Complex Adaptive System Models of KM

The ICAS (Intelligent Complex Adaptive Systems) theory sees organization as an adaptive, complex system. Beer (1981) was a pioneer in the treatment of the organization as a living entity. Complex adaptive systems consist of many independent agents that interact with one another locally. Together, their combined behaviour gives rise to complex adaptive phenomena (Dalkir, 2011, p.85).These models contain series of functions which ensures the viability of any living system in general and of organizations, in particular. ICAS systems are based on cybernetics principles, which are using communications and control mechanisms in order to understand, describe and predict what should do a viable organization. Adaptive systems contain lots of independent agents which are interacting. Their behavior makes possible the appearance of some complex phenomenons of adaptation. There is no general authority to manage the way in which these agents should work. A general model of a complex behavior will be the result of all the interactions (Cristea and Căpaţînă, 2009, p.363).  

Bennet describes an approach of knowledge management, using ICAS systems as a starting point. It is considered that traditional bureaucracies are not enough to provide the necessary cohesion for the survival of the organization. It was proposed a new model (Bennet) in which the organization is perceived as a system found in a symbiotic relation with its environment. Bennet model is based on a number of subsystems which interacts and evolves in order to generate an advanced and intelligent technological company (Cristea and Căpaţînă, 2009, p.363).

Inside the adaptive model, the intelligent components are made of people which are self organized, but who can remain as a part of general hierarchies of the organizations. The challenge is to use the advantage given by the force of the people when they cooperates, keeping a global sense of unity. The organizations solve problems by creating options, using resources both internal and external which can add value over the initial input. So, the knowledge became the most valuable resource because it is the only one who can help in the context where uncertainty exists. This is one of the criteria by which we can distinguish between information management (predictable reactions to known situations and anticipated situations) from knowledge management (using new reactions for un-anticipated situations) (Cristea and Căpaţînă, 2009, p.363).

Complex adaptive systems  Organizations as Complex Adaptive Systems  



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