Summative Assessment: Integrative Paper, Part 2: Contemporary Research in Complex Adaptive Systems and Innovation Part 1: Systems Theories and Complex Ada

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Summative Assessment: Integrative Paper, Part 2: Contemporary Research in Complex Adaptive Systems and Innovation Part 1: Systems Theories and Complex Adaptive Systems

Edens Pun
University of Phoenix
DR. William Greaf
December 06, 2021

The application of complex adaptive systems thinking in organizations is an approach that challenges simple causes and effects associated with assumptions. Complex adaptive thinking considers healthcare alongside another system as dynamic processes. This means the relationships and interactions of various components affect the shape of the system. It is important to consider complex adaptive systems in leadership and general organization development in healthcare. The benefits of a complex adaptive systems approach include; challenging assumptions, being flexible, proposing organizational changes, providing a clear picture of factors affecting change, and providing a framework for categorization. This paper describes general systems theory and learning organization theory which are system theories that can be applied in analyzing problems or innovation in a health care organization.

General systems theory

Ludwig Von Bertalanffy outlined the general systems theory in 1968. This theory premises that principles discovered and mathematically modeled are shared in complex systems. This theory can be applied in explaining methods in the fields of science. All generalized systems already have existing models, principles, and laws used to them. This means regardless of the nature of the organizational component and its kind, the general regulations, laws and models will apply. This theory was developed as a new way of doing science with a proposal going beyond what theory and science mean. This theory gives the body of knowledge of an organization. It provides organizations with a paradigm to conduct an inquiry (Farias, 2021). This theory takes into account interrelationships that are required in organizations.
This is inclined to the structure and dynamics of social systems. It is appreciated that there are similarities that exist in different organizations. This theory considers systems technology making it a component in complex systems. This ensures that organizations have information, a control system, feedback mechanisms, and a well-developed circuit theory. The nature and existence of complex systems are known as systems ontology. Systems have underlying principles and theories forming the foundation of knowledge of the system. This is the system epistemology, and its primarily concerned with how individuals can know reality and how one can obtain knowledge. General systems theory considers the values which show how man and the world relate (Farias, 2021). This theory gives guiding ideas that can be used in retaining values in situations where they cannot be mathematically formulated.

Learning organization theory

` This theory mainly focuses on knowledge creation and how knowledge can be used within an organization. Learning organization theory considers people’s interactions as a critical learning process. People interactions in organizations can help in finding solutions to existing problems. This theory operates on various elements like creating a culture that values instead of punishing and calling out mistakes. It focuses on conducting regular lessons on specific learned debriefs. Talent development is a priority in the learning organization theory and is made the top strategy. The decisions are made instantly in complex systems the apply the organizational learning theory (Malik & Garg, 2021). The world is experiencing ever-increasing competition and technological advancements.
This has exposed organizations to unsustainable competitive advantage. One of the ways organizations can use to operate at a competitive advantage is organizational learning capabilities—adapting learning organization theory in a promising breakthrough in management and can be used in implementing crucial developments in an organization. For organizations to achieve innovations and ensure sustainability, they should consider having a proper approach in employee management. This should not use centralized or control-oriented methods which have been tried in the past. Building a learning organization culture is a challenge to managers, but implementation helps create a suitable environment for creativity and innovations to flourish. Learning organization theory has the following characteristics; it provides an opportunity. Organizations use learning to reach their goals, create a link between individual and organizational performance in a complex system, and create a suitable environment for communication. Information systems in learning organizations help people make decisions and as questions concerning the available data (Malik & Garg, 2021). All front-line employees have the responsibility of being information scanners.

Compare and contrast the two selected theories.

General systems theory and learning organization theory can be applied in complex systems in the health care sector. The two approaches share common system characteristics. They all have a purpose; they have components, they all sub subsystems that have already set sub-goals, the set subsystem goals are not as important as the system goals.
General system theory considers the arrangement of many organizations because they have inputs, processes, output, feedback, and control. This is an already set and existing structure that remains a constant. In a learning organization, the design is flexible and favors several organizational factors. This gives a suitable environment for people to cope with the ever-changing environment. The general system does not allow organizations to adapt to the changing environment quickly. General system theory focuses more on the arrangement and the existing relations between parts of a system. Learning organization theory focuses on creating a problem-solving culture at all organizational employee levels (Schiffling, Hannibal, Tickle, & Fan, 2020). This theory makes sure that an organization reaps the maximum benefits from the experienced staff member.
General system theory introduced the concepts of closed and open systems and emphasized the role and importance of context and environment (Anderson, Ross, Macrae, & Wiig, 2020). Learning organization theory introduces the idea of an ever-expanding organization that is appropriately guided by organizational capabilities.
The application of general systems theory and the learning organization theory complement one another in explaining organizations as a complex system. General system theory shows a typical arrangement of an organization offering the available values, while learning organization theory shows how complex organizational systems should be set to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
Complex adaptive systems thinking (CAST) is an approach used in analyzing organizational features and considers all the elements of the system, how the parts work, and influence each other. The most productive method according to the CAST is the ‘edge of chaos,’ which ensures organizations operate at maximum creativity and maximum variety (Schiffling, Hannibal, Tickle, & Fan, 2020). Learning organizations theory informs CAST by creating an environment that favors creativity and problem-solving.


Anderson, J. E., Ross, A. J., Macrae, C., & Wiig, S. (2020). Defining adaptive capacity in healthcare: a new framework for researching resilient performance. Applied ergonomics, 87, 103111.
Farias, M. S., Silva, L. D. F. D., Brandão, M. A. G., Guedes, M. V. C., Pontes, K. M. D. A., & Lopes, R. O. P. (2021). Medium reach theory for nursing in cardiovascular rehabilitation. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 74.
Malik, P., & Garg, P. (2020). Learning organization and work engagement: The mediating role of employee resilience. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(8), 1071-1094.
Schiffling, S., Hannibal, C., Tickle, M., & Fan, Y. (2020). The implications of complexity for humanitarian logistics: A complex adaptive systems perspective. Annals of Operations Research, 1-32.

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