditions and has inspired the next generation of those examining paradox. In doing so, she won AMR’s best paper of the year award.

  • Benson, J. Kenneth. “Organizations: A Dialectical View.” Administrative Science Quarterly 22.1 (1977): 1–21. Benson draws heavily on insights from Marx and Engels, providing a dialectical perspective of organizations in which contradictions morph and change over time into new integrations. This piece constitutes an early introduction to thinking about organizational systems as embodiments of oppositional tensions. Benson suggests that understanding these tensions depends on four basic principles: social construction, totality, contradiction, and praxis.
  • Cameron, Kim S. “Effectiveness as Paradox: Consensus and Conflict in Conceptions of Organizational Effectiveness.” Management Science 32.5 (1986): 539–553. Cameron reviews the areas of consensus and conflicts in the literature on effectiveness and in doing so describes the inherently paradoxical nature of effectiveness in organizations. He argues that to be effective an organization must own attributes that are simultaneously contradictory, even mutually exclusive.
  • Clegg, Stewart R., ed. Management and Organization Paradoxes. Advances in Organization Studies 9. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2002. Scholars debate the source of paradox as socially constructed and symbolic or inherent and material. Clegg organizes this edited volume to address this paradox of paradoxes. The first section addresses “representing paradoxes,” highlighting the role of symbols and discourse to create paradoxes. The second section focuses on “materializing paradoxes,” describing paradox within various organizational phenomena.
  • Clegg, Stewart R., João Vieira da Cunha, and Miguel Pina e Cunha. “Management Paradoxes: A Relational View.” Human Relations 55.5 (2002): 483–503. The authors offer a relational view of paradox. They discern four regularities from the literature: first, the simultaneous presence of opposites is the everyday experience in management; second, a relationship is often found between the opposing poles (synthesis); third, this synthesis emerges when the relationship’s structural side is kept at a minimal level, and the relationship is mutually reinforcing; finally, this relationship is local, it cannot be designed but emerges from situated practice.
  • Lewis, Marianne. W. “Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide.” Academy of Management Review 25.4 (2000): 760–776. This article advances foundational ideas of organizational paradox. Lewis defines paradox as “contradictory yet interrelated elements—elements that seem logical in isolation but absurd and irrational when appearing simultaneously” (p. 760). She develops a framework that starts with tensions (self-referential loops, mixed messages, and system contradictions), identifies defense mechanisms that lead to reinforcing cycles, and explores management strategies to tap into the power of paradox. She further categorizes paradoxes of learning, organizing, and belonging.
  • Poole, Marshall S., and Andrew H. van de Ven. “Using Paradox to Build Management and Organization Theories.” Academy of Management Review 14.4 (1989): 562–578. The authors explore how paradox thinking can be used to improve our approaches to theorizing. They describe paradoxes as “social paradoxes” that exist in the real world, subject to temporal and spatial constraints, and they propose four strategies for addressing social paradoxes: opposition, accepting the contradiction and using it; spatial separation, defining clear levels of analysis; temporal separation, taking time into account; and synthesis, adopting new term to overcome paradoxes. They illustrate each of these four approaches by exploring the paradoxical tension between structure and agency.
  • Putnam, Linda L. “Contradictions and Paradoxes in Organizations.” In Organization-Communication: Emerging Perspectives. Edited by Lee Thayer, 151–167. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1986. Putnam draws on theories of discourse, communication, and group relations to introduce a categorization of three types of paradoxes: contradictory messages in which words conflict with actions or in roles; paradoxes or double binds, which highlights self-referential interactions due to the dynamics between actors; and system contradictions in which the tensions are embedded within the organizational structures.
  • Quinn, Robert E., and Kim S. Cameron, eds. Paradox and Transformation: Toward a Theory of Change in Organization and Management. Cambridge MA: Ballinger, 1988. This edited volume includes essays from luminaries in organizational theory offering insights about how paradox can inform and is informed by strategic thinking, organizational change, communication, and group dynamics. These now classic essays provide foundational insights for applying paradox theory to organizational phenomena.
  • Smith, Kenwyn K., and David N. Berg. Paradoxes of Group Life: Understanding Conflict, Paralysis, and Movement in Group Dynamics. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987. Smith and Berg define paradox as “a statement or set of statements that are self-referential and contradictory and trigger a vicious cycle” (p. 12). They trace the roots of paradoxical thought drawing heavily on psychoanalysis, and they highlight twelve paradoxes within groups and merge them in three different categories: paradoxes of belonging, paradoxes of engaging, and paradoxes of speaking. This text offers an early approach to exploring paradox within organizational phenomena.

SWG 09: Organizational Paradox: Engaging Plurality, Tensions and Contradictions


Costas Andriopoulos, City, University London, United Kingdom
Josh Keller, UNSW Sydney, Australia
Marianne W. Lewis, University of Cincinnati, USA
Ella Miron-Spektor, INSEAD, Europe Campus, France
Camille Pradies, EDHEC Business School, France
Jonathan Schad, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Wendy K. Smith, University of Delaware, USA

Organizational life faces unprecedented complexity. Multiple and contradictory goals, competing stakeholder demands, and fast-paced change increasingly give rise to persistent and interwoven tensions, such as today and tomorrow, social missions and business demands, centralization and decentralization, stability and change. Whereas traditional management research emphasizes contingency approaches to make explicit choices between alternatives of a tension, a paradox approach underlines the value of embracing competing demands simultaneously (Lewis, 2000). A paradox depicts a tension’s elements as contradictory and inconsistent, yet also interdependent, synergistic, and mutually constituted (Farjoun, 2010; Smith & Lewis, 2011). Engaging competing demands simultaneously enables long term organizational sustainability.

The aim of SWG 09 is to advance our understanding of plurality, tensions, and contradictions to better engage them for managerial practice (see Putnam et al., 2016; Schad et al., 2016).

Throughout continuous sub-themes at EGOS Colloquia, we have been able to further our understanding of tensions and contradictions, and thereby define clear boundaries and definitions. Building on a thriving community of scholars, we now seek to apply new theoretical terrains and discuss methodological possibilities to uncover the full potential of paradox research.
This SWG aims to specifically explore and advance research on plurality, tensions, and contradictions as follow:

  • Understanding the sources of tensions: Tensions are depicted as inherent to organizing as well as socially constructed (Smith & Lewis, 2011). Recent research explains that tensions can be rooted in complex systems, which is why they can be latent and become salient (Schad & Bansal, 2018).
  • Multiple, interwoven tensions: Given the pervasiveness of multiple tensions, scholars may study co-occurrence of tensions (Jarzabkowski et al., 2013), which span levels of an organizations (Andriopoulos & Lewis, 2009), and can be interrelationships among tensions (Sheep et al., 2017).
  • Microfoundations: What are the microfoundations of paradoxes (Miron-Spektor et al., 2018)? What is the role of emotions – anxiety, ambivalence, vulnerability – in sustaining or leveraging paradoxical tensions (Vince & Broussine, 1996)? What are the consequences for management and organization (Hahn et al., 2014)?
  • Paradoxes of grand and complex challenges:Given the changing landscape of organizations and the environment they are embedded in (social values, political orientations, technological, etc.) how does paradox as a lens inform in dealing with grand and complex challenges?
  • New methods in paradox research: What are new methods or combinations of methods that can help us examine paradoxes empirically (Andriopoulos & Gotsi, 2017; Jarzabkowski et al., 2019)? Are there new ways of triangulation informed by paradox theory, combining qualitative, quantitative and experimental approaches? Can paradox theory benefit from the analysis of big data or simulations? How can paradox be used to explore tensions between theory and methods?
  • The challenge of managing paradox: Addressing paradoxes is challenging (Denis et al., 2001), since tensions surface uncertainty and ambiguity (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002). What are the risks of engaging paradoxes (Pina e Cunha & Putnam, 2019)?
  • Abdallah, C., Denis, J.L., & Langley, A. (2011): “Having your cake and eating it too Discourses of transcendence and their role in organizational change dynamics.” Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24 (3), 333–348.
  • Andriopoulos, C., & Gotsi, M. (2017): “Methods of Paradox.” In: W. Smith, M. Lewis, P. Jarzabkowski & A. Langley (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 513–528.
  • Andriopoulos, C., & Lewis, M.W. (2009): “Exploitation-Exploration Tensions and Organizational Ambidexterity: Managing Paradoxes of Innovation.” Organization Science, 20 (4), 696–717.
  • Denis, J.-L., Lamothe, L., & Langley, A. (2001): “The Dynamics of Collective Leadership and Strategic Change in Pluralistic Organizations.” Academy of Management Journal, 44 (4), 809–837.
  • Farjoun, M. (2010): “Beyond Dualism: Stability and Change as Duality.” Academy of Management Review, 35 (2), 202–225.
  • Hahn, T., Preuss, L., Pinkse, J., & Figge, F. (2014): “Cognitive Frames in Corporate Sustainability: Managerial Sensemaking with Paradoxical and Business Case Frames.” Academy of Management Review, 39 (4), 463–487.
  • Jarzabkowski, P., Bednarek, R., Chalkias, K., & Cacciatori, E. (2019): “Exploring inter-organizational paradoxes: Methodological lessons from a study of a grand challenge.” Strategic Organization, 17 (1), 120–132.
  • Jarzabkowski, P., Lê, J.K., & Van de Ven, A.H. (2013): “Responding to competing strategic demands: How organizing, belonging, and performing paradoxes coevolve.” Strategic Organization, 11 (3), 245–280.
  • Lewis, M.W. (2000): “Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide.” Academy of Management Review, 25( 4), 760–776.
  • Miron-Spektor, E., Ingram, A., Keller, J., Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2018): “Microfoundations of Organizational Paradox: The Problem Is How We Think about the Problem.” Academy of Management Journal, 61 (1), 26–45.
  • Pina e Cunha, M., & Putnam, L.L. (2019): “Paradox theory and the paradox of success.” Strategic Organization, 17 (1), 95–106.
  • Putnam, L.L., Fairhurst, G.T., & Banghart, S. (2016): “Contradictions, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizations: A Constitutive Approach.” Academy of Management Annals, 10 (1), 65–171.
  • Schad, J., & Bansal, P. (2018): “Seeing the Forest and the Trees: How a Systems Perspective Informs Paradox Research.” Journal of Management Studies, 55 (8), 1491–1506.
  • Schad, J., Lewis, M.W., Raisch, S., & Smith, W.K. (2016): “Paradoxical Research in Management Science: Looking Backward to Move Forward.” Academy of Management Annals, 10 (1), 5–64.
  • Sheep, M.L., Fairhurst, G.T., & Khazanchi, S. (2017): “Knots in the Discourse of Innovation: Investigating Multiple Tensions in a Reacquired Spin-off.” Organization Studies, 38 (3–4), 463–488.
  • Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2011): “Towards a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Organizing.” Academy of Management Review, 36 (2), 381–403.
  • Tsoukas, H., & Chia, R. (2002): “On organizational becoming: Rethinking organizational change.” Organization Science, 13 (5), 567–582.
  • Vince, R., & Broussine, M. (1996): “Paradox, Defense and Attachment: Accessing and Working with Emotions and Relations Underlying Organizational Change.” Organization Studies, 17 (1), 1–21.

The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox  

Edited by Wendy K. Smith, Marianne W. Lewis, Paula Jarzabkowski, and Ann Langley


Organizations are rife with paradoxes. Contradictory and interdependent tensions emerge from and within multiple levels, including individual interactions, group dynamics, organizational strategies, and the broader institutional context. Examples abound such as those between stability and change, empowerment and alienation, flexibility and control, diversity and inclusion, exploration and exploitation, social and commercial, competition and collaboration, learning and performing. These examples accentuate the distinctions between concepts, positing their potential opposition; either A or B. Yet the social world is pluralistic, and comprises multiple, interwoven tensions, in which the relationship between A and B persists in a dynamic, ever-changing relationship. In the last thirty years, the depth and breadth of paradox studies in organizational theory has grown exponentially, surfacing new insights and applications while challenging foundational ideas, and raising questions around definitions, overlapping lenses, and varied research and managerial approaches. In this book, renowned organizational scholars draw from diverse lenses, theories, and empirics to depict paradox within organizational studies and provide a range of lenses and tools with which to understand and conduct research into such phenomena. In doing so, we hope these chapters re-energize continued insight on organizational paradox, plurality, tensions, and contractions.

Keywords: paradoxpluralitydichotomydialecticsdualitiestensionscontradictionsprocesspracticevirtuous and vicious cycles

Dualities, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizational Life

Front Cover

Moshe Farjoun, Wendy Smith, Ann Langley, Haridimos Tsoukas

Oxford University Press, Jul 26, 2018 – Business & Economics – 240 pages

Contradictions permeate and propel organizational life – including tensions between reaching globally while focusing locally; competing while also cooperating; performing reliably while experimenting, taking risks, and learning; or granting autonomy while constraining freedom. These tensions give organizational members pause, but also spur them to take action; they may be necessary for preserving the social order, but are also required to transform it. Drawing on the Eighth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies, Dualities, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizational Life examines how contradictions fuel emergent, dynamic systems and stimulate novelty, adaption, and transformations. It uses conceptual and empirical studies to offer insight into how process theorizing advances understanding of organizational contradictions; to shed light on how dialectics, paradoxes, and dualities fuel persistence and transformation; and to explore the convergence and divergence of dialectics, paradox, and dualities. Taken together, it offers key insights to inform persistent, contradictory dynamics in organizations and organizational studies.

Elgar Introduction to Organizational Paradox Theory

Elgar Introductions to Management and Organization Theory series

Publication Date: July 2021 ISBN: 978 1 83910 113 7 Extent: 192 pp

Marco Berti, Senior Lecturer in Management, UTS Business, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, Ace Simpson, Reader in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour, Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, UK, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Fundação Amélia de Mello Professor, Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal and Stewart R. Clegg, Professor, University of Stavanger Business School, Norway and Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal 

This insightful Elgar Introduction comprises the first effort to provide a succinct overview of the field of organizational paradox theory, exploring contradictions and tensions in organizational settings. By conceptually mapping the field, it offers guidance through the literature on paradox, making space for new interpretations and applications of the concept. 

Opening with a critical analysis of research to date, the authors explore ideas related to dialectics and ambidexterity in organizations, as well as pragmatic approaches to organizational paradox. Chapters propose new ways to analyse responses to paradox, bringing together influential contributions that consider the nestedness of paradox, the relation between power and paradox, and paradoxes of positive organizational scholarships.

Providing novel approaches to the discipline, this cutting-edge book is crucial for graduate students and management scholars interested in employing organizational paradox theory as a conceptual framework for their research.

‘In an era in which paradox theory, research, and practice has grown exponentially, this book is a landmark contribution to the work on organizational tensions. As a highly accessible guide to the paradox terrain, it offers a number of unique features: 1) a broad historical picture of the evolution of paradox theory, 2) a succinct and insightful discussion of both the positive and negative sides of paradox, 3) a vivid expose on paradox complexity, 4) an exploration of the role of power in exercising and responding to paradox, and 5) recommendations for extending the vitality of this theory as well as avoiding practices that might reify it. The clarity of its presentation, sophistication of its ideas, and use of rich vignettes make it a “must read” for practitioners as well as academics interested in how contradictions and tensions pervade organizational experiences.’ 
– Linda L. Putnam, University of California, Santa Barbara, US

‘Berti, Simpson, Cunha, and Clegg’s thoughtful map of the paradox terrain offers deep insight to any traveler – whether they are just stepping into this world for the first time looking to understand the landscape or whether they are a seasoned explorer who can see old experiences with a new lens. Their focus on how features of power inform our experiences of paradox offers important ideas that allows us to grapple with tensions in new ways. I found myself delighted with the ideas, eager to read more, and energized to engage with paradox studies in new ways.’
– Wendy Smith, University of Delaware, US

‘This book is a tour de force, covering the field of paradox theory and all of the key concepts whilst also sketching out a compelling vision of how paradox theorising can both provide novel insights and also be taken to the next level in studying the grand societal challenges of our time. I strongly recommend it for new and established paradox scholars and those who are “paradox-curious”.’
– Paula Jarzabkowski, Cass Business School, City University of London, UK

‘With this book, the exciting new wave of paradox studies comes of age. It encourages and enables readers to go beyond managerial “both-anding” rhetoric and approaches. It unashamedly exhorts paradox scholars to look up and look around, at the absurdity and contradictions embedded in our lives and work in a society of organizations and the role of power and politics in framing paradoxes and our responses to them. Its stronger and bolder approach to paradox theory will speak to those who feel trapped in iron cages of contradictions, excite critical scholars who wish to deepen the treatment of paradox, and broaden student’s understanding and appreciation of the tensions, dilemmas and contradictions that bedevil life inside and outside modern institutions.’
– Richard Badham, Macquarie University, Australia

‘This book is a true guide to organizational paradox theory. It offers a multifarious picture of the landscape of organizational paradox with its gently rolling hills but also its sharp cliffs and deep abysses. It does a brilliant job in offering guidance into paradox research without tracing out a path to follow. Every word of this book reflects the deep and long-lasting engagement, dedication, and passion that the authors have devoted to studying paradox. It is a great service to our burgeoning field and to those who want to join the fascinating endeavor of venturing the winding roads of researching and navigating organizational paradox.’
– Tobias Hahn, ESADE Business School, Ramon Llull University, Spain


  • Global and Local
  • Cooperation and Competition
  • Nationalism and Globalism
  • Nativism vs Multiculturalism
  • Short Term Efficiency and Long term Development
  • Organizational Stability and Flexibility
  • Shareholders and Stakeholders
  • Conforming to and Shaping Collective Forces in the Environment
  • Nurture and Discipline
  • Respect vs Suspect
  • Consistency vs Flexibility
  • Solidarity vs Autonomy

Types of Competing Demands

Source: Analyzing competing demands in organizations: a systematic comparison

Source: Analyzing competing demands in organizations: a systematic comparison

Source: 27 years of research on organizational paradox and coping strategies: A review

Source: Dialectic, Contradiction, or Double Bind? Analyzing and Theorizing Employee Reactions to Organizational Tension

coping strategies

  • opposition
  • spatial separation
  • temporal separation
  • synthesis
  • splitting,
  • specializing,
  • suppressing

Source: 27 years of research on organizational paradox and coping strategies: A review


Source: From Tension to Transformation
How Wise Decision-makers Transcend Paradoxes and Ambiguity

Source: From Tension to Transformation
How Wise Decision-makers Transcend Paradoxes and Ambiguity

Seven Pillars of Cultivating Paradoxical Wisdom

Source: The seven pillars of paradoxical organizational wisdom: On the use of paradox as a vehicle to synthesize knowledge and ignorance

Source: Grasping the dynamics within paradox – comparing exogenous and endogenous approaches to paradox using social systems theory

My Related Posts:

Dialogs and Dialectics

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

Second Order Cybernetics of Heinz Von Foerster

Knot Theory and Recursion: Louis H. Kauffman

Process Physics, Process Philosophy

Boundaries and Networks

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

Networks and Hierarchies

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

Key Sources of Research

Metaphor, recursive systems, and paradox in science and developmental theory

W F Overton 1

Child Dev Behav. 1991;23:59-71.

doi: 10.1016/s0065-2407(08)60022-1.

