Emergence in Organizations and Human Collective Intelligence

Stephen J. Guastello

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199757183
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Emergence in Organizations and Human             Collective Intelligence

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The traditional approach to human factors engineering focuses on interactions at the person-machine interface. When multiple person-machine interfaces are involved, however, emergent phenomena are produced by a combination of myriad interactions among agents within a system, far-from-equilibrium conditions, and processes of self-organization. Emergent phenomena vary in complexity from sandpile avalanches to phase shifts to hierarchical structures with or without top-down supervenience effects. They build on elementary nonlinear dynamics such as attractors, bifurcations, chaos, and catastrophes. Individuals, groups, and organizations all exhibit analogous dynamical cognitive processes, although events at the collective levels cannot be reduced to simply the sum of the individual parts. This chapter describes emergent phenomena that are mostly closely concerned with cognitive processes: collective cognition and action, networked systems, creative problem solving, team coordination, emergency response and sensemaking, dynamic decisions, diffusion of innovation, and organizational learning strategies. The characteristics of complex adaptive systems are inherent in each case.

Keywords: self-organization; complex adaptive system; emergence; chaos; nonlinear dynamics; group or team dynamics

Article.  16564 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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