Dealing with Complexity LO7457
Thu, 16 May 1996 06:58:27 -0400

Replying to LO7418 --

In a message dated 96-05-14 21:17:54 EDT, you write:

>While your post deserves more reflection, I wanted to make a brief reply
>as a means of thanks for your response. We have a 4X4 matrix, one side of
>which is The Work Program of Complexity:
>o Description of a Situation
>o Diagnosis of that Situation
>o Design for Change in that Situation
>o Implementation of the Design
>and the other side is the Behavior Modes:
>o The isolated Individual (in normal behavioral mode)
>o The small group or team (in normal behavioral mode)
>o The organization (in normal behavioral mode)
>o Process

Gordon, in his reply, restates the nature of the Behavior-Outcomes Matrix
that I mentioned in an earlier posting.

I said that most people are surprised to see "process" as a part of the
set with the other three items. Gordon said that he was not surprised,
and thought it reasonable, then asked me to give my reasons for including
"process" there. My reasons are not very different from Gordon's, but I
will state them independently.

As I see it, complexity arises with individuals, groups, and
organizations. Its principal manifestation is an inability to comprehend
something rather large that is important to the people involved.

One of the reasons they cannot comprehend it is that the processes they
are accustomed to using are not adequate. The normal behavioral modes
that people use are tuned up for many, many events, much of which are
handled in a habit-like manner. When these modes turn to complexity, they
are not just lacking, but they are severely lacking. So any proposal to
overcome those deficiencies necessarily involves behavioral change; i.e.,
new process.

Gordon also raises issues about process subversion because of the fact
that new processes are perceived as defective along the lines of Gregory's

We basically use a process called Interactive Management (IM) which has
been designed to eliminate all of the factors that other processes possess
which are dysfunctional; and to incorporate factors that other
dysfunctional processes lack. The IM process is really a collection of
subprocesses, such that in a given activity the appropriate subprocesses
are chosen and applied.

The track record of IM is almost totally free on any kind of
process-subversive activity, which is what one would expect if all of the
defects are designed out.

Gordon also refers to the 17 Laws of Complexity. These are laid out in a
publication that I make available through the snail mail to people who
have a serious interest in them. Gordon, send me a snail mail address and
I will forward the document to you.It is 33 pages long, shows a brief for
each law, and positions the laws in the Behavior-Outcomes Matrix.

I will make the same offer to others, as long as copies hold out, but you
have to promise to send some feedback. I'm not interested in just filling
up file drawers.

John N. Warfield


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