Contradictions, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizations: A Constitutive Approach

  • January 2016
  • The Academy of Management Annals 10(1):65-171


Linda L. Putnam

Gail Fairhurst

Scott Banghart

Integrating Dialectical and Paradox Perspectives on Managing Contradictions in Organizations

Timothy J Hargrave, Andrew H Van de Ven

 May 13, 2016

Contradictions, Dialectics and Paradoxes

  • January 2016
  • Publisher: Sage
  • Editors: Ann Langley, Haridimos Tsoukas

Moshe Farjoun

  • York University

Dualities, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizational Life

edited by Moshe Farjoun, Wendy Smith, Ann Langley, Haridimos Tsoukas

Oxford Univ Press


Adding Complexity to Theories of
Paradox, Tensions and Dualities of Innovation and Change

Introduction to
Organization Studies Special Issue on
Paradox, Tensions and Dualities of Innovation and Change

Wendy Smith Miriam Erez Marianne Lewis Sirkka Jarvenpaa Paul Tracey

Organizational Paradox

Simone CarmineWendy K. Smith


DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199846740-0201

Paradox Research in Management Science: Looking Back to Move Forward.

Schad, J., Lewis, M. W., Raisch, S. & Smith, W. K. (2016).

Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), pp. 5-64.

doi: 10.1080/19416520.2016.1162422

Logics of Identity, Contradiction, and Attraction in Change

Jeffrey D. Ford and Laurie W. Ford

Published Online: 1 Oct 1994

Academy of Management Review VOL. 19, NO. 4

Contradictions, Tensions, Paradoxes, and Dialectics

Deborah Ballard-ReischPaaige K. Turner

First published: 08 March 2017

Contradiction and Harmony

Analyzing competing demands in organizations: a systematic comparison

Medhanie Gaim

1Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Nils Wåhlin , Miguel Pina e Cunha and Stewart Clegg

Journal of Organization Design (2018) 7:6

A Daoist Critique of Dialectics and Why It Matters

Joseph Pratt

Yingnan Zhao

Peking University Law School

70 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018 Last revised: 22 Dec 2020

Date Written: April 12, 2019

The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox  

Edited by Wendy K. Smith, Marianne W. Lewis, Paula Jarzabkowski, and Ann Langley

The curse of the Hegelian heritage: “Dialectic,” “contradiction,” and “dialectical logic” in Activity Theory

Michael H.G. Hoffmann, Atlanta, USA

Institutional Contradictions, Praxis, and Institutional Change: A Dialectical Perspective

Myeong-Gu Seo and W. E. Douglas Creed

The Academy of Management Review 

Vol. 27, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 222-247 (26 pages) 

Published By: Academy of Management

What, exactly, is a paradox? 

William G. Lycan

Analysis, Volume 70, Issue 4, October 2010, Pages 615–622,

Published: 28 July 2010

Dialectic, Contradiction, or Double Bind? Analyzing and Theorizing Employee Reactions to Organizational Tension

Sarah J. Tracy

Journal of Applied Communication Research, Vol. 32, No. 2, May 2004, pp. 119–146

Heraclitus and the Art of Paradox

Mary Margaret McCabe

In Platonic Conversations

Mary Margaret McCabe

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732884

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732884.001.0001


Stewart Clegg

Chapter prepared for The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox: Approaches to Plurality, Tensions, and Contradictions, edited by M.W. Lewis, W.K. Smith, P. Jarzabkowski & A. Langley.


Nadia Stoyanova Kennedy State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook

Systems Intelligence in Leadership and Everyday Life

edited by Raimo P. Hämäläinen

Dialectical Opposition in Schoenberg’s Music and Thought

Michael Cherlin

Music Theory Spectrum, Volume 22, Issue 2, Fall 2000, Pages 157–176,

Published: 01 October 2000

From Tension to Transformation
How Wise Decision-makers Transcend Paradoxes and Ambiguity

Dr. Peter Verhezen


Dialectical Theory

The role of paradox theory in decision making and management research

David A. Waldman , Linda L. Putnam , Ella Miron-Spektor , Donald Siegel

Received 2 April 2019; Accepted 19 April 2019

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,

27 years of research on organizational paradox and coping strategies: A review

Nathalie Guilmot

Louvain School of Management

Ina Ehnert
Louvain School of Management

Chapter 1 Why are uncertainty, ambiguity and paradox important for managers?

Managing in Uncertainty: Complexity and the paradoxes of everyday organizational life. Routledge, 2015.

The Arrow of Time and the Cycle of Time: Concepts of Change, Cognition, and Embodiment

  • July 1994
  • Psychological Inquiry 5(3):215-237


Willis F. Overton

Paradox as a Metatheoretical Perspective: Sharpening the Focus and Widening the Scope


Marianne Lewis

Wendy K. Smith

Paradox theory and the paradox of success

Miguel Pina e Cunha

Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

Linda L Putnam

University of California, USA

Strategic Organization 2019, Vol. 17(1) 95–106

The paradox of co‐operation and competition in strategic alliances: towards a multi‐paradigm approach

Colin  Clarke‐Hill, Huaning  Li, Barry  Davies

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 1 February 2003

Twelfth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies

Organizing beyond organizations for the common good:

Addressing societal issues through process studies



CLIVE SMALLMAN University of Western Sydney

University of Cyprus and University of Warwick

ANDREW H. VAN DE VEN University of Minnesota

Academy of Management fournal 2013, Vol. 56, No. 1, 1-13.

The Practice Approach: For a Praxeology of Organisational and Management Studies

Davide Nicolini and Pedro Monteiro

Click to access nicolini_and_monteiro_-_the_practice_approach.pdf

The SAGE Handbook of Process Organization Studies

Ann Langley and Haridimos Tsoukas


Click to access 866021353.pdf

Dealing with Paradoxes of Law: Derrida, Luhmann, Wiethölter

Translated by Iain L. Fraser


Oren Perez and Gunther Teubner (eds.), On Paradoxes and Inconsistencies in Law, Hart, Oxford 2006, 41-64

On The Marxist Dialectic

Sean Sayers

The Influence of Biculturalism on the Development of a Dialectical Thinking

LUISS Guido Carli / Premio tesi d’eccellenza

Working paper n. 7/2016-2017

Publication date: February 2019

Dialectical Thinking and Humanistic Psychology

John Rowan

Click to access 3-2%2020%20Rowan%20-%20Humanistic%20Psychology.pdf

PARADOXES. Their Roots, Range and Resolution.

Nicholas RESCHER

Chicago and La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 2001

Review by Mirela Saim

Click to access ReviewRescher.pdf

Culture, Dialectics, and Reasoning About Contradiction

Kaiping Peng

Richard E. Nisbett

September 1999 • American Psychologist

Vol. 54, No. 9, 741-754

Elgar Introduction to Organizational Paradox Theory

Marco Berti, Senior Lecturer in Management, UTS Business, University of Technology Sydney, Australia,

Ace Simpson, Reader in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour, Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, UK,

Miguel Pina e Cunha, Fundação Amélia de Mello Professor, Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

Stewart R. Clegg, Professor, University of Stavanger Business School, Norway and Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal 

Elgar Introductions to Management and Organization Theory series

Publication Date: July 2021 ISBN: 978 1 83910 113 7 Extent: 192 pp

Transcending Paradox: The Chinese “Middle Way” Perspective


Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550, USA

Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 19, 179–199, 2002


XIN LI Copenhagen Business School

VERNER WORM Copenhagen Business School

Submitted to Academy of Management 2015 annual conference On 8 December 2014
Submission number: 10466

Click to access Solutions%20to%20Organizational%20Paradox%20(1).pdf

Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide

M Lewis

Article in The Academy of Management Review · October 2000 

DOI: 10.2307/259204


Marco Berti

The Lived Experience of Paradox: How Individuals Navigate Tensions during the Pandemic Crisis




IMD Business School


UCL School of Management, London

Academy of Management Discoveries 2016, Vol. 2, No. 1, 51–78.
Online only

System of Systems Management

Brian Sauser, John Boardman, and Alex Gorod

Stevens Institute of Technology, USA

System of Systems – Innovations for the 21st Century, 

Edited by [Mo Jamshidi]. ISBN 0-471-XXXXX-X Copyright © 2008 Wiley[Imprint], Inc.


M. Ann Welsh

Department of Management College of Business Administration University of Cincinnati
P.O. Box 210165 Cincinnati, OH 45221-0165 513-556-7136

Gordon E. Dehler

Organizational Sciences Program The George Washington University 2147 F Street NW Washington, DC 20052 202-994-1880

A Paradox Approach to Societal Tensions during the Pandemic Crisis

Garima Sharma1, Jean Bartunek2, Patrice M. Buzzanell3,
Simone Carmine4, Carsyn Endres5, Michael Etter6,7, Gail Fairhurst5, Tobias Hahn8, Patrick Lê9, Xin Li7,10, Vontrese Pamphile11,
Camille Pradies12, Linda L. Putnam13, Kimberly Rocheville2, Jonathan Schad6, Mathew Sheep14, and Joshua Keller15

Journal of Management Inquiry
2021, Vol. 30(2) 121–137

Communicative dynamic to reconstruct paradoxes in organizations

Harald Tuckermann
University of St. Gallen,

Thomas Schumacher
University of St. Gallen,

Johannes Rüegg-Stürm
University of St. Gallen,

Chapter 4

The seven pillars of paradoxical organizational wisdom: On the use of paradox as a vehicle to synthesize knowledge and ignorance

in Book Wisdom Learning Edition 1st Edition First Published 2016
Imprint Gower
eBook ISBN 9781315547039

From Vicious to Virtuous Paradox Dynamics: The Social-symbolic Work of Supporting Actors

Camille PradiesAndrea TunarosaMarianne W. Lewis,

 …First Published March 18, 2020

Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Paradox: a case study

Patrick bohl

Click to access VT_2015n11p25.pdf

Here Be Paradox: How Global Business Leaders Navigate Change

Janet Ann  Nelson

Advances in Global Leadership

ISBN: 978-1-78754-298-3, eISBN: 978-1-78754-297-6

ISSN: 1535-1203

Publication date: 26 November 2018

Grasping the dynamics within paradox – comparing exogenous and endogenous approaches to paradox using social systems theory

PROS 2019 – draft version 12.05.19

Harald Tuckermann, Simone Gutzan, Camille Leutenegger, Johannes Rüegg-Stürm,

Institute of Systemic Management and Public Governance, University of St. Gallen, Dufourstrasse 40a, 9008 St. Gallen, Switzerland,


Paradoxes in supply chains: a conceptual framework for packed products

Henrik Palsson
Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, and

Erik Sandberg

Department of Logistics and Quality Management, Link€oping University, Link€oping, Sweden

The International Journal of Logistics Management

Vol. 31 No. 3, 2020 pp. 423-442

Top managers’ improvisational decision-making in crisis: a paradox perspective


Pooya Tabesh

Dusya Vera

Navigate Paradox in Organizations: The Implications of Combining Theory of Paradox with Practice

Mourad Mechiche
Independent Scholar, Vihastenkarinkatu 21-23 G, Raahe, Finland

European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
Vol.12, No.29, 2020

We Have To Do This and That? You Must be Joking: Constructing and Responding to Paradox Through Humor

Paula A. Jarzabkowski

City University London, UK

Jane K. Lê

The University of Sydney, Australia

Organization Studies 2017, Vol. 38(3-4) 433–462

Paradox beyond East/West orthodoxy: The case of Ubuntu

Medhanie Gaim

Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics, Sweden

Stewart Clegg
University Technology Sydney, Australia & Nova School of Business and Economics, Carcavelos, Portugal

Responding to competing strategic demands: How organizing, belonging, and performing paradoxes coevolve

Paula Jarzabkowski

City University, UK; Cornell University, USA

Strategic Organization 11(3) 245–280.


A Paradox Approach to Organizational Tensions During the Pandemic Crisis

Simone Carmine1, Constantine Andriopoulos2, Manto Gotsi3 ,
Charmine E. J. Härtel4, Anna Krzeminska5, Nkosana Mafico4,
Camille Pradies6, Hassan Raza7, Tatbeeq Raza-Ullah8,
Stephanie Schrage9 , Garima Sharma10, Natalie Slawinski11, Lea Stadtler12, Andrea Tunarosa13, Casper Winther-Hansen14 , and Joshua Keller15

Journal of Management Inquiry
2021, Vol. 30(2) 138–153


Ella Miron-Spektor

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Haifa 32000, Israel
Tel: 972-4-829-4439
Fax: 972-4-829-5688

Amy Ingram Clemson University

Josh Keller
Nanyang Technological University

Wendy K. Smith University of Delaware

Marianne W. Lewis University of London

Networks, Narratives, and Interaction

Networks, Narratives, and Interaction

Bruner (1973: xi) described this duality as follows:“our knowledge of the world is not merely a mirroring or reflection of order and structure ‘out there,’ but consists rather of a construct or model that can, so to speak, be spun a bit ahead of things to predict how the world will be or might be”

Key Terms

  • Narratives
  • Culture
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Meaning
  • Meaning making
  • Networks
  • Boundaries
  • Folk Culture
  • Communication
  • Sensemaking
  • Active Learning
  • Karl Weick
  • Dirk Baecker
  • Jerome Bruner
  • Erving Goffman
  • George Spencer Brown
  • Charles Sanders Peirce
  • Social Interactions
  • Strategic Interactions
  • Cultural Psychology
  • Systems
  • Social Systems
  • Individual and Collective
  • Symbolic Interactions
  • Face Work
  • Face to Face
  • Micro Sociology
  • Drama
  • Kenneth Burke
  • Chain of Events
  • Sequence of Events
  • Time Space
  • Choices, Conflicts, Dilemmas
  • Constraints, Limits, Boundaries
  • Networks, Connections, Interaction
  • Social Simulation
  • Discrete Events
  • Scenes, Scenarios
  • Games and Dramas
  • Harmony
  • Colors, Tones
  • Interaction Rituals
  • Interaction Order
  • Ethnomethodology
  • LL and LR Quadrants in AQAL Model of Ken Wilber
  • Many Faces of Man
  • Backstage and Frontstage
  • Russell Ackoff’s Interaction Planning
  • Faces, Masks, and Rituals
  • Frame Analysis
  • Self and Others
  • Social Constructivism
  • Agent Based Modeling
  • Cellular Automata
  • Computational Sociology
  • Micro Motives and Macro Behavior
  • Conversations
  • Strategic Conversations
  • Boundaries and Distinctions
  • Networks and Boundaries

Jerome Bruner ON Narratives

Source: Chapter 1 Narrative Inquiry: From Story to Method

… Narrative as a mode of knowing 

In 1984 at an address to the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Jerome Bruner challenged the psychological community to consider the possibilities of narrative as one of two distinct and distinctive modes of thinking, namely the “paradigmatic” or logico-scientific mode and the narrative mode. For Bruner, each mode constituted a unique way of construing and constructing reality and of ordering experience. Importantly, neither of these modes was reducible to the other, as each was necessary in the development of human thought and action. Taking up these ideas in later writings, Bruner (1986) presents the narrative mode of meaning-making as one that “looks for particular conditions and is centred around the broader and more inclusive question of the meaning of experience” (p. 11), whilst the paradigmatic mode is characterised as one that is more concerned with establishing universal truth conditions.

Bruner has pursued the notion of “narrative” modes of thinking and explored the ways in which we draw on “narrative” modes of knowing as a learning process (1996a). For Bruner, we construct our understandings of the world “mainly in the form of narrative – stories, excuses, myths, reasons for doing and not doing, and so on” (2003, p. 44). In earlier writings, he points to the power and import of narrative as a meaning-making process, commenting that “our capacity to render experience in terms of narrative is not just child’s play, but an instrument for making meaning that dominates much of life in culture – from soliloquies at bedtime to the weighing of testimony in our legal system” (1990, p. 97). Importantly, Bruner suggests that our “sensitivity” to narrative constitutes a major link between our “sense of self and our sense of others in the social world around us” (1986, p. 69) and is the mode through which we “create a version of the world” with which we can live (1996a, p. 39).

