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Contextual analysis: a multiperspective inquiry into emergence of complex socio-cultural systems

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This paper explores the concept of organizations as complex human activity systems, through the perspectives of alternative systemic models. The impact of alternative models on perception of individual and organizational emergence is highlighted. Using information systems development as an example of management activity, individual and collective sense-making and learning processes are discussed. Their roles in relation to information systems concepts are examined. The main focus of the paper is on individual emergence in the context of organizational systems. A case is made for the importance of attending to individual uniqueness and contextual dependency when carrying out organizational analyses, e.g. information systems analysis. One particular method for contextual inquiry, the framework for Strategic Systemic Thinking, is then introduced. The framework supports stakeholders to own and control their own analyses. This approach provides a vehicle through which multiple levels of contextual dependencies can be explored and allows for individual emergence to develop.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProcesses of emergence of systems and systemic properties: towards a general theory of emergence
EditorsG. Minati, M. Abram, E. Pessa
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherWorld Scientific
Pages299-312
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9789812793461
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2009

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