Complexity, uncertainty, breakdown: coping, recovering and finding hope in dark times.
With the world in flux, perhaps it’s time to be less naïve about the idea of disruption. Our recent experience tells us that we have struggled to respond to disruptive socio-economic and political forces, let alone harness them for the good. Instead constant upheaval on the grand scale, the banking crisis, the pandemic, political and economic instability, has permeated society and our psyches, and has shown up inevitably in our practices and relationships in everyday organisational life. The effects of political and social turmoil, economic collapse, have set constraints on what we can achieve together in organisations. And they may have produced acute and enduring work place dilemmas which can provoke anxiety, burn-out and a sense of hopelessness. Constant disruption demands a more creative and subtle approach than may be found in orthodox recipes for leading, managing and consulting, or an idealisation of its benefits. Equally, we are required to find more generative responses than those offered by the lords of misrule who come to prominence in dark times recommending simplistic solutions to complex problems.
It is also worth thinking about the possible benefits of the huge disruption to traditional working practices caused by what the Oxford English dictionary now recognises as a neologism: the permacrisis. No profound set of social and economic changes is an unalloyed disaster. Where are the loci of hope?
The Complexity and Management Conference 2023 will address what can feel like a constant state of breakdown, potentially undermining things we may previously have taken for granted, such as plans, rules, loyalties, markets, knowledge, and how we exercise authority in groups.
The conference will be organised around contributors to the recent Complexity and Management series published by Routledge, which include the titles Complexity and Consultancy, Complexity and Leadership and Complexity and the Public Sector. Contributors will talk about their experience of leading, managing and consulting to a wide range of organisations, particularly the public sector. An invitation is also extended to all delegates attending the conference who want to offer a workshop on Saturday afternoon 3rd June.
If you are interested in the difference it makes to take the complex interplay of relationships seriously, particularly in dark times, then book for the 2023 Complexity and Management Conference, 2nd-4th June. The conference is highly discussive and conversation is the currency of participation. It will greatly enhance the conference if delegates bring concrete examples of their workplace dilemmas.
The conference is organised in collaboration with KIOL Executive Programme at University College Copenhagen.
The booking site will go up in the New Year.