Bruner’s work in the field of cognitive psychology constitutes one way in which narrative has been conceptualised within scholarship and has led to the establishment of the field of narrative psychology. It is perhaps serendipitous that Bruner’s account of the narrative mode of thinking occurred at a time of growing interest in the ways in which narrative might be drawn upon for research and inquiry purposes. As educators and scholars took up the “call of stories” (Coles, 1989) to provide alternative means to explore, interrogate, interpret, and record experience, “it helped that the messenger was Bruner, an enormously powerful scholar with unusual cross-disciplinary knowledge, stature, and impact, who ventured to articulate what narrative could mean to the social sciences at large” (Bresler, 2006, p. 23). Crucially, Bruner’s work leads us to consider narrative as more than a means of presenting meaning and to consider the role of narrative and narrative forms in “re-presenting,” in the sense of constructing meaning, both individually and collectively. For Bruner, narrative operates simultaneously in both thought and action, shaping the ways in which we conceive and respond to our worlds. In short, all cognition, whatever its nature, relies upon representation, how we lay down our knowledge in a way to represent our experience of the world . . . representation is a process of construction, as it were, rather than of mere reflection of the world (Bruner, 1996b, p. 95).

Here, a narrative might become a “template for experience” (Bruner, 2002, p. 34) that works on the mind, modelling “not only its world but the minds seeking to give it its meanings” (p. 27). This move from narrative as “story presented” to narrative as a “form of meaning-making,” indeed, a form of “mind-making,” has played an important role in the development of narrative as a method of inquiry in the social sciences.

Source: INTRODUCTION: BRUNER’S WAY/ David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker

Another reason why Bruner is an ideal focus is his role in two crucial paradigm shifts in twentieth-century psychology. In the 1950s, he was an instrumental figure in the cognitive revolution, which restored to psychology the inner life of the mind after decades of arid behaviourist objectivism. Cognitive psychology prospered and, in league with other fields, evolved into ‘cognitive science’, conceived as a systematic inter- disciplinary approach to the study of mind (see Gardner, 1985). Bruner, however, gradually grew more and more dissatisfied with what cognitivism had become. In 1990, he published Acts of Meaning, in which he argued that the cognitive revolution had betrayed the impulse that had brought it into being. The revolution’s principal concern, Bruner argued, had been to return the concept of meaning to the forefront of psychological theorizing. But cognitivism had become so enamoured of computational models of the mind that it had replaced behaviourism’s impoverished view of the person with one no better: human beings as information processors. In response, Bruner argued forcefully that meaning is not a given, but something made by human beings as they negotiate the world. Meaning is a cultural, not computational, phenomenon. And since meaning is the medium of the mental, culture is constitutive of mind.

In many ways, Bruner’s objection was familiar. It had often been lamented that mainstream psychology was individualistic and scientistic, representing minds as self-contained mental atoms and ignoring the social and cultural influences upon them. In the last decade, however, this well-known critique has really been gaining momentum. Besides Bruner, both Richard Shweder (1990) and Michael Cole (1996) have sounded the call for a new ‘cultural psychology’. Assorted versions of ‘constructionist’ and ‘discursive’ psychology have appeared on the scene, joining a veritable chorus of diverse voices urging that psychology treat the mind as a sociocultural phenomenon (e.g., Edwards and Potter, 1992; Harré and Gillett, 1994; Gergen, 1999). It is particularly striking that these voices no longer come exclusively from the margins. Just as the left/right divide is collapsing in political theory, so the dichotomy between mainstream ‘individualistic/scientistic/Cartesian’ psychology and radical ‘communitarian/interpretative/post-Cartesian’ psychology has become outmoded. Cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind now commonly acknowledge that no plausible account of the mind can be indifferent to the context in which we think and act, and some significant works have appeared devoted to the cultural origins, and social realization, of human mentality (e.g., Donald, 1991). A psychologist interested in culture is no longer a counter-cultural figure.

Source: The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach

From diverse sources it is possible to identify four features of a reframed narrativity particularly relevant for the social sciences:1) relationality of parts, 2) causal emplotment, 3) selective appropriation, and 4) temporality, sequence and place.43 Together, these dimensions suggest narratives are constellations of relationships (connected parts) embedded in time and space, constituted by causal emplotment. Unlike the attempt to produce meaning by placing an event in a specified category, narrativity precludes sense making of a singular isolated phenomenon. Narrativity demands that we discern the meaning of any single event only in temporal and spatial relationship to other events. Indeed, the chief characteristic of narrative is that it renders understanding only by connecting (however unstably) parts to a constructed configuration or a social network of relationships (however incoherent or unrealizable) composed of symbolic, institutional, and material practices 4.4


Narrative accounts must have at least two characteristics. They should center upon people and their intentional states: their desires, beliefs, and so on; and they should focus on how these intentional states led to certain kinds of activities. Such an account should also be or appear to be order preserving, in the sense of preserving or appearing to preserve sequence — the sequential properties of which life itself consists or is supposed to consist. Now, in the nature of things, if these points are correct, autobiographies should be about the past, should be par excellence the genre (or set of genres) composed in the past tense. So just for fun, we decided to find out whether in fact autobiographies were all in the past tense — both the spontaneous ones we had collected and a sample of literary autobiographies.

We have never found a single one where past-tense verbs constituted more than 70 percent of the verbs used. Autobiographies are, to be sure, about the past; but what of the 30 percent or more of their sentences that are not in the past tense? I’m sure it will be apparent without all these statistics that autobiography is not only about the past, but is busily about the present as well. If it is to bring the protagonist up to the present, it must deal with the present as well as the past — and not just at the end of the account, as it were. That is one part of it. But there is another part that is more interesting. Most of the “present-tense” aspect of autobiography has to do with what students of narrative structure call “evaluation” — the task of placing those sequential events in terms of a meaningful context. Narrative, whether looked at from the more formalistic perspective of William Labov (1982) or the more literary, historical one of Barbara Herrnstein-Smith (1986), necessarily comprises two features: one of them is telling what happened to a cast of human beings with a view to the order in which things happened. That part is greatly aided by the devices of flashback, flashforward, and the rest. But a narrative must also answer the question “Why”, “Why is this worth telling, what is interesting about it?” Not everything that happened is worth telling about, and it is not always clear why what one tells merits telling. We are bored and offended by such accounts as“I got up in the morning, got out of bed, dressed and tied my shoes, shaved, had breakfast, went off to the office and saw a graduate student who had an idea for a thesis…”

The “why tell” function imposes something of great (and hidden) significance on narrative. Not only must a narrative be about a sequence of events over time, structured comprehensibly in terms of cultural canonicality, it must also contain something that endows it with exceptionality. We had better pause for a moment and explore what this criterion of exceptionality means for autobiography and, incidentally, why it creates such a spate of present-tense clauses in the writing of autobiography.


The object of narrative, then, is to demystify deviations. Narrative solves no problems. It simply locates them in such a way as to make them comprehensible. It does so by invoking the play of psychological states and of actions that transpire when human beings interact with each other and relates these to what can usually be expected to happen. I think that Kenneth Burke has a good deal to say about this “play of psychological states” in narrative, and I think it would help to examine his ideas. In his The Grammar of Motives, he introduces the idea of “dramatism” (Burke 1945). Burke noted that dramatism was created by the interplay of five elements (he refers to them as the Pentad). These comprise an Actor who commits an Action toward a Goal with the use of some Instrument in a particular Scene. Dramatism is created, he argues, when elements of the Pentad are out of balance, lose their appropriate “ratio”. This creates Trouble, an emergent sixth element. He has much to say about what leads to the breakdown in the ratios between the elements of the dramatistic pentad. For example, the Actor and the Scene don’t fit. Nora, for example: what in the world is the rebellious Nora in A Doll’s House doing in this banal doctor’s household? Or Oedipus taking his mother Jocasta unknowingly to wife. The “appropriate ratios”, of course, are given by the canonical stances of folk psychology toward the human condition. Dramatism constitutes their patterned violation. In a classically oral culture, the great myths that circulate are the archetypal forms of violation, and these become increasingly “smoothed” and formalized — even frozen — over time, as we know from the classic studies of Russian folktales published by Vladimir Propp (1986). In more mobile literary cultures, of course, the range and variation in such tales and stories greatly increases, matching the greater complexity and widened opportunities that accompany literacy. Genres develop, new forms emerge, variety increase — at least at first. It may well be that with the emergence of mass cultures and the new massifying media, new constraints on this variation occur, but that is a topic that would take us beyond the scope of this essay (see Feldman, in this volume).

Erving Goffman On Interactionism

Source: Wikipedia

Goffman was influenced by Herbert BlumerÉmile DurkheimSigmund FreudEverett HughesAlfred Radcliffe-BrownTalcott ParsonsAlfred SchützGeorg Simmel and W. Lloyd Warner. Hughes was the “most influential of his teachers”, according to Tom Burns.[1][3][22] Gary Alan Fine and Philip Manning have said that Goffman never engaged in serious dialogue with other theorists,[1] but his work has influenced and been discussed by numerous contemporary sociologists, including Anthony GiddensJürgen Habermas and Pierre Bourdieu.[23]

Though Goffman is often associated with the symbolic interaction school of sociological thought, he did not see himself as a representative of it, and so Fine and Manning conclude that he “does not easily fit within a specific school of sociological thought”.[1] His ideas are also “difficult to reduce to a number of key themes”; his work can be broadly described as developing “a comparative, qualitative sociology that aimed to produce generalizations about human behavior”.[23][24]

Goffman made substantial advances in the study of face-to-face interaction, elaborated the “dramaturgical approach” to human interaction, and developed numerous concepts that have had a massive influence, particularly in the field of the micro-sociology of everyday life.[23][25] Much of his work was about the organization of everyday behavior, a concept he termed “interaction order”.[23][26][27] He contributed to the sociological concept of framing (frame analysis),[28] to game theory (the concept of strategic interaction), and to the study of interactions and linguistics.[23] With regard to the latter, he argued that the activity of speaking must be seen as a social rather than a linguistic construct.[29] From a methodological perspective, Goffman often employed qualitative approaches, specifically ethnography, most famously in his study of social aspects of mental illness, in particular the functioning of total institutions.[23] Overall, his contributions are valued as an attempt to create a theory that bridges the agency-and-structuredivide—for popularizing social constructionismsymbolic interactionconversation analysis, ethnographic studies, and the study and importance of individual interactions.[30][31] His influence extended far beyond sociology: for example, his work provided the assumptions of much current research in language and social interaction within the discipline of communication.[32]

Goffman defined “impression management” as a person’s attempts to present an acceptable image to those around them, verbally or nonverbally.[33] This definition is based on Goffman’s idea that people see themselves as others view them, so they attempt to see themselves as if they are outside looking in.[33] Goffman was also dedicated to discovering the subtle ways humans present acceptable images by concealing information that may conflict with the images for a particular situation, such as concealing tattoos when applying for a job in which tattoos would be inappropriate, or hiding a bizarre obsession such as collecting/interacting with dolls, which society may see as abnormal.

Goffman broke from George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer in that while he did not reject the way people perceive themselves, he was more interested in the actual physical proximity or the “interaction order” that molds the self.[33] In other words, Goffman believed that impression management can be achieved only if the audience is in sync with a person’s self-perception. If the audience disagrees with the image someone is presenting then their self-presentation is interrupted. People present images of themselves based on how society thinks they should act in a particular situation. This decision how to act is based on the concept of definition of the situation. Definitions are all predetermined and people choose how they will act by choosing the proper behavior for the situation they are in. Goffman also draws from William Thomas for this concept. Thomas believed that people are born into a particular social class and that the definitions of the situations they will encounter have already been defined for them.[33] For instance. when an individual from an upper-class background goes to a black-tie affair, the definition of the situation is that they must mind their manners and act according to their class.

In 2007 by The Times Higher Education Guide listed Goffman as the sixth most-cited author in the humanities and social sciences, behind Anthony Giddens and ahead of Habermas.[2] His popularity with the general public has been attributed to his writing style, described as “sardonic, satiric, jokey”,[31] and as “ironic and self-consciously literary”,[34] and to its being more accessible than that of most academics.[35] His style has also been influential in academia, and is credited with popularizing a less formal style in academic publications.[31] Interestingly, if he is rightly so credited, he may by this means have contributed to a remodelling of the norms of academic behaviour, particularly of communicative action, arguably liberating intellectuals from social restraints unnatural to some of them.

His students included Carol Brooks Gardner, Charles Goodwin, Marjorie Goodwin, John Lofland, Gary Marx, Harvey SacksEmanuel Schegloff, David Sudnow and Eviatar Zerubavel.[1]

Despite his influence, according to Fine and Manning there are “remarkably few scholars who are continuing his work”, nor has there been a “Goffman school”; thus his impact on social theory has been simultaneously “great and modest”.[30] Fine and Manning attribute the lack of subsequent Goffman-style research and writing to the nature of his style, which they consider very difficult to duplicate (even “mimic-proof”), and also to his subjects’ not being widely valued in the social sciences.[3][30] Of his style, Fine and Manning remark that he tends to be seen either as a scholar whose style is difficult to reproduce, and therefore daunting to those who might wish to emulate it, or as a scholar whose work was transitional, bridging the work of the Chicago school and that of contemporary sociologists, and thus of less interest to sociologists than the classics of either of those groups.[24][30] Of his subjects, Fine and Manning observe that the topic of behavior in public places is often stigmatized as trivial and unworthy of serious scholarly attention.[30]

Nonetheless, Fine and Manning note that Goffman is “the most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century”.[36] Elliott and Turner see him as “a revered figure—an outlaw theorist who came to exemplify the best of the sociological imagination”, and “perhaps the first postmodern sociological theorist”.[14]

Source: Looking back on Goffman: The excavation continues

The “descent of the ego,” then, was witnessed by both Durkheim and Goffman in terms of the mechanisms at work in modem Western society whereby the tendencies toward an unbridled egoistic individualism are continually rebuffed (Chriss, 1993). MacCannell successfully makes the case for such a Durkheim-Goffman link through a semiotic sociology which resists the temptation of explaining in solely positivistic terms why it is that in modem Western society, imbued as it is with a strong ethic of individualism, we nevertheless see persons orienting their actions toward a perceived moral universe and the accommodation of the other. Like Durkheim and many of the great students of society from Plato to Hobbes, from Kant to Parsons, Goffman was ultimately concerned with the question, how is social order possible (Berger, 1973: 356; Collins, 1980: 173)?

Burns recognizes the Durkheim-Goffman link as well, but carries the analysis even further by comparing and contrasting Durkheim’s notion of social order with Goffman’s interaction order. Durkheim’s sui generis reality was society; Goffman’s is the encounters between individuals, or the social act itself. The moral order which pervades society and sustains individual conduct constitutes a “social fact” in both Durkheim’s and Goffman’s eyes. But Burns (1992) notes also that for Durkheim this order was·seen as durable and all-sustaining, whereas for Goffman “it was fragile, impermanent, full of unexpected holes, and in constant need of repair” (p.26).

my Related Posts

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Boundaries and Distinctions

Boundaries and Networks

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

Third and Higher Order Cybernetics

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Relational Turn in Economic Geography

Cybernetics, Autopoiesis, and Social Systems Theory

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Systems and Organizational Cybernetics

A Unifying Model of Arts

Ratio Club: A Brief History of British Cyberneticians

Micro Motives, Macro Behavior: Agent Based Modeling in Economics

On Holons and Holarchy

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

The Social Significance of Drama and Narrative Arts

Socio-Cybernetics and Constructivist Approaches

Drama Therapy: Self in Performance

Narrative Psychology: Language, Meaning, and Self

Psychology of Happiness: Value of Storytelling and Narrative Plays

Drama Theory: Choices, Conflicts and Dilemmas

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

Key Sources of Research

The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology

edited by Jaan Valsiner

Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning

By Bradd Shore

Erving Goffman on Wikipedia

On Face-Work
An Analysis of Ritual Elements in Social Interaction

Erving Goffman
Pages 213-231 | Published online: 08 Nov 2016

Chapter in Book Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face to Face Behavior

Click to access Goffman,%20Erving%20%27On%20Face-work%27.pdf

Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-To-Face Behavior

E. Goffman

Published 1967


Encounters: Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction.

Goffman, Erving. 1961

Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. 

Goffman, Erving. 1959. 

New York: Doubleday Anchor.

Strategic interaction.

Goffman, Erving (1969), 

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.

Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience.

Goffman, E. (1974). 

New York: Harper & Row.

Sociology. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. 

Hevern, V. W. (2004, Apr). 

Retrieved [3/15/2021] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

Narrative scenarios: Toward a culturally thick notion of narrative. 

Brockmeier, J. (2012). 

In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Oxford library of psychology. The Oxford handbook of culture and psychology (p. 439–467). Oxford University Press.

Erving Goffman

Looking back on Goffman: The excavation continues

James J. Chriss 

Cleveland State University


Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. 98.

Beyond Goffman: Studies on Communication, Institution, and Social Interaction


Erving Goffman: Exploring,the interaction order 


Tom Burns’s Erving Goffman


Chapter 1
Narrative Inquiry: From Story to Method

Troubling Certainty

Margaret S. Barrett and Sandra L. Stauffer

In Narrative Inquiry in Music Education

DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-9862-8  

Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009


David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker

In Jerome Bruner: Language, Culture, Self

Edited by
David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker

Sage Publications, 2001

Analyzing Narratives and Story-Telling

Matti Hyvärinen


The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach


Universityof Michigan

TheoryandSociety23: 605-649, 1994

Cognitive–Linguistic and Constructivist Mnemonic Triggers in Teaching Based on Jerome Bruner’s Thinking

Jari Metsämuuronen1* and Pekka Räsänen2

  • 1Department of Pedagogy, NLA University College, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Niilo Mäki Institute, Jyväskylä, Finland

Front. Psychol., 12 December 2018 |

Storytelling and the Construction of Realities

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Two Modes of Thought

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Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia

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University of Southern California USA

Chapter 2
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Why Systems?

