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Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Paperback – September 1, 2006
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About the Author
Margaret Wheatley is president of The Berkana Institute and an internationally acclaimed speaker and writer. She has been an organisational consultant and researcher since 1973. Her clients and audiences range from the head of the U.S. Army to twelve-year-old Girl Scouts, from CEOs to small town ministers
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Once business leaders read the book; they might be just as passionate as I am about its principles. If so, they would want their employees trained in the same philosophy of open communications that foster reaching beyond boundaries to share information and ideas, creating self-organizing structures, which promote happier (yes, the "H" word) more valued employees who would then be perfectly positioned to adapt to our chaotic, fast-paced ever-flowing work environment, creating greater profits for everyone.
Our country, businesses, environment and families are in chaos. Wheatley teaches us that there is an organized form, literally, within chaos that eventually emerges and that we should learn to embrace chaos, particularly in business.
Never before has the science of leadership been more at our fingertips. So why do we ignore it? As I read the last page I thought, wow, I want to work in a place like this. Then I thought, no I want to create one or teach the theories to create several, or many. And like the universe, my joyous thoughts just kept traveling at the speed of light into infinity.
The principles are not only applicable to business but also to everyday life. While this is her revised edition from the year 2000, and many of Wheatley's references are dated, this in no way diminishes the incredible power of her leadership and self-organizing theories. My theory is that business wasn't receptive back then because it was more prosperous. Utilized today these leadership and organizational principles could put American business back on track. Now if I could just wave my magic wand and have everyone in commerce read and implement it.
For those who may perceive the book as a slam against newtonian physics (as at least one reviewer simplistically decribed it) I do not believe she was invalidating newtonian physics nor mindlessly framing organization dynamics with simplistic generalizations from the "new sciences". She was quite explicit in her introduction that this book was intended as a reflective piece to see what insights might be gained from applying a new paradigm - legitimized by the insights and advances in physics over the last century - to organizational dynamics. To provide context, she demonstrates how our models for organizational theories have derived from newtonian physics and - just as we have learned that this paradigm is not sufficient to describe all of the natural world - perhaps our perspective into other spheres of human activity can be enhanced by applying the insights of the "new sciences" as well.
In short, this book offers a new way of thinking for any human endeavor and its insight are - I believe - essential for progressing into the next millenium.