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When organisations and ecosystems interact: toward a law of requisite fractality in firms


  • Bill McKelvey
  • Benyamin B. Lichtenstein
  • Pierpaolo Andriani


Complexity science has evolved greatly in the past 30 years, starting from its European roots in Prigogine's dissipative structures model of phase transitions, continuing through the Santa Fe School's focus on self-organised adaptation as explained through computational simulations, and now to it's most recent focus on power laws and their basis in scale-free causes. After briefly reviewing these three approaches to complex systems, we attempt to integrate them into a broad-based model of organisational design and performance. Our model develops the law of 'requisite fractality' - an updated version of Ashby's original law for organisations in dynamic environments. Implications for organisations and managers are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Bill McKelvey & Benyamin B. Lichtenstein & Pierpaolo Andriani, 2012. "When organisations and ecosystems interact: toward a law of requisite fractality in firms," International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(1/2), pages 104-136.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijclma:v:2:y:2012:i:1/2:p:104-136

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Crawford, G. & McKelvey, Bill & Lichtenstein, Benyamin B., 2014. "The empirical reality of entrepreneurship: How power law distributed outcomes call for new theory and method," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 1, pages 3-7.
    2. Mary Han & Bill McKelvey, 2016. "How to Grow Successful Social Entrepreneurship Firms? Key Ideas from Complexity Theory," Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 24(03), pages 243-280, September.


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