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A Note on Max Weber’s Unfinished Theory of Economy and Society

Dirk Baecker
Witten/Herdecke University, Germany

The fractal geometry of Luhmann’s sociological theory or debugging systems theory

José Javier Blanco Rivero

CONICET/Centro de Historia Intelectual, National University of Quilmes, Roque Sáenz Peña 352, Bernal, Argentina

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Snakes all the Way Down: Varela’s Calculus for Self-Reference and the Praxis of Paradise

André Reichel*

European Center for Sustainability Research, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany

Systems Research and Behavioral Science Syst. Res. (2011)
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Ernst von Glasersfeld

University of Massachusetts

Constructivist Foundations 2008, vol. 3, no. 2

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Beyond Bourdieu:
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PETER LUNT University of Leicester, UK

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Michael Haugh

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Lisa Sugiura

Organizational Analysis: Goffman and Dramaturgy  

Peter K. Manning

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Narrative Understanding and Understanding Narrative

Sarah E. Worth

Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive): Vol. 2 , Article 9.
Available at:

On Holons and Holarchy

On Holons and Holarchy


Key Terms

  • Holons
  • Holarchy
  • Hierarchy
  • Fractals
  • Holonomic
  • Holographic
  • Heterarchy
  • Parts and Whole
  • Networks
  • Matryoshka Dolls
  • Recursion
  • Nested Levels
  • Reflective Spheres
  • Hyper Sets
  • Boundaries



From The Holonic Revolution Holons, Holarchies and Holonic Networks. The Ghost in the Production Machine


A minor conceptual revolution has been under way for less than forty years now, beginning in 1967 with the publication of Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in the Machine – a phantasmagorical book in terms of the breath and variety of its content – which formally introduced the concepts of holon and holarchy (the hierarchical ordering of holons).

Koestler’s idea is clear and simple: in observing the Universe surrounding us (at the physical and biological level and in the real or formal sense) we must take into account the whole/part relationship between observed “entities”. In other words, we must not only consider atoms, molecules, cells, individuals, systems, words or concepts as autonomous and independent units, but we must always be aware that each of these units is at the same time a whole – composed of smaller parts – and part of a larger whole.

In fact, they are holons.

By systematically applying the whole/part observational relationship, or the equivalent one of containing/contained, the Universe appears to us as a hierarchy of holons: that is, as a holarchy where, at each hierarchical level, the holons undergo the effects of the structural or operational variations of the subordinate holons and in turn produce variations in the behaviour of the superordinate ones.

The entire machine of life and of the Universe itself evolves toward ever more complex states, as if a ghost were operating the machine.

The concepts of holon and holarchy have since been used, especially in recent times, by a number of writers in a variety of disciplines and contexts, and these concepts are rapidly spreading to all sectors of research. Physics (Capra 1982), engineering (Babiceanu et al. 2005; Dani et al. 2004)), robotics, biology (Shafaei – Aghaee, 2008), organizational studies, management science (Zhang et al. 2003; Ng et al. 1996), business administration and entrepreneurship (Chirn – McFarlane 2001), production and supply chain systems (McFarlane – Bussmann 2000; Akturk – Turkcan 2000; Amiri 2006). Connected to these ideas are those of holonic networks, holonic and virtual enterprises, virtual organizations, agile manufacturing networks, holonic manufacturing systems, fractal enterprise and bionic manufacturing (Chapter 5)


This short essay, written from an economic-business point of view, has four objectives.

The first (covering the first two chapters) provides the reader with a brief but precise theoretical framework for understanding the meaning of the new terms that increasingly come up in business literature (outside Italy as well) and which refer directly or indirectly to the ideas of holon and holarchy. Connected to these terms are those of holonic network, holonic firm and enterprise, holonic manufacturing systems, holonic production, bionic production, fractal enterprise, and virtual enterprise, to name but a few.

Since I have observed that often the term “holon” has been improperly used, without any reference to the original sources, leading to models and conclusions that are absolutely inappropriate, I feel it is useful to provide the theoretical framework within which these terms can be properly used, considering not only Koestler’s definition but also the ideas of Ken Wilber, which are based on this notion.

I also feel it is useful to examine several fundamental classes of holarchies in order to show that the idea of a hierarchical order among classes of holons can be applied to a variety of contexts. In particular I have presented Koestler’s Self-organizing Open Hierarchical Order, Wilber’s Kosmos and Shimizu’s Autonomic Cognitive Computer as applications that illustrate the concept of a holon.

The second objective (presented in Chapter 3) is to extend the notion of holon while respecting its original meaning, in order to apply it to organizations.

Starting from the definition of organizations as systems whose organs are composed of individuals or groups of individuals, I have attempted to demonstrate two interconnected aspects: on the one hand, that organizations are holons that derive from a holarchy of organs (from their functionalities), and on the other that organizations can be formed by other holon-organizations – which I have labelled orgons – that are connected in a holarchy that I have called an orgonization.

When we observe the functionality and the function of its organs we see that an organization can be thought of as a macro system whose purpose is the attainment of a macro objective. It immediately follows that it can be compared to an Holonic Manufacturing System, or to an Autonomic Cognitive Computer; that is, to a holarchy of operators at different levels – each included in the other, so as to form parts of ever smaller size – each capable of pursuing part of the macro objective.

When there is a larger objective to achieve, rather than add levels to the organization we can form an organization of organizations, that is an orgonization with unique characteristics.

The third objective is to show (Chapter 4) how holons can be connected not only in the typical hierarchical structure – the holarchy – but, by stretching somewhat the original meaning, also in a reticular structure in order to form holonic networks in which the vertical ordering (above and below) is replaced by a horizontal one (before and after).

Within the holonic networks the holons maintain their autonomy and their whole/part relationship, which together characterize holarchies. However, for this reason the dominant feature is their horizontal systemic interconnections; each holon becomes a node of input-output interconnections between holons that come before and those that come after in the structure.

I have thus discovered that even holonic networks can be made up of orgons that form orgonic networks.

Since holarchies, orgonizations, holonic networks and orgonic networks are present everywhere – in firms and between firms, as well as in the economic system of which they are a vital part – it is useful to present a general survey.

Among the many types of holonic networks, I have chosen to examine the main sources of inspiration for those production systems referred to as the Holonic Manufacturing Systems, comparing these to those defined as Bionic and Fractal Manufacturing Systems. I have also considered the numerous forms of Inter- organizational Networks as well as the Holonic and Virtual Organizations.

The fourth objective (Chapter 5) is perhaps the most ambitious one, since I have tried to extend the holonic vision to the global production-economic system, or Production Kosmos.

Globally we are witnessing the continual and accelerated economic progress of mankind. There is an increase in the quantity and quality of needs that are satisfied and those still to be satisfied, and in the aspirations achieved and yet to be achieved. The increase in productivity and quality is unstoppable, and appears to guide the other variables in the system.

It is natural to ask who activates and governs such phenomena. The answer is that they are self-generated and self-organized in the context of reticular holarchies and orgonic networks formed by production enterprises – or production organizations – that comprise the integrated process of global production.

On a continental scale, it makes sense to consider production in terms of networks of orgons in which, by choice or not, every firm that produces final consumption goods is linked at several levels to a number of other suppliers of materials, components, machines and other structural factors. We can easily observe that the large continental production networks – in North America, China, Japan, India and Europe – are not yet integrated but are becoming larger and increasingly connected, while other local networks are developing in other countries.

In order to understand how things are evolving in a context where there is a connection between firm and production organization we need a conceptual framework that does not limit our observations to the single production units, searching therein for the laws of survival, but one which, at least in principle, is able to explain how the large orgonic networks internally produce self-organization and self-development.

The theory of systems provides two particularly interesting approaches: one that considers firms as adaptive systems that operate according to local rules and that spontaneously and inevitably generate production networks understood as complex adaptive systems, and that which considers production organizations as holons that, given their arrangement in a multi-level holarchy, generate the production networks in which progress appears as the inevitable consequence of the holarchic ordering of the Economic-Production Kosmos.

This essay considers the second approach, presenting the holarchic model of the analysis of production networks. It assumes that in an economy based on knowledge, where the limits of time and space are tenuous, production must increasingly refer not to a single firm but to a system of firms (a super-organizational network) or to operational units (inter-organizational network) conceived of as an operative, information or cognitive network.

It truly appears there is a Ghost in the Machine, whose invisible hand produces growing levels of productivity and quality, increases the quality and quantity of satisfied needs and aspirations, and reduces the burden of work, thereby continually increasing the level of progress in the entire Kosmos.

It is useful to conclude with a bibliographical note.

The conceptual revolution begun in 1967 has not yet led to a relevant number of monographs. On the other hand, there is a substantial bibliography containing journal articles, papers presented at congresses, and opinions and documents from discussion forums. The Internet has been crucial for gaining access to recent material.




You may know of Russian Dolls – Nested Dolls.  They are known as Matryoshka Dolls.  I came across this russian paper investigating roots of dolls.

Eastern Roots of Russia’s most famous Toy

May I suggest that name/concept of these dolls could have originated from SAPTA MATRIKA (7 Divine Mothers) of Indian Hindu Tantra Philosophy.



A Brief History of Holons

Mark Edwards

This concept has a long and respectable ancestry. So much so that defenders of orthodoxy are inclined to dismiss it as “old hat” – and often in the same breath to deny its validity. Yet I hope to show as we go along that this old hat, handled with some affection, can produce lively rabbits.
(Arthur Koestler, 1967, p.45)


The idea of hierarchy and of their constituent part-wholes, or holons, has, as Arthur Koestler points out in the opening quote, a long and distinguished history. There are many philosophers who have proposed abstract systems for explaining natural and social phenomena. In pre-Socratic Greece Leuciddus and Deocritus developed the abstract concept of the atom and used it to develop a philosophy that could explain all observed events. Aristotle used hierarchy as the methodology for accumulating and connecting biological knowledge. Hierachy was perhaps the dominant way of viewing the connection between the natural, the human and the supernatural orders of being through the middles ages. In the 17th century Leibnitz proposed his “monad” as an irreducible unit for explaining not only the material world but the inner world of the soul.

In the early twentieth century there was a flurry of interest in holism and hierarchy that owed its genesis to the impact of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. I think the contribution of Jan Smuts in his publication of “Evolution and Holism” in 1926 is particularly important. Smuts was a soldier, a revolutionist republican, a lawyer, the Premier of the Republic of South Africa for several years (before the instigation of political apartheid), a globalist, and one of the founders of the United nations. writers of the UN founding charter. He also was a philosopher who saw the deep connections between the natural and social worlds and his concept of holism clearly influenced Wilber’s ideas in this area. Wilber quotes Smuts at the very beginning of his first major work that fully utilised the concept of hierarchy – “The Atman Project” – “Everywhere we look in nature we see nothing but wholes” (cited in Wilber, 1980). While all these various threads of ideas included the consideration of hierarchical networks and levels and orders of development it was not until the work of writer-philosopher Arthur Koestler that a fully theory of holarchy and holons was proposed.

Arthur Koestler – The father of Holon theory


The Ghost in the Machine


Some 35 years ago, in 1967, Arthur Koestler proposed the term “holon” in his book “The Ghost in the Machine”. Arthur Koestler was born in 1905 and died in 1983. During the 1930’s and 1040’s Koestler was a journalist who covered the Spanish civil war and World War II from the perspective of the ordinary people who were swept up in the great social tumult of those times. After the war he turned to turned to writing books in both fiction and non-fiction genres. He was one of the most widely read political novelists of all time. Koestler said that he wrote his novels, “out of my quarrels with the human condition”. His other non-fiction books, including, “The Ghost in the machine” were “attempts to analyse that same condition in scientific terms”.

Like Jan Smuts, Arthur Koestler led an extremely eventful life and he participated fully in some of the most important political and social events of his times. Again, similarly with Smuts, Koestler’s engagement with the events of the day included not only social action and participatory involvement at a personal level but he also lived a life of deep connection with the world of culture and inner experience. In the following quote from his book, “The Act of Creation”, Koestler is referring to the relationship between subjective and objective knowledge quests and it shows the awareness he had of both interior and exterior aspects of life.

Einstein’s space is no closer to reality than Van Gogh’s sky. The glory of science is not in a truth more absolute than the truth of Bach or Tolstoy, but in the act of creation itself. The scientist’s discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is based on the observer’s frame of reference, which differs from period to period as a Rembrant nude differs from a nude by Manet.
Arthur Koestler, 1970, p. 253It is interesting to look at Koestler’s life in terms of Wilber’s Quadrants framework. He was a philosopher and held a rich interest in art and cultural concerns. He was active socially and for many years was involved in various social movements and was nominated for the Nobel prize for literature three times. His personal life was one of great behavioural involvement with the great dramas of revolution, war and social dislocation that characterised the early and middle twentieth century. He also explored the inner worlds of subjective experience and imagination and wrote some of the most memorable political novels of his times. Looking at his life it is clear that his great span and depth of involvements and experiences should be reflected in his philosophy and in the specific detail of the holon theory that he largely created.

Koestler’s Holon

The idea of the holon occupies a central position in Koestler’s thinking about the human condition. He developed the construct to deal with three central problems that he saw facing the social sciences of the post-war generation. First he saw the need for some model that could unite and integrate the reductionist and mechanistic worldview of the “scientific” and behavioural psychologies with the holistic and humanistic worldview of the Freudian, Rogerian and Gestalt psychologies. Second, he recognised the importance and relevance of evolutionary processes in the social sciences and wanted to provide some theoretical system that could apply evolutionary conceptualisations to both realms. Third, he wanted to develop a model of human social systems that was equally at home in analysing the micro-level of individuality and the macro-level of collectivity. He wanted to propose some basic model of explanation that was relevant across the great span of human activity and involvement.

Koestler acknowledged that his “holon” construct had, in fact, a very venerable and ancient ancestry in western philosophy. Several important philosophers including Leibniz and Hegel had drawn attention to the importance of such things as hierarchy and developmental levels. Koestler saw himself in a line of such thinkers who wanted to bring together different knowledge quests and schools of scientific endeavour instead of pursuing the ongoing specialisation in scientific knowledge that has characterised modern scientific schools. Holon theory was Koestler’s attempt at an integrative philosophy of science and he expected that the holon theory or something similar would form the basis for any truly holistic future scientific worldview. He approvingly quotes one Needham who said that, “The hierarchy of relations … will perhaps be the leading idea of the future”. So, the holon construct was no small thing for Koestler and it is clear that he regarded his holonic principles as a solid attempt at an integrative philosophy of human existence.

So what is a holon. The word is a combination of the Greek “holos” meaning whole, with the suffix “on” which, as in proton or neutron, suggests a particle or part. The holon, then, is a part-whole. It is a nodal point in a hierarchy that describes the relationship between entities that are self-complete wholes and entities that are seen to be other dependent parts. As one’s point of focus moves up, down, and/or across the nodes of a hierarchical structure so one’s perception of what is a whole and what is a part will also change.

The evolutionary holon

In introducing the idea of the holon Koestler quotes the story told to him by Herbert Simon, a Nobel prize winner, and called the ‘parable of the two watchmakers’. The parable goes like this:

There once were two watchmakers, named Bios and Mekhos, who made very fine watches. The phones in their workshops rang frequently; new customers were constantly calling them. However, Bios prospered while Mekhos became poorer and poorer. In the end, Mekhos lost his shop and worked as a mechanic for Bios. What was the reason behind this?

The watches consisted of about 1000 parts each. The watches that Mekhos made were designed such that, when he had to put down a partly assembled watch (for instance, to answer the phone), it immediately fell into pieces and had to be completely reassembled from the basic elements. On the other hand Bios designed his watches so that he could put together subassemblies of about ten components each. Ten of these subassemblies could be put together to make a larger sub-assembly. Finally, ten of the larger subassemblies constituted the whole watch. When Bios had to put his watches down to attend to some interruption they did not break up into their elemental parts but only into their sub-assemblies.

Now, the watchmakers were each disturbed at the same rate of once per hundred assembly operations. However, due to their different assembly methods, it took Mekhos four thousand times longer than Bios to complete a single watch.Koestler relates this story to show that the hierarchical organisation of systems is an inbuilt feature of life – biological life but also any complex evolving system. not only is the time needed for the development greatly shortened when hierarchical methods are used but there are also inherent benefits in terms of maintenance, regulation and restoration. Koestler sees the hierarchical ordering of life as such a fundamental aspect of development that he says (1967, p. 47),

We do not know what forms of life have evolved on other planets in the universe, but we can safely assume that wherever there is life, it must be hierarchically organised (emphasis in the original)Koestler wants to show two things with this parable. First, that complex systems will evolve from simple systems much more rapidly if there are stable intermediate forms than if there are not, i.e. if they are hierarchically organised. Second, and more importantly, he wants to show that the resulting complex systems will always be hierarchic and that hierarchy is the natural and ubiquitous outcome of the development of structural form. After establishing the universal importance of hierarchy to the development of complex systems Koestler went on to propose that these hierarchies could be analysed in terms of the stable intermediate nodes or forms through which their structure is defined. It was to these intermediate forms that Koestler conferred the new label of “holon”.

Koester was a keen student of psychology and was well aware of the problems besetting the reductionist behavioural approaches to psychological theory. He was also conversant with the European schools such as the more holistic Gestalt psychology and he saw his holon theory as a way to move beyond the inadequacies of these contending models. He saw the great dehumanising effect of atomistic psychologies but also recognised the limitations of the holistic schools. As he puts it (1967, p.49)

in spite of its lasting merits, ‘holism’ as a general attitude to psychology turned out to be as one-sided as atomism was, because both treated ‘whole’ and part’ as absolutes, both failed to take into account the hierarchic scaffolding of intermediate structures of sub-wholes … the Behaviourist never gets higher that the bottom layer of stones, and the holist never gets down from the apex.Koester saw holon theory as a broad philosophy of science that showed a way out of the interminable and centuries-long debate over the relative merits of reductionism and holism.

Holons and holarchies

Koestler noted that in every order of existence, from physical to chemical to biological and social systems, entirely self supporting, non-interacting entities did not exist. And more importantly, that entities can be seen to lie in holarchical relationship with each other. He called systems of such entities Open Hierarchical Systems (OHS) and these have subsequently been called holarchies. Every identifiable unit of organization, such as a single cell in an animal or a family unit in a society, comprises more basic units (mitochondria and nucleus, parents and siblings) while at the same time forming a part of a larger unit of organization (a muscle tissue and organ, community and society). A holon, as Koestler devised the term, is an identifiable part of a system that has a unique identity, yet is made up of sub-ordinate parts and in turn is part of a larger whole.

