Publication Date

January 2008

Abstract

Organizations competing in hypercompetitive marketplaces have two possible paths to potential success. They can attempt to transform traditional bureaucracies into more nimble, adaptable, and resilient entities, which clearly is the path most traveled. Or they can try pathbreaking, which involves adopting a completely different organizational paradigm: the complexity-based agile enterprise (C-bAE). C-bAEs have no a priori hierarchies, no a priori organizational structures, and no a priori business strategies. They rely instead on ongoing interactions among self-organizing participants operating at the edge of chaos to form and reform, strategize and re-strategize on the fly. Does this work? We don't know for sure, although there is some solid theory and a little bit of evidence to suggest that it might - that under the proper conditions, these progressive dynamics may well engender a stream of novel and yet coherent products, services, and solutions capable of delivering a series of temporary competitive advantages and, thus, the possibility of long-term survival. This paper explores the promise, with particular emphasis on the process of mobilizing or creating the conditions that foster the constant co-creation of emergent organizational forms and innovative outputs.

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Suggested Citation
Dyer, L. D. & Ericksen, J. (2008). Complexity-based agile enterprises: Putting self-organizing emergence to work (CAHRS Working Paper #08-01). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cahrswp/473

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