Paradoxes of Complex Social Systems

Author: Marcos Estellita Lins This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This paper focuses on the need to establish coherence amidst fundamental paradoxes of reality and the consequent need to take account of the paradoxical social environment when we are committed to go beyond theoretical approaches for the management of organizational change. It aims to contribute to fill a gap of problem structuring methods, when dealing with interfaces between models and real world problems, namely the complex constituent patterns of human beings in their interactions with environment, whose paradoxical nature cannot be reconciled, but rather integrated, in the sense proposed by Tetlock et al (1993). The text draws from different sources of research on, often oblivious and amazing, knowledge concerning self regulation, self deception, metacognition, multiplicity, human error and systemic dysfunctions. It proposes a dominant x complex frame to consolidate six fundamental paradoxes, in an attempt to endow classification with parsimony and completeness. Paradox integration requires taking metacognition as a supreme driver for organizational assessments, however metacognition is itself part of the sixth paradox. Many opportunities arise for further integration between the six paradoxes and their extensions to personality assessment, workplace culture and organizational behavior.