Koestler’s holons were not thought of as entities or objects but as systematic ways of relating theoretical structures. In other words, holons were arbitrary points of reference for interpreting reality. To quote Koestler (1967, pg. 55), “Whatever the nature of a hierarchic organisation, its constituent holons are defined by fixed rules and flexible strategies” (emphasis in the original). So Koestler’s holons are posited and “fixed” only out of the relational rules and strategies that help us make sense of reality.

Because holons are defined by the structure of a hierarchy each identified holon can itself be regarded as a series of nested sub-hierarchies in the same way that a set of Russian dolls is an inclusive series of dolls contained within each other. Holons are, then, both parts and wholes because they are always parts of larger hierarchies and they always contain sub-hierarchies. Holons simultaneously are self-contained wholes to their subordinated parts, and dependent parts when seen from the inverse direction. Hence, holons can be seen as reference points in hierarchical series or holarchies.

Russian dolls

Koestler also recognised that holons are the representative stages or nodal structures that define the developmental hierarchies. As he says (1967, p. 61),

the different levels represent different stages of development, and the holons … reflect intermediary structures at these stages.It is this crucial stage-like characteristic of holons that Wilber takes up, expands and utilises in his spectrum model of human growth and later in his quadrants framework for describing Kosmic development. It is interesting to note that Koestler also recognised that the stage-like nature of hierarchies that existed in the inorganic world and in “the interplay of cohesive and separative forces in stable inorganic systems, from atoms to galaxies”.

So, we see that Koestler not only introduced the nomenclature of holons but he also described their place in developmental theory and saw how they could be used to overcome many of the philosophical problems that were plagued the social and psychological sciences of the early twentieth century. Even more than this, Koestler developed a very detailed set of holonic principles that actually defined a new theory of social development and general evolutionary theory. These principles are outlined in an appendix to “The Ghost in the Machine” and are titled “General Properties Of Open Hierarchical Systems (O.H.S.)”. Many of these principles have been taken up and expanded on by Ken Wilber in his holonic tenets but there are many that have not. Before comparing Koestler’s OHS properties with the twenty tenets of Wilber I will give a brief overview of how Wilber has adopted the holon and how it fills a central role in his most recent writings on Integral theory.

Ken Wilber’s Holonic Tenets

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality


Wilber adopted Koestler’s holon construct during, what Wilber has called, the phase-2 period in the development of his philosophy. This phase, which occurred around the late seventies and early eighties, is characterised by a focus on the spectral transcend-and–include nature of all developmental structures. It is no surprise that Wilber would be drawn to the holon as a construct given his developmental interests and particularly his revolutionary pre/trans theorem which is so useful to unravelling the boundary stages of growth. So, it was quite early on that the holon construct was incorporated into the basic theoretical scheme Wilber’s writings as a way of emphasising the hierarchical/holarchical nature of reality. To my knowledge, the first reference that Wilber makes to the holon construct is in his 1983 book, “Eye to Eye” but he may well have been aware of the term for some time. This was at least 15 years prior to the great expansion of his ideas that culminated in 1995 in the publication of “Sex, Ecology, Spirituality” (SES) which introduced the Four Quadrants of Kosmic evolution (Wilber’s Phase-4). From 1995 the holon and its various defining qualities have held an increasingly important position in Wilber’s writings.

Wilber holonic theory or as he refers to it “the twenty tenets” were first laid out in the opening chapters to SES. They provide the foundation for his mapping out of the All Quadrants, All Levels framework (AQAL). It is clear from the very beginning of SES that Wilber now regards the idea of the holon as the primary explanatory unit in his AQAL framework. This is conveyed in his famous statement that,

“Reality as a whole is not composed of things or processes, but of holons”.

This groundbreaking statement sets the holon construct at the very heart of Wilber’s whole explanatory endeavour. And, I believe, that this marks a major turning point in the history of Western philosophy of science and in our more general attempt to develop scientific explanations of social phenomena. The reason for this is because in clearly identifying the holon as the central unit of explanation Wilber provides a basis for connecting all fields of scientific and cultural knowledge.

Wilber’s AQAL framework and the Holon

As with Koestler, Wilber uses the holon theory to, “undercut the traditional argument between atomism .. and wholism”. For Wilber to incorporate holonic theory into the theoretical structure of the AQAL framework was easy at one level because both theories were founded on the idea of hierarchical inclusion. The difference between them was that Wilber’s AQAL framework was a way of seeing the whole developmental and evolutionary nature of all relative knowledge, experience and activity. Wilber took Koestler’s holon to its logical end and, placing within the AQAL framework, saw the holon as a way of analysing all aspects and domains of reality. The subtitle of SES is “The Spirit of Evolution” and to my mind the book is an attempt to bring evolutionary theory out of its traditional biological home and to apply to all levels of existence – from matter to spirit. Wilber does this through the identification of the holon as his core explanatory device. This is the absolutely crucial part that holons play in his model.

In taking up Koestler’s wonderful theory of holons, Wilber too has stressed the sliding and contextual, yet hierarchical, nature of holons. Wilber has creatively used the holon construct to highlight the holarchical nature of his AQAL framework. The framework is derived from an immense amount of scientific, cultural and experiential knowledge. In adopting the holon construct the AQAL model becomes more than just a new way of connecting existing fields of knowledge in a developmental overview. It is also a new way of looking at the referential “units” of that knowledge – holons. Built into the heart of the model is the concept that all developmental phenomena can be viewed as aspects of dynamic, holonic events that are nested within a holarchy of evolving/involving structural patterns.

The holons construct is so critically important to the utility of the Integral model because it enables the AQAL framework to be focused on any point in the holarchy or, to put it another way, it enables any developmental event to be analysed in terms of an Integral methodology. As such, the concept of the “holon” does away with the endless quest of trying to find the fundamental parts or wholes that constitute reality and it releases us from the basis mythologies inherent in materialistic, mentalistic, animistic, relativistic, or idealistic conceptions of reality. Quantum physics, that most advanced of all natural sciences, now overtly recognises the completely mythological nature of “matter” (Davies & Gribble, 1992), and of ideas that regard reality as simply permutations of solid substance, empty space, and linear time. The AQAL model, when it is used as an interpretive schema, extends this demythologising awareness across all explanatory systems (including itself) and brings to the fore the holarchic and developmental nature of reality. With the idea of a nested holarchy of holons, Wilber has opened a vision of reality that does not fall into the errors associated with various forms of reductionism, elevationism or relativisim. In bringing Koesler’s holon concept into his model, Wilber has not only opened up the possibility of a truly open-ended Theory of Everything but also a systematic theoretical approach towards any thing/process/event.

The holon – Integral theory’s unit of analysis

The development of the human, in both its personal and social forms, is the most complex phenomena that we yet know about in the Kosmos. To understand this process in any sort of detailed and valid fashion is, to put it mildly, a big task. It is my opinion that Ken Wilber’s Integral theory is the only philosophical/epistemological/theoretical framework that attempts to present a comprehensive understanding of the complex and multi-layered reality that we see about us. One of the most attractive central features of Integral theory is that it does not rely on ontological reductionism to simplify that complexity, as do many other branches of science. The neurologist and the medical specialist reduce the human to the biochemical with their unit of study being the chemical compound. The behaviourist reduces the human to physical action with their unit of study being the behavioural stimulus-response cycle. The cognitivist reduces the human to the world of behaviour and thought with their basic unit of explanation being the pattern of thought, belief or feeling. The evolutionist reduces it to reproductive advantage with the locus of explanation being the adaptive interaction between environment and phenotype. The sociologist reduces the human to the world of interpersonal relations and group dynamics with their focus of explanation being the social event. The humanist reduces the human to the world of being and identity with authenticity in word and deed being their centre of interest. The transpersonalist reduces, or more correctly elevates, the human to the world of spirit and finds explanation in the analysis of the mystical event.

All these disciplines simplify human complexity to find something of certainty, something that is true, something that will have lasting validity. And, in their own way, each of the main perspectives on human reality does contribute unique knowledge to the quest for understanding that so occupies us. As Wilber has often pointed out, all these contributions are partially correct. The human can be understood and explained through the study of the physical, the chemical, the animal, the social, the political, the cognitive, the existential, the spiritual, and the historical. Once this partiality is recognised, we are then faced with the problem of truly integrating the valid and the true of each and bringing them into some semblance of coherency. And the very first task that is required for this integrative endeavour to be successful is to identify a unit of analysis or explanation that does not privilege any of the units of analysis or explanation associated with partial views.

In my opinion it is one of Wilber’s greatest insights that he has been able to identity an explanatory reference point that avoids the ontological pitfalls that have so plagued all previous explanatory elements. In so doing Wilber allows Integral theory to transcend (and integrate) all the reductionisms of the partial views to boldly propose that the true locus of explanation does not reside in any particular level of reality and cannot be limited to any single domain of investigation. The basic unit of analysis for Integral theory is not the atom, or the molecule, or the mathematical unit, or the interpretive perspective, or the cognitive pattern, or the historical event, or the spiritual revelation. For Integral theory the unit of analysis, it’s basic point of explanation, analysis, reference and “measurement” is the holon. This is why students of Wilber work, if they are to understand what Integral theory/philosophy, the AQAL framework and IMP’s are truly about, will have to have a good grounding in holon theory.

The reductive research paradigm has been immensely successful for investigating physical and chemical phenomena. More recently holistic approaches like the various systems theories, humanistic disciplines, and developmental theories have been successfully applied to social phenomena. The holon, the “part-whole”, has a built in non-reductive perspective that allows for the simultaneous recognition that anything can be studied holistically and anything can be analysed reductively at the same time. This combination of holistic and reductive methodologies also introduces a new element and immensely important capacity for explanatory methodologies that utilise this part-whole focus of explanation. It now means that the various types of reductive science can now be carried out in relational context. The disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, the humanities, sociology, theology, and cultural studies can now be pursued within a cross-disciplinary framework that connects and situates their disparate findings and truths instead of juxtaposing them. By allowing for both holistic and reductive methodologies, the holon framework introduces an integrative dimension of implementing those approaches that no other approach can claim. This new capacity lies at the heart of Wilber’s (2002) recent call for a revolutionary Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP) – “a project of synthesis”.

Holism, reductionism and pluralism

The holon is the holarchic (i.e. hierarchic plus heterarchic) reference point through which the various principles of the AQAL model can be applied. This is the real point behind Wilber’s first tenet of holons, “Reality as a whole is not composed of things, or processes, but of holons”. He is really pointing out here that holons permit an analytical holism that can evade the reductive errors that result from explanations that rely on some fundamental thing or process. Unfortunately the wording of this tenet suggests that holons themselves are building block composites that in some way fit together to make up Kosmic reality. But this is not at all Wilber’s intended reading for this tenet. The holon construct allows Integral theory and it’s AQAL methodology to step away from and the methodological battles engaged in by other disciplines and to avoid the reductive pitfalls that abound wherever science seeks to understand complex phenomena. The use of the holon as the means for applying Integral theory also allows the many other truths that have been uncovered by human knowledge quests to be honoured and rightfully situated within a non-reductive context. It is not just that the holon in conjunction with the AQAL principles can investigate systemic and elemental aspect of reality but that it can also, as Wilber says, “acknowledge, honor, and include all authentic modes of human inquiry ” (and their valid findings). In short, the full integration of the holon and the AQAL model enables Integral theory to overcome the traditional reductionist propensity to privilege very biased methodologies for gathering observations and experiences and very narrow modes of explanation for understanding them. As Wilber (2002) has recently said:

AQAL, then, is a metatheory that attempts to integrate the most amount of material from an integral methodological pluralism, thus honoring the primary injunction of an integral embrace: Everybody is right.

Everybody, i.e. all major theorists, philosophies and stores of cultural knowledge, are right (within context) and it is the holon construct that allows Integral theory to move without prejudice around these vast domains of human knowledge and pursue its agenda of holistic exploration and analysis. This process of acknowledging the validity and value of established personal and cultural knowledge quests can be viewed from a broader perspective than simply that of Wilber’s integral theory. Wilber has recently termed any such endeavour as Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). Integral theory is an example of such an approach to the investigation of events, experiences, and knowledge. But I believe that any such method will need to be based on the holon construct in some form because it is the only explanatory concept that can accommodate the three definitive criteria for an IMP.

Similarities and Differences

I have pointed out that Koestler has proposed a quite detailed set of holonic principles and shown that the holon construct has a very wide application. Wilber, in turn, has placed the holon construct firmly at the centre of his comprehensive integrative framework for connecting knowledge. Wilber has expanded holon theory into a new approach to understanding the relationship of many different knowledge domains. It should, however, be noted that Koestler provided Wilber with much more than just a new term to label the “building blocks” of his Integral theory/AQAL framework. Koestler’s principles of Open Hierarchical Systems (OHS) and Wilber’s twenty tenets are clearly very related and the following table shows the correspondences between the two types of holon theory.

Table 1: Correspondences between Koestler’s OHS principles
and Wilber’s twenty Holonic Tenets
Wilber’s Twenty tenets Koestler’s OHS principles*
1: Reality can be seen in terms of an endless series of holonic relations 1.3 Parts and wholes in an absolute sense do not exist in the domain of life. The concept of the holon is intended to reconcile the atomistic and holistic approaches. “The [holarchy] is open-ended in the downward, as it is in the upward direction”
2a: Holons have agency, individuality, deep autonomy. 4.1 Every holon has the … tendency to preserve and assert its individuality as a quasi-autonomous whole; 9.2 the holon’s agency is that which controls the part from the next higher level.
2b: Holons have communality, mutuality, and collective relationships 4.8 The canon of a social holon represents not only constraints imposed on its actions, but also embodies maxims of conduct, moral imperatives and systems of value.
2c: Holons have a capacity for self-transcendence, and active transformation into greater wholes 5.6 A holon on the n level of an output-hierarchy is represented on the (n+ I) level as a unit, and triggered into action as a unit. A holon, in other words, is a system of relata. which is represented on the next higher level as a relatum.
2d: Holons have a capacity for self-immanence, and the active integration of its parts 4.1 Every holon has the tendency to function as an integrated part of an (existing or evolving) larger whole.
4.1 a holon’s Integrative (INT) tendencies are inherent in the concept of hierarchic order and a universal characteristic of life. The INT tendencies are the dynamic expression of the holon’s partness.
3: Holons emerge creatively and indeterminately 8. Holons on successively higher levels of the hierarchy show increasingly complex, more flexible and less predictable patterns of activity. while on successive lower levels we find increasingly mechanised stereotyped and predictable patterns.
4: Holons emerge holarchically, i.e. through dynamics between hierarchy and heterarchy 6.1 Hierarchies can be regarded as ‘vertically’ arborising structures whose branches interlock with those of other hierarchies at a multiplicity of levels and form ‘horizontal’ networks
5: Each emergent holon transcends but includes its predecessors “A hierarchy of holons should rightly be called a holarchy”
8: Each successive holon level within a holarchy produces greater depth and less span 2.2 The number of levels in a hierarchy is a measure of its “‘depth”, and the number of holons on any given level is called its “span”.
12a: Evolution displays increasing complexity 8.4 Each upward shift is reflected by a more vivid and precise consciousness of the ongoing activity; and, since the variety of alternative choices increases with the increasing complexity on higher levels, each upward shift is accompanied by the subjective experience of freedom of decision. (“We find [holons] in an ascending order of complexity” )
Holarchies possess interiority and consciousness 8.6 Consciousness appears as an emergent quality in phylogeny and ontogeny, which, from primitive beginnings, evolves towards more complex and precise states.

* All direct quotes from “The Ghost in the Machine”

Table 1 shows the clear concordances between Koestler’s OHS principles and Wilber’s twenty tenets. I have pointed out these overlaps to show that Wilber’s extended use of the holon construct clearly builds on Koestler’s quite extensive and detailed explications of holon theory and that therefore the two models should be seen as a single continuum of development in the theory. Wilber has taken the foundational theorems laid down by Koestler and greatly extended their theoretical and practical application. As a whole holon theory needs to be seen as a new and very promising philosophy of knowledge that may well open up an entirely new and genuinely integrative understanding of the natural and social worlds and how they relate to each other.

There are several aspects of Koestler’s theory that have, as yet, not been explored by Wilber or any other Integral theory writers. These include the concept of holonic exchange/input-output systems which looks at the way holonic outputs are triggered and how holons scanners and filter inputs. Koestler’s concepts of “arborisation”, “reticulation” and “regulation channels” also show promise as ways of seeing how holons can relate to each other. There is also the issue of holonic health and how holons change and Koestler’s principles on holonic equilibrium, disorder and regeneration offer fertile ground for further study.

