Chaos and Complexity: What Can Science Teach?

Review by: William A. Harper
By Margaret J. Wheatley

The Big Idea

Margaret (Meg) Wheatley has been an organizational development speaker and international consultant since 1973.  In this keynote conference address published in the Occupational Development Practitioner, she chides us for so willingly continuing to use 17th Century images of the universe in the 21st Century world.

For centuries, she argues, “we have been planning, predicting and analyzing the world . . . holding on to an intense belief of cause and effect and we’ve let numbers rule our lives.”  Her major concern is that we have become comfortable with a mechanical model of the world and have accordingly designed our organizations—our sporting organizations as well—to be resistant to change and challenge.  We have wrongly come to believe that we can control chaos and complexity.