Organizational Survival in the New World book cover

Organizational Survival in the New World

The Intelligent Complex Adaptive System

In this book David and Alex Bennet propose a new model for organizations that enables them to react more quickly and fluidly to today's fast-changing, dynamic business environment: the Intelligent Complex Adaptive System (ICAS). ICAS is a new organic model of the firm based on recent research in complexity and neuroscience, and incorporating networking theory and knowledge management, and turns the living system metaphor into a reality for organizations. This book synthesizes new thinking about organizational structure from the fields listed above into ICAS, a new systems model for the successful organization of the future designed to help leaders and managers of knowledge organizations succeed in a non-linear, complex, fast-changing and turbulent environment. Technology enables connectivity, and the ICAS model takes advantage of that connectivity by fostering the development of dynamic, effective and trusting relationships in a new organizational structure. This book outlines the model in chapter four, and then breaks down the model into its components in the next two chapters. This is a benefit to readers since different components of the model can be implemented at different times, so the book can guide implementation of one or all of the components as a manager sees fit. There are eight characteristics of the ICAS: organizational intelligence, unity and shared purpose, optimum complexity, selectivity, knowledge centricity, flow, permeable boundaries, and multi-dimensionality.

Senior executives in corporate and government sectors; professionals in knowledge management, organizational behavior and development, and systems theory; HRD and OD professionals.


Published: December 2003

Imprint: Butterworth Heinemann

ISBN: 978-0-7506-7712-7


  • "Alex and David Bennet are ideally suited to bring forth such a wide-ranging and erudite synthesis of complexity and knowledge theories. A fascinating report from the front-lines of the new thinking about how organizations thrive (or fail to)." --Larry Prusak, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Babson College, USA "If you want to know how the latest thinking about organizations all fits together to provide a roadmap of the future, you will want to read this book. It is provocative and original." --Dorothy A. Leonard, Harvard Business School, USA, author of Wellsprings of Knowledge "The job of today's manager is to invent the organization of the future. The Bennets have provided a launch pad.... They have synthesized the best of the past, current realities, and the challenging but as yet unclear environment of the future, which will require dealing with connectivity, knowledge management, speed, and uncertainty. Their approach, the Intelligent Complex Adaptive System (ICAS) is a blueprint for the manager of the future." --Charles Seashore, Fielding Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, USA "This book makes a great contribution to the quest for a new theory of the firm by introducing a very interesting model— the Intelligent Complex Adaptive System. By reviewing and integrating new insights from complexity and chaos research and cognitive and brain research, the Bennets demonstrate how to improve organizational intelligence and effort to create sustainable intelligent organizations in an ecological context. By implementing the practical recommendations throughout the book managers can increase their organization's intelligence and capacity for future knowledge navigation and improve its intellectual capital to ensure organizational survival in the new world." --Leif Edvinsson, The world´s first director of Intellectual Capital; The world´s first holder of professorship on Intellectual Capital University of Lund, Sweden; Appointed Brain of the Year 1998 by Brain Trust UK; Creator of UNIC-Universal Networking of Intellectual Capital "The Bennets have written a truly excellent book, a mix of theory and practice. Theory-wise it is one of most complete, comprehensive and thorough conceptual developments we have yet seen in the field of Knowledge Management. It also introduces plenty of original thinking along with its new concepts. And it intermixes enough practice with the theory that it is well-grounded in experience and real-world problems." -- Joe Firestone, Vice President and CKO of Executive Informations Systems, Inc.; Executive Vice President, Education, Research and Membership, and Co-CEO, Knowledge Management Consortium (KMCI) "What will the future look like? We only know that it'll be characterized by uncertainty, complexity and change. What will the enterprises of the future need to be like in order to succeed in that environment? The Bennets present a compelling argument that the only way enterprises will be successful in that marketplace or battlefield is if they become intelligent, complex, adaptive systems (ICAS). This is an important book that must be read by anyone interested in the future." --Dr. Ramon Barquin, President, Barquin International; Founder and First President of The Data Warehousing Institute; Chair, E-Gov Knowledge Management Conferences


  • Moving Beyond the Bureaucratic Model; The Present and Future Danger or Why We Need To Change ; The Intelligent Complex Adaptive System (ICAS); Exploring the Emergent Properties of ICAS; Relationships Among Emergent Properties; The Learning Structure of the New Organization; The Action Culture for Success; The Four Major Organizational Processes; The Art of Collaborative Leadership; Creating Emergence; The Change Agent's Strategy; Strategy, Balance and the Correlation of Forces; A Tale of Two Companies; The New Knowledge Worker; Knowledge Management; The Learning Organization; Learning, KM and Knowledge Workers; Rethinking Thinking: Systems; Rethinking Thinking: Complexity; Knowing; Networking for the Bottom Line; Exploring the Unknown; APPENDIX: The Evolution of the Organization. GLOSSARY;BIBLIOGRAPHY;INDEX


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