Holons and the Future

I noted earlier that Ken Wilber (2002b) has recently suggested some principles that define, what he calls, an Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). This idea refers to the broad characteristics of a discipline that can be considered to be an integral approach to a topic. Wilber maintains that any future over-arching model of knowledge will have posses the main principles that define an IMP. These principles are non-exclusion, enfoldment/unfoldment, and enactment. Wilber defines non-exclusion as follows:

Nonexclusion means that we can accept the valid truth claims (i.e. the truth claims that pass validity tests for their own paradigms in their own fields, whether in hermeneutics, spirituality, science, etc.) insofar as they make statements about the existence of their own enacted and disclosed phenomena, but not when they make statements about the existence of phenomena enacted by other paradigms. (2002b, ¶52)

This principle refers to the acceptance of partial but valid knowledge that has been gleaned by disciplines focusing on particular aspects of holons. Much of this knowledge has been the result of reductionist paradigms (disciplinary matrices/methodologies). The second principle, enfoldment/ unfoldment is defined as:

nonexclusion often discloses an unfoldment that is enfoldment: in any particular developmental stream, successive waves transcend and include their predecessors, and thus each wave is adequate, each succeeding wave is more adequate. (2002b, ¶73)

In short, in healthy unfolding, each wave is holistic, each succeeding wave is more holistic. (2002b, ¶81)

The unfoldment/enfoldment principle refers to the acceptance of the holistic and developmental nature of knowledge and methods. This principle relates to the idea that all knowledge bases and methods are connected and can illuminate each other. Wilber’s third principle, the Enactment principle is explained as follows:

Putting all of these modes of inquiry together, as an enactment and disclosure of turquoise cognition, results in what we are calling integral methodological pluralism, which embodies the more practical side of an Integral Post-Metaphysics (Wilber 2002a, ¶64)

phenomena are enacted, brought forth, and disclosed by practices, then we realize that what appeared to be “conflicting phenomena” or experiences are simply different (and fully compatible) experiences brought forth by different practices. (2002b, ¶89)

So enactment refers to the novel capacity of an IMP to situate and provide a new integrative context for all other partial approaches be they reductionist or holistic. It is precisely these three IMP capacities that are made available when the holon is seen as the unit of analysis for Integral theory. This leads to what Wilber calls Integral indexing or conferencing.

“AQAL indexing” (“integral indexing” or “holonic conferencing” [see below]) allows individual paradigms to be seated next to each other at the integrative table, in such as a way that each individual paradigm is honored and acknowledged. (2002b, ¶75)

Richard Slaughter, in an essay on the possibilities of an Integral Futures discipline, has pointed out that any futures studies practitionsers will not only need to understand the potentials and limitations of their own worldviews but will also need to be “proficient in exploring other perspectives” and the relationships that come out of the meeting of different perspectives. There seems to be an imperative here for scholars who deal with Big Pictures to take on the IMP framework. As part of this move, I would further add that the holon construct and holon theory may well be an essential aspect of any IMP. I say this simply because the holon framework presents a methodological basis for the IMP principles. The holon construct allows for the discriminative analysis of phenomena through non-exclusion, it allows for the inclusion of holistic and developmental through unfoldment/unfoldment, and it allows for the active discovery of insight and connective knowledge through its capacity to generate the enactment of integrative practices. The holon is the core unitary construct that will define any IMP approach to investigating, experiencing and analysing the human encounter with our world.


The holon construct and it associated theory has the potential to play a crucial role in the movement to combine and synthesise scientific and cultural knowledge about psychological and social realities. While there is a long tradition of attempts to derive a comprehensive philosophy for understanding human realities it is only with the 19th and 20th centuries contributions of evolutionary theory and developmental models of human growth that this synthesising project has really come of age. In many ways holon theory is the culmination of this integrative movement and its development comes at a time when such connective knowledge and holistic approaches are most needed. The global systems that threaten the development of healthy and sustainable social development require systemic and integrative modes of imagination and action. Holon theory as an example of an IMP provides the scope and insight that global crises demand.

It is not by accident, I believe, that the two founders of holon theory have both come from outside of academia. One from the world of journalism and real politic and the other from the world of contemporary spirituality and the human potential movement. Out of their visionary thinking these two writers/philosophers have forged a new approach to seeing the breadth and depth of reality and the challenges that are inherent in it. Koestler and Wilber’s lives and writings are very different but also in a deep way very complementary. One comes from the experience of war and revolution in continental Europe while the other comes from a secluded life of inner journeys. One writes fiction as a way of wrestling with the world of human suffering the other writes non-fiction as a way of mapping out the potential for life. One is immerses himself in the psychologies and philosophies of the western tradition and the other follows contemplative paths of Eastern spirituality. Together they bring a new vision to how we and our realities are connected to each other. In the chapter which introduces the neologism “holon” for the first time, Koestler quotes the writer L.L. Whyte who said that, “fertile vistas may open out when commonplace facts are examined from a fresh point of view.” In my view the holon, and its associated theoretical principles, will open up the richest and most crucial fields of scientific and cultural endeavour in the 21st century.


Koestler, A. (1967) The ghost in the machine. London: Arkana

Wilber, K. (1995) Sex, ecology and spirituality: The evolution of spirit. New York: Shambhala.

Wilber, K. (2002) Excerpt B: The Many Ways We Touch -Three Principles Helpful for Any Integrative Approach

Please see my related posts:


Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

The Great Chain of Being

Boundaries and Networks

Hierarchy Theory in Biology, Ecology and Evolution

Networks and Hierarchies

Consciousness of Cosmos: A Fractal, Recursive, Holographic Universe

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference


Key Sources of Researches:




Holon (philosophy)





Holons and Holarchy of Arthur Koestler


Arthur Koestler


Click to access holarchy-holons-koestler.pdf





The Holonic Revolution Holons, Holarchies and Holonic Networks. The Ghost in the Production Machine

Piero Mella




Holons and agents

A. Giret





A Brief History of Holons

Mark Edwards

Click to access Edwards-Mark-A-Brief-History-of-Holons.pdf






The Holonic View of Organizations and Firms


Rolf Sattler


Eastern Roots of Russia’s most famous Toy

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations

Multilevel Approach to Research in Organizations


  • Micro approach
  • Macro approach
  • Micro-macro approach
  • Hierarchy
  • Multi Scale
  • Multi Level
  • Heterarchy
  • Holarchy
  • Holonomic
  • Holons
  • Networks
  • Agents
  • Interaction
  • Aggregation
  • Disaggregation
  • Emergence
  • Complexity
  • The Fractal Company (Book)
  • The Fractal Organization (Book)
  • Viable Systems Model (Stafford Beer)
  • Self Similarity
  • Power Laws



From Multilevel Theory, Research, and Methods in Organizations

Foundations for Multilevel Theory in Organizations

Conceptual Underpinnings: General Systems Theory

General systems theory (GST) has been among the more dominant intellectual perspectives of the twentieth century and has been shaped by many contributors (e.g., Ashby, 1952; Boulding, 1956; Miller, 1978; von Bertalanffy, 1972). Systems concepts originate in the “holistic” Aristotelian worldview that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, in contrast with “normal” science, which tends to be insular and reductionistic. The central goal of GST is to establish principles that generalize across phenomena and disciplines-an ambitious effort that is aimed at nothing less than promoting the unity of science.

Systems principles are manifest as analogies or logical homologies. Logical homologies represent identical concepts (that is, isomorphism), and parallel processes linking different concepts (that is, homology), that generalize to very different systems phenomena (von Bertalanffy, 1972). For example, it is noted that open systems counteract the second law of thermodynamics-entropy-by importing energy and information from the external environment, and transforming it, to maintain homeostasis.

Feedback and servo- mechanisms are the basis for the purposive responses of cybernetic systems. Organizational systems are proposed to have analogous structures and processes (e.g., Katz & Kahn, 1966; Miller, 1978).

Whether one takes a more macro (Parsons, 1956, 1960) or micro (Allport, 1954) perspective, the influence of GST on organizational science has been pervasive. Unfortunately, however, that influence has been primarily metaphorical. The bureaucratic-closed systems-machine metaphor is contrasted with a contingent-open systems-living organism metaphor. Although metaphor has important value-virtually all formal theory is rooted in underlying metaphor (Morgan, 1983)-lack of specificity, formal identity, and precise definition can yield truisms that mislead and fail the test of science (Pinder & Bourgeois, 1982; Bourgeois & Pinder, 1983). GST has exhibited heuristic value but has contributed relatively little to the development of testable principles in the organizational sciences (Roberts et al., 1978). It is to this latter concern that the multilevel perspective is directed.

As social systems, organizations are qualitatively distinct from living cells and other concrete physical systems. The goal of the multilevel perspective is not to identify principles that generalize to other types of systems. Although laudable, such an effort must often of necessity gloss over differences between qualitatively different systems in order to maintain homology across systems (compare Miller, 1978). The primary goal of the multilevel perspective in organizational science is to identify principles that enable a more integrated understanding of phenomena that unfold across levels in organizations.

Macro and Micro Perspectives

Fundamental to the levels perspective is the recognition that micro phenomena are embedded in macro contexts and that macro phenomena often emerge through the interaction and dynamics of lower-level elements. Organizational scholars, however, have tended to emphasize either a micro or a macro perspective. The macro perspective is rooted in its sociological origins. It assumes that there are substantial regularities in social behavior that transcend the apparent differences among social actors. Given a particular set of situational constraints and demographics, people will behave similarly. Therefore, it is possible to focus on aggregate or collective responses and to ignore individual variation. In contrast, the micro perspective is rooted in psychological origins.  It assumes that there are variations in individual behavior, and that a focus on aggregates will mask important individual differences that are meaningful in their own right. Its focus is on variations among individual characteristics that affect individual reactions.

Neither single-level perspective can adequately account for organizational behavior. The macro perspective neglects the means by which individual behavior, perceptions, affect, and interactions give rise to higher-level phenomena. There is a danger of superficiality and triviality inherent in anthropomorphization. Organizations do not behave; people do.  In contrast, the micro perspective has been guilty of neglecting contextual factors that can significantly constrain the effects of individual differences that lead to collective responses, which ultimately constitute macro phenomena (House et al., 1995; Klein et al., 1994; Roberts et al., 1978; Rousseau, 1985).

Macro researchers tend to deal with global measures or data aggregates that are actual or theoretical representations of lower-level phenomena, but they cannot generalize to those lower levels without committing errors of misspecification. This renders problematic the drawing of meaningful policy or application implications from the findings.  For example, assume that we can demonstrate a significant relationship between organizational investments in training and organizational performance. The intuitive generalization-that one could use the magnitude of the aggregate relationship to predict how individual performance would increase as a function of increased organizational investments in training-is not supportable, because of the well-known problem of ecological inference. Relationships among aggregate data tend to be higher than corresponding relationships among individual data elements (Robinson, 1950; Thorndike, 1939). This fact continues to be a significant difficulty for macro-oriented policy disciplines-sociology, political science, economics, education policy, epidemiology-that attempt to draw individual-level inferences from aggregate data.

Micro researchers suffer from an obverse problem, which also makes the desire to influence human resource management policy difficult. We may, for example, be able to show that individual cognitive ability increases individual performance. However, we cannot then assert that selection systems that produce higher aggregate cognitive ability will necessarily yield improved organizational performance. Perhaps they will, but that inference is not directly supported by individual-level analyses. Misspecifications of this sort, however, are not unusual (Schmidt, Hunter, McKenzie, & Muldrow, 1979). Such “atomistic fallacies,” in which organizational psychologists suggest team- or organization-level interventions based on individual-level data, are common in our literature.

A levels approach, combining micro and macro perspectives, engenders a more integrated science of organizations. House and colleagues (1995) suggest the term meso because it captures this sense that organizational science is both macro and micro. Whatever it is called, we need a more integrated approach. The limitations that the organizational disciplines suffer with respect to influencing policy and applications can be resolved through the development of more complete models of organizational phenomena-models that are system-oriented but do not try to capture the complexity of the entire system. Instead, by focusing on significant and salient phenomena, conceptualizing and assessing at multiple levels, and exhibiting concern about both top down and bottom-up processes, it is possible to build a science of organizations that is theoretically rich and application-relevant.


A multilevel approach to theory and research in organizations: Contextual, temporal, and emergent processes

Steve W, J. Kozlowski

Katherine J. Klein



Multilevel Theory and Research


Stan Gully

Click to access StanGully_%20Spring2013_%20MultilevelSyllabus.pdf




Gilad Chen


Click to access SWARM-Syllabus-2017.pdf




Multilevel Issues in Supply Chain Management


Marian Oosterhuis, Eric Molleman, Taco van der Vaart

Click to access ch_3.4_01.pdf





Modeling consensus emergence in groups using longitudinal multilevel methods


Jonas W. B. Lang


Paul D. Bliese

Alex de Voogt


Click to access 8562633.pdf












Click to access 20150528101003_4659.pdf






Micro/Meso/Macro Levels of Analysis

Joshua B. Barbour


Click to access 2017_levels.pdf






‘Multi-level research into the social: An old wine in an old forgotten bottle?’

Harwood, S


Click to access 16_01.pdf






Multilevel Theory, Research, and Methods in Organizations: Foundations, Extensions, and New Directions

Katherine J. Klein (Editor),

Steve W. J. Kozlowski (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-787-95228-0Aug 2013, Pfeiffer






Complexity Theory and Organization Science 

 Philip Anderson

Source: Organization Science, Vol. 10, No. 3, Special Issue: Application of Complexity Theory to Organization Science, (May – Jun., 1999), pp. 216-232 

Click to access 409e0ed1257af816c96cb5b555838287a50a.pdf







  Dr.-Ing. Wilfried Sihn






Analysing Enterprise Models from a Fractal Organisation Perspective – Potentials and Limitations

Kurt Sandkuhl and Marite Kirikova






 The Theory of the Organization and the New Paradigms

Aquiles Limone, Milan Marinovic






The Fractal Company: A Revolution In Corporate Culture

by H.J. Warnecke

Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1993, 228 pp.,





The Fractal Organization: Creating sustainable organizations with the Viable System Model


by Patrick Hoverstadt






Multi Level Analysis

Joop J Hox

Theoretical approaches to managing complexity in organizations: A comparative analysis

Luz E. Bohórquez Arévaloa,∗, Angela Espinosa







From Micro to Meso: Critical Steps in Conceptualizing and Conducting Multilevel Research



Supply Chain Finance (SCF) / Financial Supply Chain Management (F-SCM)

Supply Chain Finance (SCF) / Financial Supply Chain Management (F-SCM)





There are two Areas where FSCM/SCF names are used but in different contexts.

  • Inter firm FSCM
  • Intra firm FSCM


Inter firm F-SCM

  • Trade Finance
  • Supply Chain Finance (SCF)
  • Value Chain Finance
  • Supplier Finance
  • Inter firm Finance
  • Reverse Factoring
  • Collaborative  Cash to Cash Cycles Management

During 2008 global financial crisis, the trade financing dried up resulting in decline in trade of goods and services.

Since the crisis, Financial De-globalization and Decline of Correspondent Banking has also made availability of financial credit harder.

Cash flow and working capital management is helped by inter firm collaboration among Suppliers and Buyers.

Financial Institutions which provide trade credit also benefit from inter firm collaboration.

 From SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE FUNDAMENTALS: What It Is, What It’s Not and How it Works

What Supply Chain Finance is Not

The world of trade finance is complex and varied. There are numerous ways to increase business capital on hand and, in many cases, the differences are slightly nuanced. Given this landscape, it’s not just important to understand what supply chain finance is; it’s also important to understand what it is not.

It is not a loan. Supply chain finance is an extension of the buyer’s accounts payable and is not considered financial debt. For the supplier, it represents a non-recourse, true sale of receivables. There is no lending on either side of the buyer/supplier equation, which means there is no impact to balance sheets.

It is not dynamic discounting or an early payment program. Early payment programs, such as dynamic discounting, are buyer-initiated programs where buyers offer suppliers earlier payments in return for discounts on their invoices. Unlike supply chain finance, buyers are seeking to lower their cost of goods, not to improve their cash flow. Dynamic discounting and early payment programs often turn out to be expensive for both suppliers (who are getting paid less than agreed upon) and buyers who tie up their own cash to fund the programs.

It is not factoring. Factoring enables a supplier to sell its invoices to a factoring agent (in most cases, a financial institution) in return for earlier, but partial, payment. Suppliers initiate the arrangement without the buyer’s involvement. Thus factoring is typically much more expensive than buyer-initiated supply chain finance. Also, suppliers trade “all or nothing” meaning they have no choice to participate from month-to-month to the degree that their cash flow needs dictate. Finally, most factoring programs are recourse loans, meaning if a supplier has received payment against an invoice that the buyer subsequently does not pay, the lender has recourse to claw back the funds.


From Mckinsey on Payments



From Financial Supply Chain Management



From Best Practices in Cash Flow Management and Reporting






From Financing GPNs through inter-firm collaboration?
Insights from the automotive industry in Germany and Brazil

fscm 3


Intra Firm F-SCM

  • Working Capital Management
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Liquidity Management
  • Cash to Cash Conversion Cycle Management (C2C Cycle/CCC)
  • Financial Supply Chain Management (F-SCM) in Manufacturing companies
  • Financial Supply chain management in financial institutions
  • Supply Chain Finance
  • Accounts Payable Optimization
  • Accounts Receivable Optimization
  • Operations and Finance Interfaces
  • Current Asset Management (Current Ratio Analysis)

This is not a new subject.  Corporate Finance, Financial Controls, and working capital management have been active business issues.  Benefits of Supply chain management include increase in inventory turnover and decline in current assets.

There are many world class companies who manage their supply chains well and work with minimal working capital.  Lean Manufacturing, Agile Manufacturing, JIT manufacturing are related concepts.  Just-In-Time manufacturing developed in Toyota Corp. reduces inventory portion of C2C cycle.  Other examples include

  • Apple
  • Walmart
  • Dell

Currently, most of the Supply Chain analytics efforts unfortunately do not integrate analysis of financial benefits of operating decisions.

There are many studies recently which suggest that Cash to Cash Conversion Cycle is a better determinant of corporate liquidity.  C2C Cycle is a dynamic liquidity indicator and Current Assets is a static indicator of liquidity.  I would like to point out that none of the studies relate C2C cycle with Current Ratio.  Current Ratio is based on balance sheet positions of current assets and current liabilities.  C2C cycle is based on flows in supply chains.  Accumulation of flow results in Current assets (Stock).  To make it Stock-Flow Consistent, more work is required.


From Supply Chain Finance: some conceptual insights.


