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Complex Processes and Social Systems: A Synergy of Perspectives

Complex Processes and Social Systems: A Synergy of Perspectives
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Author(s): David Large (Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK), Petia Sice (Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK), Robert Geyer (Lancaster University, Newcastle, UK), Geoff O'Brien (Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK) and Safwat Mansi (Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK)
Copyright: 2015
Volume: 2
Issue: 1
Pages: 9
Source title: International Journal of Systems and Society (IJSS)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Alfonso Reyes Alvarado (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia)
DOI: 10.4018/ijss.2015010104


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In this paper the authors consider two contrasting viewpoints; Complex responsive processes which deal with interactions in the present, and complex adaptive systems which focus on learning through the production of what are called mental models. The paper shows that rather than being contradictory, these viewpoints are – at least in some respects - complementary. From the resulting perspective we are able to identify qualitative synergies between the two approaches. Complex responsive processes involve reflections on interactions that take place in time. But you cannot stop time so these present reflections always refer back to a present now gone. Complex adaptive systems are analytic tools. They are not explicitly in the present or in time at all, but they shape our thoughts and actions which are in the present. They shape how people behave, respond and think in a context. In this way people can combine, or reorganise, the approach to complex responsive processes and complex adaptive systems to show how humans address the complex notions of our world.

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