Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organizations from an Orderly Universe by Margaret J. Wheatley, 2006, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., San Francisco, Third edition.
This book is recommended reading for anyone wondering how to navigate through periods of disturbance and uncertainty. Drawing on the science of chaos, complexity and systems dynamics, Wheatley explains why the role of participation, relationships and information are critical to understanding and working with change. She describes order as ‘the other side of chaos,’ and recognizes the potential for self-organization (which often occurs during times of disruption) to create new structures. She also describes the significance of human motivation and meaning making, including its power to travel across networks to inspire new possibilities.
This book applies the latest science to understanding organizational change, but the lessons are very relevant to global change. Wheatley makes it clear that how we “see” the system influences how we engage with it.
“Whenever a self-organizing system experiences any amplification process, change is at hand. If the amplifications increase to the level where they destabilitze the system, the system can no longer remain as it is. At this moment, the system is at a crossroads, standing poised between death and transformation.” (p. 88).