From Financial Supply Chain Management



From The Interface of Operations and Finance in Global Supply Chains















Call for papers: Supply Chain Finance

Call for papers for Special Topic Forum in Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management (Manuscript Submission:  March 31, 2017)

Supply chain finance is a concept that lacks definition and conceptual foundation.  However, the recent economic downturn forced corporates to face a series of financial and economic difficulties that strongly increased supply chain financial risk, including bankruptcy or over-leveraging of debt.  The mitigation and management of supply chain financial risk is becoming an increasingly important topic for both practitioners and academics leading to a developing area of study known as supply chain finance.  There are two major perspectives related to the idea of managing finance across the supply chain.  The first is a relatively short-term solution that serves as more of a “bridge” and that is provided by financial institutions, focused on accounts payables and receivables.  The second is more of a supply chain oriented perspective – which may or may not involve a financial institution, focused on working capital optimization in terms of accounts payable, receivable, inventory, and asset management.  These longer-term solutions focus on strategically managing financial implications across the supply chain.

Recent years have seen a considerable reduction in the granting of new loans, with a significant increase in the cost of corporate borrowing (Ivashina and Scharfstein, 2010). Such collapse of the asset and mortgage-backed markets dried up liquidity from industries (Cornett et al., 2011). In such difficult times, firms (especially those with stronger bargaining power) forced suppliers to extend trade credit in order to supplement the reduction in other forms of financing (Coulibaly et al., 2013; Garcia-Appendini and Montoriol-Garriga, 2013). The general lack of liquidity, in particular for SMEs, has directly affected companies’ ability to stay in the market, reflecting on the stability of entire supply chains. There are many other factors influencing liquidity and financial health that are critical to assess.

These trends and the continued growth of outsourced spend have contributed considerably to the need for and spread of solutions and programs that help to mitigate and better manage financial risk within and across the supply chain.  One of the most important approaches is what is being termed Supply Chain Finance (SCF) (Gelsomino et al., 2016; Pfohl and Gomm, 2009; Wuttke et al., 2013a). SCF is an approach for two or more organizations in a supply chain, including external service provides, to jointly create value through means of planning, steering, and controlling the flow of financial resources on an inter-organizational level (Hofmann, 2005; Wuttke et al., 2013b).  It involves the inter-company optimization of financial flows with customers, suppliers and service providers to increase the value of the supply chain members  (Pfohl and Gomm, 2009).  According to Lamoureux and Evans (2011) supply chain financial solutions, processes, methods are designed to improve the effectiveness of financial supply chains by preventing detrimental cost shifting and improving the visibility, availability, delivery and cost of cash for all global value chain partners.  The benefits of the SCF approach include reduction of working capital, access to more funding at lower costs, risk reduction, as well as increase of trust, commitment, and profitability through the chain (Randall and Farris II, 2009).

Literature on SCF is still underdeveloped and a multidisciplinary approach to research is needed in this area. In order to better harmonize contributions of a more financial nature with ones coming from the perspective of purchasing & supply chain, there is a need of developing theory on SCF, starting with a comprehensive definition of those instruments or solutions that constitute the SCF landscape. SCF has been neglected in the Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM) literature, although PSM plays a critical role in managing finance within the supply chain.  PSM uses many of the processes and tools that are part of a comprehensive supply chain financial program to better manage the supply base, in terms of relationships, total cost of ownership, cost strategies and pricing volatility (see for example Shank and Govindarajan 1992). Reverse factoring is a technique which is also widely used to manage the supply base (Wuttke et al, 2013a) as is supplier development and investment in suppliers.

Research on SCF from a PSM perspective needs further development. In particular, empirical evidence would prove useful for testing existing models and hypotheses, addressing the more innovative schemes and investigating the adoption level and the state of the art of different solutions. Research is also needed for the development of a general theory of supply chain finance.  There is also limited research that focuses on the link between supply chain financial tools and supply chain financial performance.  Finally, considering the plurality of solutions that shape the SCF landscape, literature should move towards the definition of holistic instruments to choose the best SCF strategy for a supply chain, considering its financial performance and the contextual variables (e.g. structure, bargaining power) that characterize it.

Potential topics

The purpose of this special topic forum is to publish high-quality, theoretical and empirical papers addressing advances on Supply Chain Finance. Original, high quality contributions that are neither published nor currently under review by any other journals are sought. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Theory development, concept and definition of SCF
  • Taxonomy of SCF solutions
  • Strategic cost management across the supply chain
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Life cycle assessment and analysis
  • Commodity risk and pricing volatility
  • Supply chain financial metrics and measures
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Relationship implications of supply chain finance
  • Tax and transfer pricing in the supply chain
  • Foreign exchange and global currency and financing risk
  • Financial network design and financial supply chain flows
  • The organizational perspective on SCF and the implementation process
  • Role of innovative technologies to support SCF ( (e.g. block chain, internet of things)
  • Supply chain collaboration for improved supply chain financial solutions
  • SCF adoption models, enablers and barriers
  • SCF from different party perspectives (especially suppliers and providers)
  • SCF and risk mitigation and management

Manuscript preparation and submission

Before submission, authors should carefully read the Journal’s “Instructions for Authors”. The review process will follow the Journal’s normal practice. Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript via Elsevier’s manuscript submission system ( selecting “STF Supply Chain Finance” as submission category and specifying the Supply Chain Finance topic in the accompanying letter. Manuscripts are due March 31, 2017 with expected publication in June of 2018.


Federico Caniato, Politecnico di Milano, School of Management,

Michael Henke, TU Dortmund and Fraunhofer IML,

George A. Zsidisin, Virginia Commonwealth University,


Cornett, M.M., McNutt, J.J., Strahan, P.E., Tehranian, H., 2011. Liquidity risk management and credit supply in the financial crisis. J. financ. econ. 101, 297–312.

Coulibaly, B., Sapriza, H., Zlate, A., 2013. Financial frictions, trade credit, and the 2008–09 global financial crisis. Int. Rev. Econ. Financ. 26, 25–38.

Garcia-Appendini, E., Montoriol-Garriga, J., 2013. Firms as liquidity providers: Evidence from the 2007–2008 financial crisis. J. financ. econ. 109, 272–291.

Gelsomino, L.M., Mangiaracina, R., Perego, A., Tumino, A., 2016. Supply Chain Finance: a literature review. Int. J. Phys. Distrib. Logist. Manag. 46, 1–19.

Govindarajan, Vijay, and John K. Shank. “Strategic cost management: tailoring controls to strategies.” Journal of Cost Management 6.3 (1992): 14-25.

Wuttke, D. A., Blome, C., Foerstl, K., & Henke, M. (2013a). Managing the innovation adoption of supply chain finance—Empirical evidence from six European case studies. Journal of Business Logistics, 34(2), 148-166.

Wuttke, D. A., Blome, C., & Henke, M. (2013b). Focusing the financial flow of supply chains: An empirical investigation of financial supply chain management. International journal of production economics, 145(2), 773-789.

Hofmann, E., 2005. Supply Chain Finance: some conceptual insights. Logistik Manag. Innov. Logistikkonzepte. Wiesbad. Dtsch. Univ. 203–214.

Ivashina, V., Scharfstein, D., 2010. Bank lending during the financial crisis of 2008. J. financ. econ. 97, 319–338.

Lamoureux, J.-F., Evans, T.A., 2011. Supply Chain Finance: A New Means to Support the Competitiveness and Resilience of Global Value Chains. Social Science Research Network, Rochester, NY.

Lekkakos, S.D., Serrano, A., 2016. Supply chain finance for small and medium sized enterprises: the case of reverse factoring. Int. J. Phys. Distrib. Logist. Manag.

Pfohl, H.C., Gomm, M., 2009. Supply chain finance: optimizing financial flows in supply chains. Logist. Res. 1, 149–161.

Randall, W., Farris II, T., 2009. Supply chain financing: using cash-to-cash variables to strengthen the supply chain. Int. J. Phys. Distrib. Logist. Manag. 39, 669–689.



Please see my Related Posts.

The Collapse of Global Trade during Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009

The Dollar Shortage, Again! in International Wholesale Money Markets

Economics of Trade Finance

Hierarchical Planning: Integration of Strategy, Planning, Scheduling, and Execution

Production and Distribution Planning : Strategic, Global, and Integrated

Integrated Macroeconomic Accounts, NIPAs, and Financial Accounts

Key Sources of Research:


SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE FUNDAMENTALS: What It Is, What It’s Not and How it Works

Click to access supplychainFundamentals.pdf

Call for papers: Supply Chain Finance

Call for papers for Special Topic Forum in Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management (Manuscript Submission:  March 31, 2017)



Peter Kristofik, Jenny Kok, Sybren de Vries, Jenny van Sten-van’t Hoff


Click to access 201202h.pdf



Supply chain finance: optimizing financial flows in supply chains

Hans-Christian Pfohl • Moritz Gomm


Click to access 5576960408ae75363751afb1.pdf



Supply Chain Finance: some conceptual insights.

Hofmann, E. (2005)

In: Lasch, R./ Janker, C.G. (Hrsg.): Logistik Management – Innovative Logistikkonzepte, Wiesbaden
2005, S. 203-214.

Click to access Supply%20Chain%20Finance.pdf



Financial Supply Chain Management – A review

Georgios Vousinas




Basic areas of management of finance flow in supply chains

Marlena Grabowska1

Częstochowa University of Technology




Click to access Hofmann_The%20flow%20of%20financial%20resources%20-%20An%20inevitable%20part%20of%20supply%20chain%20design%20activities.pdf


Motorola’s global financial supply chain strategy

Ian D. Blackman

Christopher P. Holland

Timothy Westcott

Click to access Motorolas-global-financial-supply-chain-strategy.pdf



Erik Hofmann

Herbert Kotzab



Click to access Hofmann_et_al-2010-Journal_of_Business_Logistics.pdf

Financial Supply Chain Management – Neue Herausforderungen für die Finanz- und Logistikwelt.

Pfohl, H.-Chr./ Hofmann, E./ Elbert, R. (2003):

In: Logistik Management 5 (2003) 4, S. 10-26

Click to access Financial%20Supply%20Chain%20Management.pdf


Financing GPNs through inter-firm collaboration?
Insights from the automotive industry in Germany and Brazil

Christian Baumeister
Hans-Martin Zademach

Click to access MDW_21__2013__Financing_GPNs.pdf



Die Financial Chain im Supply Chain Management: Konzeptionelle Einordnung und Identifikation von Werttreibern.

Franke, J./ Pfaff, D./ Elbert, R./ Gomm, M./ Hofmann, E. (2005):

In: Ferstel, O. K./ Sinz, E. J./ Eckert, S./ Isselhorst, T. (Hrsg.): Wirtschaftsinformatik 2005. eEcono‐my, eGovernment, eSociety. Heidelberg 2005, S. 567‐584

Click to access 8858fcdb171db931b3c033bb1cdf55ea7683.pdf



Ein generisches Modell zur Identifikation von Verbesserungspotenzialen

Donovan Pfaff
Bernd Skiera

Click to access wi2004_2_107-117.pdf



The Effects of Cross-Functional Integration on Profitability, Process
Efficiency, and Asset Productivity

Morgan Swink and Tobias Schoenherr

Click to access 2016%20-%20Research%20-%20JBL%20-%20The%20Effects%20of%20Cross-Functional%20Integration%20on%20Profitability,%20Process%20Efficiency.pdf



Quantifying and setting off network performance

Erik Hofmann


Click to access Quantifying%20Network%20Performance_final%20version.pdf



Developing and discussing a supply chain-oriented model of collaborative working capital management

Erik Hofmann, University of St.Gallen, Switzerland
& Herbert Kotzab, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark



Click to access Developing_and_discussing_a_supply_chain20151106-23047-gve831.pdf



The link between Purchasing and Supply Management maturity
models and the financial performance of international firms

Fábio Pollice
Afonso Fleury


Click to access The%20link%20between%20purchasing%20and%20supply%20management%20maturity%20models%20and%20the%20financial%20performance%20of%20international%20firms.pdf



A Buyer-Centric Supplier Payables Financing Initiative

Martin Jemdahl
Lund, 2015



Supply Chain Finance: Optimal Introduction and Adoption Decisions

David A. Wuttke, Constantin Blome, H. Sebastian Heese and Margarita

Click to access



The Value of Supply Chain Finance

Xiangfeng Chen and Chenxi Hu

Click to access 17676.pdf


Supply Chain Finance “Is SCF ready to be applied in SMEs?”

Jan H Jansen

Click to access 578cb87508ae5c86c9a6355b.pdf



Win-win and no-win situations in supply chain finance: The case of accounts receivable programs

Erik Hoffman

Click to access Triple-win-situations%20in%20supply%20chain%20finance_final.pdf


Introducing a financial perspective in Supply Chain Management: a literature review on Supply Chain Finance

Luca M. Gelsomino, Riccardo Mangiaracina,
Alessandro Perego, Angela Tumino

Click to access gelsomino_et_al.pdf



Towards A Theory Of Supply Chain And Finance Using Evidence From A Scottish Focus Group

R. de Boer, R. Dekkers, L. M. Gelsomino, C. de Goeij, M. Steeman Q. Zhou,
S. Sinclair, V. Souter


Click to access Towards-A-Theory-Of-Supply-Chain-And-Finance-Using-Evidence-From-A-Scottish-Focus-Group.pdf




Nataliia G. Silaeva


Click to access Master_thesis_Silaeva_Nataliya.pdf



Blockchain-driven supply chain finance: Towards a conceptual framework from a buyer perspective

Yaghoob Omrana, Michael Henkeb, Roger Heinesc, Erik Hofmann

Click to access WP29-Blockchain-driven%20supply%20chain%20finance%20Towards%20a%20conceptual%20framework%20from%20a%20buyer%20perspective.pdf



Selecting financial service providers for supply chains: How cross-functional collaboration can improve effectiveness and efficiency

Judith Martin

Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann

Click to access Paper%20Full%20Version_Selecting%20financial%20service%20providers%20for%20supply%20chains.pdf



Supply chain finance as a value added service offered by a lead logistics provider

Careaga Franco, V.G.
Award date:

Click to access 840401-1.pdf




Mirela Amariei
Tiberiu Avram
Ionela Barbuta
Simona Cristea
Sebastian Lupu
Mihaela Mihaila
Andreea Nita
Adriana Screpnic


Click to access B2B_Payments_Supply_Chain_Finance__E-invoicing_Market_Guide_2015.pdf



Linking corporate strategy and supply chain management

Erik Hofmann

Click to access 1860230.pdf



Concepts and Trade-Offs in Supply Chain Finance

Kasper van der Vliet

Click to access 792140.pdf



Supply Chain Finance as a Value Added Service offered by a Lead Logistics Provider

Victor Gerardo Careaga Franco

Click to access Careaga_Franco_2016.pdf


Value Chain Finance: How Banks can Leverage Growth Opportunities for SME Banking Customers

Qamar Saleem, Global SME Banking and Value Chain Specialist, IFC

Dr. Eugenio Cavenaghi, Managing Director -Trade, Export & Supply Chain Finance, Banco Santander

Click to access Value%20Chain%20Finance_Qamar%20Saleem.pdf




Supply-chain finance: The emergence of a new competitive landscape




Fintechs and the Financial Side of Global Value Chains— The Changing Trade-Financing Environment



Click to access 17-21.pdf



Global Supply Chain Management: Front and Center for Treasurers
Delivering Innovative Solutions that Integrate Financial and Physical Supply Chains

JP Morgan




Supply Chain Finance

Aberdeen Group


Click to access SCF%20Gaining%20Control%200258-6833-RA-SCFinance-SP-10-NSP.pdf




Supply chain financing: Using cash-to-cash variables to strengthen the supply chain

Wesley S. Randall

M. Theodore Farris II





Supply Chain Finance: ANew Means to Support the Competitiveness and Resilience of Global Value Chains

Jean-François Lamoureux and Todd Evans

Click to access 12_Lamoureux_and_Evans_e_FINAL.pdf




Maximising the value of supply chain finance

van der Vliet, K.; Reindorp, M.J.; Fransoo, J.C.


Click to access 387399093290135.pdf




The Interface of Operations and Finance in Global Supply Chains

Lima Zhao


Click to access Zhao_Lima_WHU_Diss_2014.pdf




Supply Chain Finance A conceptual framework to advance research

Kasper van der Vliet, Matthew J. Reindorp, Jan C. Fransoo
Beta Working Paper series 418

Click to access 23232338094103.pdf




A. Ivakina, N. Zenkevich

# 9 (E) – 2017

Click to access WP_9%28E%29-2017_Ivakina_Zenkevich.pdf



A conceptual model for supply chain finance for SMEs at operational level ‘An essay on the Supply Chain Finance paradigm ….

Jan H Jansen


Click to access A-conceptual-model-for-supply-chain-finance-for-SMEs-at-operational-level-An-essay-on-the-Supply-Chain-Finance-paradigm-Vestnik-Chelyabinsk-State-University-Version-2-18-April-2017.pdf



Cash Flow Management and Manufacturing Firm Financial Performance: A Longitudinal Perspective

James R. Kroes

Andrew S. Manikas





Sari Monto






Miia Pirttilä




Impact of Cash Conversion Cycle on Working Capital through Profitability: Evidence from Cement Industry of Pakistan

Afaq Ahmed Khan1, Mohsin Ayaz2, Raja Muhammad Waseem3, Sardar Osama

Bin Haseeb Abbasi4, Moazzam Ijaz


Click to access Q1803021124131.pdf



Cash Conversion Cycle and Firms’ Profitability – A Study of Listed Manufacturing Companies of Pakistan

1Raheem Anser, 2Qaisar Ali Malik


Click to access 2a7cb44463d9b8d3b77e2b36e23466cde4ec.pdf



The Power of Supply Chain Finance

How companies can apply collaborative finance models in their supply chain to
mitigate risks and reduce costs

M. Steeman

Click to access thepowerofsupplychainfinance.pdf



Supply Chain Finance Payable and Receivable Solutions Guide


JP Morgan

A Conceptual Model of Supply Chain Finance for SMEs at Operational Level

 Jan H Jansen

21 November 2017


Click to access A-conceptual-model-for-supply-chain-finance-for-SMEs-at-operational-level-An-essay-on-the-Supply-Chain-Finance-paradigm-Vestnik-Chelyabinsk-State-University-Version-2-18-April-2017.pdf



Cash-to-cash: The new supply chain management metric

M Theodore Farris II; Paul D Hutchison

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management; 2002

Click to access 02e7e5312767de88df000000.pdf




Integrating financial and physical supply chains: the role of banks in enabling supply chain integration

Rhian Silvestro

Paola Lustrato



Click to access 552f9c840cf21cb2faf005c0.pdf




Integration of Finance and Supply Chain: Emerging Frontier in Growing Economies

(A Case Study of Exporting Companies)

Muhammad Ahmar Saeed

Xiaonan Lv


Click to access FULLTEXT01.pdf


Research at the Interface of Finance, Operations, and Risk Management (iFORM): Recent Contributions and Future Directions

Volodymyr Babich

Panos Kouvelis






Interface of Finance, Operations, and Risk Management (iFORM) SIG


Click to access 947ccbd42b1fe0e90f298ab96cfcef8f0448.pdf




Cash to Cash Cycle with a Supply Chain Perspective

Can Duman
Sawanee Sawathanon



Click to access FULLTEXT01.pdf



Monika Bolek, PhD




Does working capital management affect cost of capital?
A first empirical attempt to build up a theory for supply chain finance

Erik Hofmann, Judith Martin



Click to access Final%20paper_working%20capital%20management.pdf




Principle of Accounting System Dynamics – Modeling Corporate Financial Statements –

Kaoru Yamaguchi




Money and Macroeconomic Dynamics

Accounting System Dynamics Approach

Edition 3.2


Kaoru Yamaguchi Ph.D.

Japan Futures Research Center


Click to access Macro%20Dynamics.pdf




Working Capital Management Model in value chains

Timo Eskelinen






Global Supply Chain Finance Forum



Click to access ICC-Standard-Definitions-for-Techniques-of-Supply-Chain-Finance-Global-SCF-Forum-2016.pdf

Click to access download-the-scf-definitions.pdf




Pan Theo Große-Ruyken
Stephan M. Wagner
Wen-Fong Lee

Baltic Management Review

Volume 3 No 1





Best Practices in Cash Flow Management and Reporting

Hans-Dieter Scheuermann

Financial Supply Chain Management


FDI vs Outsourcing: Extending Boundaries or Extending Network Chains of Firms

FDI vs Outsourcing: Extending Boundaries or Extending Network Chains of Firms


Foreign Direct Investments of Firms can have three objectives:

  • Vertical Integration (Control of Supply Chain)
  • Horizontal Integration (Seeking Market Share)
  • Diversification ( Market Seeking)

In this post, Focus is on Sourcing of Goods and Services in FDI and Outsourcing Decisions of Firms.  That means focusing on supply chain related issues.



A fi…rm that chooses to keep the production of an intermediate input within its boundaries can produce it at home or in a foreign country. When it keeps it at home, it engages in standard vertical integration. And when it makes it abroad, it engages in foreign direct investment (FDI) and intra-…firm trade. Alternatively, a …firm may choose to outsource an input in the home country or in a foreign country. When it buys the input at home, it engages in domestic outsourcing. And when it buys it abroad, it engages in foreign outsourcing, or arm’s-length trade.

Intel Corporation provides an example of the FDI strategy; it assembles most of its microchips in wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and the Philippines. On the other hand, Nike provides an example of the arm’s-length import strategy; it subcontracts most of its manufacturing to independent producers in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam.



Intermediate Goods – Make vs.  Buy Decisions of Firms




From Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy


The rising integration of world markets has brought with it a disintegration of the production process, in which manufacturing or services activities done abroad are combined with those performed at home. Companies are now finding it profitable to outsource increasing amounts of the production process, a process which can happen either domestically or abroad. This represents a breakdown in the vertically-integrated mode of production – the so-called “Fordist” production, exemplified by the automobile industry – on which American manufacturing was built. A number of prominent researchers have referred to the importance of the idea that production occurs internationally: Bhagwati and Dehejia (1994) call this “kaleidoscope comparative advantage,” as firms shift location quickly; Krugman (1996) uses the phrase “slicing the value chain”; Leamer (1996) prefers “delocalization;” while Antweiler and Trefler (1997) introduce “intra-mediate trade.” There is no single measure that captures the full range of these activities, but I shall compare several different measures of foreign outsourcing, and argue that they have all increased since the 1970s.


Types of Supply Chain Relations:

  • Intra-firm Trade of MNCs
  • Foreign Outsourcing
  • Domestic Outsourcing
  • Vertical Integration


Key Terms:

  • Production Sharing
  • Vertical Integration
  • Fragmentation of Production
  • Global Value Chains
  • Outsourcing
  • Delocalization
  • Intermediate Goods Trade
  • FDI
  • Domestic Outsourcing
  • Production Offshoring
  • Onshoring
  • Economic Globalization
  • Value Added Tasks
  • Intra-firm Trade
  • Multinational Firms
  • Vertical Specialization
  • Vertical Disintegration
  • Transaction Cost Economics
  • Trade in Value Added Tasks
  • Vertical Production Networks
  • Production Unbundling


Key Sources of Research:


Yongmin Chen
Ignatius J. Horstmann
James R. Markusen

Working Paper 14515

December 2008

Click to access w14515.pdf




Gene M.Grossman
Elhanan Helpman

Working Paper 9300

October 2002

Click to access w9300.pdf




Pol Antràs
Elhanan Helpman

Working Paper 10082

November 2003

Click to access w10082.pdf




Gene M. Grossman
Elhanan Helpman

Working Paper 8728

January 2002

Click to access w8728.pdf




Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality

Robert C. Feenstra

Gordon H. Hanson

January 1996

Click to access w5424.pdf


Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality:  A Survey of Trade and wages

Robert C. Feenstra

Gordon H. Hanson


Click to access w8372.pdf




Elhanan Helpman

Working Paper 12091

March 2006

Click to access w12091.pdf





Robert E. Lipsey

Working Paper 9293

October 2002

Click to access w9293.pdf



Chapter Title: Introduction to “Foreign Direct Investment”

Chapter Author: Kenneth A. Froot
Chapter URL:


Click to access c6531.pdf


Chapter Title: Where Are the Multinationals Headed?

Chapter Author: Raymond Vernon
Chapter URL:


Click to access c6534.pdf




Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment: A Sectoral and Institutional

James P. Walsh and Jiangyan Yu


Click to access wp10187.pdf





Bruce A. Blonigen
Jeremy Piger

Working Paper 16704

January 2011

Click to access w16704.pdf




Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis

Khondoker Abdul Mottaleba
Kaliappa Kalirajanb


Click to access WP2010_13.pdf




Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment

Bruce A. Blonigen

Jeremy Piger




Trends and Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia

World Bank


Click to access ACS48460WP0P13055B00PUBLIC00A9RBBB1.pdf



Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Yi Feng
Publication Date: Jun 2017




Foreign direct investment (FDI)

Click to access s4IP1_8736.pdf




Foreign Direct Investment and the Multinational Enterprise: An Introduction

Steven Brakman and Harry Garretsen


Click to access 9780262026451_sch_0001.pdf





Patricia Lindelwa Makoni

Click to access 10-22495_rgcv5i2c1art1.pdf




A selective review of foreign direct investment theories.

Nayak, Dinkar and Rahul N. Choudhury (2014).

ARTNeT Working Paper Series No. 143, March 2014,

Click to access 782793517.pdf



Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy

Robert C. Feenstra

Revised, April 1998




The Distributional Effects of International Fragmentation,

Kohler, Wilhelm (2002)

Working Paper, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University of Linz, No. 0201


Click to access wp0201.pdf




International Fragmentation of Production and the Intrafirm Trade of U.S. Multinational Companies

Maria Borga and William J. Zeile
January 22, 2004

Paper presented at:

The National Bureau of Economic Research/Conference on Research in Income and Wealth meeting on Firm-level Data, Trade, and Foreign Direct Investment, Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 7-8, 2003,
The OECD Committee on Industry and Business Environment/Working Party on Statistics
Session on Globalization,
Paris, France
November 3-4, 2003.

Click to access intrafirmtradejanuary04.pdf



The governance of global value chains

Gary Gereffi
John Humphrey
Timothy Sturgeon

Click to access GVC_Governance.pdf


The economic consequences of increased protectionism

Riksbank of Sweden


Click to access ppr_fordjupning_3_170427_eng.pdf




Deep integration and production networks: an empirical analysis

Gianluca Orefice
Nadia Rocha
World Trade Organization
Manuscript date: July 2011

Click to access ersd201111_e.pdf




Measuring success in the global economy: international trade, industrial
upgrading, and business function outsourcing in global value chains

Timothy J. Sturgeon and Gary Gereffi

Click to access diaeiia200910a1_en.pdf




Topics in International Trade

Reading list

Click to access readings-topics09.pdf





GPN Working Paper 2
October 2002

Click to access gpnwp2.pdf



Why has world trade grown faster than world output?

Mark Dean

Maria Sebastia-Barriel

Click to access Other_Paper_1.pdf



Vertical Specialization, Global Value Chains and the changing Geography of Trade: the Portuguese Rubber and Plastics Industry Case

João Carlos Lopes and Ana Santos

Click to access wp122015.pdf



The changing structure of trade linked to global production systems: What are the policy implications?



Click to access Changing-Structure-of-Trade-Linked-to-Global-Production-Systems.pdf




Guillaume Daudin (Lille-I (EQUIPPE) & Sciences Po (OFCE), Christine Rifflart, Danielle
Schweisguth (Sciences Po (OFCE))1

This version: July 2009

Click to access WP2009-18.pdf



David Hummels
Jun Ishii
Kei-Mu Yi
March 1999


Click to access sr72.pdf



Expansion Strategies of U.S. Multinational Firms

Gordon H. Hanson, Raymond J. Mataloni, and Matthew J. Slaughter

May 10-11, 2001

Paper presented at:

The Brookings Trade Forum 2001, Washington, D.C.
May 10-11, 2001

Click to access HMS1.PDF




Mihir A. Desai C. Fritz Foley James R. Hines Jr.

Working Paper 9115
August 2002


Click to access 000000005694_01.PDF




The Globalization of Production

Gordon H. Hanson




The Politics of Transnational Production Systems A Political Economy Perspective

Helge Hveem
Department of Political Science
University of Oslo

Click to access hveem.pdf


 The Architecture of Globalization: A Network Approach to International Economic Integration.

Raja Kali and Javier Reyes

Second Revision: October 9, 2006

Click to access TradeNetwork.pdf






Paris School of Economics – Summer School on Trade


Click to access trade-sumschool-pse-2017.pdf



Spain in the global value chains


Click to access beaa1703-art20e.pdf



 An Outsourcing Bibliography

Foreign Policy magazine


An outsourcing bibliography








 A Survey of Literature on Research of Intra-firm Trade


Click to access 2013jrgjgc311b13.pdf



Global Value Chains

OECD, WTO and World Bank Group
Report prepared for submission to the G20 Trade Ministers Meeting Sydney, Australia, 19 July 2014

Click to access gvc_report_g20_july_2014.pdf





OECD Trade Policy Working Paper No. 93
by Sébastien Miroudot, Rainer Lanz and Alexandros Ragoussis

Click to access 44056524.pdf



The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade

James R. Markusen



Incomplete Contracts and the Boundaries of the Multinational Firm

Nathan Nunn

Daniel Trefler

June 2008

Click to access NunnTreflerPaper.pdf



The Theory of the Firm goes Global

Dalia Marin


Click to access 370.pdf

Trends in Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions

Trends in Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions


From The Location of Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions in the USA

The vast majority of foreign direct investment (FDI) takes place in the form of cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As), see Evenett (2004). Analyzing the determinants and consequences of M&As is part of a large and growing literature in both (international) economics and (international) business. In economics, the dominant industrial organization (IO) literature does, however, typically not deal with the cross-border aspect of M&As, but instead concentrates on national M&As (Salant et al., 1983; O’Brien and Shaffer, 2005; Davis and Wilson, 2008; Egger and Hahn, 2010). A relatively small literature explicitly tries to include the cross-border aspect of M&As, but neglects the role of country factors that are central in international economics and international business to explain the structure and variation of cross-border transactions (Anand and Delios, 2002; Nocke and Yeaple, 2007, 2008, Bertrand and Zitouna, 2006; Fugmagalli and Vasconcelos, 2009, Halverson, 2012). The impact of country wide differences on cross-border M&As is taken explicitly into account by Neary (2004, 2007) who focuses on differences in comparative advantage between countries in a general equilibrium model to explain the occurrence of cross-border M&As. Empirical support for this idea is found by Brakman et al (2013), see also Blonigen et al (2014). In the international business literature – ever since the introduction of Dunning’s Ownership-Location-Internalization (OLI) framework – the mode of foreign entry and the choice of a foreign location have been central, but not explicitly modelled, as the OLI framework is more a taxonomy of relevant elements for location choice than a model (see for example Dunning, 2000).2

Both for the modern international business and international economics literature, however, whenever the location of cross-border M&As is taken into account, it usually refers to the host country as a whole. Where to locate the M&A within the host country is not analyzed. This amounts to assuming that if foreign firms have decided to engage in an M&A they choose a country but are indifferent regarding the target location within that country. This observation is the starting point for the present paper. In contrast to this observation with respect to cross-border M&As, the within country location choice with respect to greenfield FDI has been analyzed in depth. The seminal study by Head et al. (1995) was pivotal, and initiated a large and growing body of literature; see for example Fontagne and Mayer (2005); Basile et al., (2008); Defever, (2006); or Mataloni, (2011). Similar analyses for cross-border M&As are largely absent and this is striking because the bulk of FDI is in the shape of cross-border M&As. A priori, there is no reason to assume that the location decision of greenfield investments and M&As are similar. M&As, by definition, merge with or acquire existing firms at a specific location, whereas greenfield investments can, in principle, locate anywhere.


From Economic and Financial Integration and the Rise of Cross-Border M&As





  • Most of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is in the form of Cross Border M&A.


The motivation for Cross Border M&A can be several:

  • Horizontal Integration ( Seeking Market Share)
  • Vertical Integration ( Control of Supply Chain)
  • Diversification (Market Seeking)

Research indicate that most of the cross border M&A are for seeking markets.




  • Cross Border Mergers have been rising since 1985.





  • Europe and North America dominate regions in which cross borders M&A are taking place.












From  M&A Today: A Quick Pre-Financial Crisis Comparison


Sources of M&A Data:

From Exploration of Mergers and Acquisitions Database: Deals in Emerging Asian Markets

There are four popular mergers and acquisitions databases,

  • SDC Platinum Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) database,
  • Bloomberg M&A database,
  • Mergerstat M&A database,
  • ZEPHYR M&A database.

The SDC Platinum M&A Database covers domestic deals from 1979 to present and international deals from 1985 to present. Thomson Reuters states that the SDC includes more transactions than any other source and is widely used by the industry professionals and academic researchers.

The Bloomberg M&A database began putting the mergers and acquisitions product together in January 1998, with the intention of providing “100 percent coverage of all global deals as they were announced” (Ide, 2001). Bloomberg states that it has mergers and acquisitions staff in 12 offices worldwide compiling M&A data and relationships with over 800 legal and financial firms.

According to the Zimmerman (2006), the Mergerstat database covers both acquisitions and divestitures where at least one significant party is a U.S. company.

the ZEPHYR database covers transactions both inside and outside the U.S. and is particularly useful to study M&A deals in Europe (from 1997 forward for European transactions; from 2000 forward for North American transactions; global coverage begins in 2003).


Academic Libraries


Deloitte Consulting M&A Services


KPMG Consulting


Thomson Reuters



White and Case



Bureau Van Dijk/ZEPHYR



UNCTAD / World Investment Report

Wilmer and Hale Law Firm

Please also see other related posts:

Mergers and Acquisitions – Long Term Trends and Waves

External Balance sheets of Nations

Low Interest Rates and International Investment Position of USA


Key sources of Research:


Steven Brakman
Harry Garretsen
Charles van Marrewijk



Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions: The Facts as a Guide for International Economics

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 1823


Steven Brakman

Harry Garretsen

Charles van Marrewijk


Date Written: October 2006


Cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions: Their Role in Industrial Globalisation


Nam-Hoon Kang and Sara Johansson



Theoretical foundations of cross-border mergers and acquisitions: A review of current research and recommendations for the future

Katsuhiko Shimizua,*, Michael A. Hittb,1, Deepa Vaidyanathc,2, Vincenzo Pisanod,3

Available online 24 July 2004



 Determinants of Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions

Isil Erel / Rose C. Liao /  Michael S. Weisbach

March 15, 2011

The Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions Wave of the Late 1990s

Simon J. Evenett




The Macroeconomic Determinants of Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions and Greenfield Investments

Paula Neto; Antonio Brandão; António Cerqueira




The Impact of FDI, Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions and Greenfield Investments on Economic Growth

Paula Neto; Antonio Brandão; António Cerqueira



Exploration of Mergers and Acquisitions Database: Deals in Emerging Asian Markets



Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions

Scott Whitaker




Economic and Financial Integration and the Rise of Cross-Border M&As





March 2009




The Location of Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions in the USA

Steven Brakman
Harry Garretsen
Charles Van Marrewijk


APRIL 2015



M&A Today: A Quick Pre-Financial Crisis Comparison






Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions and Financial Development:
Evidence from Emerging Asia

Douglas H. Brooks and Juthathip Jongwanich

No. 249 | February 2011





Prepared by
Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, Investment Division, OECD

May 2004






ISBN 978-92-64-04573-6 – © OECD 2008




Economic and Other Impacts of Foreign Corporate Takeovers in OECD Countries




A Comparative Analysis of the Economic Effects of Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions in European Countries

Anita Maček